Friday, May 31, 2013

June Meeting...

Hampden County Beekeepers Meeting June 2013

When: Wednesday, June 12th at 7pm

Where:  Willimanset Heights Improvement League (WHIL)
118 Mount Vernon Rd.
Chicopee, MA 01013

Big E Meeting

At this meeting, we will select our Big E committee, go over the rules and regulations for Big E Sellers and volunteers, and vote on spending some money in hopes of making the Big E more profitable for everyone involved. 

If you have any questions about what we do at the Big E, or what to expect as a volunteer, or even how you can sell your own honey or beeswax products in the HCBA booth at the fair, this meeting is for you!

I am proposing we spend an estimated $900 to buy custom printed bright yellow bags to put our honey in.  Our customers will carry our bags around the Big E all day and advertise for us, generating more visitors to our booth and more sales.  At the meeting I will have a bag sample, and price quotes.  The treasurer’s report will also be available for review at the meeting so you can see the finances before you vote. 

After the Big E discussion and the vote, we will have an open forum bee talk.  What’s on your mind?  What’s going on in your hive?  Want to talk about swarm prevention?  I do!   

We will have pizza, salad and drinks.      

All members are welcome to attend.  Please RSVP to me by email or phone if you plan to attend so we order enough food!       

Bee well!
Jessica Martin
HCBA Secretary
(860) 978-5388

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bill's GIANT Swarm...

This just in from Bill Crawford!

Bill stands 6 feet tall and this swarm is taller and as wide as he is!  Unbelievable!

Thanks for sharing, Bill! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My First Marked Queen...

The weather has been getting warmer finally, and while at first I had noticed my bees taking the opportunity to get out and stretch their wings, the last week or so, there seemed to be fewer and fewer bees leaving the hive.  I had been checking in with and feeding my bees on Saturdays for quite awhile, and there seemed to be plenty of bees in the hive when I opened it.  So I started to get nervous when as the weather got warmer, I wasn't seeing more and more bees leaving the hive.  The field bees that were coming and going were bringing in pollen, a good sign, but the traffic still seemed light.    

Last weekend we had beautiful weather, a great time to find out what's really going on in there. I'll be honest, I was nervous to do a full inspection of my hive, afraid to confirm I might be losing it.  So, I called on my support system, fellow HCBA members, Mike Feeney to help with the inspection and Sean Martin (also known as my husband) to take photos and have his shoulder ready just in case I needed to cry on it.  

Mike's first suggestion for me was to reverse the position of my inner cover.  I usually keep the notch on the inner cover facing the back of the hive so I have a rear entrance.  Well when all the bees are using the back door, it's much harder to tell how many are coming and going.  With both entrances facing the front of the hive, it's much easier for me to see who is coming and going without having to go into the beeyard.  I agreed to changing the position of my inner cover, and we went out to open my hive. 
At first glance, things did not look good.  As I feared, the number of bees in the hive appeared to be much fewer than the week before when I last fed them.  Determined to find out what was going on, we pulled out each frame and meticulously looked them over.  There were a lot of empty cells (too many if you ask me) but there were also plenty of pollen and syrup stores, one whole frame up top was almost completely full of syrup.  Unfortunately, there were no signs of brood... Until one of the last frames out of the top box!  Mike spotted some eggs in the lower cells and my spirits were lifted!  What a relief to see those eggs!  When we opened the bottom brood chamber, we found all the signs pointing toward "Queen Right"!  More eggs, and larvae, and then, her majesty herself!  Thank goodness.  Mike is like a beekeeping boy scout and is always prepared, so when we saw the queen, he was already to trap and mark her.  

I have never marked a queen in the past.  My beekeeping philosophy is that if I can see all the queen right signs, I don't look too hard for her because I fear I may do something while searching to compromise her well being.  But... there she was!  And we were prepared!  How often does that happen?  

 Ladies and gentlemen... Queen Daryl Palumbo

So we put everything back together, keeping all the brood in the center, and rearranging some frames so that some of the empty celled frames were closest to where she was laying.   

Switching the inner cover really seemed to help too.  Now I can see all the bees coming and going, and it already looks like more traffic than I originally thought.  

Plus, I know I'm queen right, so I can relax... until next week! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beeswax Products...

At our final bee school session of 2013, HCBA's new President and first lady, Jeff & Pam Rys covered the topic of Beeswax Products.   I grabbed a quick photo of their set up before they packed it up for the night...

When it comes to beeswax, Pam does it all!  And since she's not busy enough with the bees and the HCBA, she also belongs to a Bull Terrier dog club.  When they needed trophies for an event, Pam came through with her beeswax skills and made these...
Bull Terrier votive beeswax candles!

If you've got any questions about beeswax or beeswax products, Jeff and Pam have answers!  Thanks to you both for sharing your knowledge and craft with us! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mike Trapped a Swarm...

HCBA member Mike Koleczek sent in this awesome photo of the first swarm he's captured in his trap...
We'll have to find out what he using to lure them, because it looks like it's working good!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May and the Annual Meeting...

Because our time together from January through April is taken up with bee school, our May meeting is our first official club meeting.  This year's annual meeting is important because we will be electing the Board of Directors who will hold office for the next 2 years.  These meetings are less structured than our school sessions and are great asset for all members.  As soon as the new officers have been locked into their positions, we'll choose our Big E Committee for this year's fair, and then have an open floor for Q&A and general bee discussion.  I hope to see all of you there!   Here's the official meeting announcement...

Hampden County Beekeepers May Meeting 2013

When: Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm

Where:  Willimanset Heights Improvement League (WHIL)
118 Mount Vernon Rd.
Chicopee, MA 01013

At our first post-school meeting on May 8th, we’ll be holding elections for a new board of directors.

And the nominees are…
President… Jeff Rys
Vice President… Tom Flebotte
Treasurer…  Cheryl Robare
Secretary…  Jessica Martin
Trustees (3)… Lee Duquette, Larry Borysyk, Ron Willoughby & Mike Feeney

As our out-going president, Jim Stefanik will be our 4th Trustee

We have 4 nominees for 3 Trustee positions, and all of the other nominees are running unopposed.  We do still have to make it official.  Come out and vote! 

Once the new Board of Directors has been made official, they will elect “The Big E Committee”.  The fair will be here before we know it!

After elections, we will have an open floor for Questions & Answers, and we would also love to hear from our newest members about how their first hive installation experience went...  Hopefully the new  bees are here by then.