July 2023 WCBA Newsletter  

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

July 11 Meeting

WCBA July 11, 2023 Meeting 

7:00 July Workshop (no Zoom):  Right sizing your beehives 

What happens when I have more boxes than bees?

This workshop is targeted at beginner beekeepers who needs to understand the risks of having more boxes than bees (empty deeps and honey supers). This is especially true for someone who added extra boxes during the spring population buildup and nectar flow. Right-sizing is part of seasonal hive management and now is the time to assess the need during your inspections.

Please join us for an informal discussion on right-sizing and visit with your fellow beekeepers.

7:30  Preparing your beehives for winter

Now is the time to start preparing the honey bees for winter.  The goal is to be able to get all the hives you are managing by November through the winter and ready for the spring flow and the excitement that goes with it.  Gordon Goeking will present this topic that has been primarily put together by Rick Bordeaux.  

Gordon Goeking  has been a beekeeper since 2008.  He is a journeyman beekeeper and currently has 11 beehives in 3 locations within Wake County.  He has learned the importance of being diligent in the management of our esteemed honey bee and values greatly the requirement to have a good honey bee management plan along with data in place to improve the potential for good outcomes in the practice of managing honey bees.  He is currently the Secretary of the WCBA.  

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 July 2023 Monthly Meeting

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

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 857 4115 2155

Passcode: 638815

WCBA 2023 Financial Update through June 30

Income -                          $12,391.84


  • Beekeeping School -                               $3,904.00
  • Memberships -                                        $3,153.00
  • General Donations -                                   $969.54
  • NCSU Endowment Fundraising-             $3,587.00

Expenses -                         $3,289.69


  • General Expenses  -                      $1,559.91 (1)
  • Beekeeping School -                      $1,221.63 (2)
  • Swarm Capture Poles -                     $159.85

(1) Increased with expenses for NCSU Lab outing picnic

(2) Increased with order of replacement club t-shirts

Current Bank Balance     $29,554.53

We Will be voting on the 2023 contribution to NCSU endowment in the July meeting

In the September 2022 monthly meeting the WCBA committed to contributing $2,000 per year for 5 years for a total committed gift of $10,000 to the NC State University Endowed Professor in Apiculture.  We made our first $2,000 payment in 2022.  We have received donations since then designated for this Endowed Professor position and we had raised monies through Bee School and some fundraisers.  Based on this, the WCBA Executive Committee will make a motion at the July meeting for us to contribute $7,800 this year toward the NC State Endowed Professor in Apiculture.

Funds for Endowed NC State Professor 2023

  • Designated individual donations:                     $1,106
  • 2023 Bee School proceeds:                             $3,130 
  • Spring Club Raffle:                                           $1,870
  • Fundraiser festival at Lonerider                           $1,647
  • Total                                                                  $7,753

Recommended donation be rounded up to          $7,800

Second Workshop on Making Mead

Tony Gaddis will be hosting the second making mead workshop.  All are invited to attend but you need to register.  If you have bottled your first batch, please bring your stories to share.  present a few slides on preparing to make mead.  Mead will require aging time, so we will need to get started ASAP. 

Second Making Mead Workshop:

  • Saturday, July 22, 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Location - 1205 Enderbury Dr Raleigh, NC 27614

Sign up on the WCBA website (more information on what to bring will be available on the WCBA website).  You can go to the events tab on the home page and then click on the meeting and events link.  This should take you to the July calendar.  If you go to July 22 you will see this event listed and if you click on the event, it should bring you to the the registration page for the event.  The other option is to click on the link shown just below:  

Register for Mead Workshop

Two youtube videos for you to view:  

I thought we would focus on a basic mead and a fruit mead.  Two good youtube videos are:

Simple Traditional Mead - How to Make a Basic Dry Mead

When to Add Fruit - Primary? Conditioning? Both?

WCBA Mentor Program

I have been enjoying watching the Mentor Program from the captain’s seat. In every situation I have encountered, the happiest Mentor-Bee Buddy-Mentee relationships are the active ones. I have also seen mentees working together on their hives and helping each other, which is SUCH a great way to build our community. I’ve even ended up in a few group chats, which is a lot of fun to observe and even participate in. So get out there, reach out to your fellow keepers, and keep those bees TOGETHER! Common problems I am seeing arise in the new beekeeper’s apiary this time of year include cross comb situations, queenlessness, and swarming colonies. If you’re having these problems: you are NOT alone. Consider asking your mentor if you can come to their yard while they are doing a hive inspection. Ask your fellow mentees if you can do an inspection together. Throw a comment up on the Wake County Beekeepers Facebook Page. Email the Google Group, even! I find that working with more experienced beekeepers is worth its weight in (liquid) gold. Please email me at webber.katie3@gmail.com with any comments, concerns, or ideas to improve the program!

– Katie Webber, Mentor Program lead

**Announcing the Wake County Beekeepers July 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 May, photos AND TITLES OF SHOTS should be submitted to Jenny Ingraham at jennyingraham@gmail.com by 12 pm on Monday, July 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 May will be announced at the club meeting in June 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).

  • July 16 at 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@ wakecountybeekeepers.org.

We had a great time with the honey tasting at the June meeting.  Dana Stahlman had an excellent display and it was a lot of fun to taste the different honey that he provided.  Here are two pictures from the event.  

July 2023 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

Our beekeeping season has been an unusual one for a few reasons.  First, spring came very early.  Warm weather, blooms, and swarms were 3 weeks or more early this year.  That seems to have translated so far into a longer, more productive nectar flow.  For unknown reasons, some beekeepers are reporting additional flows of nectar into late June that are filling honey supers after harvesting. 

It is the time of year to begin assessing colony strength and take action.  Beginner colonies started from nucs or packages have likely been fed most of the year and may require continued feeding.  There is no ideal size for an overwintered colony, so the beekeeper needs to decide how much comb and space they desire before the approach of winter.  The only downside to building up excess boxes of comb on frames is storing it off the hive if you don’t have a colony size large enough to maintain it.

Assuming your colonies have built up and are simply needing to be maintained for the remainder of the year, you will want to turn your attention to colony health.  First, what is the current varroa mite count, and what has been the experience so far?   Package bees may have started with no mites in your sample and may continue to test very low.  But you will not know until you complete your test sample.  Other colonies, especially those overwintered, could have very high counts at this time of year.  Unfortunately, the high heat will limit your treatment options.

If you have large colonies and are willing to make splits, that will aid you in reducing mite numbers.  A split that raises its own queen will be broodless after 3 weeks and oxalic acid would make an excellent treatment option during that window.  Even the queen-right side of the split could be created with all open-brood and a treatment of oxalic acid would dramatically reduce the mite numbers.  

The next thing to look for is the overall amount of bees and brood.  Colonies that failed to thrive and are not filling the entire brood box may need a new queen in order to make it to 2024.  It is rare for a small colony to limp along and make it over winter if it never increased in population significantly.  Consider requeening anything that is not currently bursting with bees unless it recently swarmed or requeened.

Speaking of requeening.  It is worth noting that new beekeepers can often mistake colony requeening processes for the need to find and buy a queen.  This is not often the case.  The colony might be between queens, or the stress of a harsh mite treatment like formic or thymol may have suppressed the laying of eggs for a period of time.

When someone says “I need a queen!” and feels like it’s urgent, it’s worth examining further to learn if they really do need a queen and when to make that decision.  To purchase and introduce a queen too soon risks the colony killing off the one you bought, as they are likely to prefer their own, even if it’s not yet mated and laying eggs.  

Here are some examples:

  • The beekeeper cannot find a queen.  This rarely means the colony is queenless.  Remember that you, the beekeeper, MUST learn to find eggs in the brood nest.  The presence of worker eggs in worker cells is your true test of queen presence, not the queen itself.

  • The beekeeper cannot see any eggs or larvae in the brood nest.  This may not mean you need to supply a queen.  The test is for HOW LONG has there been no eggs?  It may be 3 to 4 weeks before eggs are laid after a requeening event (a swarm, or an emergency/supersedure).  Keep records of when you last saw eggs.  If any capped brood remains, it’s too soon to purchase a queen.  That means it’s been less than 3 weeks since eggs were laid.

  • The beekeeper sees no brood whatsoever, including no capped brood.  This is the most likely that the colony is queenless, but it’s not something requiring you to purchase one in the next day or two.  You can wait one more week if you want to check back, and if none then you can assume it’s queenless or test it.

So how can you find out sooner if the colony needs you to supply a new queen?  The best test is to introduce a frame that has eggs and very young larvae on it, assuming you have none in the suspected queenless colony.   Wait 48 hours.  If the bees are harboring a queen already, they will not create emergency queen cells.  If they know they are queenless, they will use this frame to build emergency cells.   You can allow this process to continue, or you can remove that frame and introduce a mated queen right away.

Lastly, the next month will be a good gauge of how much you will need to feed.  Lift up the back of hives that are full of honey stores and get used to the weight you feel.  When that starts to lighten quickly, you will know you need to feed more often to maintain or add weight of honey stores.

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. 

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.
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 Workshops and Conferences :   


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