October 2023 WCBA Newsletter  

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

October 10 Meeting

6:30 -  Workshop - First Annual Fall Plant Exchange (no Zoom)

See details below in the newsletter.

7:30 –  Analytical Prediction of Hive Behavior, Nancy Rausch, SAS Institute - Zoom will be available.

Nancy will be sharing how she combines Analytics and Art to tell a data story. Her project is a visualization of an analytical forecast of bee hive activity. Bees, along with other pollinators, are struggling in recent years. Using analytics, we can better predict their movement and health remotely, without having to bother the hive. She uses art to present the results in a fun and compelling way that people of all ages and backgrounds can understand.

Nancy Rausch is a Research and Development Director and Data Scientist at SAS Institute. She leads a team of engineers that develop SAS’ Data Governance and Cloud Services products, with a focus on leveraging AI and Machine Learning methods for data lifecycle management. She is also the Chairperson of the Linux Foundation AI & Data Technology Advisory Council, working to help expand the adoption of open-source technologies at the intersection of AI and Data.

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:

Topic: WCBA Oct 10, 2023 Monthly Meeting

Time: Oct 10, 2023 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Meeting ID: 893 9235 9956

Passcode: 497804 

WCBA Membership

The WCBA Executive Committee would like to propose changes to bylaws to allow for both INDIVIDUAL and HOUSEHOLD membership options. The cost of these options, as well as associated deadlines and the affect on permanent memberships will be discussed and presented at the October 10th meeting. These changes will need to be made in the bylaws, so a final vote on the bylaws changes will take place at the November 14th meeting"


We want to extend a sincere thank you to all who contributed to the success of this year's BugFest. With approximately 22,000 enthusiastic attendees, it was truly an incredible event.

Our team of nine volunteers per shift made the day run seamlessly, reminding us that "many hands make light work." The weather couldn't have been better, ensuring a pleasant day for everyone involved.

Our exhibit, spread across four tables under three tents, offered an array of engaging experiences. The observation hive, extractors, and the children’s pollination game were as popular as ever. This year, we brought along some extra bugs (It is BugFest after all.)  We had small hive beetles, wax moths, wax moth larvae, and varroa mites, which gave us an opportunity to have meaningful conversations about beekeeping challenges.

BugFest was an enjoyable day for all, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our passion for beekeeping with the community. We could not have done this without our many volunteers for this huge event, and we look forward to continuing our mission of raising awareness about the vital role of honey bees. Thank you again for making BugFest 2023 a memorable event.

Here's a link to photos from the event:  https://wakebeekeepers.smugmug.com/2023-Events/Bug-Fest/

2024 Nomination Committee Recommendations

 The Nomination Committee, comprised of Keith Buchanan, Tony Gaddis and Greg Morrison, is privileged to recommend the following officers who will also serve on the Executive Committee for 2024:

  • President – Chris Hagwood (for his 2nd term)       
  • Vice President – Lee Clark-Sellers (replacing Melinda Pfeiffer)
  • Secretary – April Reeves (replacing Gordon Goeking)
  • Treasurer – Tony Gaddis (for his 2nd term)
  • Sergeant-at-Arms – Jill Perkins (replacing Greg Morrison)
  • Program Chair – Krissy Ross (replacing Keith Buchanan).  (Keith has agreed to continue to oversee AV.)
  • Selva Ganapahy (2024).  Filling Katie Webber’s remaining term.  (According to the WCBA Constitution and By-Laws unfulfilled terms are appointed by the President.)
  • Susan Benton (2024 and 2025)
  • Erica Adams (replacing Tom Wells) (2024-2026)

Just a reminder that this is the Nominating Committee report.  Nominations are also accepted from the floor as well even as late as the time of voting during our election at the October regular meeting.

First Annual Fall Plant Exchange!

October 10th Meeting

6:30pm (NOTE THE TIME!)

Fall is the best time to divide most perennials.  With the approaching cold weather, plants focus on root development and wait until spring to focus on blooms.  Plants suffer less stress with being planted in the fall, and although you should water regularly (at least once a week) after transplanting, and continue until frost, after that, baring any droughts, most plants can handle a lot less attention going into the spring. 

Want to participate?  Here is how it works:  You bring bee-friendly (nectar) plants you want to exchange, and receive a ticket for each plant you bring, that can be exchanged for plants that others bring.  You are welcome to bring other plants (non-nectar) that you think people might want, but you will only receive a ticket for bee-friendly plants. 

Each plant should be accompanied by a tag indicating what it is, and each group of plants that are the same should have a description on an index card, suitable for taking a picture, such as this:

Leftover/unclaimed plants by the start of the club meeting at 7:30pm, will be available for purchase for $1/plant with any money collected going to the general club fund. Any remaining unsold plants by the end of the meeting will be donated for the door prize auction. 

NC State Fair

Our goal for WCBA and the NC State Fair is to maximize participation from club members and have all products be judged. We plan to submit an entry for every class for the club booth. The sign-up process can be cumbersome, and we are volunteering to do it on your behalf. If you agree that we have an option to submit your entry as a WCBA booth entry, you will get the ribbon and the prize money. If you want us to sign you up as an individual entry, you will have a chance to earn a ribbon. If you want to go through the sign-up process yourself (without WCBA help) and only be judged as an individual, then you would be eligible for both the ribbon and the prize money.

Here is a link to the WCBA sign up genius:


And here is a link to the NC State Fair rules and online entry (if you want to manage yourself):  https://www.ncstatefair.org/2023/Competitions/Entering/BeesandHoneyCompetition.htm

NC State Beekeepers Association Honey Sales at the NC State Fair 2023

The North Carolina State Beekeepers Association is asking local chapters to volunteer to sell honey for one day at the fair.  The WCBA has volunteered to cover Saturday, October 14, 2023.

The Benefits to you for helping sell honey at the NCSBA booth are many:

  • We help the NCSBA raise funds for the NC State Endowed Professor in Apiculture.
  • You get to meet a lot of friendly people and answer their questions about honey and the honey bees.
  • This is an opportunity to work with other WCBA members.
  • Helping at the NCSBA Honey booth counts as a service credit in the NCSBA Master Beekeeper Program for the journeyman and master beekeeper levels.
  • Entry to the NC State Fair is reimbursed so you can spend time at the fair before or after your service time at the Honey Booth.

Your admission to the fair will be reimbursed at the event.  Just work a shift or two and spend the rest of the day at the fair.  On top of all of that, your participation counts as a service credit toward your journeyman or master beekeeper certification.

It is suggested that you purchase advance tickets if possible to help reduce expenses.

Click on the link below,  go to the signup for Saturday October 14 and sign up for one of the shifts on Saturday October 14.   

Sign up:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E4CABAA28A13-ncsba2#/


The Awards Nomination portal is open! Please go to the Membership/Awards tab on our WCBA website to nominate a member for one of the 2023 Awards but hurry because nominations close at our November 14th Club meeting!!! The nomination process is quick and easy! Awards will be presented at our December 12th meeting.

We will recognize:

  • Volunteers of the year (multiple recipients possible)
  • New Beekeeper of the year
  • Outstanding Sponsor
  • Beekeeper of the Year
  • The Pioneer Award
You may even nominate yourself. Former awards recipients can be nominated again! See the website for more information about each award category.

Please consider those who have helped with swarms, teaching, meetings, State Fair, Bugfest, Farmer’s Market and our many other Club activities! Recognitions are based on your nominations so please complete a nomination form TODAY!

Contact Tom Wells tomw@designdevelopment.com or any Officer/Board member with any questions.

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.

October 2023 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

I would love to take up a whole article with highlights of my South American trip, but I will just say that the primary thing I learned is that the United States failed to contain hive beetles and varroa, so if we do get exposure to tropilaelaps mites (a variety that is much more devastating to honey bee colonies) we will certainly be doomed to widespread failures. I blame our failures squarely on our dependence upon migratory beekeeping. I was surprised to learn that many other countries have had little issues with hive beetles, and some have quarantined affected colonies to small parts of their countries. Most of Latin America, outside of Mexico, is on alert for their first exposures to hive beetles now. In attending a round table discussion on hive beetles, I expected to pick up some tips from other countries, but really seemed the United States has dealt with them the longest of anyone attending the symposium.

I won’t belabor this point longer, but if we found a population of honey bees with a new pest or disease, even very early, I do not believe we would have any sort of system in place to prevent the spread of this threat because no one would be willing to suspend migratory practices long enough.

Now, on to fall in the bee yard. I re-read my article from last October and my thoughts are very similar this year: By October, it’s too late to salvage colonies that you WOULD HAVE or SHOULD HAVE acted on sooner. Primarily, the October bee colony should be thriving with healthy bees. Colonies sick with viruses, stressed with poor supplies of honey, or lacking a large enough population to maintain warmth on our first cold nights will quickly perish.

If you are fortunate enough to have a large colony of healthy bees, it likely does NOT need space added this late in the season. I have not seen colonies prone to swarming this late due to lack of space in the hive. While you can never say never, you will be surprised how much smaller that colony will appear after the arrival of cold weather. First, older bees will die off much quicker and only the fatter winter bees will be left. Drones, if they aren’t already being removed, will be ejected, and with the need to keep brood warm, the brood nest will shrink. Inspections early in October should still see many frames of brood, but you may notice some queens will take a break earlier than others and may perhaps enter a broodless period even before the cold of winter sets in.

Use the warm days of October to apply thick, heavy sugar syrup to colonies that have not yet filled their outside and top-most frames with capped honey. Spend time lifting the hive just before your inspections, and pair those with your observations on the amount of stored resources. You will want the bees to enter winter with 30 or more pounds of capped honey (generally a full medium super or the equivalent in deep frames). Our winters allow you to supplement with dry sugar and candy boards, but I would not use that as my primary strategy for overwintering bees. Your schedule and the bees needs will not always line up to add more sugar.

By the time November arrives, we will see our first truly cold nights. In my experience, the first prolonged period of cold nights will separate the survivor colonies from the ones that didn’t stand a chance. It took about 5 years for me to be able to recognize in August those colonies that would end up being dead by the end of November. I rarely lose a colony in winter, but those that I do lose are much more likely to make it through to February than my earlier years.

To recap:

  • Feed colonies light on stores.
  • Decrease space in hives that contain smaller colonies of bees to avoid problems with wax moths or hive beetles.
  • Monitor weak colonies for dead outs during warm weather so wax moths don’t overtake the hive. Freeze brood comb and store in air-tight containers until cold weather is constant.

NCSBA Master Beekeeper Program

Some of our WCBA members who attended WCBA Bee School in 2023 took (and passed) the written test to become a Certified Beekeeper through the NCSBA Master Beekeeper Program (MBP). The next step to become Certified was to keep bees for at least 4 months, then pass a Certified Practical test.  Many have fulfilled the four month requirement and now wonder how to study for and take the practical test.  Here is a link to the practical test and we recommend that you review it before taking the test. 


The practical test may be administered by any Certified Beekeeper who is also a member of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association (NCSBA). Ben Crawley administers the practical test at the monthly "Hands on the Hive".  However, those sessions have ended for this season.  If you are working with a mentor, you may ask your mentor to administer the test.  The results should be reported back to Susan Benton. If you don't have a mentor, but want to take the test before it gets too cold, please contact Susan Benton to arrange to take the test.  She may be reached by text at 919-961-5600 or sbenton78@earthlink.net 

The written scores are good for 4 years, so you have plenty of time left to take the practical test in the spring or next summer.

  • January 4-6, 2024 - Hive Live Beekeeping Conference 2024, Sevierville, Tennesse
  • 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 

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.


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