May 2015

Chris & Cynthia opened the meeting 7:04 pm after many oohs and ahhs over the honeybee donuts they brought

New journeyman Dave Eckert was recognized and congratulations were given to Liz Lyndsey for passing the exam. Chris suggested that we all go the next step. We can take the certification exam after the intro to beekeeping class the take the journeyman test at the state meeting.

Chris introduced the following volunteer opportunities and passed around sign up sheets in an effort to get more members involved:

1. Welcome homeschoolers to your home apiaries to visit. She and Cynthia recently brought Middle schoolers into the demo hives in Carrboro. The students were brave and very enthusiastic. It was a very rewarding experience.

2. Volunteer for a shift to man the OCBA table at the Hillsborough Garden Club Garden Tour this weekend. This event will give the club some credits for community involvement in the Golden Achievement Program as well as open the door for people interested in beekeeping.

3. Join the Planning Committee for the State Fair. It’s not a huge commitment but it is a lot of fun. We placed 2nd last year and look forward to another successful go around.

Our Outreach program has been busy with the Grady farm kindergarteners, a visit by Chris to the Durham Kiwanis Club, there was involvement with Earth Evening in Hillsborough. One of our youngest and newest members Andi told us her 2 hives have pollen and nectar and brood. They are doing well and she has been feeding them. She and her friend Haley went to Chestnut Ridge and manned a bee booth and talked all about pollination. She spoke to another group about candles and had fun!

Cynthia gave Shari of the Master Gardeners of Orange County a shout out for speaking to a few elementary school classes about pollination and where we would be with no bees. Thank you to John Rintoul for reaching out to her.

Walter and John have been generously donating their time to the maintenance of the Carborro hives. They started two hives a month ago and they are doing well with brood in all stages despite the location being a bit shady and has some ants. Chris suggests we use these hives for outreach but asks that members contact her first so they are not overused. Outreach is hot right now due to the plight of the bees.

The Making of a Split field day was a great success thanks to “Master of Bee Affairs” Lewis Cauble, who discussed the science of making splits. He did a side by side split for everyone to see at his home apiary. Geneva found a queen that was a frame that was passed around and was laying egg after egg. She measured the cell then backed into it. Nice to see it happening live!

There is new extractor protocol. There is a check off sheet that you initial upon receiving the extractor. The borrower confirms that all parts are present before taking the unit. An equipment list will be attached to the extractor to make this process even more simple. A new extractor policy helps us all be responsible for keeping everything in order.

Cedric Pearce was introduced to discuss the Chemistry of the Hive and Honeybees.
He has been a chemist 1970 and started keeping bees in 1984. We learned that
the chemistry of honey is very complicated. There’s a lot more to it than a couple of sugars. In fact, all of the following are quite complex within the hive as Cedric explained in his presentation:
Beeswax. Also very complicated and has a number of jobs. Structure, elasticity, aroma 200+ compounds. Absorb pesticide, fungicides, poisons. Be sure to replace dark wax
Pheromones. Chemical communication: Alarm signals, signal presence health of Queen. They are spread around the hive via bees touching. Queen pheromones differ.
Bee venom: is chemically complicated. Good thing the bee is small. Peptides: mellifin, apamin, and peptide 401.
Royal jelly. A product of worker bees from pollen. All larvae get some. Developing queens are fed this exclusively. Lots of protein. Transforms regular larvae into a queen through nutrition.
Pollen: Bees ferment it in their honey stomachs making lactic acid preserving the pollen.
Propolis. A plant product poplars and pines. Used to fill gaps in hive. Chemistry is complex. Also absorbs poisons same chemical properties as wax but we usually scrape it off and bees don’t come into daily contact with it. It varies with the area plants available.
Honey. Product of Honey sacs. Flavor determined by nectar source. Sucrose converted to glucose and fructose using invertase. Glucose oxidase produces hydrogen peroxide. Manuka honey has a lot of this gluconic acid.

We also learned that sugars themselves are colorless. The honey color is dependent upon the plants that nectar is from. Isoflavinoids help you identify nectar source such as sunflowers. Usually honey is identified by pollen via microscope.

Let it be noted that Cedric Impressed us with his Composition of Honey pie chart.

Cynthia took a moment to congratulate co-president Chris Apple for becoming a Master Gardener.

At the close of the meeting Sarah, a former 4H sponsor recipient 9 years ago, when she was 9 years old, informed us that she is now Involved with UNC Charlotte Community garden honors program installing hives on campus. She is the beek on campus and has three hives in the basement of biology program. She said beekeeping has given her opportunities over the years.

Haley, a current youth beekeeper closed the meeting with an update on her two packages. She tried to hive them by not shaking but ended up doing so anyways. She did a reverse when she saw they were putting all efforts into the top box and they are doing well. She recently added a third box and is having a great time.

It was suggested that a listserve invite be sent out for those who want to extract together as a group.

The meeting ended at 8:27 pm.

Category: Meeting Minutes