Newsletters

June 2020

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J_oWogC3aNqVGNX_Yz0VA5GvzP6KxgT7KBVJjWJrXxE/edit

 

What’s up in the hives this month?

Colonies that did not swarm will be boiling over with bees and the “honey flow” continues. Keep up swarm inspections and continue adding additional space as needed. Spring honey sources start to fade and a short honey dearth may happen between blooming cycles. Rain and weather conditions affect the summer nectar sources greatly. Under good conditions, the bees will continue to make honey. The start and stop honey flow will sometimes cause a few “after swarms”. The pace of honey production slows a bit and the Queen starts to lay fewer eggs. Fully capped honey supers may be removed and extracted.

  • Watch for swarms
  • Keep adding empty supers as needed
  • Remove fully capped honey
  • Attend bee meetings

 

Here is a very interesting resource showing nectar flow from NASA

https://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage_info.htm

 

The Rhythm of the Summer From PerfectBee-Honey Flow

There are few things as satisfying to a beekeeper as the reassuring but furious activity outside a hive on a hot summer day. As the colony establishes itself, each day brings a new, heightened level of excitement. Inside the hive some very important changes are taking place as the brood nest increases.

None of this happens in a vacuum. External factors have a huge impact on the activity within the hive and on its eventual survival. One of the more important of these is the “honey flow”.

 

What is the Honey Flow?

In simple terms, the honey flow is a sweet spot in time, if you’ll excuse the pun. It is the time when bees have ready access to abundant resources allowing them to dramatically accelerate the creation of honey within the hive.

So, the honey flow is less about honey actually flowing and more about bees having the opportunity to collect nectar to support them creating their honey.

 

Let’s make that a little more formal

The honey flow occurs when one or more abundant sources of nectar are available, along with suitable weather, allowing bees to forage for that nectar.

 

When Does the Honey Flow Occur?

Suitable flying weather is clearly related to the time of year and, indeed, the summer is most supportive of the honey flow. But it is not always summer. Spring can be an excellent time for a honey flow too as many flowers bloom.

 

What affects honey flow?

There are many variables affecting when the honey flow occurs. The two basic requirements are access to nectar and suitable weather.

There are various reasons why the weather might not be accommodating, beyond merely the temperature. For example, spring often brings windy conditions not conducive to the honey flow. So, the weather element of the honey flow is variable.

The other factor – ready access to nectar – can be a little more predictable, based on the types of flowers in the local environment and their flowering schedules. This is one aspect that need not be left purely to nature and the beekeeper has the potential to influence this significantly, with a little planning.

 

When should I expect a heavy flow of honey?

Beekeepers will see an ebb and flow through the warmer months and there may be multiple times where bees are able to create honey in abundance.

Of course, nature is complex and there are complicated interactions between weather patterns and the blooming of flowers. In general, though, a seasoned beekeeper will be able to tell, with reasonable accuracy, when the honey flow might occur in their location.

 

How to Spot the Honey Flow

Since the honey flow can be triggered by the blooming of flowers within miles of the hive, it is not as simple as checking local flowers to determine whether the honey flow has arrived. The only precise way to be aware of the honey flow is to check the behavior of your bees.

The most obvious sign is the level of activity and the number of bees out foraging. Bees will come back to the hive fully loaded with nectar, while other bees are leaving to gather still more.

The resultant image is one that is heartwarming to the beekeeper – hundreds of bees flowing in and out of the hive. It truly is a sight to behold.

Associated with all this activity will be a rapid increase in the amount of honey stored. While the prudent beekeeper will avoid disturbing bees too much, it is important to be aware of the potential for swarming.

During the honey flow, it’s possible for a single hive to gain 5 lbs. or more of honey – in a single day!

In short, if bees can make honey through access to nectar and accommodating weather – they will take it!

 

What Beekeepers Can Do to Help

The honey flow isn’t just a time for beekeepers to smile. It is also a time to be very observant. The honey flow represents a rapid increase in the space bees need in the hive. At a rate of several pounds of new honey per day, a hive with limited space can quickly lead to a colony with thoughts of swarming.

If the colony swarms, it will essentially split in two, with one half leaving the colony for a new home.

An alert beekeeper is aware at all times of the space available in the hive. Expanding the hive by adding boxes is a key decision the beekeeper will make, offering bees more space for the extra honey and thus reducing the chances of swarming.

Aside from a visual check, the weight of the hive will be an important indicator. An increasing number of beekeepers weigh their hives using monitors and the honey flow is associated with a dramatic increase in weight.

In a more proactive sense, beekeepers can plant flowers intentionally chosen to bloom in a staggered manner throughout the seasons. Doing this doesn’t just have the potential to bring weeks of color to your garden, but makes for an extended honey flow, as bees move from one type of flower to another for their nectar fix!

Done well, the beekeeper – and bees – can enjoy and extended and beautiful series of honey flows.

 

Our Guest Speaker this month:  Clint Brooks

Clint Brooks grew up in Eastern Mecklenburg County on a family farm that historically produced grain and cotton which supported the family owned feed mill and cotton gin. As the years went by, the development of Mecklenburg County brought changes and made farming difficult in the area. In 2007 Clint and his family moved to Stanly County where they bought some acreage and started over in their farming endeavors. At this time Clint and his brother worked closely together to produce fresh produce for the local markets and community within Stanley and Cabarrus County. As they worked with produce intensively, Clint determined that obtaining a few beehives might help improve pollination and overall yields. With his degree in Environmental Biology/Ecology, after obtaining a few NUCs with pollination in mind, the fascination of bees took a stronghold on Clint and quickly transitioned into understanding life cycles and development of bees, specifically queen bees. Through a simple Religion’s class in 2010, Clint met his now wife, Kasey H. Brooks and by faith and perseverance, they both sought serving the community around them and thus started Brooks Mill Farms®.

February 2020

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ninC9A0AxxtgMV7YRwbntxcMhW9kJGn3GrufvwqrxDc/edit?usp=sharing_eip&ts=5e4a67f5

 

What’s up in the hives this month?

The queen  remains in the cluster and as the days become milder she begins to lay more eggs. The protein stores or (pollen patty) is used to feed young larva. These bees will hatch out of the cell in 21 days. When young bees are being raised and days are warm the bees will consume more food. At this time, the cluster will begin to grow in size. A varroa mite and foulbrood inspection should be done and a proper evaluation of “queen activity”. By mid February, you should see bees carrying natural pollen into the hive. When this occurs, the queen will also begin to lay drone eggs (unfertile eggs). These drones will hatch in 24 days.

      • Check food stores (pollen and honey)
      • Treat for varroa mites or foulbrood if needed
      • Begin a “bloom calendar” to document pollen and nectar
      • Attend bee meeting
      • Assemble equipment
      • Order queens
      • Pay state and local dues – Dues Past Due! $10 state (SCBA) and $20 local (YCBA)
        Please do not pay SCBA dues directly to the association but instead pay to YCBA so we have a record of your payment

Replace old or tired bee equipment – order from our own co-op, it’s economical and William will be happy to help you. It will help to get you through the dark, cold winter. Reach out to Roger Dye until further notice at: rogerdye@comporium.net  Normally William Copeland at:  williamcopelandjr50@gmail.com 

 

Bee School

Feb 20th – April 2nd. Please help spread the word and post the attached flyer wherever you can. The cost is $90 and includes all materials. YCBA2020Flyer

 

Bee Packages

Packages will Arrive April 11th and are $95 each. Queens are $25 and Marked Queens are $30. Get your orders in soon as packages are limited. YCBA Package Bees 2

 

YCBA Meetings

Mark Sweatman, a Master Beekeeper, was our February speaker. Mark recommended 3 books and provided 3 pdf’s.

 

Words of Wisdom from our speaker last month, James Alverson:

Things to think about. What are your bee goals?

      • Keep bees alive, maximize hive, make nuts, raise some queens? Your goals will determine your management.
      • Beekeeping is personal and local, keep a bloom calendar
      • Feeding 1:1 sugar syrup, fondant
      • Feb-March above 60 degrees look to see if bees have honey, don’t build up bees too quickly
      • Check out honey bee health coalition  https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/
      • Check for mites; keep mite count down less than 1 per 100
      • Treat 3 times in spring before putting on honey supers

Here’s the link to check out an oxalic fogger  https://beekeepclub.com/treating-mites-with-an-oxalic-acid-fogger/

January 2020

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RE8bZ523Tdyfl6hu4tsa4XRyfm9GG3AHM42BdCtWkDs/edit?usp=sharing_eil&ts=5e305ce8

 

What’s up in the hives this month?

Even less bee activity and cold weather will send the bees back into a cluster. On warm days watch for bees to fly out to make cleansing flights and forage for pollen. Keep the entrances just small enough for two bees to enter.

  • Attend bee meetings and bring a friend
  • Make sure equipment is stored properly to stop wax moth damage
  • Feed syrup when the temperature allows (45-50 degrees)
  • Talk to experienced beekeepers for winter preps
  • Pay state and local dues – Past Due ($20 state and $10 local)

Replace old or tired bee equipment – order from our own co-op, it’s economical and William will be happy to help you. It will help to get you through the dark, cold winter.  williamcopelandjr50@gmail.com

 

Meet William Copeland – Beekeeper Extraordinary

Today I had the  privilege of interviewing William Copeland Jr., our co-op manager, on his lovely farm in Chester SC and meeting his precious master gardener wife, Sherry, and their two precious grandchildren Bricksen and Palmer. William was born in Rock Hill, and was raised in Chester along with his 10 brothers and sisters.

 

William has two children: Laura who lives locally and James who lives in Kansas and seven grandchildren. Nine year old Bricksen loves to go into the hives with his proud granddaddy. 

 

A proud veteran, William served in the Air Force serving in 27 countries and 49 states. He served in the Gulf War and left the service when the government cut back on the number of troops. William then returned to South Carolina to help his mom and dad on their farm. His post service career included working in the Hazmat disposal area and in wastewater treatment.  

 

In 2000, a friend John Bagley, saw a newspaper article about keeping bees and William a keen gardener thought it would be amazing for his crops. And so his bee journey began.

 

William started to keep bees purely to pollinate his extensive vegetable gardens. He had no sponsor or mentor so he missed a lot of the finer details and almost gave up. William considers beekeeping his hobby and finds it really enjoyable and relaxing. It is hard at times because of the injuries to his ankles and feet incurred during a jump while in service and further complicated by a horrific wreck in 1995. 

 

Five years ago he helped to start the co-op. Initially all the board lent a hand but it became very complicated to maintain an inventory so William volunteered to run it. Currently he spends 8-10 hours a day for 2-3 weeks when getting in new inventory and on many days he even takes home inventory to pack it. He also mentors 5-6 people and one of his mentees lives 40 miles away.

Currently William has 11 hives and according to him a few “Ain’t doing so good”. He splits his hives and makes his own queens. He keeps Italians as he finds the Russians too aggressive. He has captured many swarms. He puts out swarm boxes, leaving the bottom empty and adding queen pheromones and lemongrass oil to lure the bees. 

 

Tips:

  • Become a beekeeper prepared to work-if you don’t work for it you won’t have success.
  • Share your knowledge
  • Ask questions/doubts whatever’s on your mind ask
  • Get a bee buddy

 

Tricks: (things that work for William)

  • During winter lift the lid with popsicle sticks to increase airflow and reduce condensation
  • He is making a bee vacuum to capture swarms
  • Check your bees on a warm day, don’t touch bees below 50F
  • Don’t check bees everyday-this disturbs their natural rhythms and you run the risk of killing the queens.
  • William fogs his hives twice per year as needed for Varroa, he does an alcohol wash to test.
  • He also carries an epipen any time he works with his bees, you never know when you are going to be allergic.

 

Funny Story:

One time as he was cutting grass on his tractor he inadvertently blew the hives with the tractor exhaust – the girls did not like it at all and they came out in force. He jumped off his running tractor and keeping in mind that his mobility is impaired, walked away from the bees incurring 12 stings on his head, face and arms during his not so hasty exit. He had to walk all the way back home to get his bee suit and retrieve his tractor. 

 

Our Christmas Party Was a Huge Success

Click on the link to view the pictures:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/QBRZhynGoxfVsvGR7

November 2019

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1769V9QRXnXqDd_4dLZDVtxgxHqkxY1iJVvRUVywOpRQ/edit?usp=sharing_eil&ts=5dcc2c14

 

What’s up in the hives this month?

Even less bee activity and cold weather will send the bees back into a cluster. On warm days watch for bees to fly out to make cleansing flights and forage for pollen. Keep the entrances just small enough for two bees to enter.

  • Attend bee meetings and bring a friend
  • Make sure equipment is stored properly to stop wax moth damage
  • Feed syrup when the temperature allows (45-50 degrees)
  • Talk to experienced beekeepers for winter preps
  • On warm days bees will forage for pollen
  • Pay state and local dues, $20 YCBA and $10 State