Author Archive

Bee Nutrition with Nancy Ruppert

Apiary Inspector, Nancy Ruppert, spoke to us at our June meeting about bee nutrition. Here some tidbits from her talk.

– Good nutrition can increase a worker bees’ life span. An increase of just one week can have a great impact on the hive overall.

– A healthy colony needs 700 lbs of nectar per year

– Nectar Substitutes

  • Cane sugar is the best substitute
  • HFCS is suitable but can vary from 42% to 90% fructose, 42% is most like honey which is what should be used
  • Heating HFCS above 120 degrees can make it toxic. Use caution with HFCS that has been stored in drums during the summer where it can reach these temperatures.

– A hive needs about 2-3 pounds of pollen per week

– When carbohydrates are needed

  • During a dearth
  • Build up for winter
  • Wax building
  • Stimulate the queen to lay (in the spring to late summer to boost population)
  • Brood rearing

– Bees need pollen to process carbohydrates

– Importance of pollen as it relates to the duty and age of the worker bee

  • Nurse Bees (1 to 12 days) need pollen for the development of their hypopharyngeal glands so that they can produce royal jelly
  • House Bees (12-18 days) make wax and pollen is needed for their wax glands to develop properly
  • Forager Bees (18+ days) pollen is required for the development of their flight muscles

– The best natural pollen is comprised of 25% protein, anything higher is hard for them to digest. When using pollen substitutes 15% protein is best

– When evaluating pollen stores in the hive, look for a rainbow of colors. This indicates a good variety of pollen sources which is best for the health of the colony.

– There are 10 amino acids that bees need for good health. The only way to get this is from a variety of pollen sources

– Good Pollen Sources

  • Dandelion
  • Canola
  • Apple

– Bad Pollen Sources

  • Pine
  • Sunflower
  • Ragweed

– When to feed pollen

  • During pollen shortages (during a dearth or during winter)
  • Prior to stress placed on the hive due to…
  • Brood rearing
  • Commercial pollination
  • Making splits
  • Raising Queens
  • Development of winter bees
  • During the nectar flow
  • Feed pollen when feeding sugar

– If you were to piece together all of the bits of pollen scattered throughout the hive it would fill about 2-3 frames

– When pollen has a bit of sheen to it, that means that honey has been added. Pollen can mold and ferment quickly, the honey acts as a preservative.

Category: Club News  

Bee School Field Day

We had a great bee school this year with over 70 students in attendance. The final meeting was a field day where the students got to put into practice everything they learned in class.

Field Day kick off by Lewis Cauble

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Category: Events  

Snow at the Spring Meeting, Rock Hill SC

Several of us attended the NCSBA/SCSBA jointly held Spring Meeting in Rock Hill, South Carolina. While there were many exciting and informative sessions during the meeting, one of the most exhilarating events was the beautiful snowfall that greeted us when we broke for lunch on Saturday.

We were surrounded by more than 600 attendees along with expert speakers in their areas of specialization. For 15 hours over the course of a day and a half we spoke of almost nothing except bees and it was great!

Here are a few of the topics that were covered during the meeting:

Monsanto’s Committment to Honey Bee Health
Jerry Hayes, Monsanto, St Louis, MO

Enhancing Genetic Diversity in the US Honey Bee Gene Pool
Sue Cobey, Washington State University, Pullman

Worker – Drone Interactions and the Influence of Drone Quality as a Result of these Interactions
Stanley Schneider, Professor Dept of Biology UNCC

New World Carniolan Program, In Its 31 Generation
Sue Cobey, Washington State University, Pullman

Impacts of Pesticides on Honey Bees
Jamie Ellis, University of Florida, Gainesville

We also had the opportunity to attend some breakout sessions on the recognition and treatment of bee diseases, Africanized honey bees, rearing high quality queens, the value of pesticides and their proper use in beekeeping and SHB management.

Category: Club News  

Bee School 2013 is Underway

We’ve had another great turnout this year for the Orange County Beekeepers Association Bee School. The 10 week course covers everything from honeybee biology and their social activity within the hive to diseases and pest management. At the end of the course, students will be armed with the information they need to begin their first season as beekeepers. The course also includes a couple of field days where students will have the opportunity to build hive boxes and frames as well as get some hands on experience inspecting a hive of bees.

Here are some photos from the first few weeks of class.

It's Bee School time again

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Category: Club News  

Field Day Hive Inspection

Fred and Toni were our gracious hosts again this year for the club’s annual hive inspection field day. We had a great turnout, the weather was beautiful, the bees cooperated and the food and company were great. Here are some photos from the day.

Everyone heading down to the apiary

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Category: Events