This picture is the Growing Minds 4H Beehive in action

September 2022 WCBA Newsletter Meeting 

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

September 13 Meeting
We are meeting at Wake County Commons Building
4011 Carya Drive Raleigh, NC 27613

 7:00 pm - Workshop: NCSU Endowed Professorship

The North Carolina State Beekeeping Association and North Carolina State University (NCSU) are continuing on a journey to create and maintain a first class honey bee research program. The new Apiculture field laboratory and an endowed professorship will both be major elements of this effort.

Rick Coor, 1st Vice President of the NC State Beekeepers Association, will be with us to explain the NCSBA project to establish an endowed professorship in apiculture at NCSU.  He will also describe the vision of how these projects will evolve into other programs that support our beekeeping community.

More information on the endowed professorship project can be found here.

7:30 pm - Queen Genetics, Selective Breeding and Tom Seely’s Darwinian Beekeeping - Betsy Spencer

Productive queens are critical to a strong and flourishing colony. Many pests and diseases threaten the health of our bees and we are always chasing the next silver bullet that will guarantee the survival of the colony. Queen producers do their best to add to the arsenal by selectively breeding for characteristics such as mite resistance. Mother nature has been selectively breeding for millennia. Maybe it is time to see if she can teach us a better way.

Betsy Spencer will discuss Dr. Tom Seely’s protocol of Darwinian Beekeeping. She will discuss selective breeding to improve genetics for resistance to pests and diseases. Betsy will also describe her techniques for raising queens to support her selective breeding projects.       

Betsy Spencer

Betsy’s journey in beekeeping began in the summer of 2003 when her garden yielded misshapen cucumbers. Betsy spent the winter reading about beekeeping and in the spring of 2004 took the beginner beekeeping course offered by Wake County Beekeepers Association. She shadowed Jack Tapp at Busy Bee Apiaries in Chapel Hill and ran his queen operation for several years. Her goal continues to be raising bees that are locally adapted to the area and have resistance to the varroa mites by using only non-chemical treatments and breeding from survival stock. Betsy is partnering with Terry Wright to take the concept of survival stock to the next level by following Dr. Tom Seely’s protocol of Darwinian Beekeeping.

Zoom meeting – WCBA Meeting September 13:

Topic: WCBA September 2022 Monthly Meeting

Time: Sep 13, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 840 3243 2889

Passcode: 931444

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. 

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 date is the last session for 2022:

  • 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.

Honey Bee Day August 13 at the NC State Farmer's Market - Raleigh

We had a great turnout of volunteers for Honey Bee Day at the NC State Farmers Market.  There were commercial vendors selling products but we may have been the only educational booth.  Chris Hagwood brought an observation hive with the queen marked in yellow (the queen color for 2022).  This made it easier for everyone to find the queen.  The temperatures we cooler and just right for a wonderful time.  We had many people stop by the booth and we were able to answer their questions.  We had some bee equipment for them to observe and open.  We also had a spare hat, smoker and hive tool so parents could take pictures of their children wearing the hat and holding the equipment in front of the hive equipment. 

Susan Benton was on WPTF as they were broadcasting their Weekend Gardener Show.

WCBA Volunteers included:  Chris Hagwood, Kevin and Laura Edenborough, April Reeves, Katie Webber, Fred Tarver, Randy Owens, Charles Heatherly, Keith and Janice Buchannan, Jim Blye, Ann Slater, Tony Gaddis and Susan Benton.  

Pictures below are from Honey Bee Day!  

BugFest is Satuday September 17, 2022.  The theme this year is arthropods.

We need volunteers to work BugFest. It's an easy job. You get to sit or stand behind a table and engage the public about bees. You don't have to be an expert. Trust me, you know more than the general public does about bees!

is a very interesting event and a good time to talk with the community about honey bees, beekeeping and enjoy some time with members of the WCBA.  We plan to have a 3-deep-frame observation hive on display.  Consider helping this year and get credit toward your journeyman or master beekeeper certificate.  It is a fun day, and all volunteers get a free T-shirt.   Who doesn't want a free T-shirt with a bug on it?  Sign up here:

North Carolina State Fair is your opportunity to work with fellow beekeepers to help our booth shine at the fair!

Tony Gaddis is our coordinator for the WCBA State Fair Booth.  He has set up a staging area for the display at the fair.  Please notice, it is pretty empty right now and we really need your help!

Many of you are new or very small scale bee keepers.  There are two easy ways to help our display booth. 

One would be photos:

  • One black and white print of a honey bee or beekeeping related scene with appropriate caption (photograph must be mounted and no larger than 8”x10”) Framing is optional. 
  • One color print of a honey bee or beekeeping related scene with appropriate caption (photograph must be mounted and no larger than 8" by10").  Framing is optional.

Also, we are going to do a bee product get together at Tony's house Saturday September 24 - 10am.  There are several bee products to enter.  Danny Jaynes is going to volunteer some wax and we will collect up molds etc to produce candles, wax figures, lip balm, creams.  We have space for about 12 people to join the fun, so please send email to to grab a spot.

The second is bee products:

  • Display of pure beeswax products - carvings, models, etc, must be composed of pure beeswax only-and not painted. No candles. 
  • Display of pure beeswax molded or rolled candles. 
  • Display of pure beeswax dipped tapered candles, 8-12 inches. No dyes. Two candles per entry.  
  •  Novelty items containing beeswax - similar to Class 16 but products other than beeswax may be used and may be painted 
  • Cosmetic items containing beeswax and/or honey - Creams (May have labels) list of ingredients required 
  • Cosmetic items containing beeswax and/or honey - Soaps (May have labels) list of ingredients required 
  • Cosmetic items containing beeswax and/or honey - Lip Balms (May have labels) list of ingredients required

There are lots of other items needed for the booth including: honey, frames of honey comb, comb honey (cut, chunk), mead, jewelry, and more! 

Visit this link to see the items that are needed and sign up to participate

NC State Beekeepers Association Honey Sales at the NC State Fair 

The North Carolina State Beekeepers Association is asking chapter organizations to volunteer to sell honey for one day at the fair.  The WCBA has volunteered to cover Saturday, October 15th. 

One of the biggest benefits of having a bee club is that you get to talk to other local beekeepers and learn from their experiences.  Events like this are a great opportunity to meet WCBA members and to talk with the community about honey and honey bees!   At the same time you will be helping our state bee association with their biggest fundraiser of the year.  The NCSBA has had to skip this event for the past two years due to covid, and needless to say, it has put a big dent in their budget. So please help us make this year's event a success.

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.

Sign up at

September 2022 in the Bee Yard
Chris Hagwood

While most of August was hot and humid, we got some much needed rain and a break from the heat.  I can only hope it contributes to a good fall nectar flow.

I took advantage of the cooler temps to use some Formic Pro to address some colonies that had failed to get mites under control with Apiguard.  I hope that this will finally rid them of nearly all their mites and provide them some time to raise brood without as much virus in the colony.  While the ones with mites are worrisome, I have a good number of colonies that have kept mites very low (sometimes below detectable levels) the entire season.  It’s this reason that I selectively treat only those colonies with significant mite loads instead of the entire bee yard at once.  At 50 colonies, it also makes financial sense to reduce costs.

As we enter September, I will conduct one more round of mite checks mid-month.  This will mark 3 straight months of mite checks on 50 colonies.  Why so many?  It’s this time of year when mite populations tend to explode.  I found some with moderate increases in July and treated with Apiguard.  Nearly all of those responded, while a couple that were under control in July needed treatment in August with Formic Pro.  September will provide me with my last chance to keep mites under control as bees enter the fall and produce their winter bees.

Winter bees will need to live until brood rearing resumes in early Spring. I have found that without a large population of healthy winter bees, colonies crash quickly in our first freezing nights of November.  If I have kept mites at bay, and if the colony has established a good cluster of healthy bees, and if they have sufficient stores of honey, they survive from November until March with very little help from me.  

I have learned to avoid nursing along weak colonies only to see them fail by November.  So I will conduct a final round of inspections in September and combine any that have not built up a healthy population of bees and brood.  I’m looking for 5 to 7 frames packed with bees that I cannot see between the seams through to the bottom board.  Loosely packed bees on a warm day can sometimes make a much smaller, harder to keep warm cluster in cold weather.  By looking at clusters on cool mornings, I get an even better idea of which ones have done well.  There’s an old saying to take winter losses early by combining in the fall and I have taken that to heart.  It lets me adjust valuable stores of honey and shift my focus to colonies that have a very good chance of survival.

I am continuing to feed some of my colonies, but have mostly stopped feeding those with ample honey stores.  I’m seeing bees bringing in nectar from goldenrod, and I’m seeing asters begin to bloom.  This has taken the edge off of robbing for now.  I am focusing most of my feeding on those that have not built up ample stores of capped honey.  While fall does provide some much needed nectar, it never seems to provide enough to actually gain weight from it.  Therefore, don’t trust that your bees will be prepared for winter on their own.  You will want to see the outermost frames and a thick band of honey across the top of your brood box or an entire super full of honey to be sure they won’t run low.

To summarize:

  • FEED bees that need it.  Only those that have 30 pounds or more of extra honey are already prepared for winter.
  • INSPECT colonies for hardiness.  You want to see a full brood box full of bees that cover nearly every frame.  On the first cool mornings, crack open the brood box to see how big the winter cluster is.  I want to see the winter cluster covering 5 or more frames.
  • If the colony has reduced in size, and no longer covers 2 brood boxes and a super, REDUCE SPACE.  Hive beetles and wax moths will take over comb that can’t be protected by bees in warm weather.
  • Keep mites UNDER CONTROL.  Don’t assume any previous treatment you used worked.  Check for yourself.  Rotate to an alternate treatment for any that failed to respond.

Need Volunteers for "Wild About Nature" on October 1, 2022 1pm to 4 pm at Sugg Farm, Holly Springs

Want to spend 3 hours with other beekeepers talking about honeybees on a fall Saturday afternoon? Then sign up using the genius link below.  Susan Benton has volunteered at this festival in Holly Springs and really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere and diversity of exhibits. The location is Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park, 2401 Grigsby Avenue, Holly Springs NC 27540.

Sign up:

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.  

 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: or call her at:  919-749-7129

The Growing Minds 4-H Club hive continues to prosper. A new queen was installed about 6 weeks ago and is doing her job. The bees were treated for mites with Apivar after some honey was harvested. The honey is very light in color. Enough honey was harvested to provide the regular club members with an 8 oz. jar. But before any member gets a jar they have to complete a “paper” project on some topic related to bees. Those will be due in a month. We’ll keep you posted.

These pictures are from the 4H Growing Minds Club.


 Who has helped you be a better beekeeper this year? Who has been there to explain beekeeping to the community? Who do you call when your hive needs some help? Who had that special hive treatment that you needed? Who was always willing to answer that same question that they had probably answered a hundred times before??? Which new beekeeper really jumped in and helped the Club?

Now there is a way to thank those folks. Watch the Club website for the nomination forms for the BEEKEEPER OF THE YEAR, OUTSTANDING NEW BEEKEEPER, VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR, OUTSTANDING SPONSOR AWARD AND PIONEER (Legacy) Award.

Nominations are due Tuesday, Nov 8th and awards will be presented at our December meeting. For more information, contact Tom Wells,

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

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:
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 (

9/13/22 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610

9/17/22 - Bug Fest in downtown Raleigh

9/18/2022 - Hands on the hive 1:30 pm - Oak View County Park 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610

10/1/2022 - Volunteer at Suggs Family Farm 1-4 pm.  See details above in this newsletter.

10/11/22 -  WCBA Meeting - 7:00 pm, Wake County Commons Building 4011 Carya Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610

10/15/2022 - WCBA is selling honey for the NCSBA at the NC State Fair.  Please sign up.  


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