Cheatham County Beekeepers
Meeting held at 9:30 AM at the Cheatham Co Library in Ashland City, TN
March 10, 2012
With thanks to Robin Johnson and Linda Nutt for recording the following at March 10's meeting:
The Ashland City Library's meeting room was all abuzz as members of the Cheatham Bee Club welcomed visitors/new members PJ & Kenny Moore, Keith Bledsoe and Carl Cothern, Joe and Rita Russell, and Mandy Terrell and enthusiastically shared their excitement in a new bee season.
President Linda Nutt expressed the club's appreciation to Roger & Diana Senechal, retiring president and treasurer respectively.
Discussion centered around early spring beekeeper responsibilities:
Hives should be located in full sun which helps to keep the hive beetle population down.
Hives should be checked now for stores - it may still be necessary to feed colonies ans will need to continue until nectar is available in the environment.
Johnnie Bell recommended working with our hives while most of the bees are out foraging. The group concurred.
The brood chamber should be checked (but not too often) to verify that the Queen is laying. Paul Carter said queens could be very effective for 2 years.
The beekeeper needs to see that there is adequate food for the colony, enough pollen for brood-rearing and lots of room for the Queen to lay eggs.
In our area, because trees are plentiful, we do not need to provide pollen substitute.
Beekeepers who choose to treat for foulbrood with Teramycin must remember NOT to use this medication during the honey flow. Tylan is also used for this purpose. Some recommend that honeybees not be treated preventatively to avoid creating resistance to the medications that treat this condition. Be sure to read and follow instructions carefully when using medications.
Formic acid, for treating tracheal mites and varroa mites, is to be applied in fall and in spring when the temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees. Pads for administering this acid are available to club members, courtesy of Johnnie Bell. Tracheal mites are microscopic and can be treated with menthol crystals also.
Hive beetles are already being seen in our colonies. An effective trap is the $1 plastic "beetle blaster" sold by Kelley's and usually available at our club meetings. Right now, we are sold out, so if any club member is planning a trip to Kelley's, please let Linda Nutt know so she can arrange for payment. We need 200 blasters.
Richard Durham told of his success against beetles by putting animal salt around his colonies which kills the hive beetles when they try to burrow into the ground to reproduce. Also, for spring feeding of colonies, Richard recommends 1-1 sugar syrup put into quart sized zipper bags. After the bag is resting across the top of the frames,
he cuts an "X" into the bag with a box cutter. These easy to make feeders work well unless you need to get into your hive and need to move them.
When new bees arrive, there are several ways to install them:
-remove center frames and put the bees and their traveling case down inside the hive box with one end propped up so the bees can crawl out
-set the traveling case on its side by the front entrance, put the Queen inside and watch the girls march right in
-spray the bees with sugar water to prevent them flying off, open the traveling case and "dump" them into the hive body
quickly dunk the bees in their travel container in a bucket of water then install inside the hive
These procedures and lots of other demonstrations can be seen on YouTube.
Anyone needing to buy bees should do it ASAP, to allow for the longest possible honey-making season. It is recommended that you start with New Bees, rather than risk diseases from second-hand colonies. A "Nuc" (nucleus hive-like a mini hive) is preferable to a "package" of bees because the Nuc already has a laying Queen eager to build up your new colony.
Keaton Penick reported that last month's income was $90, bringing our club's balance to $528.40. Linda Nutt has been looking into some business matters for the club. We can open a free checking account at Heritage Bank that will be in the name of Cheatham County Beekeepers to allow us to manage our money. After some discussion and by unanimous agreement of present members, 1) Linda was authorized to obtain a business ID from the IRS, 2) the Treasurer and President were authorized to sign checks – Stephen Penick was authorized to sign as proxy for his son, Keaton who is Treasurer but also a minor, 3) all checks to require two signatures, 4) newly elected officers to these positions are to update their signatures with Heritage Bank immediately upon appointment, and 5) that no check card would be issued to any member of the group for use as this would violate the requirement that both authorized members be involved with withdrawals from the account..
Mention was made of the opportunity to sell used wax to Ed Johnson in Goodlettsville.
Used wax (even if dirty or dark colored) can be exchanged at Kelley's Bee Supply for waxed foundation though if a wax for foundation trade is desired, the minimum amount of wax Kelley’s will accept is 100 pounds. They will accept lesser amounts if a person wants to trade for supplies or for cash.
Assisted by Stephen Penick and Linda Nutt, Secretary Diana Senechal wrote a letter, which was read to the group, to the United States Department of Agriculture in February, expressing serious concerns among our group about DOW Chemical's request to be licensed for extended use of the herbicide 2,4-D. This powerful chemical harms our honeybees if it is on plants such as clover which our bees visit or when it drifts from nearby farms into our apiaries. Unfortunately, the deadline for granting this license was late February, so the letter could not be brought to our meeting for individual signatures but was signed by the current officers and past officers. One of our important obligations as beekeepers is to educate people on the vital contribution of honeybees to our planet's food supply and the dangerous environments in which our bees struggle to survive.
Topics suggested for future meetings were:
-techniques for melting wax
-swapping wax for foundation
-making a video for beginning beekeepers
-more education opportunities
Remember that TN beekeepers are required to register their hives with Mike Studer (Google him for contact information), the State Bee Inspector.
Training and certification as honeybee inspectors is available through the TN State Dept of Agriculture. Additionally, grants are available to provide travel expenses of the honeybee inspectors. Linda Nutt will inquire to obtain more details.
Next meeting is April 14, 9:30 AT PINNACLE BANK, 524 S. MAIN ST., ASHLAND CITY. Hope you can BEE there!
Diana Senechal, Secretary March 10, 2012