Monday, December 1, 2014

November 2014 Meeting Notes


16 members and one guest were present. While President Chris Robbins was getting needed equipment for a DVD presentation, club members had open discussion. Subjects discussed included but were not limited to equipment supplier Mose Zuck in Lawrenceburg, TN. Several members expressed their feeling that his woodenware is exceptionally good with relatively low pricing, and that they have started to trade with him exclusively. Junior said that he makes a trip to Mr. Zuke’s about every 2 weeks and will be happy to collect things that club members have purchased. Mr. Zuke does not have an on line presence, nor does he work by telephone. For large orders it is recommended to write to him before coming. Copies of the “2014 Cypress Bee Equipment Price List” were given out to several interested club members (and I will make additional copies to keep available during our future meetings).
General discussion also included issues about feeding, including instances where a hive simply does not take to feeding. While some members prefer to always use sugar water, changing the ratio depending upon the season, some members feed with syrup (made from corn syrup).
Johnny then presented a video (DVD) on catching swarms. 10 incidences had been well captured on video, and several techniques were depicted. In the first, there was a swarm right at the truck of a tree. The beekeeper used a frame with drawn out comb, laden with pheromones, and simply gently pushed it right onto the swarm: the bees loved it and readily moved onto it. He did this several times, placing the bee covered frames into a nuc sized box. Once he had several frames in the box, he smoked the tree trunk and the remaining portion of the swarm still there, helping to mask the pheromones that would otherwise keep attracting the bees back. Meanwhile the nuc box was close by, acting to attract the bees.
The next swarm was in a branch of a tree. The beekeeper placed his ungloved hand close to the swarm to test their reactivity. Indeed, in other scenarios, he gently plunged a finger right into the center of swarms! In this case, he simply cut the branch off, and shook the swarm into the waiting box. There was another case quite similar, with the swarm very high in a tree, where he again cut the branch off and carried it down to a box.
There were a couple scenes where the swarm was under a bench, low to the ground. In such a case quite simply place your box below the swarm and gently knock them into the box.
In several scenes one could easily see that as the bees took to their new home they began “fanning scent” to attract the other bees. At the same time the beekeeper continued to use smoke to help reduce the attraction of the spot where they had been swarmed, using the smoke also to essentially help push them into the new hive.
One exceptionally beautiful and unique situation shown was a colony that had freely formed itself, in the open , without a safe surround, and as such would surely perish in the winter. The comb was gorgeous, large circular lobes, looking much the way a wooden honey dipper looks, each ring a bit bigger than the prior one, then smaller again, a large living orb. The beekeeper carefully cut the branches with this colony, and placed it in its entirety into what I recall was a frameless super (perhaps there were a couple outer frames??), stating that in time, bit by bit, he would introduce frame and slowly convert the
hive to a manageable colony. The main point however was that by his ingenuity he save this colony from extinction over the impending winter.
One additional dramatic scene was of a swarm that had made a thriving colony inside the walls of an old barn like building. In all the prior “episodes” our cheerful beekeeper had not worn much by way of protection! In this case, however, he and his help mates were decked head to toe in full bee suits, every inch carefully protected!! Once they had cut into the wall, they worked to cut out pieces of comb which they then attached onto frames (without foundation) with rubber bands. Apparently, it takes relatively little time for the bees to destroy the rubber bands and create uniform comb throughout each frame.

After this great video, the club members discussed our upcoming Christmas Potluck Celebration, to be held December the 13th at the Ashland City library. There will be a brief business meeting at 9:30 with food and festivities commencing a bit later in the morning. (My apologies since I failed to record exact time: I will ask Becky to please post it in the blog!). Chris Robbins will again smoke some beef, pork and chicken. Members spoke up as to what they will bring: every course was well represented, from party ware and beverages, to savory sides, and delightful desserts: my personal suggestion to those of you coming who were not at this meeting, bring whatever you are moved to bring, as surely there will be plentiful delightful offerings covering the full meaning of a feast! Please bring family members, children too. There will be a “Dirty Santa” gift exchange ($10.00 - $15.00 tops discussed). (It seemed that beloved member Nick might have thought this meant an “xxx” gift exchange, so inappropriate for children! If anyone is not familiar, it simply means that even if you LOVE the gift you get, another member may decide to steal it away from you, according to whatever game rules we will be playing by!!!).

Finally there was a discussion about plans for the newcomers introduction to beekeeping meeting this late winter, early spring. Chris shared that TSU is having a 3 day long agricultural fair in Rutherford County February 18, 19, and 20, 2015. We have been offered a spot, and could use it to add to our educational outreach to new beekeepers. Tentative idea discussed was for the club to hold its usual business meeting the second Saturday in January, the 10th and to then have our new comers educational meeting the last Saturday in January, the 31st. This was preferred as the 2nd Saturday in February is Valentine’s day which might adversely affect attendance. This date would also allow those whose appetites had been whetted to make plans to attend the TSU Fair in February.
As per our newcomers meeting the suggestion was made that we have a pre registration, to have a better sense of number of people coming. We discussed serving lunch, then decided rather that members could bring light finger foods to share. Time was suggested as 9 to2, a bit longer than this year. 4 separate segments to the program were discussed: an equipment and hive set up hands on presentation, a video of installing a package, a session about first year care and feeding, and finally, back by popular demand, Roger Senechal’s inspirational slide presentation titled “10 things I Wish I Knew as a Rookie Beekeeper”.

Respectfully submitted, Margaret Beaver

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