Saturday, July 11, 2015

June 2015 Meeting Notes

CHEATHAM COUNTY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION MINUTES FOR 6/13/15 meeting, held at Ashland City public Library.
21 people were in attendance.

Chris Robbins called the meeting to order at approximately 09:30

Morgan Turpin gave her treasures report, explaining that previously she had been including our over draft protection amount in our balance, that she had not corrected this mistake.
Current corrected balance is $1681.77

Chris Robbins reported that last month about 15-20 people had met at the farm and gone through hives.
There was some general discussion with several members sharing that they had recently extracted, with general consensus that with current temperatures, the honey flow is over until early autumn.
Chris presented information about rules and regulations for packaging, labeling, and selling our honey.
Tennessee rules for labeling have changed. Per the department of agriculture, labels must now state 100% pure honey, give a company name, location, and a way to contact you.
Labels should state “ounces by weight”.

Going rates were discussed. In a recent fair in Coopertown, quarts of honey (without comb) sold at $24.00 a quart.
Chris intends to see his at about $11.00 per pound.
He brought in some beautiful jars he had purchased from Fillmore container Company in Lancaster PA, including a glass bear.
He had figured jar cost and label cost into his final prices for his honey.
He used a service from Avery Label makers, 200 labels for $50.00.
Honey produced and packaged this way is sale tax exempt.
However, if he wanted to add a wooden honey dipper to his jars, these would need to be taxed because he did not produce them himself.
There was more general discussion, which included that Johnson’s Honey Farm in Goodlettsville is actually importing honey from China.

Johnny brought in a video, a TV presentation, “Vanishing of the Bees” which aired on Pivot and  is available on Net Flix.
Themes in this lengthy and well done show included investigating why bees are vanishing, which included information about changing style of pest control, and statistics that clearly correlated the introduction of “Gaucho” and “Poncho”, 2 systemic pesticides  made by Bayer, with increased losses of colonies.
Whereas previous styles of pest control, sprayed directly on plants, directly effect living bees, it was posited that systemic pesticides are so incorporated into the pollen that subsequent generations of bees are harmed while still in the larval stage of development.
In France, public opinion led to the outlawing of these chemicals. Once they were outlawed, the hives stopped collapsing.
While here in the United States the system of regulation favors the chemical companies themselves, who do their own research and submit data for review, where their clear motive is to protect their vested financial interests, as opposed to an independent agency, working to protect people.

Many other themes were also explored, including the crippling effect of bees being exposed to mono cultures, which are unnatural, and unsustainable.

I highly recommend watching this show, which was at times horrific (films of a huge  bee yard of dead colonies) and encouraging and inspiring.

Respectfully submitted, Margaret Beaver.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

April 2015 Meeting NOtes

APRIL 11, 2015

The meeting, held at the Cheatham County Library was called to order by Chris Robbins, president. 22 adults and 1 child were present: at least one of the adults joined that day as a new member, the remaining 21 were already members.

Morgan Turpin gave the treasurers report: The beginning balance this month was $2000.77. There was a $200.00 deposit, proceeds from the short course, giving an ending balance of $2200.77.
The main topic of discussion this day was about installation of packages.
Chris led the demonstration. He had woodenware, an empty package and an empty queen cage. He pantomimed the process of carefully removing the syrup can, hanging onto the queen cage. He suggested the method of removing 4-5 frames from the hive box and shaking the bees in, then replacing the frames, and adjusting them so they would support the Queen cage, hung perpendicularly between 2 frames. He emphasized the importance of being sure to remove the cork from the end with the sugar, not the other end! He spoke of then simply putting the package box near the hive opening to allow any straggler bees to fly out and join the colony. He mentioned that it is perfectly fine to start 2 new hives from packages right next to one another.
An alternate  way of installation was briefly discussed, namely simply setting the opened package into the box, with just a few frames near the outer edges in place, allowing the bees to simply leave the package at their own pace. Almost all the members present said they used the shaking out of the box method. An alternative way to place the queen cage, horizontally on top of the frames, was briefly mentioned as well. 

Chris and Carrie reported that the Buckfast Nucs they had purchased are doing well. Chris said that there were at least 2 additional Nucs from the supplier that would be available in early May.
Chris mentioned that he will be working to create some splits, and it may be possible to arrange some of his work so that club members can come observe.
Discussion then went on to include the idea of “thinking like a bee thinks”. An example of this was that if you use a couple frames with capped honey in your new hive, you should scratch them, the bees will “think” it is the honey flow, and the queen will lay, lay, lay!

Another brief discussion took place on the nature of swarms. Although bees do indeed swarm to address overcrowding, there are certainly other unidentifiable reasons whe they sometime swarm.

The next regular meeting will be Saturday may 9th at the Cheatham County library.
Respectfully submitted, Margaret Beaver, secretary.

Friday, March 27, 2015

March 2015 Meeting Notes

The meeting started with about 20-30 people present.   Before meeting was called, 
the clock was fixed.  Paul Carter is selling beeswax, $8 for a pound block and 
50 cents for an ounce piece.  They
have been molded and say beeswax on the side of each piece.  Junior was taking
orders before he makes his trip to Mr. Zuch(?) for bee supplies.  
Robbins calls the meeting and introduces himself.  Mentions that he has a
truckload of bees in his truck.  He has brought several nucs from Alabama this
morning for other members that have purchased them.  Chris reviews that the last
treasurers account was about $2000 in the bank.  Mr. Carter says it sounds like
it is party time.
Members that won the hive grant are present.  The state
meeting is today in Murfreesboro.  Chris and Becky will attend and get the hives
for hive grant winners.  Chris wants to show members getting nucs today (that he
picked up in Alabama) how to install them into medium size boxes.
There is a
gentleman present that asks why others think his hive may have failed.  He says
he looked in the hive and at least 3000 bees there are dead.  Chris asks if the
bees were facing in towards the honey cells.  The gentleman says yes, and Chris
tells him he thinks the bees starved to death.  Perhaps they could not reach the
sugar source.
Johnny brought a video on colony collapse disorder.  It is a CNN
report from Inside Man: Morgan Spurlock.  The video explores small and large
scale bee operations.  The video covers the basics of bees and beekeeping.  It
discusses how important bees are to the world food supply.  It talks about how
most of the honey in the US is imported and the source is often not known.  When
honey is heated the pollen is removed and source becomes untraceable.  It seems
more of the colony collapse is happening in large scale bee operations, with 4
main reasons outlined for the collapse: 1) pathogens, especially varroa mites,
2) malnutrition/ lack of food supply, 3) stress from moving (between farms for
pollination), 4) pesticides (neonicotinoids).  There are researchers trying to
create a control, a bee utopia if you will, and then introducing neonicontinoids
and varroa mites to test their effects on a usually healthy hive.  Europe has
outlawed several pesticides and has seen an improvement on colony collapse
disorder numbers.  During each commercial break, Chris asks if anyone has
questions.  He points out that neonicotinoids came about to replace DDT.  He
says that varroa mites came to the US from Asian honey bees.  In Asia, the
varroa mites have a natural predator.  They thrive in the US because of this
lack of predator.  Nick points out that a lot of pathogens likely get spread in
the commercial bee business from bees picking up diseases and spreading them in
new locations.  Chris points out this is why you are supposed to register your
apiary.  Nick discusses the idea of the newer, larger, 5.4mm size bee require 2
extra days of hatching for drones.  The varroa mites need these extra days.  Now
that modern bee society has bred these larger bees (likely for the theory that
they may produce more honey) they may never be able to breed back to the smaller
4.9mm “original” bee size.  There is discussion several times of how many of
these problems come about with men “tinkering” with nature.  Every action has a
Chris gives his opinions on how we can help, which is to educate
consumers that food is okay to have spots and to try to buy produce that is in
season.  This lack of demand from consumers would then decrease pressure on
farmers to use pesticides on produce and for suppliers to import produce from
other countries that use pesticides.  The decrease in need for 
The question,
‘What should we be doing with our bees right now?’ comes up.  Members discuss
how they are going to try to let things grow in their fields.  It has become a
trend to keep fence rows trimmed and tidy, but this actually takes away from
bees food supply.  Richard(?) says he wants to plant Buckwheat and wildflowers
to help his bees.  Johnny says best to wait to plant Buckwheat in May.  
Lavendar and kudzu are great plants for bees.
There is discussion that
honeybees are not the best pollinator.  Theres 15 species of pollinators in our
area alone besides the honeybees.  Chris points out that other insects could be
used to pollenate all these commercial crops.  Another member states he saw a
bumblebee open a flower before a honeybee came behind him to gather the nectar. 
Paul Carter seconds this phenomenon, saying he’s seen the same scenario. 
is discussion of the recent Australian invention, HiveFlow.  Carrie has her
laptop opens the website to pull up a picture of the frames used as Chris
explains how it works.  The frames are wider than usual.  There is a tool that
fits in the middle of each frame on one end.  When it is cranked, it opens the
honey cells and allows the honey to flow to the center and down out of a tube. 
One of the new members, Nancy, says she has purchased some of these and will be
trying them.  It costs about $50 a frame but eliminates the need for extracting
supplies and adding many honey supers during the honey flow.  You can purchase
just the shallow super with frames that will fit a deep brood chamber.  The
HiveFlow system seems to be general accepted as an interesting idea that some
present may try.
Chris asks if anyone else wants to register for the Masters
Hobbyist Course hosted by Dr. Skinner April 2-4 in Clarksville.  It is
$100/person.  Sign up at  Chris says he will be able to host
the same course next year.
Becky has updated the aol account member
Chris gives his email address of    He says if
anyone else wants Buckfast nucs like the ones he has brought today (for members
that ordered and paid for them previously), the same man will have more
available the end of April/ beginning of May.
New member, Nancy asks if she can
act as administrator for Cheatham County Beekeeper Facebook page.
A new member
says he raised bees many years ago and is getting back into it.  He asks about
the breeds available now.  Chris reviews that it is mostly Italians,
Carolineans, Russians.  Theres a lady in Minnesota raising “hygienic”
There is a discussion on bee sizes, 4.9 to 5.4 and small cell foundation.
Chris says studies have found that the bees end up making cells the size they
need from whatever foundation size that is given.  
There is a seed swap
program now started at the Cheatham County library.  If anyone would like to
contribute or trade non hybrid seeds they are welcome.
Paul Carter again
announces he is selling beeswax.  A comment is made that lotions made with this
have proven very effective for dry skin.

Respectfully submitted,