Join the New River Valley Bee Keepers’ Association

We are a dedicated and fun-loving community of beekeepers and invite you to join us. Our members are a friendly and amiable bunch comprised of both novice and veteran apiarists. So whether you are just starting out or have been keeping bees forever, sign up! Our dues are exorbitantly priced at $10.00 for an individual annual membership and $15.00 for a family annual membership. Did I mention that our memberships last a year? What a deal! All you need to do is click on this link (https://nrvba.org/join-the-nrvba/), and voilà you or you and your family are on your way. Hurray!

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

So You Want to be a Beekeeper? – Great!

Members of the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association (NRVBA) will present “So, You Want To Be a Beekeeper” sessions at regional library branches in January 2020 (see dates and locations below) addressing all aspects of getting started in beekeeping (costs, equipment needed, time required, procedures for acquiring and keeping bees, expectations for honey harvest, etc.)  Presentations last approximately one hour and are free.  No sign-up or pre-registration required.  Address questions to Jerry Borger, 540-557-7789.

Christiansburg                                   Shawsville

Saturday, 11 January at 1:30 pm          Sunday, 12 January at 1:30 pm

Christiansburg Library                         Meadowbrook Public Library   

125 Sheltman Street                             267 Alleghany Spring Road

Dublin

Saturday, 11 January at 10:30 am        (note: time is different from other       

Free Memorial Public Library              presentations)                           

300 Giles Ave

Floyd                                                   Blacksburg

Sunday, 19 January at 1:30 pm            Sunday, 26 January at 1:30 pm

Jessie Peterman Library                       Blacksburg Library

321 West Main Street                          200 Miller Street             

______________________________________________________________________________

Beginning Beekeeper’s Course, 2020

Those interested will be able to sign up for a Beginning Beekeeper’s Course in person at one of the sessions described above or on-line at nrvba.org.  The course lasts two Saturdays, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 8 February and 11 April 2020.  Cost is $60 per student and includes a beginner’s book, course materials, and lunch; $30 for additional family members who share the book and course materials. The course will be held at 220 Price Hall on the Virginia Tech Campus and will include (weather permitting) a hands-on session in the NRVBA apiary. Seating is limited and pre-registration not later than    31 January 2020 is mandatory.  Click this link to reserve your spot: https://app.loveadmin.com/EventsLink/394dd2a26f81b362bd0823b8235785bf.htm. Registration will close on 31 January or when the class is full, whichever comes first!  Address questions to Jerry Borger, 540-557-7789.

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

October 10th Meeting: Observation Hive with Josh Wolfer

Notes from Josh:

I have been a beekeeper since the spring of 2017.

I began with 2 packages and several weeks later started my observation hive with a supersedure cell from one of them.

I have had bees in it ever since and have learned a tremendous amount because of it.

My goal is to encourage everyone to use an observation hive as part of their beekeeping journey.

A few things we’ll cover are: what is an observation hive, are they hard to care for, what can I learn, and other ideas.

Please join us on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Hokie BugFest October 5th
  • Annual Meeting

             Treasurer Audit

              2020 Officer Election

-What you should be doing with your bees:  Tips and ideas from     successful Association members.

– Featured Presentation:  Josh Wolfer

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Please note: there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room.   

Items will include:

Med 8-frame assembled box with one-piece frames and foundation

10 assembled med frames with plastic foundation

J-hook hive tool

-Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Two division board plastic feeders (takes the place of a frame)

Frame grip

-Close of formal meeting.  Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

September 12th Meeting

September 12th Meeting: Preparing for winter with Dr Rick Fell and Richard Reid

Dr Fell will present the biology of the wintering honeybee and Richard Reid will discuss the practical aspects of wintering colonies in our area.

Dr. Richard Fell is a retired professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.  He is still involved as a professor emeritus.

Dr. Fell has contributed significantly to the understanding of entomology through his research, extension work in apiculture, and by conducting training workshops for beekeepers focusing on colony management, queen production, and the pests and diseases affecting honey bees.

Dr. Fell has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the full entomology curriculum, placing strong emphasis on standards and student learning. He has also taught study-abroad courses in South Africa, Mali, Ecuador, Belize, and the Dominican Republic.

More recently, he served as interim head of the Department of Entomology.

Richard Reid is a long-time member and valued leader of the NRVBA.  He started beekeeping when it was easy to be a “beehaver” in the early ‘70s.  Then varroa came in the early 90s and all of Richard’s bees died out by 1995.  The equipment was stored for about a dozen years until 10 years ago when he started beekeeping the second time. 

 
In an effort to become a fulltime beekeeper, Richard tried to retire from a career in construction a little less than 4 years ago.  Out of the last 10 years, he has managed to expand his operation each of those years except one.  His management has changed to adapt to problems, but the one constant that makes his operation sustainable is expansion through splitting utilizing nucleus colonies.

Based just outside of Blacksburg, Richard enjoys operating Happy Hollow Honey for honey and nuc production, and he raises a few extra queens for sale after the splits are made.

Please join us on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg[E1] 

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Apparel Committee            
  • Montgomery Museum Heritage Day   August 24th   Bob Winton
  • Hokie BugFest October 5th
  • Annual Meeting October 10th

-What you should be doing with your bees:  Tips and ideas from     successful Association members.

– Featured Presentations:  Dr Rick Fell and Richard Reid

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Please note: there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room.   

Items will include:

24 invertible plastic 1-lb honey jars

A medium 10 frame box, unassembled

A Varroa Easy Check kit

8-frame medium box assembled and painted with, one piece plastic foundation

10 deep frames with plastic foundation; unassembled

-Close of formal meeting.  Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

-Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

August 8th Meeting: Zac Lamas, Summer Prep for Winter Success

Zachary Lamas is a PhD student in the vanEngelsdorp Lab at the University of Maryland. Zach’s background includes managing honey production and nucleus colonies for Mike Palmer at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans, Vermont, and his own queen and nuc businesses in New York and North Carolina. He is also establishing a new nuc and queen operation in Maryland. He has taught in Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba, and has given talks to the American Beekeeping Foundation. Come learn about queens and how to get your colonies to the queen right position that will help them thrive.

ZAC SAYS: • Colonies with preexisting conditions aren’t going to do well during a period of stress- i.e. winter.  So, let’s take care of everything in our control during the midsummer- while time and warm weather are still a resource we still have- mites, queens, nutrition, body cavity. • We want to actively and effectively manage our varroa. This means not waiting until our worker bee and brood population are damaged before we react. We want to think of it this way- the damage we see is actually caused several reproductive cycles prior. • Time is a resource. In our apiaries we requeen way before the fall. Often queens with issues are not producing a lot of bees. Why wait until just before winter to requeen? Requeen so the new queen has a lot of time to build up a huge winter population! *Feed- Honey in the comb where the bees can have access during cold snaps is what we want. Let’s talk about efficient feeding!

*From Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, Maryland website

Please join us on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg[E1] 

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Apparel Committee            
  • Montgomery Museum Heritage Day   August 24th   Bob Winton

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

July 27th NRVBA PICNIC!!

Our annual picnic will replace the regular July meeting.  Please join us at 1:30 at Nellies Cave Park in Blacksburg.  The Association is providing meats, drinks, plates, napkins, etc.  Please bring a dish to share.  You may want to bring your own folding chairs and please bring a trash bag to help with cleanup.

Please join us on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg for our next regular monthly meeting.  Zachary Lamas from the Department of Entomology, University of Maryland will be our speaker.

Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

June 13th Meeting

June 13th Meeting: Queen Management: Problems and Replacement with Dr Richard Fell

Richard Fell is a retired professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech but is still involved as a professor emeritus.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1979, Fell has contributed significantly to the understanding of entomology through his research and extension work in apiculture and by conducting training workshops for beekeepers that focused on colony management, queen production, and the pests and diseases affecting honey bees.

In addition, Fell advised numerous students on master’s degree and doctoral dissertations and helped them develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings. He taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the full entomology curriculum, placing strong emphasis on standards and student learning. He has also taught study-abroad courses in South Africa, Mali, Ecuador, Belize, and the Dominican Republic.

More recently, he served as interim head of the Department of Entomology.

Fell received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University.  At Cornell he studied under the well-known academic and author Roger Morse.  While there he had associates and connections with Tom Seeley, John Harbo, Mike Burgett and John Ambrose in addition to co-authoring research along with Roger Morse.  He is also well known for research in Virginia on Nosema, and more recently he is part of a research team awarded a grant to study the honey bee gut microbiome.

Please join us on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Apparel Committee
  • NRVBA Picnic   July 27th   Lori Kuszmaul                  
  • Montgomery Museum Heritage Day   August 24th   Bob Winton

-What you should be doing with your bees:  Tips and ideas from     successful Association members.

– Featured Presentation:  Dr. Richard Fell

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Please note: there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:

1 ea pair leather gloves, Sz Med

1 ea 8-frame screened bottom board

1 ea 8-frame assembled medium box with one-piece plastic frames/foundation

10 ea assembled deep frames with plastic foundation

1 ea frame grip

-Close of formal meeting.  Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

-Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

May 9th Meeting

May 9th Meeting:  Dr. Donald Zedalis and the history of the bee sting allergy and why should a pharaoh care? 

Please join us for a fascinating presentation on the immunology of allergic reactions and how the venom allergy differs from other allergens.  Dr Zedalis will

also describe the diagnosis and treatment of the venom allergy.

Dr. Donald Zedalis is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine with over 40 years’ experience practicing in the NRV.  He is an award-winning physician, Board Certified in Internal Medicine with specialties in Allergy and Immunology and Sleep Medicine.              

Please join us on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Education update
  • Apparel Committee
  • July Picnic

-What you should be doing with your bees:  Tips and ideas from     successful Association members.

– Featured Presentation:  Dr. Donald Zedalis

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Please note: there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:

10 assembled deep frames with plastic foundation

A 10-frame medium box (unassembled)

A 10-frame metal queen excluder

A frame gripper

20 sheets of deep, crimp-wired wax foundation

-Close of formal meeting.  Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

-Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

April 11th Meeting

April 11th Meeting:  Splits and Nucs- Expand your Beekeeping and the UniqueOpportunities of Queen Hotels   All in One Night!

Please join us on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg  for two veteran beekeeper’s presentations on methods for increasing and sustaining your apiary using your own bees!


Richard Reid started beekeeping when it was easy to be a “beehaver” in the early ‘70s.  That first spring the trial by fire consisted of catching 9 swarms out of the handful of broken-down hives at the rental house in Giles County.  He thought tanging was the way to make a swarm settle down from their flight.  A couple bee classes, and books and pamphlets, were all that was needed to harvest honey and make splits every year.  Then varroa came in the early 90s.  All Richard’s bees died out by 1995 and he ordered his first package of bees.  It died in two months.  The equipment was stored for about a dozen years until 10 years ago when he started beekeeping the second time.  
In an effort to become a fulltime beekeeper, Richard tried to retire from a career in construction a little less than 4 years ago.  It’s been a little up and down, but out of the last 10 years he has managed to expand his operation each of those years except one.  The management has changed to adapt to problems, but the one most important thing that makes his operation sustainable is expansion through splitting utilizing nucleus colonies.

Splits and Nucs – Expand and Sustain Your Beekeeping.  Richard will give you the basics for sustaining your apiary using your own bees to ensure that you always have bees to work with, and in the process give you a higher degree of understanding of your beekeeping hobby, sideline, or business.  The goal is more satisfaction and enjoyment from your beekeeping.


While nucs and splits are traditional “increase” tools each beekeeper should be familiar with, Jerry will review some of the unique advantages and opportunities offered by Queen Hotels/Queen Castles, along with how to deal with a hiccup or two when using them.

Jerry is a Pennsylvanian by birth, spent 28 years in the Air Force, and retired to southwestern Virginia in 2004.  He began beekeeping in 2006 and routinely maintains a roughly even mix of full-sized hives and double-deep nucs, totaling about 20.  He is a two-year past president of the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association and has managed the Association’s Beginning Beekeeper’s Course for the past nine years. In addition to raising a few nucs and “mini-nucs” to sell each year, he takes honey bees out of buildings, and also sells a couple products he makes from beeswax. He is a big fan of trying new things and particularly enjoys playing with queen hotels.

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary report
  • Education update
  • Apparel Committee
  • July Picnic

-What you should be doing with your bees:  Tips and ideas from     successful Association members.

– Featured Presentations: 

Splits and Nucs- Expand and Sustain Your Beekeeping and

UniqueAdvantages and Opportunities of Queen Castles  

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Please note: there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:

 J-hook Hive tool

 Varroa Easy Check (alcohol wash) kit

 Increase Essentials book by Connor

 10 sheets of med plastic foundation, with 10 unassembled med frames

 20 sheets of med crimp-wired wax foundation

-Close of formal meeting.  Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

-Emory B. Altizer, NRVBA President

Posted in NRVBA | Leave a comment

February 14th Meeting- Catch your own free bees and place your bid in our silent auction!

There are few things a beekeeper loves more than free bees or a good deal on
equipment! This month Past President Mark Chorba will present tips for
catching swarms and we’ll have our silent auction in the lobby of our usual
meeting location.

Mark has over twenty-three years beekeeping experience dealing with “every
phase, disease, and pest known to honeybees”. Mark refers to as “it’s like a
second language that I’m still learning.” Mark also studied with Dr Rick Fell
and assisted him at Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Mark says after years of replacing winter losses, and not hearing when swarms
were about, he decided to try trapping bees himself. After study of various
articles and videos he created his own method and captured over ten swarms
last year!

NRVBA’s Silent Auction

Bidding starts at 6:00 pm for dozens of wooden-ware and other items of interest to beekeepers plus a nearly- new nine frame extractor with cover (minimum bid $200)! Preparations will begin around 5:00 for anyone available to help unload and setup the items.

 

 

 

 

 

Please join us on Thursday February 14 2019 at 6:30 pm at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg to hear this presentation.

Meeting Agenda

-Business:

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Apiary  report
  • Education update
  • So, You Want to Be a Beekeeper, Beginning Beekeeper’s Course, half day
    Saturday review session
  • Apparel Committee
  • Silent Auction Task Force

-What you should be doing with your bees

-The Buffalo Jack Raffle: Note, there will be no intermission so buy your tickets before the meeting or quietly any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:

J-hook hive tool
10-frame queen excluder
8-frame IPM screened bottom board
10-frame IPM screened bottom board
10 deep frames with plastic foundation (assembled)

-Featured Presentation:  by ​ ​Mark Chorba

-Close of formal meeting and, for many, the beginning of the “real” meeting. Join in for socializing, refreshments, and a time for asking questions.  Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share.

Emory B. Altizer,  NRVBA President.

Posted in beekeeper education, meetings, NRVBA | Leave a comment