August 2023 WCBA Newsletter  

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

August 8 Meeting

7:00 - Ice Cream Social - Come in person and enjoy!

WCBA will provide a selection of ice creams and toppings - come early, cool off, eat a little ice cream and visit with your fellow beekeepers. (No 7:00 pm workshop this month.)

7:30  WCBA’s Second Annual ….Honeybee Brain Game Trivia Contest! (No Zoom this month)

Join us in-person only for our August 8th meeting and learn about beekeeping while having fun competing against other teams. Each of the teams will include beginner, intermediate and advanced beekeepers. This is a perfect opportunity to get informal mentoring about what you are are seeing in your hives today.

Questions will cover all skill levels from the beginner thru Master beekeeper. The discussions that will help you to become a better beekeeper. Questions will be broken down into categories and will progressively get more advanced based on the WCBA Bee School and the Certified, Journeyman and Master Beekeeper study guides (taken from the NCSBA Master Beekeeping Program).

Prizes will be award to the highest scoring teams.

Take advantage of this of the opportunity to visit with your fellow beekeepers and learn while having fun.

We hope to see you there!

Questions will come from:

What Do You Know? by Clarence H. Collison .  Publisher ‏ : ‎ A.I.Root Company (June 1, 2003)

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 421 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0936028165
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0936028163

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:  

There is no ZOOM link this month.  We encourage all to attend in person for the social and the Trivia Contest.

WCBA 2023 Financial Update through July 31

Income -                        $12,547.15


  •     Beekeeping School -                       $3,904.00
  •     Memberships -                                 $3,186.00
  •     General Donations -                        $1,089.54
  •     NCSU Endowment Fundraising-    $3,587.00

Expenses -                     $9,529.78


  •     General Expenses  -                       $1,867.26 (1)
  •     Beekeeping School -                      $1,221.63 
  •     Swarm Capture Poles -                     $159.85
  •     NCSU Endowment Donation-        $7,800.00

(1) Increased with expenses for annual insurance payment

Current Bank Balance $21,343.46

NC State Professorship in Apiculture Fundraising

WCBA's original 5-year commitment was $10,000 paid in $2,000 payments over 5 years. 

  • 2022                    $2,000.00
  • 2023                    $7,800.00  Amount approved for 2023 in July meeting

  • Total WCBA         $9,800.00 against a 5 year pledge of $10,000.

The Board of the WCBA is recommending the following motion to the membership which we will vote on in the August meeting.


The WCBA pledges to continue contributions to the NC State Professorship in Apiculture for the years 2024, 2025 and 2026.  In each year the WCBA will make at least a contribution of $2,000. 

This will raise our minimum contribution over the 5 years (2022 – 2026) from $10,000 to $16,000!


Saturday September 16

WCBA will be once again telling the world about bees at BugFest, the largest bug-centered event in the country! We are calling on all bug enthusiasts and nature lovers to join us for this fascinating event.

Sign Up Early for a Free BugFest T-Shirt

The first volunteers who sign up will receive a free BugFest T-shirt.  Make sure to secure your spot by signing up early!  We will need to send in the list of volunteers soon, and those on the list will be guaranteed a T-shirt.  Don't worry if you sign up later, while we can't guarantee a T-shirt for late sign-ups, you're still more than welcome to join our BugFest team.

Join Us and Have Fun!

You can help out at our booth for just a few hours and then take the time to enjoy the rest of the event.  Additionally, we encourage you to explore the booths set up by other local bee clubs, adding to the excitement of the day.

BugFest is an incredible opportunity to educate and engage the public in the wonders of science and the natural world. With over 100 exhibits, crafts, games, and activities, you'll have an excellent chance to interact with entomologists and other scientists passionate about their work. And you might even get to eat a bug or two!

How to Sign Up:  Visit our SignupGenius page to register as a volunteer.

When signing up be aware that you might need to click "Got it" at the bottom of the page in order to continue.  It can be a little confusing.

Let's make BugFest 2023 an extraordinary event together! See you there!

Your chance to be an officer in the WCBA!!

If you have a passion to help honeybees, we have 4 opportunities on our Executive Committee beginning in 2024 for you to:

  • Give back to your Association and
  • Build your network and relationships with fellow beekeepers.

 Our openings beginning in 2024 are for:

  • Vice President (Melinda Pfeiffer),
  • Secretary (Gordon Goeking),
  • Sergeant-at-Arms (Greg Morrison) 
  • Program Chair (Keith Buchanan).

(The outgoing officer is included above in parentheses in case you need to reach out to them for further information.) 

  • The primary duty of our VP is to perform the duties of the President in his/her absence or at his/her request. 
  • The primary duties of our Secretary are to draft the agenda and keep accurate record of the minutes of our monthly Executive Committee meetings and communications with our members. \
  • The Sergeant-at-Arms secures the monthly meeting place and for other events as assigned, ensures the meeting place is set up and the smooth operation of our Association meetings.  He/she also conducts door prizes and raffles. 
  • Last and probably the most important is the Program Chair.  He/she is responsible for developing our program calendar and securing speakers.  This is probably our biggest value add of our Association.  Keith has already lined up many of the programs for 2024.  
(Our constitution and bylaws are available on our website also provide the duties of all of our officers.) 

With these positions, you WILL build deeper relationships with other beekeepers and grow in your skills to help the honeybee.  If you are interested, please contact any of the following members of the Nominating Committee by Tuesday, August 15:

  • Greg Morrison, Chairman – (919)417-7770 or
  • Keith Buchanan - (919)995-1639 or
  • Tony Gaddis – (919)491-1960 or tony_gaddis95@yahoo. com

Honey Entries for the NC State Fair

Now is the time to start preparing your honey entries for the NC State Fair. Jim Blye, a multi-time blue ribbon winner is going to give a short talk at the August WCBA meeting. You will want to completely fill a quart jar with honey that you want to enter and let it start settling. We will be scheduling a bottling event for September 9th. At the bottling event we will provide jars (fair quality) and filtering material. We will go through the heating and filtering processes, and you will leave with jars that are almost ready for the fair. We will follow a process in this video that Chris Hagwood provided:

Here is a link to the sign up for the bottling event. (Gordon can you add an event to the website for this? We will do it at our house 10am. You can probably reuse the mead event and just change the details.)

NC State Fair

Our goal for WCBA and the NC State Fair is to maximize participation from club members and have all products be judged. We plan to submit an entry for every class for the club booth. The sign-up process can be cumbersome, and we are volunteering to do it on your behalf. If you agree that we have an option to submit your entry as a WCBA booth entry, you will get the ribbon and the prize money. If you want us to sign you up as an individual entry, you will have a chance to earn a ribbon. If you want to go through the sign-up process yourself (without WCBA help) and only be judged as an individual, then you would be eligible for both the ribbon and the prize money.

Here is a link to the WCBA sign up genius:

And here is a link to the NC State Fair rules and online entry (if you want to manage yourself):

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

"Pollen Pants"

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 August, photos AND TITLES OF SHOTS should be submitted to Jenny Ingraham at by 12 pm on Monday, August 31st.

·  Photos will be uploaded to a secure site and 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 August will be announced at the club meeting in September 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: (NOTE START TIME CHANGED to 2:00 pm).

  • August 20 at 2:00 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 2:00 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.

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

After having our initial order of T-Shirts depleted, we have a fresh supply of colors and sizes for all T-Shirts and a lot of hats to keep sun off our heads.  They will be for sale at the June meeting.  If you want to make arrangements to purchase outside of the meeting, contact treasurer@

August 2023 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

The heat has found us!  While being amongst the bees is always a joy, working in the bee yard, in the heat, is hard to describe as fun.  It is at this time of year that many a 1st year beekeeper begins to question their commitment.  Some new beekeepers tend to all but abandon their bees at this time of year, leading to some trouble.  We will go over that a bit later in this article.  Others tough through the heat, learning to keep inspections brief, do them early in the day, and drink plenty of water.

I am staying out of the hives for the most part, since I did mite checks at the beginning of the month and doubled back on any that had queen issues.  I even found and marked a queen that I had removed in order to make a brood break so I could apply Oxalic Acid while there was no capped brood after the new queen started to lay.  Fortunately, none of the rest had any significant mite issues so I am waiting out another month to check mite levels again.  In the meantime, I am rearranging partially filled supers of honey to get them onto the lighter colonies that didn’t get enough honey put away for the rest of summer.

Keys to summer colony survival:

  • Bees are living off their honey stores and getting insufficient new nectar in all but a few situations.  Colonies are not likely to build new comb.  Unless you are supplying a steady supply of syrup, bees won’t build comb and even with syrup comb building is likely to be sparse.  Best to have had all the comb they need and use this time of year for maintenance feeding.  Either way, don’t let your bees starve.  It can happen quicker than you think, and even experienced beekeepers lose a colony to starvation if they aren’t feeding when needed.  The aftermath to a complete colony starvation may come across as pesticide poisoning, as the hive will be full of dead bees and bees may litter the entrance as well.

  • Bee populations can rebound at this time of year, but it’s harder.  If earlier mite treatments, swarming, or splits depleted their population, a weak queen may not be able to repopulate the colony quickly enough.  If you have an older queen, or any queens that have never built up so far this year, now is a good time to consider replacing that queen.

  • Bees are protecting their stash of honey in the hive.  A strong bee population, evidenced with lots of bees bearding on the entrances, might be able to defend itself just fine.  But smaller colonies with unreduced entrances need help from the beekeeper.  I had a colony alone in an outyard without an entrance reducer and when I checked it later, it was robbed out completely, nearly zero bees, but lots of wax moth larvae.  I failed the bees by omitting the entrance reducer!

  • Colonies that have endured mites for many months are going to really start showing it now.  If you have turned a blind eye to mite checks all year, the dearth and dwindling bee populations might do your colony in and you may not be able to save it in the long term.  Survival depends on spending as little time as possible with a high mite count.  If the mite count recently spiked up above 9 (Since most beekeepers take the same size sample, I refer to the overall count per 300 bees) but spent the better part of the year well below, you might be able to wait out the heat for formic acid, or try thymol in Apriguard.  Ultimately, you can always opt for Aprivar (synthetic pesticide strips) if you remove your human honey supers first, but these will take 42 to 56 days for the full effect.

  • Watch for decreasing populations and remove excess brood comb when no longer needed.  If the population cannot support a 2nd deep hive body, or dark comb in a super, remove it before wax moths or hive beetles use it to lay eggs.  Don’t wait until the webbing of wax moths or the slime of hive beetle larvae are on the frames to take action.

As you can see, there is still plenty you can and should be doing for your bees.  Minimally, you need to lift covers and hive bodies to examine how many bees are between the frames.  Entrance activity rarely measures colony strength, as evidenced by the myriad of stories from beekeepers that lost colonies: “they were flying just last week”  Instead, you need to ensure every seam (the space between frames) is full of bees, and if not, why not?  In addition, you should be lifting the backs or sides of the hive to see if they are getting dangerously low on honey stores and feeding when needed.

We still have about 4 months left of maintenance before we can put the bees to bed for winter.  The bees are preparing already, so you just need to help them along:

  • FEED colonies that need it
  • ADD or REDUCE space for colonies that are contracting or expanding
  • LOOK for failing queens that can’t produce enough new bees to keep the hive full of bees
  • REDUCE mite populations before they overwhelm the colony and spread disease

NC State Beekeepers Meeting July 13-15 in Flat Rock, NC 

Wake County Beekeepers at the NCSBA Meeting 

WCBA members enjoying an evening of dinner while at the NCSBA Summer meeting.  Wish you were there! 

Several WCBA members submitted entries for the competitions and here is a list of the winners:  

WCBA members who won ribbons at the NCSBA Summer Meeting:

Jim Blye:                Blue Ribbon Light Extracted Honey

Second Place Frame of Honey

Cindy Blye:             Second Place Beeswax Figurines

                                 Second Place Hand Balm

                                 Second Place Lip Balm

                                 Second Place Beeswax Candles

                                 Second Place Floating Beeswax Candles

Lucy Raynor           Third Place Ribbon  Amber Honey

  Youth division

Ray Raynor             Blue Ribbon Honey Label

Jill Perkins              Blue Ribbon Beekeeping Photography

 Second Place Honey Confections (other)

 Second Place Bars/Brownies made with honey

 Second Place Jams and Jellies made with honey

Stacie Hagwood     Third Place Cookies with Honey

Second Mead Workshop

We had a great second mead workshop. After discussing the general process that we were going to use, we first tested the specific gravity of a dry mead that I had started three weeks early. It tested out showing an ABV of 12.6%, almost done with the fermentation process. Everyone had a small sip and gave it a thumbs up. We each went through the process of making our own different meads. It is a quick process. We finished with pizza, some sampling of one of my first meads (again a thumbs up), some sampling of Doug States home brew beer (thumbs up here too!) and a lot of talking about beekeeping status and tips. We chatted a bit about doing something more regularly, sharing tastings and food, TBD.

We have included below how you can print off a name badge from the WCBA website.  Print off your badge when you come to the next meeting, we have plastic badge protectors to provide you.  If you do not bring a badge we have badges you can use to write your name on it.  Please wear badges as they help us to better get to know each other. 

  • March 7-9, 2024 - Spring NCSBA Meeting New Bern Waterfront Convention Center, New Bern, NC 

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 2023Login and then visit

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:
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.


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