Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Meeting Notes

Cheatham County Beekeepers Meeting, Cheatham Co. Library in Ashland City, TN

 October 11th, 2014 Meeting Minutes

There was welcoming coffee for all to share, but I in my newness as club secretary, do not know whom to thank for this!

There was also a bulging bag of absolutely perfect and delicious homemade molasses/ginger snap type cookies passed around mid- meeting, and again, I am sorry to say I cannot recall the name of the thoughtful baker-beekeeper who made and shared them with us! (I have much to learn it is obvious!).


The meeting commenced at 9:43 AM. Chris Robbins welcomed the 12 members present, but this day there was no formal “calling to order”!

There were 12 members present.

Becky Harris, treasurer, was not present this day. Chris stated that the association checking account had $26.00 more in it than a month ago. 

Johnnie Bell had video about queen rearing. It was extensive, and we spent the entire body of the meeting watching it. Again, my newness may have prevented me from absorbing much of the content, which was all new to me. Many other members were also taking notes, and I am sure they will be happy to share additional points they remember when we next meet!

I will attempt to summarize it as best I can. The initial segment was about equipment. There were at least 2 types of queen catchers, one like a big plastic hair clip, and one that was an exotic looking long glass tube with an opening to be positioned over the queen – it used the queen’s natural tendency to climb up and indeed, up she went, trapped inside! The man was very good, however, and quite easily simply picked up queens in his fingers….. (I however, have never even spotted my queen!).

There were at least 2 equipment systems, one looked like a grid of cells, where you could raise about 45 queens at a time; another was a system that used cup like cells that snapped in place on housings already mounted on frames , and a system called NICOT where there is a unit mounted in a frame. All of these were I think grafting systems.  There was also extensive footage about a no graft method using a NUC .

Although most of the process was well beyond my knowledge level, there were some themes that seemed crucial:

-          Avoid raising too many queens at one time (45 was posited as a good number)

-          You must use special pieces of equipment to protect the queen cells

-          There is a universal color marking system that allows you to readily know what year the queen was reared.

-          QUEEN CELLS MUST NOT BE SEALED OFF TOO SOON: if one is already sealed in 7 days you must destroy it as the queen will be of inferior quality.  It takes 3 days for eggs to hatch, and the cells must not be sealed before the 9th day. The queen will emerge in 16 days, and by the 11th day after her emergence you should see eggs.


After the video ended there was not a lot of whole group discussion or review of contents. Chris Robbins announced that the next meeting will be about swarm catching. As the time wore on to well after 11:40 members started to drift out, including myself.











Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 2014 Meeting Notes



Sept. 13, 2014



President Chris Robbins called the meeting to order at 9:30 am.

There were 21 people in attendance at this months meeting. After a short welcome, Becky Harris gave the treasurers report. The beginning balance was

$1,213.29. Deposits were $100.81; Expenses were $146.39. The ending balance was $1167.77.


After the report, there was a lengthy discussion period that began with Roger Senechal passing on an idea for a DYI small hive beetle trap. Other topics included how to solve ant problems in hives, swapping honey between hives and how to prepare your hives for winter. Different methods of feeding and combining weak hives were discussed at length.


After this Roger and Dianne Senechal gave a demonstration of how to make a hand salve using beeswax. The only ingredients needed were Mineral Oil, Borax, Water and Beeswax. In no time at all, they made up a batch and everyone in attendance was given a jar to take home with them.


In other business after the demonstration President Chris Robbins announced that the Christmas party/meeting will be held December 13th. As before, he will be providing the meat for the meal, and other attending should bring other dishes. More discussions will be held on this at the next months meeting.


At the meeting, Margaret Beaver agreed to assume the duties of Secretary, as the current Secretary (myself) announced he would no longer be able to

hold office, due to having moved out of the area.


Next months meeting will be October 11th.  At that meeting Johhnie Bell will be showing some beekeeping videos he has purchased on Queen Rearing, Swarms and How to set up a package.


Respectfully submitted,


David K. Hanson


Monday, July 21, 2014

July 2014 Meeting Notes



July 12, 2014



President Chris Robbins called the meeting to order at 9:30 am.

There were 29 people in attendance at this months meeting. After a short welcome, Chris turned the meeting over to Becky Harris who gave a presentation on extracting honey.


Becky explained that it was very important to have a bee free environment when you extract honey.  The smell of the uncapped honey will attract any bees in the area. Becky sets up a 10X10 screened in tent in her yard to extract honey in. Honey is also easier to extract when it is warm, so if you are going to do it inside an air conditioned home, keep the frames outside until you are ready to extract them.

You want your frames to be free of bees when you extract. The four most common ways to remove the bees from the frames are:

1: Manually, by shaking and brushing them off.

2: The use of chemicals and a fume board, to drive the bees out.

3: Blowing the bees off the frames with a leaf blower. Be careful the queen is not blown out of the hive!

 4: A bee escape: This allows bees to leave the frame, but they cannot return.

Uncapped honey: It is important the majority of the honey on your frames is capped, otherwise there may be too much moisture in your honey. This can cause the honey to ferment. The moisture level of your honey should be 18% or below, and can be tested with a refractometer.


There are three common methods to uncap honey. They are:


1: An uncapping pick

2: Serrated knife

3: Heated knife


Harvesting honey: The most common methods are:


1: Crush and Strain

2: Uncap-Invert-Drain (must have a warm area)

3: Mechanical Extraction, by use of either a radial or tangential extractor


After harvest, many people set their equipment and frames outside to let the bees clean them out. This is a violation of TN law. It prohibits this practice in order to prevent diseases from being spread, as bees from numerous colonies will clean the items up. If there is any disease present in your frames, you can spread it to all the colonies.


Honey should be strained after extraction, to remove the tiny particles present before it is bottled. There are numerous methods and micron sizes available to the beekeeper. Several items were displayed that can do the job.


This was the end of Becky’s presentation, after which she gave the treasurer’s monthly report. Our beginning balance was $1,363.29. Expenses for the month were $150.00, Income was $32.76, which left and ending balance of $1246.05.


David Hanson then read the Secretary’s notes from the previous months meeting. Both reports were accepted on voice votes.


Chris Robbins then led a discussion on the subject of the upcoming fair. A request was made for volunteers to assist with set up, assist with judging, and man the booth during the hours the fair is open. There were several volunteers and it appeared the necessary coverage was achieved. Our next monthly meeting will be held at the fairgrounds in order to help get as much set up done early as is possible.


There was further discussion on topics of honey sticks for the fair (will be ordered), educational videos, and an educational bee hive with picture displays. I was decided that we will purchase a bee hive, as it can be used yearly at the fair.


After this there was a general Q & A session with the three most dis:cussed topics being: ventilation of hives, the merits of screen bottom boards versus solid bottom boards, and the storing of honey supers during the off season.


The meeting ended after this discussion with a reminder that the next meeting (August 9, 2014) will be held at the Fairgrounds.


Respectfully submitted,


David K. Hanson