Author Archive

July 11, 2019 Membership Meeting

NC Master Beekeeper Randall Austin will tell us about the tiny little ninjas lurking in our bee colonies. We can’t see them. We can’t get rid of them. The goal of their very existence is to kill, kill, kill! They are extremely good at it. Typically, the ninjas make the deaths look like an accident. Most beekeepers aren’t even aware they exist. When their colonies die, the beekeeper thinks “my bees left,” or “GMO crops must have killed my bees” or some other equally sensible-sounding, YouTube based explanation. Hint: the culprits are NOT Varroa mites (we can see those) although Varroa mites act as the ninjas’ henchmen. Join Randall at the July meeting to find out what is going on in your hives.

Category: Club Meetings  

June 13, 2019 Membership Meeting

Lewis Cauble, Past President of OCBA and current NC Apiary Inspector for the mountain region, will return to Orange County as our speaker in June.

His presentation will focus on what should give us comfort vs. what may be problematic as we read the frames in our hives. Lewis will share his perspective on the threat of varroa to the health of our colonies and help us recognize diseases that accompany high mite loads as we inspect our hives. He will also help us understand what is typical, seasonal variation in our hives as we evaluate frames of bees, brood and stores. For example, what is a shotgun laying pattern versus merely a random scattering of empty cells in an otherwise solid patch of brood? What are the bees telling us with the placement of nectar, bee bread, brood and open space? Can the placement of nectar tell us that the colony is queenless? Learn how to read the frames in your hive.

Learn to read your frames. What are they telling you?

Category: Club Meetings  

May 9, 2019 Membership Meeting

Chris Apple, Master Beekeeper and past OCBA President, will help us understand temporal polyethism. We all know that in the hive there is a division of labor. Young workers remain in the hive and perform tasks associated with hive maintenance and brood rearing. As they mature, older workers take on tasks outside the hive – foraging and other tasks that require external activity. Chris will help us better understand the roles of the workers as they progress from the safer roles of internal hive maintenance through the more risky external roles taken on by older workers.

Category: Club Meetings  

April 11, 2019 Membership Meeting

OCBA Master Beekeeper Geneva Green will share her knowledge of nectar and pollen plants important to honey bees and other pollinators. Geneva works as the Specialty Gardens Crew Chief at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has a background in landscape design and knows which plants feed our bees while beautifying our landscapes. 

Category: Club Meetings  

March 14, 2019 Membership Meeting

Honey Bee Swarm – Mecklenburg County

Spring is a time to anticipate swarms and to attempt to adjust hive space and environmental conditions to keep your bees healthy, productive and at home. This month OCBA member, David Fruchtenicht, will help us understand how swarms operate and will discuss approaches to preventing them. He will also share clues about collecting swarms in swarm traps.

David has been keeping bees for 60 years. He modestly claims that he has perfected most of his mistakes. He keeps about 50 hives and has sold honey and beeswax candles at the Durham Farmers Market for many years.