April 2022 WCBA Newsletter Meeting 

Please read the newsletter to the end.  There is a lot of information contained in it.

April 12 Meeting
We are meeting at Wake County Commons Building
4011 Carya Drive Raleigh, NC 27613

 7:00 pm - Testing and Treating for Varroa Mites (in person and on ZOOM) 
One of the critical tasks for a beekeeper these days is to diligently test for varroa mites and to treat when the number of mites is over the IPM established threshold.  This is an important session will discuss the ways to test and treat for varroa mites in 2022.    

Gordon Goeking  has been a beekeeper since 2008.  He is a journeyman beekeeper and currently has 7 beehives in 2 locations within Wake County.  He has learned the importance of being diligent in the management of our esteemed honey bee and values greatly the requirement to have an Integrated Pest Management plan in place for the practice of managing honey bees.  He is currently the Secretary of the WCBA.  

7:30 pm - Creating a Profitable Beekeeping Business

Many people sell excess honey and other products from the hive to offset the costs of their beekeeping hobby. Some people are able to generate a small profit from their beekeeping efforts. Creating a profitable side-liner beekeeping operation takes a different approach compared to the typical hobbyist.

Steve Baxter, from Baxter’s Bees in Zebulon, will discuss how to approach beekeeping from a business perspective. He will discuss the importance of planning, creating a brand (which is more than a logo), establishing pricing, and creating product value.

Steve will also discuss the operational streamlining necessary to scale the operation for profitability (modeling a commercial beekeeper).

Steve and Shannon Baxter

Steve Baxter and his wife Shannon own and operate Baxter’s Bees in Zebulon, NC. They’ve been keeping bees for 11 years. They started out with 1 hive they won in a raffle at their very 1st bee club meeting. From that one hive they have built a successful side-liner beekeeping business with around 60 hives.

Shannon is the creative mind behind all of the products they sell and Steve is the primary beekeeper.

Steve and Shannon enjoy working with a variety of groups to help bring awareness to the importance of honeybees and look forward to mentoring opportunities; both beekeeping and creating a successful beekeeping business.

ZOOM Link for April 12 meeting:

Topic: WCBA April Monthly Meeting

Time: Apr 12, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 882 8975 8868

Passcode: 200302

We will be meeting at Wake County Commons Building. 

Address: 4011 Carya Drive Raleigh, NC 27610 
Phone Number:   919-250-1000

There is plenty of parking in front of this building.  There is a guard at the front desk when you walk into the building.  If you put the address into your GPS it will direct you right to the building. 

North Carolina State Beekeepers Association Membership

If you paid the NCSBA annual membership fee when paying WCBA membership fee, those funds have been submitted to the NCSBA.  If you paid the $15 for the NCSBA membership and have not heard from the NCSBA, please contact Treasurer Susan Benton to get this resolved.  You may send an email to: treasurer@wakecountybeekeepers.org

We are now offering multiple Hands on the Hive sessions with Mr. Buzz, a.k.a. club member Ben Crawley  as OPEN SESSIONS or for the purpose of taking your Practical Test as part of the requirement to become a NCSBA Certified Beekeeper.  

The following dates will be offered:

  • April 10 at 1:30 pm
  • May 15 at 1:30 pm
  • June 12 at 1:30 pm
  • July 17 at 1:30 pm
  • August 21 at 1:30 pm
  • September 18 at 1:30 pm

All sessions will be held at the Historic Oak View County Park, located at 4028 Carya Dr, off of Poole Rd in Raleigh.  Time for each session is 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm. 
Please bring your smokers, beekeeping clothing/gear & Face Masks, as this is a working session to explore the current status of the hives on site you should be prepared.  You do not need to bring a hive tool as they will be provided for your use during the session. 

At the end of each session Ben Crawley & Susan Benton will administer the final portion of the Practical Test for those wanting to do so.  The written test will be offered at the Visitor Center right after the group finishes in the bee yard.  In case of rain on April 10, we may cancel the session in the bee yard, but the written test will still be offered at 1:30.  

If you were unable to take your written test back in January and would still like to take that test, please contact Susan Benton directly at 919-961-5600 to make those arrangements.

2022 WCBA Swarm List 

The WCBA Coordinator of the Swarm List for 2022 is Robin Drechsler.  To be on the WCBA Swarm List you must be a 2022 member in good standing.  So your membership dues for 2022 must be paid before you can be on the swarm list.  If you are interested in being on the 2022 Swarm List please complete the form at the link provided.  

Every beekeeper should learn how to catch a swarm. If you don't know how, sign up and leave a comment on the signup sheet saying that you would like to learn. The swarm team captain may notify you of the location of a swarm near you to give you a chance to help or just observe the capture.

Meet Swarm Captains!






Peter Kopcinski

Keith Buchanan (backup)






Tom Kruppa




Charles Heatherly




Robin Drechsler




Barbara Burgess



The county is divided into 5 zones, each having at least one captain. Captains have their phone numbers listed on the "Help I've Got Bees" page of our website. They get the first call from the public. The captain captures all of the necessary information about the swarm, and then calls people on their list until someone is found who is available to capture the swarm.

To sign up, go to the Swarm List Guidelines page of the website and follow the links to the signup page. 

WCBA Mentor Program

An important function of the WCBA is the annual mentor program.  We want new beekeepers to be successful, and learning on your own can often be frustrating. 

An important function of the WCBA is the annual mentor program.  We want new beekeepers to be successful, and learning on your own can often be frustrating. 
To help, we provide:
1) Monthly hands-on-the-hive sessions led by Ben Crawley (Mr. Buzz)
2) Beginner workshops at monthly meetings that begin at 7pm, before the start of the business meeting.
3) Mentors and Bee Buddies - Volunteers that are willing to assist new beekeepers in their first year or two.
The club needs
YOU to help!  If you're a beekeeper with 3 or more years of experience, you're likely going to make a great mentor to a new beekeeper.  As a mentor, you will learn by being a part of the mentor program as you encounter more challenges and hear from others in the program.  You do NOT have to volunteer to visit anyone's bee yard to be a mentor.  There is also an APPRENTICE HANDBOOK available to guide you on topics you can assist with throughout the beekeeping year.
If you've had bees for even ONE YEAR, you can be a BEE BUDDY to a new beekeeper.  You likely remember more about what it's like to be brand new and can offer your own lessons learned to someone new.
If you're brand new and want mentorship, you can join our program.  Just remember, you play an important role in your own success, so be sure to attend meetings and hands-on opportunities offered by the club and club mentors.
To learn more and to register for the program (in any role) please log in and visit the mentorship page of the new website:


Besides BEEKEEPING what are your other passions, hobbies or job skills that you can share with our organization?  We are a total volunteer organization.  There is great value in being apart of the WCBA and offering some of your time in a volunteering capacity.  We have found that by doing volunteering you are giving of your time and talents and you will be a benefactor of the time you put into volunteering.  We would encourage you to consider being a part of helping us make a difference in Wake County as we share the importance and value of the honey bee and other pollinators.  

So please consider offering some of YOUR time, skills or expertise to keep our group strong & continuing to GROW.

If interested in ways to volunteer, please send an email to:   president@wakecountybeekeepers.org, 

Subject: Volunteering for the Wake County Beekeepers Association 

April 2022 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

March has been a bit of a challenge for most beekeepers.  Early warm weather and access to lots of pollen and nectar has many colonies wanting to swarm early.  I found at least 3 of mine building swarm cells.  Because I saw good drone numbers in most colonies, I pulled frames with cells to allow them to be capped in splits/nucs, pulled the overwintered queen and about ⅓ of the bees and put them into another hive in another apiary, and left the mother colony with one frame with 2 or 3 queen cells.  This allows me to keep the productive queen, provides daughter queens in 2-3 weeks, and keeps the mother colony fairly large in hopes of taking up the real nectar flow coming up in April.

This process has also been challenging due to the dramatic swings in temperatures.  I will need to check the queen cell splits to see if they maintained a good temperature on cold nights to mature the queens.

Early stage swarm cell

Latter stage queen cells

Overwintered Colonies

If you have not already been checking your bees EVERY WEEK, start doing so.  I’ve been seeing a great number of beekeepers reporting swarming of their own colonies, which can usually be caught before the queen leaves with most of your bees.  While a frame-by-frame inspection is needed to guarantee zero swarm cells, most colonies preparing to swarm will build a large number of cells and include many along the bottom of the comb/frames.   Therefore, you should at least tilt each hive body and examine the bottom of frames for queen cups and look inside for eggs or larvae (see photos).  If you do this at least every 7 days, you’re more likely to see early stages of swarming and can take action and keep your bees in your own hives.  All the options and recommendations for this are beyond the scope of this article, but you can seek out advice or help from other beekeepers if you aren’t sure how to proceed.

Most overwintered colonies have not needed to be fed, but nectar availability is highly variable right now.  Supply some syrup and monitor how quickly it’s being used.  As long as outer edges of the brood nest have several inches of nectar in the cells, the bees are bringing in enough for their brood.  I’m not keen to give them excess nectar that ends up in supers so close to the nectar flow, which is right around the corner.

If you got in a mite check already, and have either already started a treatment or didn’t find the level of concern, you can likely leave them for the month of April.  Colonies that started off with no measurable mite infestation are likely to go much longer before needing help than those with even modest levels of mites early in the season.

To summarize:

  • DETECT early stages of swarming before you lose your queen and most of your bees
  • FEED if needed, but not excessively
  • CHECK mite levels if you have not already done so
  • PREPARE honey supers or go ahead and put them on

NUCS and PACKAGE bees started this spring

Nucs will need to build more comb if started with just 5 frames.  Begin feeding NUCS and PACKAGES will need to be fed a steady supply of 1:1 (by volume or weight, it doesn’t have to be exact) syrup.  Monitor NUCS after you’ve feed a gallon or so and make sure they are building comb with it.  They can sometimes fill the entire brood nest and be stubborn about building new comb.  If they do, hold back on the feed until they’ve used it up and the queen continues to have room to lay.

Once comb building has begun, and once nighttime lows remain in the 50’s, you can consider CHECKERBOARDING your comb among foundation to encourage them to build more comb.  This may be necessary to get them started on a 2nd hive body of comb quickly.

If you purchased a nuc, be sure to check the mite level soon after you get it established.  Don’t assume your producer had 100% of their colonies under control before they left the bee yard.  I have seen shockingly high mite levels in nucs purchased in March.

With NUCS, look out for swarm cells, which can sometimes happen when nucs build up fast without building comb.

If you purchased a package, consider using an OXALIC ACID dribble or vaporization on the entire colony before brood rearing begins.  The spring NCSBA conference showed a study with package bees started with and without an initial OA treatment, and the only colonies that needed treatment before fall were those that did not receive this initial dosage.

To summarize:

  • FEED packages and nucs to build comb.  Monitor the storage of the syrup and slow feeding if comb building lags.
  • CHECKERBOARD your frames after nighttime lows reach the 50s to encourage more comb building.
  • CHECK for mites in nucs, consider an initial OA treatment for packages if the supplier did not.

The WCBA is presenting an Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping at Pullen Park Community Center on Saturday morning April 23 and Saturday May 21 from 10:00 - 11:30 am.  You are welcome to come, bring friends or tell others about this event.  The link below will take you to the Raleigh Parks and Recreation information with the signup link.  The session is free.  

Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping | Raleighnc.gov

As we head into spring, many bee keepers have their hives on their minds, but this is the time of year that we must also prepare our yards. Is your water supply adequate? Do we have a variety of plants? If you don't, let's not forget to plant for the bees and their competition. According to the NC Extension, the average last frost for Wake County is April 8th. So, as you decide what you will plant, from native Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) or borage, Have fun and give your bees plenty of fuel for their honey production.

Resources for Beeks
There are many opportunities to keep learning about keeping honey bees.  Here are a few:  

WCBA Meeting Videos and summary starting with 2022Login and then visit https://wcba24.wildapricot.org/events

Webinars from NCSU
Webinars from NCSU and Dr. David Tarpy are archived online and new ones are added monthly.  Learn more here.
Bee Culture editor Kim Flottum podcast:  
 A new podcast of short in-depth review of all things honey bees hosted by former Bee Culture editor Kim Flottum and Emeritus faculty member of The Ohio State University Dr. Jim Tew is available at: https://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/honeybeeobscura
Two Bees in a Podcast
from the University of Florida.  This podcast has over 50 episodes.
Beekeeping Today Podcast
from the folks at Bee Culture.  3 seasons of episodes and interviews!
Get help diagnosing problems in your bee hive.

NC State Apiculture Program Latest Newsletter
Greetings from the NC State Apiculture Program! You can now access our latest issue of the our program's newsletter, the Wolfpack's Waggle, which can also be found as usual through:

4/12/22 - WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 

4/23/22 - WCBA Presenting - Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping at Pullen Park Community Center - Saturday April 23 - 10:00 am . 

5/10/22 - WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610

5/21/22 - WCBA Presenting - Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping at Pullen Park Community Center - Saturday May 21  - 10:00 am. 


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