Forum Posts

Hayley Hossfeld
Feb 19, 2020
In Beekeeping Discussions
Public notice for all you beeks:​Sunday while I was out of town, I received notice that there was a hive body strewn out on Golden Gate near Foster Road. This was strange for a number of reasons, but actually alarming to me since NVBeeCo’s breeding apiary is in that hood.Needless to say, I dropped everything and rushed back to see what was up.​What I discovered was a deep box of 8  foundationless frames w/ popsicle stick starters full of honey and a little brood along with follower boards. It was in pretty good shape, so I assume It belonged to an experienced beekeeper.It doesn't appear that the hive fell off a truck as very little of the foundationless comb had broken out of the frames. I cleaned it up and got it under wraps to halt robbing and get it off the road. My speculation is the box was removed from someone's managed colony and was unloaded there for some reason. Maybe after taking the entire top box off an active hive and putting it in a car the bees started leaking inside the vehicle?​I guess as a community we need to recognize the importance of what leaving a full box of honey out by roadside means. It's fairly profound for a few mile radius in terms of bees that had exposure to the honey. Basically, it was the biggest flower on that side of town- a flower that could potentially be spreading pathogens or disease. In this case, it appeared to be a pretty well kept hive, but still...​If anyone has any information about it, contact us so we can get the honey and gear back to you, but also help solve the mystery and hopefully, spread some education...​Thanks to Jimmy Kawalek and Kevin Linder for notifying us!-RobHere are a few photos of what I first came across Sunday afternoon: Here are a few of the frames and the box once I started processing the honey.  I couldn’t leave it sitting around my honey house waiting for the beetle to move in so I ran it through my press. The frames are all foundationless with Popsicle stick starters, they are put together with one short nail and very little glue. The box is white with rabbet joints held together with staples. If it happens to be yours we'll happy to return all gear and honey. If no one claims it I’ll bring the honey to the next meeting to share as part of the story, although the honey is very uniquely citrusy…​I think you guys know where to find me….
Hive on the side of the road content media
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Hayley Hossfeld
Nov 14, 2019
In Beekeeping Discussions
Though it’s not the optimal time of the year to be having an evening club meeting, many folks were requesting it in order to go over winterizing a colony. So before we get into the play by play, let’s take a minute to puff our smokers at Daphne Blackmer and Chris Pedemonte for opening up their apiary despite the winds, fires and evacuations to host the last hive dive meeting of the year. One of the highlights of the meeting was walking through Daphne’s garden. She’s done an amazing job in the immediate area around the apiary. Her Mystic Spire Sage Jungle was going off and absolutely covered in bees. Between that, their cover crops and the pollinator meadow, Round Pond is really up there with the big bee supporters of this valley. We got to check 3 very different colonies. It was awesome to get into the first one as it was without any signs of being parasitized, no deformed wing virus or varroamites. They had a decent brood pattern, ample stores, were positioned nicely within the hive for winter and had been back filling all the empty cells as the brood chamber decreased. There are no guarantees in this beekeeping game, but I’d bet we see them in the spring. The next was limping. They had a low population, spotty brood pattern, curly wing present and phoretic mites riding around on the older bees- basically a bee train wreck. We discussed potential options for getting them back on track, which let’s be honest…are pretty slim this late in the game. Marrying them to another limping colony might be the only sustainable option. The last colony was absolutely circling the drain and stands little to no chance of rebounding. Looks like they had a young queen that was either from a late swarm or supersedure that didn’t get mated properly or even at all. She had a handful of old foragers, no capped or open brood, very little pollen and nectar, wax moth had set in and there was a battalion of beetle. Seriously big beetle numbers. There just wasn’t a big enough workforce to keep them at bay so it was beetle hell in there. We stripped all their stores to prevent robbing, shook all the bees off the questionable comb, and basically consolidated them down to just one frame. Sadly, they’re dead bees walking. The take home here is the understanding of what a colony looks like in those conditions and making sure you aren’t creating a bigger problem to all the other bees the area by letting them get robbed out. The bottom line is- and we really need you to hear this… whether you manage treatment free or otherwise, it's your responsibility as beekeepers to keep things tight. No excuses! Chris took us through building a swarm trap and his experience with the design. Okay yeah, we’ve all heard about putting out swarm traps in the spring, heard Seeley talk about his research on the subject, and may have even dabbled in the swarm trap game a little ourselves, but besides Mike’s swarm traps in Pope Valley, we’ve hardly heard of beeks with Chris’s success rate. He said bees moved into his boxes way before he even had time to get them placed out in the field. One might ask… Is it the man or the plan?! Chris’s plan: https://hacknbuild.com/blog/posts/Swarm-Trap/index.html He’ll step you through making three traps out of just one 4x8 sheet of plywood. Looks like a great winter project for spring. Daphne liked them as well because they are light weight and easy to move. It was nice to see so many new faces at this meeting- not that there’s anything wrong with our old faces, but it’s good to know that the Napa County Beekeepers Association outreach is working. So lets all come together in the spring to discuss how we can support each other, make sure we all have bees, disseminate information to best inform our practices and build our community. Clearly we are on the high road at these meetings with all the insightful conversation, good food and great people. Below is the PDF to Daphnes Bee friendly plants for year round foraging. D
Meeting Recap - Round Pond October 28, 2019 content media
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Hayley Hossfeld
Oct 22, 2019
In Beekeeping Discussions
​Here is the recipe Joe Papendick of Raymond Vineyards shared with us covering Gunther Hauk's Biodynamic recipe for feeding bees. If you are looking for some of the herbs listed we recommend: Rainbow Grocery at 1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103 ​ Recipe for General Strengthening: Quantity is for two treatments- you need two 1-quart jars ​ In a ceramic or stainless steel pot (not aluminum) bring 3 cups of good water (well or spring is best) to a boil, take off stove and add: 1/2 tsp. each of chamomile, yarrow, stinging nettle, peppermint and dandelion flowers, if available 1/4 tsp. each of sage, hyssop, thyme, lemon balm and echinacea 1 pinch of rue ​ Let steep for 10 minutes.  Strain through a cloth or fine colander; add another 3 cups of cold water and let cool down until its lukewarm. ​ Add 1 cup (1/2 lb) organic sugar.  Preferably white because the brown or succanant contains too many organic compounds which are hard for the bees to digest. This quantity is good for two treatments or two hives.  If you have only one hive, keep the second jar in the refrigerator until used, but warm up to room temperature before you give it to the bees. ​ This treat can be given early spring until late summer every one or two months.
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Hayley Hossfeld
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NAPA COUNTY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
 BEEKEEPERS OF NAPA VALLEY

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