February 8th Meeting: Understanding Swarms

As I write this announcement I am looking out the window at a forested mountainside and see that the buds on the soft maples are beginning to swell and turn red.  As difficult as this winter has been, spring is just around the corner and before long we will all have our hands full working our hives.

Continuing our objective to cover essential colony management topics this winter and early spring, this meeting will focus on understanding swarms. Swarming has become one of the main spring topics on the Hive message boards and a major source of frustration for many of us. A quick search on the internet yields a multitude of techniques for preventing swarms including the Pagdon, Heddon, Snelgrove, Demaree, Double Screen, and Checkerboard methods and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Rather than a mind-numbing discussion on all these methods, this presentation will cover why colonies swarm, how the process occurs, how to recognize a colony in danger of swarming, and why it is important to prevent swarms.  Finally we will discuss what does and what does not work to stop or prevent swarms.

This talk will be aimed at beginning beekeepers, but should provide some fresh ideas for even advanced members.

-Fred Jones, NRVBA President.

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday 8th February 2018 at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg .

NRVBA February 2018 Meeting Agenda

  1. What you should be doing with your bees
  2. Discussion of Winter Losses
  3. Business
    • Association queen purchase
    • Committee for NRVBA logo and t-shirt design
    • Committee for development of mentoring program
  4. Fred’s Follies: A brief recap of January’s requeening program
  5. Main Topic … “Swarms: What can go wrong when everything goes right”
  6. Raffle:Note, there will be no intermission. Buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:
    • 10 deep frames w/ plasticell foundation (unassembled)
    • 1-10 frame deep (unassembled)
    • 1-10 frame medium (unassembled)
    • 7 between frame beetle traps
    • 1-10 frame plastic hive top feeder
  7. Close of formal meeting. This will be a time for refreshments, questions and  socializing. Please consider bringing something to eat or drink.

 

 

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Bee Packages 2018

The NRVBA will be selling package bees for $110 to members, $120 for non-members.  The member price is just a few dollars over our cost. Dadant is selling them for $105 if you pick them up at their facility in Chatham, VA . We have 125 packages on order.

These packages include an unmarked, Italian queen. Packages will tentatively be available for pick-up in the 8-10 April 2018 time frame in the parking lot of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg. A more precise pick-up date and time window will be provided as information becomes available. Point of contact for questions is Mark Chorba,  marco@vt.edu, 540-204-6882.

To purchase package bees go to https://secure.west-point.org/nrvba/

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January 11th 2018 meeting

bee-snow-665x320Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday 11th January 2018 at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg .  For our first meeting of 2018 we are fortunate to have Tim Service as our speaker. He will do a presentation covering requeening colonies as well as how to make a queenless colony queen-right. Tim is a former president of Mountain Empire Beekeepers Association and raises queens in Meadows of Dan.  A gifted speaker, Tim is anything but dry. Expect an entertaining and informative talk.

Our agenda is as follows:
1. What you should be doing with your bees.

2. Business:

  • Vote on revisions of the NRVBA by-laws
  • Comments from Jerry Borger regarding the Beginning Beekeepers Class
  • Treasurer’s report
  • NRVBA Apiary plan

3. Fred’s Follies: “What you should have learned at the last meeting had you been paying attention.”  This is a chance to blurt out answers and win fabulous prizes (or voluntarily embarrass yourself in front of your peers).

4.Presentation by Tim Service (Please hold your questions until the end of Tim’s talk)

5. Raffle. Note, there will be no intermission. Buy your tickets before the meeting or, quietly, any time during the meeting in the back of the room. Items will include:

  •  10-frame medium super, unassembled, w/ nails
  • 10 medium frames, unassembled w/ 10 sheets of cut comb foundation (no nails)
  • J-hook hive tool
  • Basic Candle Making (book)
  • Cowhide gloves (medium size)

6. Close of formal meeting. This will be a time for refreshments, questions and socializing. Please consider bringing something to eat or drink. It is a great time to find a home for those leftover holiday goodies.

img_4350Throw another log on the fire and mark your calendars!

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Introducing the NRVBA President for 2018: Fred Jones

President-elect Fred Jones would like to share with you his vision for the NRVBA in 2018:

As president-elect of the NRVBA I would like to introduce myself and give a brief summary of what to expect in 2018.

To begin, I believe there is much we can learn by taking a lesson from the honeybees we all know and love.  Perhaps the single most important decision bees make comes when a swarm must choose a new home.  Research has proven that in a honeybee democracy only 3% to 5% of the population participate in that decision. Following that model, it is one of my goals to minimize the business portion of general meetings and leave most of those aspects up to the Board of Directors. I hope to make the meetings informative, fast paced, fun and much shorter. My thanks go to Jim Hill, our current president, for overseeing a much needed rewrite of the bylaws that should streamline our association and allow for these changes

The programs for winter and spring 2018 will have an emphasis on fundamental aspects of hive management.  These will build on Jerry Borger’s excellent beekeeping class and I believe will be of benefit to even our most experienced members.  The summer/fall programs will tend toward more advanced topics and subjects related to honeybees, but not necessarily to hive management.

I will begin each meeting with, “What should you be doing with your bees?.” This will not be a session to cover the problems of individual beekeepers, but a short summary of what our more experienced beekeepers are doing that month. This should be a terrific guide for newer members.

The raffle will continue, but tickets will be available before and throughout the meeting at a table in the back of the room. By eliminating an intermission and shortening the meetings I envision a post-meeting social gathering wherein new beekeepers might ask questions to more experienced members and the old-timers can swap new ideas.

While public speaking is not my strong suit, I am a good listener.  Suggestions and comments are always welcome. Together we can move the NRVBA forward as one of the strongest honeybee associations in the state.

Happy holidays to you all,  

Fred Jones

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“So, You Want To Be A Beekeeper” Presentations, 2018

“So, You Want To Be A Beekeeper” Presentations, 2018 and Beginning Beekeeper’s Course, 2018

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 2018 (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, 540-382-1798.

Schedule of presentations:

13 January at 1:30 pm                                     20 January at 1:30 pm
Blacksburg Library                                          Christiansburg  Library
200 Miller Street                                              125 Sheltman Street
Blacksburg                                                         Christiansburg

20 January at 1:30 pm                                     21 January at 1:30 pm
Jessie Peterman Library                                  Meadowbrook Public Library
321 West Main Street                                       267 Alleghany Spring Road
Floyd                                                                    Shawsville

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 www.nrvba.org  or https://secure.west-point.org/nrvba.  The course lasts two Saturdays, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 10 February and 7 April 2018.  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 2018 is mandatory.  Registration will close on 31 January or when the class is full.  Address questions to Jerry Borger, 540-382-1798.

 

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No December Meeting

As usual there will be no meeting of the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association in December. The next meeting will be on Thursday January 11th at 6:30 pm

Don’t forget to renew your membership for 2018!  Only $10 for individuals, $15 for families, and free for students.  You can sign-up online at https://secure.west-point.org/nrvba/ or go to our webpage, https://nrvba.org and click on ‘Join/Renew’ on the menu bar. You may also pay at our monthly meetings. Dues paid now are good through 2018.

If you don’t renew you will miss out on benefits like the listserv, access to the Association’s commercial radial extractors and other honey harvesting equipment, and discounts on bee packages.

Visitors and guests are welcome at our meetings, held the second Thursday each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building, 210 W. Pepper St., Christiansburg, VA.

 

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November 9th meeting: Wintering Your Colonies

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday 9th November at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg when NRVBA member and past president Richard Reid will talk about preparing colonies for winter, how to salvage drawn comb, capped honey, uncapped honey, pollen stores and old frames/foundation after a winter dead out, or a fall queen failure (when it is too late in the season to replace the queen).

We will have our monthly beekeeper raffle and a “what should you be doing with your hives this month” discussion.

Please consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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Time to renew for 2018!

It’s time to think about renewing your membership in the New River Valley Beekeepers’ Association for 2018!  Only $10 for individuals, $15 for families, and free for students.  You can sign-up online at https://secure.west-point.org/nrvba/ or go to our webpage, https://nrvba.org and click on ‘Join/Renew’ on the menu bar. You may also pay at our monthly meetings. Dues paid now are good through 2018.

If you don’t renew you will miss out on benefits like the listserv, access to the Association’s commercial radial extractors and other honey harvesting equipment, and discounts on bee packages.

Visitors and guests are welcome at our meetings, held the second Thursday each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building, 210 W. Pepper St., Christiansburg, VA. No meeting is held in July or December.

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Beekeepers’ Ball, July 22. 10:00 – 3:00

OK, it’s time to take a break from cracking open all those hives, and enjoy some summer socializing! Enjoy live music from the Bank Street Band, good food, and company at 569 Long Mountain Rd., Willis VA 24380. (Directions below). Family members welcome!

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.

Here is the address for your GPS:

569 Long Mountain Rd., Willis VA 24380.  https://goo.gl/maps/qv1gY1UgYqG2

Directions from Christiansburg: (follow directions from Floyd for other starting points)

Come to stop light on Rte 8 in Floyd.  Turn right on US-221 S/W Main St.  Go through Willis after 10 miles, then another 3 miles to protected turn lane. Turn left onto Buffalo Mountain Rd (VA 758) .  Go  7 miles to Long Mountain on the right (629).  Less than a mile on the right.

Alternatively:

Take Rte 8 from Christiansburg towards Floyd at exit 114 I81. After 10.5 miles turn right on Alum Ridge (750). After 12 miles turn right on US 221  S. Go 5.3 miles and turn left on VA 758 Buffalo Mountain Rd. After 4.7 miles turn right on State Rte 628. (Rock Church Rd).  After 1 mile turn left on State Rd 629 Long Mountain Rd. Site is 1 mile on left

This is the site where we have been before, and it has cover in case it rains. No plan B for inclement weather.

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

(Photos from 2008 picnic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 11th: Honey bee diseases and pests

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday 11th May at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg when  Virginia Tech entomology emeritus professor Dr. Richard Fell will discuss honey bee diseases and pests.

Virginia Tech honey bee researcher Rick Fell

We will have our monthly beekeeper raffle and a “what should you be doing with your hives this month” discussion.

Please consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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