The Secret Lives of Bees In Gratitude by gyq81223


									         West Sound Beekeepers Association                                                      Volume 7, Issue 3
                                                                                                January 2004

                                                            The Secret Lives of Bees
The Secret Lives of Bees       1                                    By Stephen Augustine

Farewell to Hostickas          1

                                                 uring the       brought in several bees and    not go crawling around.
Basics in Beekeeping           2                 winter I have   as usual I set them on my      The light-colored bee
                                                 this habit of   bee board underneath my        eventually started moving
Saving Runty Colonies          3                 bringing        special bee cage colander. I   around and found the
                                    chilled bees indoors to      usually drip a little bit of   honey and started lapping
Membership Renewal             3
                                    thaw out. It's remarkable    honey on the sides of the      it up. A little later as I
                                    really - a few minutes of    colander which they            passed by I noticed that
                                    exposure to the warmth, a    usually polish off within      the light-colored bee was
                                    little honey to eat and      minutes. This time only        feeding the weaker, dark
                                    seemingly lifeless bees      two of the bees actually       bee by trophallaxis.
   Next Meeting                     come back to life and        turned out to be alive - a     Within a short time both
        Tuesday,                    within no time they're all   very dark bee, probably        of them were buzzing
                                    abuzz to go back                                                    inside the cage and
  January 20, 2003                  out. Of course                                                      fifteen minutes
                                    some people may                                                     later I took them
        7:00 p.m.                   think I'm                                                           both out to fly
                                    crazy to go                                                         back to their hives.
                                    looking in the
                                    grass for chilled                                                  "So what? " you
     At Stedman’s in                bees in the first                                                  say. "So here's a
        Silverdale                  place. Well, some of you     from our Carniolan hive,       lesson", I say! Two bees
                                    may keep bees for honey      and a light-colored bee,       from different hives, find
                                    but I keep bees because I    almost certainly from a        themselves in a strange
                                    like bees.                   different hive. The dark       place and the only
                                                                 bee was so weak that she       companionship they have
                                    About a week ago I           stayed in one place and did              (Continued on page 2)

Bob Martello
Vice President:
                                                                      In Gratitude
Stephen Augustine   360-779-1210
Tricia Sullivan     360-779-1210       Farewell and best wishes to founding members Paul & Susan Hosticka as they
Treasurer:                             depart Kitsap County for a quieter and slower life in Dayton, Columbia County.
Joe Grubbs          360-871-5308       Paul has contributed enormously to WSBA both in leadership as the President for
Educational Materials:                 three years and in education with numerous presentations, the Beginner’s
Barbara Stedman      360-692-9453      Beekeeping class, and liberal advice. We will undoubtedly miss Paul’s wealth of
Roy & Vickie Barton 360-613-0175       knowledge and his quick wit. As our Treasurer this past year Susan has done an
Newsletter Editor:                     exemplary job. We wish them both the best and happy beekeeping in Columbia
Stephen Augustine 360-779-1210
Page 2                                                                                                        V o l u m e 7, I s s u e 3

    Membership                    BASICS                IN NORTHWEST BEEKEEPING
    Dues are Due                  Adapted from Ron Bennett (

 A new year is upon us
 and it’s time to send                                            hive looking for signs of         bees a lot of honey and pollen

                                    n January and February,
 in those membership                you should disturb the        disease. Deformed bees are a      to generate a frame of wax.
 dues. Dues are $24                 bees as little as possible.   pointer to infestation by         Plan and prepare equipment
                                                                  varroa mites. Bees crawling       for the coming season. Now
 per year.                          They will be in a tight
                                                                  on the ground without any         is the time to build frames
                               cluster and you should not
                                                                  deformations may be an            and hive bodies. Remember
                               break their cluster.
 Please use the                                                   indication of tracheal mite       you need to cross-wire wax
 enclosed return enve-         Lift the hives to find any light   infestation.                      foundation to keep it straight
 lope to send in your          ones and give those hives                                            in the frames.
                                                                  At the end of February, if you
 dues to Treasurer Joe         emergency feed of sugar
                                                                  have determined that              Pay your dues t o your local
                               candy or dry sugar. Dry sugar
 Grubbs.                       or sugar candy is best because     treatment for mites with          bee association. (Hear that -
                                                                  miticide strips is warranted      send $24 payable to WSBA
                               the bees can access it with the
                                                                  then treat for mites with         to the Treasurer, Joe Grubbs.)
                               minimum of time away from
                                                                  Apistan® strips (one strip per    The association needs your
                               the cluster and consume it
                                                                  five frames of bees). You         support and you will benefit
                               directly. With syrup feed,
                                                                  should start your treatment       greatly from the combined
                               they must go to the feeder
                                                                  for Varroa mites by mid-          wisdom of association
                               (breaking cluster and risking
                                                                  February so that you have         members.
 “Bees work for man, and       chilling themselves) and
                               syrup has to be further            completed treatment               Buy your new colonies or
    yet they never bruise      evaporated for consump tion        BEFORE you put on your            order package bees. Packages
   Their Master's flower,      by the bees. Continue to           first honey super in March.       are usually available only in
  but leave it having done,    check for moisture on the          Early supering will help to       the first and second week of
  As fair as ever and as fit   inside of the outer covers. If     gather the first honey flow of    April, so you need to have
                                                                  Maple, and give your bees the     your equipment ready and
 to use; So both the flower    you notice any condensation
                               make sure you increase hive        space they need to help           your packages ordered in
 doth stay and honey run.“                                        minimize swarming.
                               ventilation by placing some                                          time. In the case of failing or
                               pebbles or twigs between the                                         poor queens one of the best
     - George Herbert          outer and inner covers.
                                                                  Store your unused brood
                                                                                                    management tools we
   (The Church, Providence)                                       comb in a cool dry place and
                                                                                                    beekeepers have is re-
                                                                  protect your bees and stored
                               Watch the flight intensity on                                        queening, so, if deemed
                               warm days to spot weak             comb against mice. Drawn
                                                                                                    necessary, plan and order
                               colonies. Also pay regular         comb is one of your most
                                                                                                    queens for April 1st
                               attention to the front of each     important assets. It takes your

                               ...THE SECRET LIVES OF BEES (CONTD. FROM PAGE 1)
 Editor’s Note:                is each other. In this situation I think it's amazing that two bees from different hives,
                               mortal enemies on home territory, turn to each other and succor each other. Maybe you
 Articles of interest to
 beekeepers and                and I will remember that the next time we see someone in need.
 announcements of interest
 to Association members are    This past year I have been reflecting on the fact that bees are among the few creatures
 welcomed and encouraged.      on Earth who do not take life of any sort in order to live - pollen and nectar are gifts
                               from the flower. Not only that - they give life exceedingly - by pollinating plants and
 Submit articles and
 announcements to Stephen      trees which in turn prosper and give life to countless other creatures. Bees seem to live
 Augustine:                    the prime dictum of "do no harm" far better than we can ever hope to. Our footsteps on
                               the planet are so heavy and almost everything we do takes life away from other living
 Email:    things. If only humans were more like bees in giving life rather than taking life I know
 Mail: 401 B Liberty St NW
       Poulsbo, WA 98370
                               the world would be a far better place. Alas, we have eaten of the tree of knowledge and
                               have made of ourselves gods on Earth while the lowly bee in her secret life reminds us
                               of the original directives when we lived in a Garden called Eden.
                                                                                                                                Page 3

                           SAVING RUNTY COLONIES
                                     BY JAMES E. TEW                                                  Refreshment Schedule

                                                                                                      Jan: -open -

A                                                                                                     Feb: -open-
            ll bee stories don’t have happy       Suggested solution: Again, after checking
            endings. In an ideal bee world, all   for AFB, add bees and brood from another            Mar: -open -
            hives would be strong and all         colony to the weakened hive. Keep your              Apr: -open-
            nectar flows would be long, but       expectations in check. Feed the colony as
even new beekeepers know this is not the          much as it will take and be sure that other
                                                                                                      If you are unable to fulfill
case. Pesticide kills, defective queens, late     problems, such as predaceous mites, are             your commitment to
season swarms, bee diseases or beekeeper          under control. Re-evaluate during late              provide refreshments for a
mismanagements are some common reasons            September or early November. If the treated         meeting please notify Bob
that runt colonies occur. Now that it’s late      colony looks as though it will make it              Martello by giving him a
summer, what should - or could - be done          through the Winter, let it try. If the recovery     call at 360-830-5456 before
with these disappointing colonies?                was not particularly impressive, combine the        the meeting date.
                                                  colony with another hive and make a split
Your options, and that of your beekeeper          during the upcoming Spring.
friends, are all over the spectrum. Select from
the following common scenarios that best          I’m somewhat new to beekeeping. I don’t
describe your situation.                          have a lot of other hive resources and I
                                                  don’t have a lot of experience.
I have other colonies that are doing well. This                                                             Buzzwords
weak colony is not particularly important to      Suggested solution: Honestly, this small
me. I live in an area that has cold Winters.      colony does not have a bright future.
                                                                                                      Joe Grubbs has volunteered to
                                                  Probably the colony will die even during a          take over Treasurer duties from
Suggested solution: After being certain that      mild Winter. That means that there is no            Susan Hosticka. Thank you
American foulbrood (AFB) is not the               harm in trying to save the unit, but you don’t      Joe!
problem, combine the colony with another.         have much to work with. All you can do is
Unless there are extenuating circumstances,       feed the colony both supplemental                   25 members attended the Holi-
kill the runt hive queen. Build up your           carbohydrates and pollen substitutes and            day dinner at Mitzel’s. The
remaining healthy colonies and plan to make       hope that the colony has enough time and            priciest item at the auction was
a split during the Spring of 2004 if you want     strength to utilize the extra resources.            a packet of Manuka seeds go-
to recover colony numbers.                        Obviously, it would have been helpful to be         ing for $60!
                                                  able to add both bees and brood to this
I have other colonies that are doing well.        weakened unit, but sometimes that is just not       Check out the latest addition to
Even so, I would like to try to save this         an option.                                          our library - Charles Mich-
                                                                                                      ener’s “The Bees of the
colony. I live in an area that has very mild      I hope that such a new beekeeper can
                                                                                                      World” - the definitive work on
                                                                              (Continued on page 4)   more than 16,000 bee species.

  þYes! I want to be a member of West Sound Beekeepers’ Association during
  2004. I have enclosed $24 to cover my annual dues.
  NAME(S):           __________________________________________________________________________________

  ADDRESS:           ___________________________________________________________________________________

  PHONE:             __________________               EMAIL: ________________________________________________

  Please return to: Joe Grubbs, WSBA Treasurer, 6021 Peterson Rd SE, Port Orchard, WA 98367
Page 4                                                                                                     V o l u m e 7, I s s u e 3

 maintain his or her new energy through      select ones that offer ways to help
 the upcoming Winter and be prepared to      ailing colonies. There is no real right
 start again. Even before there were         or wrong. Do the best you can.
 predaceous mites in our beehives,           Sometimes you win, sometimes you
 beekeepers could not keep all colonies      lose - experienced beekeeper or not.
 alive all the time. Sometimes, some
 colonies just don’t thrive.                 ALL of my colonies are remarkably
                                             weak. How can I pump them up during
 I’m somewhat new to beekeeping, but I       late Summer?
 have some other hives from which I
 could take brood and bees. I don’t have     Suggested solution: Be sure American
 a lot of experience doing this type of      foulbrood is not your problem.            important consideration is that hive
 management.                                 Pesticides, skunks, storm damage, poor    numbers are not wildly important. You
                                             queens, beekeeper mismanagement,          are much better off to Winter four
 Suggested solution: Ironically, I am not    and bad weather are all common            strong colonies than to Winter 10 weak
 sure I would bother the healthy hives       reasons that bee hives decline. If your   ones - even if you are keeping bees in a
 with efforts to save one that is not        climate is temperate and you have the     warm climate.
 happy. Being new to beekeeping, you         time, equipment, and experience, try
 were probably lucky to have some hives      feeding them. Then hope for the best
 that are doing well and I would be          during the upcoming Winter.               Editor’s Note: This beekeeper took the
 fearful that tinkering with the weak one    Another variation would be feed the       drastic step of moving the bees from a
 might do too much harm to the good          strongest of the lot and combine the      dying hive into a nuc, bringing the nuc
 ones. I suppose that I am suggesting that   weakest of your operation with others.    indoors and creating an ad-hoc
 until you have more experience, accept      You would then hope to get this           observation hive complete with a
 your losses. But a lot of you are not       strengthened, albeit reduced, number      section of hose leading outside through
 going to want to do that. If that           through the Winter. How many you          the window. All in the second week of
 describes your feelings, go up to some      combine and how many you try to feed      January. More on that later.
 of my other previous suggestions and        will have to be your decision. An

 West Sound Beekeepers Association
 2233 Cantu Lane NW
 Seabeck, WA 98380

 Next Meeting
 Tuesday, January 20
 7 p.m. at Stedman’s in Silverdale

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