February 2023 WCBA Newsletter  

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

February 14 Meeting

WCBA February 14, 2023 Meeting (Zoom will be available for 7:30pm meeting)

Workshop 7:00PM  -  Chris Hagwood:  Bee Hive Frame and Box Assembly.  In person only.  

7:30PM -  Eric Talley: Queen Supersedure & Brood Pheromone

Eric’s research was based on observations over many years that caused him to conclude that some of what is printed in the text-books about the cause of queen supersedure is, in fact, incorrect. 

He will explain how he formed his hypothesis, how he designed the research study, and review the results and recommendations that will help beekeepers keep most queens from being superseded. 

Eric Talley is a NC State Beekeepers Association Master Craftsman Beekeeper who lives and raises bees in the Hubert/Swansboro area of Onslow County.  He started beekeeping in 1973 as a Future Farmers of America project in high school.  Four years later when he joined the US Marine Corps and gave away his bees.

Eric didn’t have bees for the next 30 years. He currently has 45, 10 frame colonies and 60, 5 frame nucs.  During the summer he raises VSH queens for sale to other beekeepers in the area. 

Eric has designed and completed research in collaboration with Dr. David Tarpy, NCSU. This research has been published by the International Bee Research Association in their Journal of Apicultural Research publication.

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 Feb 14, 2023 Monthly Meeting

Time: Feb 14, 2023 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting



Meeting ID: 878 3965 8161

Passcode: 020674

NC State Fair Preparations 

The NC State Fair is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about beekeeping and the products of the hive.  At the February meeting we will have two members discuss preparing some hive products for this years NC State Fair.

Katie Webber will be presenting a few slides on hive frame preparations for making comb products for the fair.  There are product classes for honey frames with and without wires (suitable for cut comb), section/cut comb and chunk comb.  You will want to make plans now to have your hives ready for the flow if you want to compete in product classes.

Tony Gaddis will present a few slides on preparing to make mead.  Mead will require aging time, so we will need to get started ASAP.  The intent is to have a workshop at Tony's house and hopefully we can tap into some of our members who have competed previously for some expertise.  We will cover what users need to bring for the workshop.  If you know already that you are interested in the workshop you may sign up below:

Making Mead Workshop:

  • Saturday, March 04, 2023

  • 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

  • Location - 1205 Enderbury Dr Raleigh, NC 27614

Register for the Mead Workshop

Want to learn more about becoming a beekeeper?

The Wake County Beekeepers Association will be hosting a Beginner Bee School on Wednesday nights

Dates:  February 1 through March 22, 2023

Time:  7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location:  Wake County Commons Building at 4011 Carya Drive, just off Poole Dr near the Raleigh Beltline. 

Proceeds from this class will benefit the NCSU Apiculture Program for the endowed professorship program through the NC State Beekeepers Association.

Cost for the Bee School: $75.00  Registration will close at the start of bee school.    

 Register for Bee School       

Swarm Season is coming this month!  

The WCBA Coordinator of the Swarm List for 2023 is Barbara Burgess.  The Swarm List is comprised of WCBA members who collect swarms in the community that are reported to the club.  In 2022, WCBA responded to over 70 calls resulting in 70 swarms reported. 

The swarm list is divided into 5 zones covering all of Wake County.  (see map).  When you join the Swarm List you have the opportunity to sign up for up to three zones. 

On the swarm list, we have observer, volunteer and swarm captain roles.  

  • Being an Observer is a great way to learn, to meet other beekeepers, to help document the capture.  
  • Being a Volunteer means that you will make arrangements with the person who called in the swarm to collect it, and report the results to the Swarm Captain. 
  • Being a Swarm Captain means being the first contact from the public about a swarm in your Zone.  The Swarm Captain captures all of the necessary information about the swarm, calls Volunteers and Observers in their zone, and reports the swarm to the Coordinator. Co-captains are possible.

Tuesday February 14 at 6:30 p.m., there will be a Swarm List interest meeting at 6:30pm immediately before the regular monthly meeting at Wake County Commons Building (4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh 27610).  Please contact Barbara if you need to join this meeting remotely or have any questions at: wcbaSwarmCaptain@gmail.com or 571-213-3678. 

To sign up for Swarm Team click on the link below and follow the links to the signup page:  WCBA Swarm List Guidelines

To participate in the WCBA Swarm List, you must be a 2023 WCBA member in good standing. Well worth the $10! 

WCBA Mentor Program

An important function of the WCBA is the annual Mentor Program.  We want new beekeepers to be successful, and learning from others can help you avoid common frustrations that new beekeepers often face.

For new beekeepers we provide the following opportunities to learn from others:

  • ·         Monthly hands-on-the-hive sessions led by Ben Crawley (Mr. Buzz)
  • Beginner workshops at monthly meetings that begin at 7pm, before the start of the business meeting.
  • The Mentor Program’s Mentors and Bee Buddies - Volunteers that are willing to assist new beekeepers in their first year or two.

If you're brand new and want mentorship, join our program. Just remember, you play an important role in your own success, so be sure to attend meetings and other hands-on opportunities offered by the club and club mentors.

Join the WCBA Mentor Program

For more experienced beekeepers, we need you to volunteer!

We need BEE BUDDIES. If you've had bees for even ONE YEAR, you can be a BEE BUDDY to a new beekeeper (even if you are a new beekeeper yourself). BEE BUDDIES can also be in the Mentor Program. You likely remember more about what it's like to be brand new and can offer your own lessons learned to someone new. You will also learn from new beekeepers’ questions and make new acquaintances.

We need MENTORS. If you're a beekeeper with 3 or more years of experience, you're going to make a great MENTOR to a new beekeeper.  As a Mentor, you will benefit as you encounter more challenges and meet others in the program. You do NOT have to visit anyone's bee yard to be a mentor; they will come to you or you can connect through technology. There is also an APPRENTICE HANDBOOK available to Mentors to guide you on topics you can assist with or may be asked about throughout the beekeeping year.

To learn more and to register for the program (in any role) please log in and visit the mentorship page of the new website:

We need a coordinator for 2023 for Community Education  

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 willing to fill this important role for the WCBA, please go to the link or talk with Chris Hagwood.  

   Link to Sign up for Community Coordinator


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:

  • March 19 at 1:30 pm
  • 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.

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

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:  https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/ 
  • Membership renewal is “easy” on our new website
  • First go to the WCBA home page:  https://wakecountybeekeepers.org/

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:  webmaster@wakecountybeekeepers.org  or secretary@wakecountybeekeepers.org 

February 2023 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

Do you think February is springtime?  The bees sure do.  Why do bees think it’s spring already?  Honey bees can’t wait for spring flowers and warm days to get ready.  They have to work 1 or 2 brood cycles ahead of the actual season to be ready.  When days are getting longer, and dandelion and henbit appear, they know it’s time to rear new bees for spring.    

I’ve seen evidence that the bees have been rearing brood for at least one or two brood cycles already.  Populations in the hive are getting larger.  I won’t be surprised at some February swarms.

The photo below shows a comb I removed from a Raleigh home being remodeled.  The owner wanted the bees out immediately, and I noticed that all the brood combs had capped brood and new eggs.  The colony had no stored honey, so they were using everything they could find to make new bees, even though it’s only January!


I lifted the covers to many of my hives to add some emergency dry feeding and saw evidence that there were lots of new bees in most of my colonies.  The photo below shows wall-to-wall bees that had broken the cluster on a warm afternoon

Aside from getting supers ready and assembling new boxes and frames, I will be preparing to do my first mite checks in late February (if we get an extended warm spell) or early March.  I will not blanket treat the entire bee yard, but will sample 100% of my colonies and treat those with more than 9 mites/300 bees.  Because I used oxalic acid in early December, it’s my hope that 100% of my colonies test 0/300 for mites, but experience tells me I will have a few outliers with some mite problems present.

To recap:

  • FEED if needed.  I pulled up on the rear of my hives and found a few dangerously light recently.  Bees have been using more of their stores for brood lately.  I added dry sugar directly on the top frames using a paper towel.  See this photo for an example:

  • If late February gives us some extended warm weather, you may want to do your first mite checks, but it’s OK to wait until early March.  If you want to use a product like Aprivar, which requires 42 days to work) you will want to use it early in the season so it’s removed before you need honey supers on the hive.

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 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.

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 (ncsu.edu)

3/14/2023 - WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Wake Commons Building

4/11/2023 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm.  Wake Commons Building 


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