May Newsletter 2019

Our Upcoming Speaker


Tim Stewart of Stewart’s Apiaries, LLC hails from the little town of Dorothy in Atlantic County. Tim is a commercial beekeeper whose passion for business and bees began at the age of 11. His commercial beekeeping business takes him to the almond groves of California then back to NJ to the blueberry and cranberry crops, and then continues to watermelon and lima bean pollination. Tim will talk about the issues that face the commercial beekeeper as compared to challenges the hobbyist must deal with. Tim will delve into what is truly happening to the bees, and how the commercial beekeeper really is at the heart of our food chain.

 

Reminders


Now is a great time to familiarize yourself with the new ECBS website, including the many documents available. Many have emailed asking for Landi’s last talk on feeding. You can find her presentation, as well as many others, under “Meeting Documents”. Member submitted articles can also be found under “Answers” with recent posts including such titles as “Discovery of RNA transfer through royal jelly”. If any member is interested in being a mentor, we are always looking and in need of more participants! With the recent legislation, it is now more important than ever to make sure your apiary is registered. The ECBS website has a direct link to the Department of Agriculture registration where you may enter your information.

 

-Justin Luna, Director of Communication

 

President’s Message


What a difference a day makes! It sure is baseball weather now. Newbees read carefully. We celebrate each and every time our bees make it to exactly now when dandelions pop up. Like anybody else I was happy to see my bees alive in Feb.  May I quote our illustrious (former) neighbor, Yogi Berra, (may he rest in peace!)? "It ain't over til its over!" I did lose a few hives since Feb. It happens. The culprit is often a natural one ... too small of a cluster from a queen who was not reproducing enough bees to flourish into Spring. I did prevent several hives from starving though. Now these hives are bursting with bees and activity.

Dandelions provide pollen and nectar for the new birth of spring. I have acres of them near my VT apiaries. I can smell my apiaries when I get within 50 yards while they are working dandelions. There will be fields painted fully yellow around May 10th. Then about two weeks later farmers are taking their first cut of hay from the same fields void of any hint of yellow. Yet, we are conditioned to believe that dandelions are a threat to our lawns in our state of NJ. Quite the opposite is true. The dandelion has a deep root. It functions to reach down to retrieve trace minerals back to the surface only to die out leaving those minerals to be utilized by grasses. We eat animals that eat those grasses. If it is not available to the plant, then it will not get into our bodies. Bees are no different.

So, to those of you who have survivor bee hives but not so active or robust bees... time may not wait for you to replace that queen. A new queen needs young bees which equates to a full complement of bees of all ages. A faltering queen is not laying enough eggs. She may become a drone layer. Go to a strong hive, take at least one frame of eggs, better if some capped brood too, to add to your weak hive, then remove that old queen replacing her with a caged queen. No caged queen to be had? Then pinch that old queen leaving her for the bees to dispose of. They will make a new queen by doing what they got to do if you gave them the fresh eggs to do it. There are drones now out there. They will find your hive just like that stray cat that howls in the dark because you have a feline in heat inside.

The race is on. Any meaningful nectar flow ends near the end of June, so super them up! Have a new nuc or package? Give them food especially if they need to make comb. This is the time to review Landi’s talk from the ECBS website on feeding. I use 25 lbs. of sugar to 2.5 gal of water (a little less if heated first). Only have one starter hive? You will still need 25 lbs. of sugar but you should get that essential oil additive for sugar syrup (available at our meetings or from Mann Lake). BTW, I prepare syrup using a big lobster boiling pot which fits 5-gals. This recipe will yield almost 5 gals of syrup. I pour it into a 5-gal bucket when cooled. I then would take smaller clean fruit juice containers to put it in using a funnel. I do it in a bathtub for easy clean up. Add that additive to cooled syrup before you bottle it into small containers.

 

-Michael J Frey