Beekeeping Newsletter is a Wealth of Information

Thanks to tireless effort by the Polk Beekeeper Association and David Smith, you can gain a wealth of geographically specific knowledge about beekeeping by signing up for their newsletters. It can take alot of time to craft and create well designed & thorough emails and these newsletters have that facet in spades. Check out their most recent Newsletter below (or click here for this issue and past issues) and sign up for them by clicking here!

Polk County Beekeeper’s Association Meeting

January 18th, 2018

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Mill Spring Agricultural Center
156 School Rd Mill Spring, NC

The Polk County Beekeeping Association normally meets the 3rd Thursday of the month at the Mill Spring Agricultural Center.   It is open discussion, so come be part of the group and bring your experiences and questions.

Happy New Year, 2018!
Our meetings are set to resume on the 18th at the Polk County AG Center.  We will be in the regular room, not the auditorium.

David Weir from the Spartanburg Beekeepers Association will return with a presentation on nucs.  David gave this excellent presentation last year and we are pleased to have him come present it again for those who missed it.

It is time to plan your bee year for 2018.  By now, we are all concerned about what the intense low temperatures are doing to the health of our hives.  If your bees have adequate food stores going into cold weather and shelter from adverse winds, they should be fine.  I had a chilly 4 degrees here at the house this morning and a 3 degree low on January 1st.  We should be seeing a warming trend starting next Tuesday, so get out and observe your bees.  I would hesitate in cracking open a hive however, for if there is a problem, try to wait until we have several warm days and nights in a row, it takes 2 or 3 days for bees to recover their environment, so warmer weather is a must to hive dive.  I don’t think there is much you can do about it until we get into the Spring season at any rate.

Water your bees.  Make sure their water supply is not frozen.

Do you feed your bees?  Here is a very good article that discusses feeding bees in the Upstate, which applies to our area also.
https://carolinahoneybees.com/feeding-honeybees-winter-survival/

It is however, a great time to get any wooden ware/foundation ready.  Plan now to expand or refurbish your hives.  If you expect to expand by ordering nucs or packages, most suppliers are taking orders, and if they have a limited supply in the Spring, don’t wait until the last minute to find out.

Above all, enjoy your bees, they are amazing creatures!  Bring a novice to the bee meeting and introduce them to keeping bees.  It can turn out to be one of the most rewarding hobbies they will ever have.

A Call for Mentors

We have all started as newbies, whether as a child watching and learning or such as myself, getting bees after I retired.  One thing we have ALL benefited from was having a mentor, whether it was a well written book, another beekeeper, or, as we are fortunate to have, several bee groups in the area that love to help.

Our local group is getting stronger and growing in members.  Through GrowRural, we have a nice place to meet, and what some folks don’t realize, beehives that we maintain.  There were two hives when we took them over to manage, and they have been successfully split into 4.  We hope to place two hives in the local Community, and while the exact details are being worked out, those hives will need someone to mentor the person(s) that receive them.  That is where you come in.  We need to put together a list of Mentors that will take a newbie under their wing and help them with their new hive for the first year.  It really won’t be a ton of work, but we do ask for commitment.  What a gift you will give someone!  Email me at d.smith.7363@gmail.com if you are interested and we can go from there.

SWARM season.

No, not the B rated SciFi movie, but as a beekeeper, you are keenly aware that it is a natural process you will experience, and it will be here before you know it.  Swarming is the bee’s way of ensuring survival and is an entirely natural instinct.  There are many reasons a hive will decide to swarm, some you have control over, some you don’t.  But the odds are, if you are a beekeeper, you will experience a swarm in your career, even if it is a swarm deciding to stop by your place on their way somewhere else.  If you have a swarm, let me know.  I maintain a list of swarm catchers that will come remove them, depending on where you live and what type of swarm it is.  Some find their way into a structure before being detected, which results in calling someone skilled in doing a ‘cut out’, so it is important that you are put with a catcher that is skilled in that type of removal, so gather as much information as you can before calling or emailing me, and I’ll get someone headed your way.  And as silly as it might sound, make sure they are honeybees.  I field several calls a year for yellow jackets or bumble bees.  They get a bit testy when you try to catch them.  🙂

You can contact me at d.smith.7262@gmail.com or call or text me at 828-275-2873 and I’ll get you in touch with someon.

ApiGuard.

We still have some donated strips available for the meeting on the 18th if you did not get some last meeting.  Part of your yearly bee plan should consider how to treat your hives for our most common threats, varroa mites, small hive beetles and wax moths.  The Apiguard strips will be available on a first come/first serve basis, with folks that did not get any last time, having first priority.

Light refreshments will be available.
Many thanks to Patrick McLendon at GrowRural.  We could not have done it without his encouragement and support.  Please take a moment to visit their website and see what good things they are doing to support our farmers, and indeed, a way of life that our society depends on.


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