April Newsletter 2019

Moving Forward

I would like to take a moment and thank Patti Campbell, treasurer. She has contributed significant resources in ensuring all our members remain on the mailing list and sending notices to those at risk of expiration. If you stop receiving the monthly newsletter, without notice, please email: galacticgoldcontact@gmail.com.

If you would like to find information on upcoming meetings, past presentations, meeting minutes, bee news, or anything of note, please refer to the ECBS website. Ban Ang, 4th Vice President, deserves thanks as well, since he is constantly submitting interesting information to be posted. From podcasts, to articles, to YouTube videos, they can all be found on the website.


In the last month, we’ve had many new mentorship applicants, but there haven’t been any new mentors since the program’s launch. The only requirement to becoming a mentor is a year of experience, however the board reserves the right to reject applicants. As a mentor, or apprentice, you will receive a private newsletter and priority in annual hive inspections. Applications may be found on the ECBS website or linked here.

Tim Schuler, one of the state’s most active apiarists, has retired after 32 years of service. During those years, he worked tirelessly to advance the beekeeping industry in New Jersey, with great success. Whether you know it or not, you’ve benefited from his work and for that we should all be eternally grateful.


Unfortunately, the Board of Agriculture enacted the proposed regulations, despite protest. Thank you to those who attended the BOA meeting. This month’s speaker is Landi Simone, who will be discussing the particulars of feeding, a topic Mike Frey, President, also discusses in the president’s message below!


-Justin Luna, Director of Communication


President’s Message

I was thinking that I should just recycle an old message.  That's saying a lot because I have messages going back to 6 & 7 years ago.  I have made many mistakes since that time. I figure it's time to share some.  My calendar says it's going to be April tomorrow (as I write).  While yesterday was nice it's going to be in the 30's again tonight.


You newbees will understand next season when your first hives complete their cycle.  You will be on pins & needles just waiting to see if they are alive and vibrant.  That's exactly how we feel right now after so many years.  Seems like a miracle when we find a hive alive and vibrant.  I have said that twice now, alive & vibrant.  Wait till you find your hive is alive but the queen is spent, or they just don't seem to wake up. I checked hives cautiously in Feb.  I only put fondant on when the bees were crowded in the inner cover opening.  If I can see honey in comb, then I make a decision to come back or leave some fondant.  Never break open a hive in Feb that looks dead.  Every year I am surprised to find a vibrant colony that I had thought was a deadout. 


So, why am I writing about Feb?  Well, March did not change much.  I found myself pleating and repeating. The temps have not been kind enough to do hive reversals for my taste.  Here is where the newbees should take notes for the future.  Don't be too quick to reverse your equipment too early.  The queen and brood could be in the top of the bottom and the bottom of the top.  Switching them can cause a disaster if cold comes back.  In fact, even if the bees are in the top only, a switch puts the brood low ... perhaps too soon.  What's the rush?  Ask yourself why you need to be in a rush to switch the equipment in the first place.


Beekeepers with many hives make their reversals at one time if they can while also making splits within the same yard or to take away.  They will be equalizing hives in this process. If you have one or only a few hives, then you have time.  Keep in mind that IMHO reversals do not eliminate the swarming instinct.  It may delay it.  By the time this letter goes out the weather could have changed significantly.  Look beyond one nice day.  We will hear of swarms in late April then into May certainly.  Your location dictates this somewhat.  Every newbee gets apprehensive about the possibility of their hive swarming.  Just bee ready.


We beekeepers are sitting back getting ready for all hell to break loose.  Nothing is more enjoyable than to work on bees in early spring when the weather breaks.  It’s kind of like baseball.  There is such a thing as baseball weather too. Warning:  By the time you read my May message your honey supers should already be on.  This means that there is a lot happening between mid-April and mid-May. The main honey season in these here parts last from the onset of spring to the last week of June. 


- Michael Frey, President