“How Bees Make Honey” (and a club honey tasting) on September 10th

Virginia Tech honey bee researcher Rick Fell

Virginia Tech honey bee researcher Rick Fell

Ever wondered how honey bees actually make honey from nectar?  Or about its composition or protective systems?  These topics and more will be covered in the presentation on “How Bees Make Honey” by Virginia Tech entomology emeritus professor Dr. Richard Fell.  

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday September 10th at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building, 210 Pepper St.,

We will also have a tasting of members’ honey so bring a jar or two to share! Dr. Fell will also bring a couple of unusual honeys to include in the tasting.jar

The equipment raffle will be held and we will be discussing what we should be doing to help the bees prepare for winter.

Please consider bringing a drink or snack to share. 

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Last Week to View Buzzing Bee Images

ArtInTheGardenlogosmall

Currently on display through August 28th: “Seasons of Bees and Blooms” with NRVBA member Deana B. Marion

The Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion is buzzing with big, colorful bee images by Deana B Marion until August 28th at 10 a.m. The show debuts Deana B’s macro photos and features close-up images of honey bees,  bumble bees, and friends in their natural environment on a variety of seasonal blooms. bee

If you haven’t seen it yet please make the opportunity to go, the pictures are fantastic say Richard Reid, NRVBA President and Sue Hossack, NRVBA Secretary.

The Hahn Horticulture Garden is located at 200 Garden Lane (off Washington Street) – Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, VA.  Visitors are welcome to view the displays in the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion Gallery from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (with the exception of Wednesday, August 26th from 11 – 1 and Thursday, August 27th from 4 – 4:30). You may want to call ahead to confirm there is not a private event in the Pavilion that day. Be sure to pick up a Visitor’s Permit from Parking Services or the VT Visitor’s Center. F/S spaces are for faculty and staff only.

For more information visit http://www.hort.vt.edu/hhg/artinthegarden

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August 13th, Varroa Mite Monitoring

Please join the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, August 13th at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg when Jackson Means will talk on varroa mite monitoring.

varroaMonitoring is the first step in any control program for Varroa destructor, a serious pest of the European honey bee.  When properly informed, a beekeeper can apply treatments in an intelligent and efficient manner, and control Varroa without causing undue harm to their bees.  Jackson will speak on the three main methods of monitoring for V. destructor, his research on the subject as a masters student at Virginia Tech and some current advances in our understanding of this important pest.

varroa2

Jackson Means has been beekeeping for four years as part of his graduate education at Virginia Tech.  He recently completed his masters on Varroa monitoring and the development of a sustainable Varroa control program.  This past spring semester Jackson taught the undergraduate course Bees and Beekeeping at Virginia Tech as the instructor of record.  Currently he is working towards his PhD in millipede taxonomy (an admittedly large change from bees) and would be happy to discuss millipedes as well as bees!

We will also have our monthly equipment raffle, information on what we should be seeing in our hives this month, and suggested management techniques for the summer.

Please consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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Art in the Garden: Seasons of Bees and Blooms

ArtInTheGardenlogosmall

Currently on display through August 31st: “Seasons of Bees and Blooms” with NRVBA member Deana B. Marion

The Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion is buzzing with big, colorful bee images by Deana B Marion during July and August. The show debuts Deana B’s macro photos and features close-up images of honey bees,  bumble bees, and friends in their natural environment on a variety of seasonal blooms. bee

The bee images have been described as strikingly beautiful and provide the opportunity to cherish nature’s beauty at eye level. The bees are displayed on AluminArte metal prints using Image Wizards’ high definition photographic imaging to enhance the exquisite microscopic details, depth of field and background illumination of the images.

The Hahn Horticulture Garden is located at 200 Garden Lane (off Washington Street) – Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, VA.  Visitors are welcome to view the displays in the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion Gallery from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may want to call ahead to confirm there is not a private event in the Pavilion that day. Be sure to pick up a Visitor’s Permit from Parking Services or the VT Visitor’s Center. Faculty and staff only may park in F/S spaces.

For more information visit http://www.hort.vt.edu/hhg/artinthegarden

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NRVBA Summer Picnic Saturday 11th July Nellie’s Cave Park10:00 – 3:00

OK, it’s time to take a break from cracking open all those hives, and enjoy some summer socializing!  For those of you not familiar with Nellies Cave Park in Blacksburg, just crank this into your GPS

Nellies Cave Park, 1900 Grissom Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24060
imageThis is the site where we have been before, and it has cover in case it rains. No plan B for inclement weather.

The club will provide:

Fried Chicken
Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
Buns
Relishes/onions/mayo/cheese/mustard/ketchup
Potato salad
Beans
5 Gallon coolers with ice tea/lemonade
Paper plates/cups/utensils/napkins

This is a pot luck gathering beyond this.  Bring desserts, salads, drinks, additions to above list. Game items/frisbees/volleyballs/etc.  Please RSVP to Jack Price (wp25244@west-point.org) with a head count so we can be sure to have enough inventory!

Remember there is no meeting at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg in July.

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June 11th: Palmerisms!

Please join the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 11th at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg

Richard Reid will present a program that consists of seven short videos by Mike Palmer.  The videos include – Identifying Queenless Colonies, Catching a Hive before it Swarms, Importance of Local Queens, Inspecting a Hive, Opinion on Package Bees, Queens Have Handles, and Queen Marking.  Each video is taken in the beeyard, and usually as he works the bees.   There are lots of practical nuggets of info embedded in his talks.

We’ll also have our monthly equipment raffle, information on what we should be seeing in our hives this month, and suggested management techniques for the summer.

Please consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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May 14th: Queen Rearing

Join the New River Valley Beekeepers Association at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14th at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg to learn more about Queen Rearing from two of our members, Jerry Borger and Tim Service.

queenJerry Borger will talk about “Queens for Pennies”. This is a step-by-step presentation reviewing equipment and procedures on how to raise about 10 queens at a time for pennies apiece using a Randy Oliver method of grafting (not the commercial procedure) that can be easily practiced by almost anyone.  No experience or exceptional skills needed.

imagesTim Service will present “Commercial Queen Rearing”.  The production of queens on a commercial level requires many steps that aren’t used by backyard beekeepers.   Tim Service will discuss a few of his methods for producing large numbers of queens at a time, focusing on starting and finishing the cells.

Jerry was raised in Pennsylvania.  He spent 28 years active duty in the Air Force and retired to SW Virginia in 2004. He lives on the side of a timbered mountain with no crops anywhere nearby.  He began beekeeping around 2006.   He is a two-year past president of the NRVBA.  He has managed the Association’s Beginning Beekeeper Course and “So,You Want To Be a Beekeeper” efforts for the past six years or so. He continues to look for new and exciting mistakes to make with his bees.

Tim began keeping bees in 1977, getting his first packages from Sears & Roebuck.  He’s kept anywhere from 10 to 20 hives as a hobbyist until 2011.  That hard winter left beekeepers with a severe shortage of queens that spring.  So he decided to provide a much needed resource in the world of beekeeping.  He’s slowly grown in queen-rearing skills and capacity to the point where it is now his major occupation.  He still does construction work on a selective basis.

We’ll also have our monthly equipment raffle, information on what we should be seeing in our hives this month, and suggested management techniques for spring.

Consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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Resources for swarm prevention and splits

Mike Bush PresentationRichard Reid gave an interesting presentation on swarm prevention and splits on Thursday (9th April). The presentation came from Michael Bush’s website. To access the PowerPoint presentation itself go to bushfarms.com/beespresentations.htm and click on “Swarm Prevention and Splits” on the left hand side. You will need PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer in order to watch it, so  I have also converted it to pdf which does not need PowerPoint:  click here for that printout.

Also here is a link to the Mike Palmer video that Richard  had hoped to include. There are some very good points about swarming in this 10 minute video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3QlLUcT2SQ

 

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April 9th Meeting: Swarming and Splitting

Please join the New River Valley Beekeepers Association at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., April 9th at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg, for a talk by NRVBA President Richard Reid about swarming and splitting.  The talk will include a PowerPoint by Michael Bush and a 9 minute video by Mike Palmer describing and showing a strong nuc that is in swarm preparation.
Richard says:
“I started beekeeping in 1973 when my new landlord said I needed to take care of the dozen beat up old hives up in the pasture.  We caught 9 swarms that spring and chased unknown numbers of them in flight while we banged on pots and pans to try to get them to land.  I learned later that’s called “tanging”.  It didn’t work.
     In the 70’s I took a YMCA Free University beekeeping class from Dr. John Amos, Dr. Rick Fell’s predecessor, who sold Dadant equipment out of his shed on Price’s Fork Rd.  I read some of Richard Taylor’s beekeeping books.
     I caught swarms and bought old hives from ads in the Trading Post.  We harvested honey most years.  Varroa and tracheal mites came in the late 80’s and early 90’s, causing my bees to start dying out and by 1995 the last hive died.  I ordered my first package ever; it died in two months.  I quit beekeeping until 2008 when I decided to start again.
     For 12 years a swarm had been living in a stack of my old supers under the workshop.  I decided those must be great bees since they had no help from people and were surviving on their own.  I started reading about bees and cleaned up my old equipment in preparation for moving that colony into a new box.  They died out in February that year during a cold snap.
     When construction work is not distracting me, you can find me in one of my beeyards where I manage somewhere north of 100 colonies and nucs for honey, queen, and nuc production.”
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March 12th meeting: Planting for pollinators with Holly Scoggins

bees1NRVBA member and Virginia Tech horticulture professor Holly Scoggins will talk about gardening for honey bees at our March 12 meeting.

Join fellow members at 6:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building, 210 Pepper Street, Christiansburg, VA.

Holly’s talk will cover “great garden plants that honeybees (and other pollinators) can’t resist!” she said. And she would know. Holly not only teaches horticulture, she directs Tech’s Hahn Horticulture Garden and co-owns a Giles County blueberry farm.

Download a copy of Holly’s pollinator plant handout from the meeting.

Holly will show us how to “grow as many (or few) bee-friendly plants as your garden space allows to help provide nectar and pollen from spring until fall.”

In addition,  Richard Reid will give a report on a Symposium he is attending.

We’ll also have our monthly equipment raffle,  information on what we should be seeing in our hives this month, and suggested management techniques for early spring.

Consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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