Randall demonstrating proper smoker lighting technique
Saturday, March 25th, Randall Austin graciously hosted an OCBA Field Day at his apiary. Recent graduates of OCBA’s Bee School learned how to light a smoker, inspect a hive, and do a sugar shake to evaluate the Varroa mite load in their colonies. The Field Day offerred many new beekeepers their first look inside an active hive. As always, Randall’s bees were ‘honeys’ and remained calm and composed throughout.
Ryan Chamberlain demonstrating bucket method for Varroa sugar shake
Shaking the bees
All Field Day photos courtesy of Lily Doron
At our April meeting we will be joined by Dr. Esmaeil Amiri. Dr. Amiri is a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Olav Rueppell’s lab at UNC-Greensboro. He will discuss his research emphasis on queen bee health focusing on the transmission of viruses from workers and drones to queens and the resultant effect on the health of the colony including subsequent generations of queens.
Dr. Amiri earned his doctoral degree at Aarhus University in Denmark and has presented his research findings to Danish beekeepers and queen breeders.
Brood missing along foundation wires
On Thursday, March 9th, OCBA will be joined by Dr. Kaira Wagoner, a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Olav Rueppell’s lab at UNC-Greensboro. Kaira will discuss the negative effects of using steel foundation wire. She will also talk about her recent discovery of a chemical associated with hygienic behavior, which is the ability of nurse bees to detect, open, and clean cells containing varroa-infected pupae.
- Honey Bee Swarm – Mecklenburg County
Lewis Cauble, past president of OCBA and now a Bee Inspector for the NC Department of Agriculture’s mountain region, will return to Orange County Beekeepers to help us plan for spring events in the apiary. He will discuss spring build up, swarm mitigation and colony splits. Spring is a time to anticipate swarms and to attempt to adjust hive space and environmental conditions to keep our bees healthy, productive and at home. Lewis will provide guidance to help us accomplish those goals.
Volunteers sorted hives.
Despite lower than expected temperatures, an OCBA volunteer cleanup crew sorted through the hives that were donated to OCBA in December. Over 20 members volunteered to help with the cleanup day on Saturday, February 4th. Of the 20 potential volunteers, 6 were selected. It speaks well of our membership that we had more volunteers than we could efficiently use. Thank you to all 20 who volunteered to help.
The 6 volunteers were contacted in the order that they signed up. They worked alongside members of OCBA’s Executive Committee to remove potentially problematic frames – i.e. frames that might attract wax moths while the hives are in storage.
David Eckert was on hand to select equipment for the OCBA Youth Beekeeping Apprentices. Woodenware was also set aside to replace aging boxes at OCBA’s demonstration hives at Carrboro High School.
David Eckert loaded up 4 hives for OCBA’s 2017 Apprentices.
In addition to the hives selected for the 2017 Youth Apprentices, 4 hives were selected and put back into storage for next year’s apprentices.
Hives for OCBA’s 2018 Youth Apprentice Program.
The remaining hive components were sorted and reassembled to create standard single-deep hive packages to donate to schools and community beekeeping startup efforts. Each hive package now includes: a bottom board, a single deep, 10 plastic frames, a queen excluder, a top feeder, a telescoping cover and a moving/robbing screen. Hives not needed for school and community needs will be offered for sale to OCBA members. Proceeds will allow OCBA to extend its Education and Outreach activities and to offer other assistance to school and community beekeeping efforts
Approximately 45 hives were opened, inspected, and reassembled into standardized, single-deep hives.
Those who participated in the cleanup were: