June 2022 WCBA Newsletter Meeting 

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

June 14 Meeting
We are meeting at Wake County Commons Building
4011 Carya Drive Raleigh, NC 27613

 7:00 pm - How will the coming dearth affect the honeybees?

For Beginner and Intermediate Beekeepers

How will the coming dearth affect the honeybees? Two of our clubs experienced beekeepers will talk with us about the signs of dearth and how to adjust our inspection and hive management approaches. Do I feed sugar water? When do I start? Can I overfeed?

These are just a few of the questions that we will discuss. Come early and learn!

7:30 pm - WCBA’s first:  Honeybee Brain Game Trivia Contest!

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. 

Zoom meeting – WCBA Meeting June 14:

Topic: WCBA June Monthly Meeting

Time: Jun 14, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 883 7189 0547

Passcode: 670125

We are now offering multiple Hands on the Hive sessions with Mr. Buzz, a.k.a. club member Ben Crawley.  These are OPEN SESSIONS to learn and observe 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:

  • June 12 at 1:30 pm
  • July 17 at 1:30 pm
  • August 21 at 1:30 pm
  • September 18 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.  The written test will be offered at the Visitor Center right after the group finishes in the bee yard.  In case of rain, we may cancel the session in the bee yard, but the written test will still be offered at 1:30.  

If you were unable to take your written test back in January and would still like to take that test, please contact Susan Benton directly at 919-961-5600 to make those arrangements.

Upcoming Conferences:

Volunteer needed for BugFest on September 17.  The theme this year is arthropods.

We need a volunteer to be the BugFest coordinator for the WCBA.  You will need to get us registered with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  You will be in charge of the display and getting additional volunteers to be there to answer the many questions we get about honey bees and beekeeping.  It's a fun day and all volunteers get a free T-shirt.   Who doesn't want a free T-shirt with a bug on it?

North Carolina State Fair Volunteers needed

The North Carolina State Fair is October 13-23 this year.  Tony Gaddis has volunteered to be our State Fair Coordinator, but he didn't volunteer to do this alone!  We would like to have 5 or 6 volunteers who can help in this effort.  We plan to have a Zoom meeting soon with the North Carolina state honey bee inspector who is in charge of the display booths at the fair.   This will be a question answer session, which will allow us to get a better understanding of exactly what we need to do and how we can compete to win!  Ideally all of the volunteers will be able to attend.  This is your chance to learn about competing at the fair.  You can also compete at a personal level by showing off your honey, wax candles, vegetables from your garden, etc... and win some prize money.

June 2022 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

Well, the sweet life of spring in the bee yard is over for now.  Easy going days with low humidity.  Bees that almost welcome you to come look in the hive and see what they made.  It’s coming to an end.  Our spring flow is all but over, with only a trickle of nectar sources available.  While a large colony with lots of resources might be able to add some honey to your supers, it’s not likely.  A honey harvest is appropriate any time now.  Be sure to leave plenty for the bees as they will need it for the next 3 to 4 months and will still likely need additional feeding by the beekeeper.

The bees have already realized that there isn’t enough nectar for everyone and they’ve begun to look for anything with sugar in it to make do.  This is my primary motivation to harvest honey as soon as the flow is over, as I would prefer to know for sure that none of my honey contains non-floral sources of sugar such as hummingbird feeders, sugar soda residues, etc.  

I’ve been removing full combs of nectar all spring, often leaving them in the bee truck or the garage for the afternoon until I find another colony that needs help.  But those are now attracting lots of foraging scouts that will lead a robbing party if it’s available to them.  That’s a sure sign that the dearth is upon us.

Unlike spring, with more than enough nectar to go around, our dearth is a challenge in several ways:  First is food for new bees.  While honey stores can and will be consumed, bees prefer new nectar they store near the brood nest to feed brood.  Uncapping and rehydrating honey is a last resort for them.  Save them the effort by providing 1:1 syrup if you’re building out the colony.  Second is comb building.  The shortage of nectar makes it difficult to stimulate the colony to build comb.  You’re unlikely to get additional frames of comb built once the dearth sets in.  This isn’t universal, but if you find they are simply refusing to build comb on the last 2 or 3 frames, it’s not you.

Depending on the stores of honey in the hive, starvation is a real threat to honeybees during the dearth.  Many unassuming beekeepers have called in state inspectors to check for poisoning only to find that it was actually starvation that killed their bees.  Keep a check for ample stores in the hive and feed when in doubt.  Your bees need two or more frames heavy with wet nectar/honey at all times, and a full super of cured honey is ideal.

The worst part of the dearth is robbing.  Forager bees that can’t find nectar will scout for weak colonies of bees to rob.  Always probing, they will report back and lead a robbing party and empty a hive of all the stored honey in a matter of hours.  The result is often a dead colony with telltale wax cappings littering the bottom board and scattered in front on the ground.  There are many devices and home made gadgets to guard the entrance to hives.  Find what you like and put it on the front for the rest of the year.  Only the strongest colonies can guard a wide-open entrance on their own.

Lastly, the heat APPEARS to be a problem, but it’s more of a problem for the BEEKEEPER.  With the arrival of heat, new beekeepers stress over the appearance of bearding bees.  It’s important to remember that bees want the brood nest of the hive to remain at 94 degrees and 50% humidity at all times. That’s very uncomfortable for us, but it’s fine for them.  So bearding for a bee colony is merely making room inside the hive to circulate air.  House bees will move fresh air into and through the hive, exhausting excess heat and both drying honey and providing moisture for bee larvae.  I simply provide a screened entrance reducer and solid bottoms so they can guard the hive while allowing them room to move plenty of air.  You do not need to provide special ventilation in the bottom board or the covers, as the bees know how to do this on their own.  Ventilated covers are probably not detrimental, but aren’t necessary.,

If your bees are only finding area swimming pools for a water source, last month was a good time to get them using one you provided.  It may be too late to break them from using a swimming pool, but it’s never too late to provide clean water for the hive.  You can even fill feeder jars with water and use them instead of syrup.

And of course, now that honey production is over and supers can be removed, it’s an excellent time to assess mite levels and take action.  Use https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroatool/ to assist you in decisions on when and how to treat. 

To summarize:

  • HARVEST honey from your full size colonies that produced a surplus.
  • FEED bee colonies.  Even those with surplus honey can use thin syrup to aid in brood rearing.
  • REDUCE entrances to protect against robbing.
  • Give your bees clean WATER so they have it to dilute honey and cool the hive.
  • CHECK levels and treat for varroa mites if infestation levels have exceeded recommended thresholds.

 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:

lor@charlesharris.com or call her at:  919-749-7129

Here is a current request that is available:  

  • The Goddard School (preschool) - Wake Forest.  July 20, 2022
  • Cary Garden Club  September 6, 2022

Liability Warning Signs

During our last meeting, Greg Morrison, our Sergeant-at-Arms, shared his findings regarding warning signs and the potential liability protection from the placement of signs that honey bees sting and to avoid the area around your apiary.  He has observed in multiple locations, including the NC State Fair and small farms, an “agritourism” liability warning sign and its reference to NC General Statute 99E-32.  We know that even the most basic of beekeeping topics can be heavily debated.  Whether this NCGS applies to a hobbyist, sideliner and/or commercial beekeeper can also be debated.  We do agree that during litigation, any defense may help your case. The best source Greg as able to locate is from the North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization and is offered through its website at:  nc-ana.org.  The sign is both durable and appears to adhere to the NCGS.  The cost for the metal sign is $40 before shipping.

WCBA recently held two sessions at Pullen Park Community Center.  They were held as part of the parks programs for Pullen Community Center.  The topic was "Introduction to Honey Bees and Beekeeping.  The picture below shows Rick Bordeaux presenting on Honey Bee biology at the May session.

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.

NC State Apiculture Program Latest Newsletter
Greetings from the NC State Apiculture Program! You can now access our latest issue of the our program's newsletter, the Wolfpack's Waggle, which can also be found as usual through:

6/12/2022 - Hands on the hive 1:30 pm - Oak View County Park 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610

6/14/22 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610 

7/12/22 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610

7/17/2022 - Hands on the hive 1:30 pm - Oak View County Park 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610


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