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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