April 2023 WCBA Newsletter  

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

April 11 Meeting

WCBA April 11, 2023 Meeting 

7:00 to 7:30 - Harvesting Honey - Jim Blye

This 7:00 pm session is for in - person only.  The Zoom part of the meeting will begin at 7:30 pm.   

7:30 - Methods of Splitting Colonies - Greg Wolgemuth

Greg will discuss and demonstrate traditional methods of splitting colonies, signs to look for to know when to split and strategies for queen management when splitting a colony. He will show equipment he prefers to use when making splits.

Greg is a forester by profession. He’s a hunter, fisherman, gardener, and of course beekeeper. He has spent his entire adult life outdoors in the fields, forests, and waterways of northeastern North Carolina. First exposure to honey bees was as a honey robber of feral colonies in trees of the old growth forests he harvested mainly along the Roanoke and Tar Rivers.

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. 

For those joining remotely for the meeting:

Topic: WCBA April 11 Monthly Meeting

Time: Apr 11, 2023 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 822 1408 2223

Passcode: 985321

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for the swarm team.  We have over 80 folks, including a number of observers!  More than 30 people have called for swarm removal so far, and most of these calls resulted in a successful capture.  So, have your equipment ready!  

My favorite part of swarm team is sharing bee facts with the curious on-lookers.  The kids loved trying on the extra veil and gloves, touching the empty frames in the swarm box, and making sure the marshmallows were sweet enough for the bees on their way to their new home.  

If you receive a swarm call or see a post on our FaceBook page, please touch base with the swarm captain for that area before heading out.  Here is the link to the Swarm Team on the website: 


If you have committed to collect a swarm, please let the homeowner know about when you will arrive.  If things change, just let the homeowner and your swarm captain know so someone else can respond.  Thanks!  

Also, several people have called about cut outs, or hives in houses or trees.   Due to liability, this is not a service WCBA provides.  Please refer folks to this website: 


WCBA Mentor Program

At the end of March, 2023 Mentor Program assignments were issued! This program does not exist without your participation, and it is a huge program this year! Thank you to everyone involved. We were able to assign 44 mentees to 20 mentors and 14 bee buddies. Thank you so much to all of you for your participation! Program Lead Katie Webber will check in periodically with the groups this year – but reach out to her if you have any questions. If you would still like to sign up to be a mentee, bee buddy, or even a mentor this year or next, please reach out directly to Katie Webber.  

**Announcing the Wake County Beekeepers April Photo Contest!**

Submissions may be photos of anything and everything bee related. Come and give winning your best shot! Each club member is eligible to enter two black and white AND two color photographs per month*.

  • To enter for the month of April, photos should be submitted to Jenny Ingraham at jennyingraham@gmail.com by 12 pm on Friday, April 28th
  • Photos will be uploaded to a secure site and all club members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite snaps. 

*Submissions must be original content captured by club members in order to be eligible for entry.

The winning photographs for the month of April will be announced at the club meeting in May and will receive:

  • 1 loaf of homemade bread (pictured below)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh honey butter

AND will be showcased at our Wake County Beekeepers table at the State Fair in October!

We will be 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 and are limited to 25 participants per session:

  • April 16 at 1:30 pm
  • May 21 at 1:30 pm
  • June 25 at 1:30 pm
  • July 16 at 1:30 pm
  • August 20 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. 

If you have not taken your certified beekeeper written test and would like to take that test, please contact Susan Benton directly to make those arrangements.

Time is running out and it’s EVEN getting better!!!

Charity Raffle of bees and equipment

A critical objective of this organization (YOUR bee club) is to encourage the study and research of the honeybee.  In that regard, ALL proceeds from this raffle will be donated to the endowment for the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association Distinguished Professor in Apiculture.


 The 1st place ticket will win the following bees and 10-Frame equipment:

  • Approximately one nuc of bees, including marked queen
  • Two (2) Used Bee Smart Hive Stands (Dadant – 10-Frame Beemax Deluxe Hive Stand currently priced at $106.95 each)
  • Two (2) Complete Used Hives, both assembled and painted with two (2) deeps and landing boards, one without frames
  • One (1) Used Ultimate Hive Cover (Dadant – currently priced at $41.75)

Total new purchase value is estimated at $1,000.


The 2nd place ticket will win the following 10-Frame equipment:

  • One (1) Used Bee Smart Hive Stand (Dadant – 10-Frame Beemax Deluxe Hive Stand currently priced at $106.95 each)
  • One (1) Complete Used Hive, both assembled and painted with one (1) deep, one  (1) medium, bottom board and landing board, without frames

The raffle tickets are $5.00 per ticket or five (5) tickets for $20.

Your last chance to purchase raffle tickets will be up until the raffle commences at our April meeting.

We will have WCBA T-Shirts and Hats for purchase at the December Meeting!  T-Shirts are $15.00 and hats are $12.00.  

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.

On Saturday March 25th, The Wake County Beekeepers Association attended The Arbor Day Festival at Chavis Park. It was headed up by Stacie Hagwood. Thanks to all the members that participated. It would not have been a success without you. If you had the pleasure of stopping by our tent, you were in for a real treat. Information on the life cycle of a bee on display and Information about WCBA was available.  Children were able to play the Pollinator Game where the kids ran around collecting yellow “nectar” water from fake flowers to bring back to the “hive”.  There were photo opportunities for kids and adults to put on a bee jacket. Tools of the Trade were on display as well as a horizontal top-bar hive. Even the bees couldn’t resist the smell of the molded wax or the swarm trap. If you missed this event and would like to participate, don’t worry there will be more opportunities.

On March 28, three WCBA members responded to “The Swarm of Many Catchers!”  White Memorial Presbyterian Church had a swarm appear on the playground, and in all the excitement, three different beekeepers arrived at the scene to collect the bees.  Jon Heisterberg, Dave Landers, and Katie Webber were all on site to help catch the bees.  Many staff members from the church pre-school observed and even got to see the queen!  It was a great day of education and saving the bees for everyone involved.  

Mead Making at it's finest

On March 4th, two experienced makers of Mead, Tom Krupa and Beth Harris, took 7 newbees in making mead and shared with them some secret recipes handed down from others who have gone before us.  The result is that now several gallons of mead are bubbling away in dark corners to finish their first ferment.  The experts shared lots of experience and pointers, as well as let us sampling some of their excellent vintage meads.  The mead was really nice and inspired us all to keep working at mead making!  After all mead is viewed as the oldest alcoholic beverage!!

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences :

  • April 22  - Born and Bred Workshop
    • Pitt County Cooperative Extension Center                                      Greenville, NC                                        https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/born-and-bred-registration   

WCBA Events April 22 - Sharing with the Community

  • Pullen Park Community Center - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.
  • Millbrook Magnet Elementary School - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.
    • is hosting an Earth Day event 4/22. The WCBA event tent and supporting displays, games will be at this event.    

April 2023 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

March of 2023 has been a month of early everything for bees and beekeepers.  We got warm weather early.  Our maple and holly bloom was early.  The spring buildup of colonies was early.  

It has led to a lot of early swarming that caught me, and I’m assuming, other beekeepers before we were prepared.  I would have liked to have gotten into hives more frequently and made some opportunistic splits before swarm cells ended up getting made and the 2022 queens left.  The remaining colonies have all been strong, with many swarm cells inside, so afterswarms with virgin queens are very common.  

At this point, I have inventoried the swarmed colonies and noted the brood stage left behind.  Those with eggs or very young larvae, but no queen must have swarmed just a day or less before I found them.  Those with no capped brood would have swarmed over 3 weeks prior and should have a laying queen soon.  In a few cases, I was able to remove excess swarm cells and reduce the chances of multiple afterswarms, but it is hard to know what the bees will choose to do when there are lots of bees left over.

I noticed that the colonies had their minds on swarming, and even when I had supplied supers of comb to store excess nectar, they chose to swarm when the brood nest still had room.  It’s a natural instinct to swarm, as the organism/species wants to position themselves to have more colonies ready for the main flow coming up.

Colonies that haven’t swarmed once they are putting away lots of honey in the supers tend to stay put.  So, we can only hope we get them there as best as we can.

What is coming up in April?

The main flow should be arriving soon.  Tulip Poplar blossoms are visible on some trees.  Budding has begun in blackberry.  So I think we are close.  I notice that if I leave a frame with honey on it unattended for too long, the bees still rob it out, so we do not yet have a main flow of fresh nectar.  When we are in the main flow, I can leave honey residue out and bees will usually ignore it.  I don’t see much pressure for robbing occupied hives, however, so I don’t think entrance reducers are in order unless your colony is especially weak.

Beekeepers with freshly purchased packages will definitely need to feed supplemental syrup.  A 1:1 mixture fed to build comb will help.  Swarms captured and placed in hives with just foundation will also need to be fed in order to build comb quickly.

Beekeepers with nucs should also feed, and it would be wise to insert a frame of comb between the two outermost frames and the brood cluster, as our nights aren’t as cold as they used to be.  When new colonies have reached the maximum number of frames in the brood box, you may consider raising some frames without brood into the 2nd brood box if you are going to use one, and swapping with empty frames of foundation down in the main brood box to encourage building comb up in the next box.  When warm nights are the norm, you can consider fully checkerboarding foundation frames in brood boxes to rapidly build more comb.

Overwintered colonies should have had a mite check done by now, and those reaching 9 mites/300 would need some quick action.  If mite numbers are less than that, you can delay action, but you will want to do a follow-up check more rapidly, no less than 1 month later.  If you plan to use APIVAR, a synthetic pesticide, please note that you will NOT be able to use honey supers for human consumption on the hive. If you leave anything on the hive with APRIVAR, you should flag those frames as bee-only to prevent pesticide contamination in honey for consumption.  Colonies with high mite counts now would benefit from MAQS (Mite Away Quick Strips or Formic Pro) because our temperatures are within the working range for that product and honey supers can be in place during treatment.  The high amount of brood present this time of  year makes the use of Oxalic Acid problematic, but if the colony is broodless between swarming and the presence of a mated queen, it would be a good time to apply it to the brood box.  You can temporarily remove the honey supers during the application, but the residue of oxalic acid is harmless to humans and it disappears from surfaces and comb in the hive very rapidly.  The use of thymol products (Apiguard and Apilife Var) aren’t likely to be effective in our remaining cool temperatures, and they definitely require you to remove the honey supers during the weeks-long treatment period.

To summarize:

  • FEED any colony requiring comb building, as the main flow is not sufficient to promote much comb building.
  • CHECK for mites now if you have not done so (a recently purchased nuc or package needs to be checked as well.  Take action on reducing mites if the sample produces 9 or more mites.
  • PREPARE honey supers and put them on full size colonies that have built the comb in the brood boxers.
  • COME to the April 11 meeting to meet with other great beekeepers and share your experiences!
  • VISIT the Pullen Park Community Center on April 22nd to see the WCBA stations set up for an introductory class on beekeeping.
  • TAKE PHOTOS of your bees and experiences and send them to Jenny Ingraham to share with the club and win home made bread and honey butter!

  5/9/2023 - WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Wake Commons Building

  6/13/2023 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Wake Commons Building 

NC State Apiculture Program Latest Newsletter
Greetings from the NC State Apiculture Program! You can now access our program's newsletter, the Wolfpack's Waggle, which can also be found as usual through:    Waggle_2022-3 (ncsu.edu)


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