Happy New Year!  

May the honey bees you care for thrive in 2024

January 2024 WCBA Newsletter  

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

January 9 Meeting

7:00 PM:  WORKSHOP on Winter Feeding of Honey Bees

7:30 PM: Our guest speaker for the month of January will be Kamal Bell, speaking about how he engages youth in beekeeping and agricultural practices. 

Kamal Bell, of Sankofa Farms in Cedar Grove (just north of Hillsborough) is a certified beekeeper, but his "claim to fame" is engaging youth in beekeeping and agricultural practices with the goal to create a sustainable food source for minorities in both rural and urban communities in Durham and Orange Counties. He developed Sankofa Farms Agricultural Academy to provide opportunities for young men to engage in agriculture-focused STEM skill development. You can learn more about Sankofa Farms at https://www.sankofafarms.com

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 via Zoom:

The plan is to provide Zoom for the meeting.  The Zoom link will be sent before the meeting in a meeting reminder email.  

WCBA Membership

It is time to renew your WCBA membership for 2024.  You should renew before the end of January.  It is simple to renew just go to the WCBA home page, log in and click on the membership tab.  Below are the details on membership which was approved in a recent member meeting.   

Article 4  DUES

  • The annual dues shall be $20.00 per year and shall be due on January 1 of each year.  Anyone living permanently in the same dwelling may pay $30 per year under a family/household membership option.  

  • Any member of the Association who does not pay dues by February 1 shall be dropped from the membership roll.  A person may be restored to active membership by paying the current year’s dues.  Payment of dues at the regular rate on or after September 1 is considered payment for the remainder of that year and all of the following calendar year.

  • Dues reflected in this Article are inclusive of any costs associated with payment processing.

WCBA 2023 Financial Update through December 31

Income -                    $16,666.07                                    


  •  Beekeeping School -                   $4,679.00
  • Memberships -                             $5,853.00
  • General Donations -                     $1,599.54
  • NCSU Endowment Fundraising-  $3,587.00

Expenses -     $16,211.23              


  • General Expenses  -                     $5,183.82 
    • (includes $2856.00 Wild Apricot fee) 
  • Beekeeping School -                     $1,221.63 
  • Swarm Capture Poles -                 $159.85    
  • NCSU Endowment Donation-       $7800.00
  • NCSU Dr Tarpy Donation              $1000.00
  • State Fair                                       $497.63

Current Bank Balance $20,907.22

The WCBA Executive Committee will present a proposed budget for the year of 2024 at the January 9 meeting.  Please plan on being present at the January meeting so you can review the budget and we will then vote on the budget for 2024.   A link to the proposed budget is provided here:    

Proposed 2024 WCBA Budget for Membership Review and Approval.pdf

WCBA New Beekeeper School in early 2024

We are having our 2024 New Beekeeper School on Tuesday evening starting on January 23 and running through March 19 for a total of 9 weeks.  We will overlap with the February and March meetings and course content those evenings will be adapted to allow attendees to attend the WCBA monthly meetings. 

Sign up for the WCBA New Beekeeper School at the following link:


Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping

For the past 3 years the WCBA has presented an Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping session at Pullen Park.  The session for 2024 is being held on Saturday January 20.  The link below takes you to the webpage where one can sign up to attend.  If you have family or friends that are interested in learning about honey bees and the practice of beekeeping this will be a good session for them to attend.  There is no charge for the session.  Here are the details: 

Activity Details:       Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping

Meeting Details:         Saturday January 20, 2024

Time:                          10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location:                    Pullen Community Center

  408 Ashe Ave

   Raleigh, NC, 27606


Link to Register:         Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping

January 2024 in the Bee Yard

Chris Hagwood

We have been pretty lucky so far with our cold nights, and I think some of the smaller colonies, at least for now, have benefitted.  Our shorter days are going to be around for a few more weeks, but the days will get noticeably longer before the month is out.  The bees will notice and begin to prepare for Spring.  I find they usually have already started to rear more brood in December and by January they will definitely increase the rate of egg laying and brood rearing.

We may see the first of the maple and dandelion bloom in our area in January this year.  It is typically late February before it arrives and it’s in in full swing by early March, just in time for our first swam calls.  I missed some early swarming last spring when the bees felt like late February or early March was a great time and many of my overwintered queens and bees were already gone when I did my first mite checks in late March.  I plan to check more frequently this spring and look for swarm cells.

At this time of year, however, we are most concerned with having enough food for the bees.  They are getting pollen in our area, so unless you’re trying to brood your bees up really early, there is not a good reason to add pollen substitutes just yet.  However, you may find you need to add a sugar brick, or some dry sugar poured on a paper towel or the inner cover.  I have made some sugar bricks and have added some to my lightest colonies so they won’t run out during a cold or wet spell.

For Black Friday, I purchased a hive scale from SolutionBee.  I am tracking an average sized colony in a nearby bee yard, and the graph provided below of weights shows that it is steadily, but slowly, consuming stores in the hive.  It has lost about 2 pounds over about a week’s timeframe.  I haven’t had this scale long enough to try to get some “dry weight” averages of hive that’s full of bees, but has no honey stores.  When I know that weight range, it will help me to identify any that have gone critically low in honey stores before they run all the way out.

I am also experimenting with very inexpensive temperature and humidity loggers.  They will take a reading every few minutes and save it until it’s downloaded to my phone and graphed.  I am curious to see what the typical temperature is up high in the hive just below the inner cover.  I’d like to compare samples from my sealed up hives (no upper ventilation in winter) to those that are ventilated significantly under the guise of reducing moisture.  The models I have purchased so far only cost $10-15 each and some will work with a WIFI hub.  None of my hives are in range of wifi, so I am not sure that feature will currently be of much benefit to me.  The sensors fit between frames and could be mounted nearly anywhere in the hive.  If they hold up to the rigors of being inside with the bees, I will purchase more and expand my data gathering efforts.

So, for you and your bees, I am simply continuing to recommend you use your time to prepare for 2024.  Add some sugar in solid form to any hive that you think is light on stores as a precaution, but you can always wait and do this after the bees have moved their cluster up high in the hive closer to where you will be adding the sugar.  This is also a good time to work on getting your bee equipment ready for the spring.

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@ wakecountybeekeepers.org.

2023 WCBA Volunteers Recognized

The following WCBA members were recognized at the December meeting for their contributions to the WCBA in 2023.  We thank each one who contributed to helping us achieve our mission and purpose as a chapter of the NCSBA in 2023.  

2023 WCBA VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR   - received a silver hive tool and gift card

  • Barbara Burgess – 2023 Swarm Captain, communicated need for pollinators at swarm events. Always willing to mentor fellow beekeepers
  • Lee Clark Sellers – knows plants and shares that knowledge! Organized raffle for the Bee Fest, always wears a smile!
  • Christin Danchi – State Fair Comm member ’22 & ’23, instrumental in Fair booth design, created all of the signage and banners, just gets stuff nailed!
  • Joe Doman – instrumental in getting donations for Bee Fest and worked the event!
  • Tony Gaddis – more than just a treasurer, enthusiastically jumped into bringing members together for a successful Fair booth, hosted mead and candle making workshops, always volunteered for special events
  • Stacie Hagwood – always helping behind the scenes, created children’s game, created MUD day, led the plant swap
  • Jenny Ingraham – conducted monthly photo contest and made bread for the prize, made meetings fun! Coordinated photos for the Fair booth
  • Jill Perkins – volunteers for most events, coordinates refreshments for the meetings, always willing to lend a hand

2023 OUTSTANDING SPONSOR  - received a gold hive tool and a gift card

  • Gordon Goeking – nominated because of his support and sponsorship of his mentees, keeps the Executive Committee on track, speaker at monthly meetings, coordinated community classes at Pullen Park, drafts Exec Comm meeting agendas and minutes, Editor-in-Chief of the monthly newsletter, very strong mentor, encourages good stewardship, stays engaged with his mentees.

2023 WCBA NEW BEEKEEPER – received a silver hive tool, gift card and donation made to NCSU Professorship and framed certificate

  •  Mary Day – awesome job engaging members for Bee Fest, very interactive, committed to bee education and improving her own knowledge of beekeeping, extremely energetic towards all bee matters

2023 PIONEER AWARD – received gold hive tool, framed certificate and donation made to NCSU Professorship

  • Charles Heatherly – one of the oldest members of the Club, Master Beekeeper, former President of the NC Beekeepers Association, as Chair of the NCBA Legislative Comm, he successfully worked to obtain funding for the new Bee Lab

2023 WCBA BEEKEEPER OF THE YEAR – received gold hive tool, gift card, made donation to NCSU Professorship and framed certificate

  • Chris Hagwood – single-handedly taken most responsibility in the Wake Bee Club, helped organize bee school, organized fundraising for NCSU Professorship, writes monthly column for Club newsletters, passionate about bees, always has time to help individuals, I know I can always go to Chris even if it’s not bee related.

This picture is from the Fortune Magazine when they carried a long article on "The Bee Business".  Can you guess what year this article ran in the magazine?   Look at the cost of a package of honey bees. 

  • January 4-6, 2024 - Hive Live Conference and Tradeshow 2024, Sevierville, Tennessee
  • January 4-6, 2024 - North American Honey Bee Expo 2024, Louisville, Kentucky (Kamon Reynolds).
  • March 7-9, 2024 - Spring NCSBA Meeting New Bern Waterfront Convention Center, New Bern, NC 
  • July 11-13, 2024 - Summer NCSBA Meeting, Sandhills Community College, Southern Pines, NC 

2024 WCBA Executive Committee

 2024 WCBA Executive Committee can be found at this webpage: 

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 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.
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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