December 2022 WCBA Newsletter  

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

December 13 Meeting

7:00 PM:   WCBA 2022 Potluck Holiday Gathering

Come join us for fun and food at our 2022 holiday gathering on December 13 at the Wake Commons building. This is a perfect time to visit and catch up with fellow club members. We will also have a short awards ceremony where we will recognize WCBA members who have made significant contributions to our club during 2022.

Here is the link to sign up:

Sign Me Up!

The club will provide paper products, plastic-ware, bottled water and a few soft drinks.

There are two parts to the sign-up:

  • 1.    I will be attending and how many people will be with you
  • 2.    Selecting what food you plan to bring and share.

It would great if you can bring a main dish or two sides/deserts.

Please let us know even if you will attend without bringing food so we have an accurate head count.

We look forward to having you come and celebrate this past year and share your bee stories with your fellow beekeepers.  !

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. 

December 2022 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

A few cold snaps have finally told us a little about how our bees are doing.  Almost gone are the mild nights and warm days that keep the bees busy flying and moving about the whole hive.  On cold days and every night, the bees are clustering to maintain warmth.  Healthy bees with a large cluster will maintain temperature easier than small clusters and weak bees.  In years past, I saw all of my weak colonies die off in the first cold days of November and nearly all of what was left survived through until spring.

(PHOTO of one of my colonies with bees moving about loosely on a warm afternoon.  If it were colder, you would see a more definite cluster near the center and some frames on the outside might not have any bees on them)

Now I seem to have a better hold on recognizing weakened colonies much earlier and taking some action.  So far in this November, I am still at 100% survivors and none seem to be losing bees rapidly like they do when they have been ravaged by virus and varroa.

While many are probably still rearing some brood, I found a few in early November that seemed to have zero brood already.   I don’t quite know why some shut down sooner or more pronounced than others, but it presents us with an opportunity.  

The use of oxalic acid is most beneficial when the colony is broodless, as there are no capped cells in which to hid and skip the effects of the acid.  So, I will soon visit each of my hives and use oxalic acid vaporization on them to try, if I can, to eliminate all the surviving varroa from the colony.

Starting the new year off with near-zero mites really helps them to have a good spring.  Even a small increase in the number of surviving mites in early spring (February for bees is spring!) will result in a dramatic increase in varroa population much earlier in the season.

Other than planning for my oxalic acid treatment regimen, I am doing very little in the bee yard.  Every couple of weeks I am returning to lift the backs or sides of the hive and check weights.  I’m looking for any that have either run through too much stored honey, or any that failed to pack on earlier syrup feedings into honey for winter use.  The most recent trip found a couple of colonies that seemed dangerously light, so I fed heavy syrup to them while our days were warm.  A few others were lighter than others, but probably not truly in danger of running low anytime soon.  But better to feed a bit now while the warmth is around for them to be able to use it.

I have already removed my queen excluders and excess brood boxes that weren’t being used by bees.  I have already removed all the unused honey supers.  Now it’s time for the bees to do the rest.  I am staying out of them from now on.  I’m not lifting frames and I’m not looking for queens or brood.  That ended for me almost a month ago.  At best I might lift a cover to gauge bee population if I don’t see much activity outside the hive.

What should you be doing in the bee yard in December?

  • PLAN for 2023 and make sure you have all your equipment needs met.  Purchase and assemble a few more hive bodies and frames than you think you’ll need so you’re never left without enough.
  • FEED bees that are at risk of starving.  You can add solid feed in the form of sugar or fondant if needed, as December is likely going to be too cold for liquid feed.  Pollen substitutes/patties are not needed in our area unless or until you’re wishing them to increase brood rearing, so skip them in December.  While it’s OK to look in the top to see how much honey is left above the bee cluster, it’s not a good idea to lift any frames of bees and brood from the hive on a cold day.  They will need to maintain heat in the cluster and breaking it up makes them use more energy re-heating it than it does to maintain it.
  • KILL leftover mites while the colony is broodless or near-broodless.  An oxalic acid dribble or vaporization is a great tool in the early weeks of December.  

 Community Opportunities to speak and share about honey bees and beekeeping:  

We receive requests from different organizations for beekeepers to come and talk about honey bees and beekeeping.  We also receive requests to provide exhibits and people to talk about honey bees and beekeeping at events around the county.  If you are interested in being made aware of these opportunities, please contact Lori Harris: or call her at:  919-749-7129


Please go to the website below for detail information.  We plan on opening registration soon.   

Wake County Bee School 2023

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

Proposed change in by-laws to be presented for a vote at the December Meeting 

Your Executive Committee is recommending the following changes to the WCBA By-Laws to add clarity around the current responsibilities of the Sergeant-At-Arms and the Program Chair.  Please find the current language in the WCBA By-Laws just below as well as the proposed changes to the responsibilities for each officer.  The primary objective here is to clearly state who has responsibility for securing meeting space and also for the content and running of the programs at each meeting.  The Executive Committee voted in our most recent meeting to present this to the WCBA members for your review and to have you vote on this change.  This notice will be in the November and December newsletter and we will vote on these changes at the December meeting.  If you have any questions, please contact Keith Buchanan. 

It is time to renew your WCBA Membership for 2023 

  •   You can renew your membership now and it will be good through 12/31/2023. 
  • You will need to go to the NC State Beekeepers Association website to renew the NCSBA membership for 2023: 
  • Membership renewal is “easy” on our new website
  • First go to the WCBA home page:

Detail instructions were reviewed in the November meeting and are in the meeting charts.  These charts may be reviewed by logging into the WCBA website using your ID and password.  Then under MEMBERSHIP tab click on Membership Meeting Minutes.   Under year 2022 click on November and you will come to the charts used at the last meeting.  Then scroll down until you come to WCCBA Membershp Renewal for 2023.  The following charts give detailed instructions on how to renew your membership for 2023.  If you have any questions,  send an email to:  or 

NC State University and the NC State Beekeepers Association sign the agreement for the endowed professorship in apiculture.  

People in picture left to right.   Back RowWayne Rose, Chairman of Farm Bureau Honey Bee Advisory committee; Rick Coor  First VP, NCSBA;  Sonia Murphy, Assistant Dean of CALS Advancement and the President of the NC Agricultural Foundation;  Dr. Rich BonannoAssociate Dean of CALS, Director of NC State Extension;   Dr. David Tarpy, Professor and Extension Specialist.  Front Row:  Dr. Doug Vinson, NCSBA President;  Dr. John Dole, Interim Dean of CALS. 

CALS:  NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 

WCBA Members Ken Cobb, Susan Benton and Gordon Goeking attended the signing meeting.  Picture below also includes Rick Coor - NCSBA and David Tarpy - NC State University.  

NCSBA beekeepers,

The secret is out that the NCSBA intends for NCSU to be a national leader in apiculture research and extension.

The success of our efforts to fund the new NCSU Apiculture field research lab is well known in the greater beekeeping community across the nation. In the fall of 2024, we will bear witness to the construction of a brand-new facility at the Lake Wheeler Research Complex in Raleigh.  This will signal a new day for NC State Extension Apiculture.  The new lab will offer a better equipped facility to restart formal extension training- advanced bee schools, field days and workshops. Local clubs will be able to tour the new facility and experience the apiculture program firsthand.  There are other possibilities to be worked out depending upon facility resources such as virtual and hybrid events and opportunities for beekeepers to be involved with research projects.

Also making news is the initiative to fund an endowed professorship in apiculture.  This endowment will be specifically for apiculture research; the only such endowment in the nation. Proceeds from investment of the endowment will be used to support the apiculture program and ensure that the program will never be phased out at NCSU.  A Ten Dollar challenge has been initiated to urge everyone to please consider a $10 or more contribution upon renewal of their membership for 2023.  A contribution of $10 or more from a significant portion of the 4700+ members of the NCSBA will make a huge difference for the endowment.  Chapters that have three-fourths of their members to contribute will receive recognition in the NC Bee Buzz and at the NCSBA Spring Meeting.

The combination of the new apiculture lab and the endowed professorship will enable the NCSU Apiculture program to consistently attract top level research associates and visionary faculty.  In addition, the program will be better positioned to be more competitive with other Universities for larger and more prestigious national research grants.  Please join me and the beekeepers of the NCSBA as we make it happen.

Doug Vinson, NCSBA President

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

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.

Upcoming Conferences:

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 (

1/10/2023 - WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Location TBA

2/14/2023 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Location TBA 


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