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BEEKEEPERS OF NAPA VALLEY  Monday May 17, 2021

MEETING NOTES

You guys fully showed up- and in suits no less! For many, I heard it was the first gathering attended in a year.  Such an honor that it was to come together as a club to share! 

We are already working on the next meeting, so stay tuned through the FB page and check your email for details.  And  please do feel free to share your experiences, ask for help, offer advise and connect through https://www.facebook.com/groups/NapaCountyBeekeepersAssociation 

 

Thanks bee to Rob, Cynthia, Christine and Emily for leading super informative hive dives at the NVBeeCo apiary.  

What a great way to get in and really see what all the buzz is about.  There is truly no better way to learn IMO.

 

I heard these 3 topics repeatedly asked about throughout the afternoon, so thought I’d put some links here for ya’ll to go down a rabbit hole. Remember, beekeeping is a study of place and these links may be written by folks in other zones, so please take that into consideration. 

 

What may be happening in the hive for this merry month of May in zone 9?

Let me start by saying we are in a megadrought, so all bets are off right now for a normal nectar flow or anything else for that matter. Put your birthday suit on and start dancing for rain. It’s your duty!!! In a perfect world though, we’d bee observing Growth Growth Growth! Inspections might show beautiful new comb, loads of honey, queenright states, and swarm preparations. Thoughts about splitting, chasing swarms and honey harvesting may be entertained. And on the flipper there is always chalkbrood, congestion and swarms to consider. Did I mention SWARMS? Seems instead we are witnessing very little wax production for comb building, backfilling of drone cells and booting them out already.  There is a super, real struggle happening! 

 

Plant forage

I’ve said many times, I think the most important thing you can do for all bees is not necessarily ‘keeping’ them, but rather- planting clean food for them.  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/surprise-bees-need-meat/

And so, here are some links to various sites listing important N/P plants for Apis mellifera and native pollinators to consider for our zone. Please plant organic seeds and starts. 

Starting with the most important these days… drought tolerant!

 

https://xerces.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/17-045_02_XercesSoc_Pollinator-Plants_California_web-4page.pdf?fbclid=IwAR25aCeW_5RfqU2N53npzX_B6gsBHxSBpWKAZtfWnYWxnEDVxRhLDoLkoHI

 

Check out these mixes...

https://californianativeplants.com/plants/seed-mixes/

Why California Natives?

https://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/.../Best%20Plants%20for...

Here are some native to Napa

http://waterwisegardeningsb.org/listplants.php?index=12...

Some natives some not, but all good for native pollinators

http://smsf-mastergardeners.ucanr.edu/Pollinator_Plant_List/

https://calscape.org/loc-38.../cat-Annuals/ord-popular/...

https://www.anniesannuals.com/.../110127/email_110127_3.htm

https://www.gardendesign.com/california/native-plants.htm

https://www.cnps.org/gardening/bee-friendly-gardening-2892

https://arboretum.sf.ucdavis.edu/blog/support-california-native-bees-these-10-plants

 

Feeding new packages

Well this one is a real conundrum for many who don’t believe feeding is healthy for their gut biome (see SA Bees Need Meat article link above). And many of the same don’t feel that packages are a healthy way to begin keeping a colony for a myriad of reasons. But you’ve already got one you say? Ok, there is much to learn, so let's get to it and keep trying to work towards regenerative actions and management practices.

     

Please understand why you are feeding and what you will inspire in the colony by doing so. The purpose of feeding determines what the ratio of sugar to water should bee. In the early spring ppl feed to stimulate the queen to start laying. This is 1:2 sugar:water. In summer, some feed to sustain them during a dearth, which is already starting here unfortunately. This is 1:1. In fall, folks feed to build up stores for the winter. This is stuffing as much sugar in them as possible with 2:1 although some use more.

 

Again, besides the time of year, think of the purpose… 

 

The Michael Bush spiel

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm

 

From a Biodynamic prospective

https://spikenardfarm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HealingTeaHoneybees.pdf

 

From good ol’ Rusty

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-long-should-i-feed-a-new-package-of-bees/

 

And an article on artificial feeding and honey harvesting. 

https://beeseasonal.com/blogs/every-honey-tells-a-story/artificially-feeding-bees-is-a-bad-idea-sustainable-honey-brands

 

Until next time, 

Marla Bird

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NEXT IN PERSON MEETING 5/17/21

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Upcoming Meeting

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Upcoming Meeting

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BEEKEEPERS OF NAPA VALLEY MAY 17th 2021 5pm

 

MEETING AGENDA

Active discovery sessions happening at the NV BeeCo Apiary! 

Dip into both strong and weak colonies to identify

what it is you are looking for and seeing during inspections this time of year .

5:00-8pm ish

 

·         5p- Welcome and introduction 

·         Hive dive 530p - strong colony ID w/ Rob and Christine

·         Hive dive 6p - weak colony ID w/ Rob and Christine

·         Pot luck as always.  BYOEverything - utensils et. al. and share your favorite dish with the club  

·         Extreme drought discussion - recognizing stress, to feed or not to feed, honey harvest  

·         630-730 Newbees QandA w/ Michael Lauher

 

Come!  Find a Mentor Bee a Mentor! 

 

*Some good ol’ beeks like Adrian Ogden, Emily Bondor, Cynthia Perry, Mark Griffin, George Altobell, Nancy Lewis Heliotes and Mike O’dell, will all be there to answer your questions along the way. Seth Chapin will tweek your ear about drought resistant forage plants as well. 

 

* As this meeting is in the center of an active working apiary, there will be bees, lots of bees. And ticks too!  You may want to bring your bee costume or at the least a veil and tuck your pants into your socks. It is your responsibility to protect yourself.

*It’s about a 150 yard walk to the apiary, so keep in mind you’ll want to be able to carry it in and pack it out. 

 

*1125 Golden Gate Dr. 

Coming from the North, turn Right at the yellow fire hydrant and park where it says on the map just outside the gate.  Walk through the gate and follow the road to the left to the apiary.  Text Marla Bird for info 707-732-8516

 

 

 

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JUST FORWARDED FROM DEWEY 

News story from Phoenix area Mid-Feb 2021

Swarm Of Africanized Bees Attacks Family That Found A Hive In Their Shed

A Glendale, Arizona, family tried to remove a Africanized beehive in their shed before the bees stung two adults, two children and two family dogs. Tim Moran, Patch Staff

GLENDALE, AZ 2021 — An Arizona family of four was stung in an attack by a swarm of Africanized bees from their shed earlier this week. One of two adults and two children younger than 6 were hospitalized with bee stings, and the two family dogs are fighting for their lives after they also were stung in the attack outside the family’s Glendale home.

The family tried themselves to remove a beehive in their shed near Peoria and 59th avenues late Sunday afternoon, AZfamily.com and others have reported. When the Africanized bees attacked, the family called 911 and were saved by firefighters who had to blast foam onto the bees, according to another report from Newsweek.

A Glendale Fire Department spokesperson told news outlets that firefighters sprayed the foam onto the Africanized bees “for the safety of the people in the neighborhood.”

While the family is expected to recover from the bee attack wounds, the dogs remain in critical condition at a local veterinary hospital, according to the AZfamily.com report.

This marks at least the second time in three months Africanized bees have attacked residents in the Phoenix area.

Just two months ago, rescuers helped three people get away from a swarm of Africanized bees at a home in north Phoenix, KTAR and others reported. In this case as well, the bees were seen coming from a shed.

A little over a year ago, in December 2019, a swarm of Africanized bees attacked a family picking fruit in Glendale’s Sahuaro Ranch Park, which forced the park to close for the rest of the day. One man in the family was stung more than 100 times in that attack, according to reports from the time.

While all humans survived these recent attacks, disrupting an Africanized bee colony can become fatal, experts in the field have said.

Several people are killed every year due to unintentional disturbances of Africanized honey bee colonies, according to the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Association. But a large number of the attacks are preventable, the association said, urging people not to attempt to exterminate Africanized honey bees without calling a professional to take care of it.

“They need to be dealt with in very specific ways to ensure safety,” the association says on its website.

Arizona is home to a significant population of Africanized honeybees, sometimes referred to as “killer bees.” They can become highly defensive when protecting their hive, according to the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

It was not immediately clear whether the bees involved in Sunday’s attack in Glendale were Africanized honeybees.

“A good safety precaution is to maintain at least 100 feet, or the width of a four-lane highway, from any Africanized honey bee hive,” according to the department of agriculture. “It is always advisable to exercise caution with respect to all bee activity, whether in managed or feral hives.”

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2/15/21 Club Meeting Recap- With ZOOM videos at bottom

 

Ok, so my first ZOOM ever was last week in honor of the bees. You guys are awesome for showing up, paying attention, asking pertinent questions and keeping the group alive. Just wanted to say as well, that the club in this incarnation would not exist at this point without Rob Keller’s dedicated time, energy, and desire to serve this community in pulling it all together. Hayley Hossfeld, thanks for bringing us into the tech age, for your patience, PMA and waggle!

 

The information Christine Kurtz imparted about monitoring boards was absolutely invaluable and some of the most important knowledge I use in beekeeping besides basic biology. Seriously. If you didn’t use a monitoring tray before hearing just how much you can glean about what is happening in the hive without going in it, I’m sure you will be adapting your bottoms for them now. The look, smell and debris on tray can reveal everything from the size of the colony, who’s emerging, robbing, disease and pest issues. That’s a huge amount of information without popping a lid right?! Thanks Christine!!!

 

Drew Ericson spoke my language through and through and it appears that many of you felt the call to learn more about soil, sequestering carbon and providing year round, clean food for pollinators as well. The best thing you can do right now for ALL bees is plan and plant your garden. Now you know it all starts with good soil. Check out this oldie, but goody talk from Dr Elaine Ingham on the basic principles of soil and you’ll never go back to dirt! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDtGxOdDj1A

 

Please drop an note here https://www.beekeepersofnapavalley.org/contact to reach us about these items:

 

  • Who has bees that are still flying after 2 years of no treatments?

      When was the last time you were in them?

 

  • NVBC is offering a 5 person hive dive at Boca on February 27th at 10am. Those 5 ppl must pay it forward by presenting the information they gleaned from the session to 1 another beekeeper. And trust us, we’ll follow-up…  Spots given to the first 5 ppl who request attendance through the club website with the name of the person they will mentor. 

 

 Did you catch NVBeeCo’s interview with Dewey Caron? Dewey is the emeritus professor of entomology at the University of Delaware. The author of eight books, including Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, his latest release- The Complete Bee Handbook and our HOT pick… wait for it… Africanized Honey Bees in The Americas! Dewey gave us the hard facts on how it all went down and how he manages Africanized honey bee colonies.  He’s a real gem from the big players of the Darwinian beekeeping game and an incredible wealth of information. Check out his books! Super grateful he made the time.  ~ Marla Bird 

First video is part one of meeting

Second video is the chat with Dewey

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FEBRUARY 15, 2021 5p

BEEKEEPERS OF NAPA VALLEY ZOOM MEETING AND THE BEECO BUZZ GUEST SERIES WITH

DEWEY CARON

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Finally… though we bee incredibly busy beekeepers and farmers hustling through weeds and weather, we are actually getting it together to organize club meetings once again! 

 

The first BK of NV club meeting for 2021 is on! 

 

See details below this here diatribe, cuz you know I’ve always got time for the speil! That being said, we just want you know we are still here and feel a deep responsibility to disseminate information to our community that’ll help newbees et. al. with management decisions. We get a zillion messages for people wanting bees, wanting to know about bees, and what it takes to keep a colony in their backyard.

Join us on February 15th from 5p to about 8p where we will spend the first hour and a half covering the things on the attached agenda. We have a number of the local players dropping in to cover the big topics that are super relevant now. 

 

Christine Kurtz from Sonoma will be explaining monitoring trays and what to be looking for this time of year. Trays are the most informative tools we have to give us a good indication of what's going on inside the hive while it's still a little too cold for a full blown hive inspection this time of year.  

 

We’ll also have Drew Erickson talking about the idea that anyone growing flowers IS A BEEKEEPER. You can do a lot for the species, in some ways- a lot more and for all the species, WITHOUT having a hive.

After the club meeting, take a break, grab a beer and be sure to resign-in and check out Beeco’s Inaugural Guest series with Dr. Dewey M. Caron!!! 

 

Dewey is the emeritus professor of entomology at the University of Delaware. The author of eight books, including Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, his latest release The Complete Bee Handbook and our HOT pick… wait for it… Africanized Honey Bees in The Americas!

 

Dewey is an active master beekeeping teacher in Oregon, California, and with the Eastern Apicultural Society.We are super stoked he is jumping on to talk with us about his experience with the Africanized honeybee. Bolivia is where he keeps 8+ colonies of Africanized bees and teaches beekeeping at University de San Simon and communities in the Andes Mountains.

 

I can’t wait to talk to Dewey with James Gott, the Montessori kid that did a report all about the myths and folklore around the species that got me into them in the first place. I’ll fire off with things like- How they escaped, what was Dr. Kerr really like, my experience with what I think were africanized honeybees, and who is Steve? It’s sure to be a fun filled Beeco night shooting from the hip with Dewey and James. Bone up on Killer Bees so you’ll be up to speed and sign on early for Dewey cause my Zoom subscription can only handle 100 people which could easily tap out.