Sunday, March 24: Beekeeping 101
Before our regular monthly meeting, from 1:00 to 1:45, you can learn some of the basics of beekeeping and find out if it's right for you.
Behind the Barn: If the weather permits, and you want to watch a beekeeper open the hives behind the barn, then you will need to wear a proper veil and clothing.
Our meetings are held at Smithtown Historical Society Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main Street (Route 25), Smithtown.
NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets Beekeeping Listening Sessions
- Brief overview of the current bee health law and NYS inspection program focus (30 minutes)
- Brief overview of the Pollinator Protection Plan and progress on action items (30 minutes)
- Open discussion with participants (45 minutes)
- Wrap up (15 minutes)
Monday, November 19 from 2 – 4 p.m.
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Pride of NY Room
10B Airline Drive, Albany, NY 12235
Thursday, November 29 from 4 – 6 p.m.
Geneva Public Library, Community Room
244 N Main Street, Geneva, NY 14456
Thursday, December 6 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Westchester County Cornell Cooperative Extension Office
3 West Main Street Suite 112, Elmsford, NY 10523
Beekeeper Listening Session Letter - final
Early 2019 Beekeeping Classes
Sunday, September 23: Honey Judging and Honey Tasting Contests
Long Island Beekeepers Annual
Honey, Wax, and Mead Judging Contest
Honey Cookery and Gadget Contest
Bring your best Extracted Honey, Comb Honey, Creamed Honey, Beeswax, Mead, Baked Goods, Honey Spreads, Arts and Crafts, Photographs, and Gadgets to this year's contest and you might win a ribbon!
Contest rules can be found here.
All entrants must be paid-up members in good standing as of October of the current calendar year. Section 6 of the Bylaws states that “only members in good standing and members of their immediate families who are present can enter contests if a member is absent, a member of his family may represent him in case of extenuating circumstances can enter items for him.”
Honey Tasting Contest
All club member are invited to bring an unlabeled sample of their bees finest to the meeting.
Remember, everyone can enter as long as they are a club member and you have honey to share in an unmarked jar.
Our meetings are held at Smithtown Historical Society Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main Street (Route 25), Smithtown.
The meeting starts promptly at 2:00.
EAS 2018 Annual Conference
Hallockville Museum Farm 37th Annual Country Fair: Bee Club Ambassadors Needed
Note: This is an educational event. Honey will NOT be allowed to be sold at our booth.
Dates and Times
September 9th & 10th
10am to 5pm
Hallockville Museum Farm
6038 Sound Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901
Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage: Bee Club Ambassadors Needed
NOTE: This will be an educational event however we WILL be able to sell our honey at an agreed upon price. $1 per jar will be donated to the club.
Dates and Times
Saturday September 16th 10am-6pm
Sunday September 17th 10am-6pm
Saturday September 23rd 10am-6pm
Sunday September 24th 10am-6pm
Long Island Fair
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
1303 Round Swamp Road
Old Bethpage, New York 11804
Long Island Fair Office: 516-874-0502
Old Bethpage Village Restoration: 516-572-8401
EAS 2017 Annual Conference
Eastern Apiculture Society’s Annual Conference takes will be hosted by the University of Delaware, Clayton Hall Conference Center. Everything is in one big area from cafeteria to meeting rooms to vendors to shows and of course the program itself.
Presenters include: Jennifer Berry, Michael Palmer, Tom Seeley, Marla Spivak, Jay Evans (USDA), Jim Tew,Tammy Horn, Bart Smith, Maryann Frazer, Kim Flottum, Vince Aloyo,
There will be excellent speakers and variety from the very practical beekeeping to the more scientific bee talks. The short course will have a beginner, an intermediate and more advanced beekeeping tracks. Conference mornings will feature our award winners and keynoters of note and the afternoon will feature several options for workshops. We will have an auction night event on Thursday and our banquet on Friday night on-site. Tours will include some of the outstanding DuPont property mansions and gardens of the area. Or stroll over to the beeyard for a look at our local colonies.
Homecoming Farm's Annual Spring Awakening Event
LIBC Member, Cliff Struhl, in Edible Long Island
Syosset’s pioneer of symbiotic beekeeping supplies.
Ventilation, moisture, predators. It’s not all about honey for Syosset beekeeper Cliff Struhl, who understands the threats that make or break the health of his hives.
Frustrated by the limitations of available beekeeping equipment, the hobby sculptor and CEO of Joseph Struhl Company Inc.—a local graphics company specializing in custom polyethylene signs—began prototyping his idea for perfect beekeeping enhancements. Applying the basic engineering and materials used in his signs, Struhl started Bee Smart Designs to make functional, bee-friendly apiary equipment.
Read more at http://www.ediblelongisland.com/2015/05/27/bee-smart-designs/
Pollinator Conservation Short Course: November 18th
Announcing the 2nd
Pollinator Conservation Short Course
Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District
at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building
Riverhead, New York
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
9:00 am - 4:30 pm EDT
Learn how to attract native pollinators to fields, farms, and orchards!
Pollinators, which include bees, butterflies, and other insects, are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 85% of the world's flowering plants and is fundamental to agriculture and natural ecosystems. More than two-thirds of the world's crop species are dependent on pollination, with an annual estimated value of $18 to $27 billion in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, since their activities are ultimately responsible for the seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity, as well as agriculture.
In many places, however, this essential service is at risk. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released the report Status of Pollinators in North America, which called attention to the decline of pollinators. The report urged agencies and organizations to increase awareness and protect pollinator habitat. The Pollinator Conservation Short Course was developed to address this need.
Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic bee field identification, and evaluating pollinator habitat. Advanced modules will cover land management practices for pollinator protection, pollinator habitat restoration, incorporating pollinator conservation into federal conservation programs, selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites, management of natural landscapes, and financial and technical resources to support these efforts. Throughout the short course these training modules are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country.
Registrants will receive the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which includes Xerces' book, Attracting Native Pollinators. Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies, as well as habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and extension publications.
The Xerces Society is offering similar Pollinator Conservation Short Courses across the country. Visit our online events page to view up-to-date short course information.
If you would like to receive announcements about upcoming short courses, please email email@example.com. Be sure to include the following information: your name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and the state(s) for which you would like to receive announcements.
*Continuing Education Credits Available*
Certified Crop Adviser (5 CEUs)
NYSDEC Pesticide Credits (2 CEUs)
Certified Nursery Landscape Professional
International Society of Arboriculture (4 CEUs)
SHORT COURSE TRAINING SKILLS AND OBJECTIVES
Ability to identify ways of increasing and enhancing pollinator diversity on the land
Knowledge of the current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators
Ability to identify bees and distinguish them from other insects
Knowledge of the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline
Knowledge of the current Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions and how to implement those provisions through USDA programs such as WHIP, EQIP, CSP, and CRP
Ability to assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies
Ability to make recommendations to farmers and land managers that conserve pollinators (including subjects such as roadside management, tillage, pesticide use, burning, grazing, and cover cropping)
Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements
Ability to incorporate pollinators into land-management or policy decisions
Kelly Gill – Pollinator Conservation Specialist - Northeast / Mid-Atlantic Region
Kelly is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions for the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. A Pennsylvania native, Kelly recently completed her Master’s Degree in Entomology at Iowa State University. There, she conducted small plot and farm scale research, collaborating with organic and conventional farmers, on the development of best practices for conserving beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes.
Polly L. Weigand, CCA – Senior Soil District Technician
Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District
Polly Weigand holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Science from St. Lawrence University and is just completing her Master’s Degree in Urban Ecology with a focus on grassland management from Hofstra University this summer. As a Soil District Technician for Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Polly provides a diverse array of technical assistance, including pest and nutrient management, prescribed grazing, irrigation design, sediment and erosion control, and habitat restoration for landowners and agencies. Polly also directs the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, a local non-profit organization which strives to enhance the commercial diversity and availability of ecotypic “genetically” native plant materials for landscaping and restorations. This effort involves conducting seed collections and commercial seed and wholesale production of Long Island native pla nts for the nursery industry, as well as conducting educational events and trainings on native plants.
Liz Camps – District Conservationist
United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
Liz Camps, NRCS District Conservationist, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science. She covers Richmond, Kings, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. At the beginning of her career, she worked with the USDA Forest Service in the research division. She has been working for NRCS for the past 9 years, in which she has concentrated all her energy in helping farmers and putting conservation on the ground. She also manages different cost-share programs, such as Environmental Incentive Programs (EQIP), Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Mina Vescera – Extension Educator, Nursery and Landscape Specialist
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
Mina Vescera is an Extension Educator and the Nursery and Landscape Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s Degree in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island at Kingston. Prior to joining the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Mina spent eleven years in Southeast Maine working as an estate gardener on Mount Desert Island and managing her own company, Sundew Gardening Services, specializing in native and organic gardening. She also spent three seasons working for Acadia National Park as an Interpretive Ranger, giving informational park tours. Additionally, Mina has experience in sustainable vegetable production and has a passion for plant propagation.
Dan Gilrein – Extension Entomologist,
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
Dan Gilrein is an Extension Entomologist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. He has a Master's degree in Pest Management from Cornell and BS in Forest Biology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He works with Long Island's agriculture and commercial horticulture industries on insect-related issues, including an entomology diagnostic lab, entomology research, and educational programs.
To Register: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e9ytjfgd6872ee40&oseq=&c=&ch=
For More Information please contact:
The Xerces Society
Honey Bee Science Project Needs your Help
1. They are looking at a bacteria called Wolbachia in honey bees. Wolbachia is a genus of bacteria which infects arthropod species, including a high proportion of insects.
2. They are looking at genetic variation in honeybees on Long Island.
To do these 2 studies they need samples of bees from different places around Long Island and into NYC if possible. They would like to get about a dozen bees from each hive. If you can help out please collect bees from as many colonies as you can by the following process:
- Using a clean bucket and zip-lock bags
- Label each bag with 1) hive number, 2) local address (local cross-street as a minimum) or GPS Latitude and Longitude, 3) best guess at how many years hive has been established, and 4) best guess at age of queen.
- At the hive, pull the inner cover or a frame from the edge of the cluster with several bees clinging, shake bees into bucket, then transfer about a dozen into the bag.
- Seal bag and freeze before bringing to meeting.
- Make sure all bees are dumped from the bucket before proceeding to the next hive.
Some of you who live far out east, in Nassau, or further west may want to help but won’t be able to make it to a meeting. Do you have a local group meeting that the students could come to, or could you coordinate collection and delivery to the students? We all know someone who is regularly driving into the city or out to the island. Packages of frozen bees can be delivered to Ray Lackey (Phone: 631-567-1936, 1260 Walnut Avenue, Bohemia, NY 11716, firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will make sure that they get to the students. There will be a Styrofoam cooler with a Blue ice block by the side entry door by the garage starting Saturday morning and you can just drop your baggies in there. Let’s get it done within the next two weeks.
The students are planning on coming to the club meeting on Sunday and will give a brief introduction to their projects as well as collect your donations of bee samples. Each group will give a short 3 to 5 min presentation.
The 12 Days Of Christmas Carol Contest!
On the Second Day Of Christmas, My Bee Keeper Gave To Me, 2 Empty Supers and a Beautiful Italian Queen Bee
On The Third Day Of Christmas….
You know how this goes…send us the 12 days of Christmas, each with a beekeeping theme, and we’ll publish as many of the best entries as we have room for in the December issue.
There are only a few rules for this contest:
Every day has to have a beekeeping theme
Spelling, rhyme, rhythm and meter count
Your entry has to be sing-able (is that a word?)
It has to be original
Keep it in the spirit of the season – friendly and fun
All entries have to be here by Midnight, October 1, 2014, no exceptions
You can have as many as 3 different entries
We accept only electronic submissions. Each email must have the name, address, and phone number of the entrant and each entry MUST have 12 Days in the subject line, and each email must have only ONE (1) entry. And send every one of those entries to Kim@BeeCulture.com.
That’s it. All entries will be judged by a tone deaf Bee Culture staff after midnight that night who have been sampling some Christmas Cheer, kind of early, and maybe some other office folks. We’ll see who sticks around.
Prizes. YES there are PRIZES.
FIRST PRIZE – A Life time subscription to Bee Culture Magazine. Value…unknown, but probably more than a couple grand…maybe even more if you’re lucky, and young enough. But there’s more! We are going to put the winning entry’s lyrics ON THE COVER OF THE DECEMBER ISSUE SO THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOLKS CAN SEE AND SING YOUR SONG!
SECOND PRIZE – A five year subscription to Bee Culture Magazine. Value…about $125 or so, maybe more if the price goes up.
THIRD PRIZE – A three year subscription to Bee Culture Magazine. Value…over $100 anyway.
So songbirds, get busy. You have only until October First, 2014.
Jeff Pettis' Testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture
Testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture
Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture
April 29, 2014
Chairman Scott, Ranking Member Schrader and members of the subcommittee, I am Dr. Jeff Pettis, Research Leader of the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, a research laboratory dedicated to honey bee health and part of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. I am pleased to appear before you to discuss a serious threat to the honey bee and thus our food security in the United States.
Ultimately, if no long-term solutions are developed to slow bee decline, consumers will pay more for the food they buy. The foods that bees are responsible for pollinating tend to be the foods that add vital nutrients, flavor and diversity to our diet: the fruits, nuts and vegetables that maintain health. Bees pollinate more than 90 crops and are responsible for $15 billion in added crop value. Over half the nation’s bees are needed to pollinate almonds alone, a $3 billion crop with increasing acreage.
One of the biggest problems facing honey bees and beekeepers today is the varroa mite. The varroa mite’s full name is Varroa destructor, and it is perhaps the most aptly named parasite ever to enter this country. Varroa destructor is a modern honey bee plague. It has been responsible for the deaths of massive numbers of colonies both within the United States and worldwide. This mite is native to Asia where it normally parasitizes Apis cerana, the eastern or Asian honey bee, an entirely different species of honey bee from Apis mellifera, or the western honey bee, that was brought to the New World by Europeans, and on which the U.S. now depends for crop pollination. Asian honey bees have some natural defenses against the mite and consequently are rarely seriously affected by the Varroa. European honey bees, on the other hand, have been devastatingly susceptible to varroa mite damage. The simple act of feeding by Varroa, where it pierces the skin of the bee to suck blood, can introduce bacteria and weaken the immune system of bees. Varroa mites also transmit an array of destructive viruses to honey bees, such as deformed wing virus.
When Varroa destructor was first found in the Unites States in 1987, beekeepers managed more than 3 million colonies for crop pollination and their winter losses were typically about 10 to 15 percent. Today, beekeepers are having trouble maintaining 2.5 million managed colonies, winter losses are averaging over 30 percent a year, and the economic sustainability of beekeeping is at the tipping point. Beekeepers have identified varroa mites as a major problem. The costs of mite controls and replacing hives that only live 1-2 years, as opposed to living 3-5 years before the arrival of Varroa, are all accumulating to the point where varroa mites are making beekeeping no longer financially viable in this country.
For commercial beekeepers, there are currently only three fast-acting treatments for varroa mites: the miticides fluvalinate, coumaphos, and amitraz. While there are also a number of folk remedies and organic treatments, none work as well as these other treatments and all involve more labor and costs to apply. However, varroa mites are adapting and becoming resistant to fluvalinate and coumaphos. Some new treatments are in the pipeline but even a new effective miticide will only provide a short-term solution because it is only a matter of time before the varroa mite will adapt to that miticide as well, continuing the destructive cycle. What beekeepers truly need are long term solutions to varroa mites.
The beekeeper’s best hope is research that can build better tools to reduce the size of the varroa mite problem. Researchers at USDA’s scientific agencies--the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) are on that trail right now. In ARS, scientists are working with a total budget of approximately $11 million dollars in FY2014, with approximately $3 million targeting Varroa specifically. Additional temporary funding of $1.3 million in 2013 has been provided on bee health through the Areawide Program of ARS. These funds have helped augment the base funds and allow scientists to work closely with commercial beekeepers to try and improve colony survival.
ARS scientists are developing improved best management practices to help beekeepers deal with immediate issues of overcoming varroa mites. By applying microbiological, genomic, physiological, and toxicological approaches, we are creating new tools for beekeepers to build and maintain healthy bee populations. For long-term solutions, ARS is looking to the genetics of both the mite and the honey bee. ARS has an active breeding program designed to increase resistance mechanisms in European honey bees. For example, some bees have a propensity for nest cleaning and grooming behaviors and these have been exploited in breeding programs as control measures. ARS is also working on improving epidemiological nation-wide monitoring of pest and diseases, biochemical disruption and a host of other possibilities.
NIFA is supporting extramural research, extension, and educational programming to scientists, extension specialists and educators to address declines in pollinators. Dozens of competitive and capacity grants are focused on novel strategies to manage the varroa mite, which are expected to better protect pollinators from this devastating pest. Since 2010, NIFA has awarded competitive grants on pollinator health worth an estimated $13 million dollars, including approximately $2.6 million targeting Varroa specifically. Varroa does not act alone on bee health and thus many of these projects take a holistic approach, looking into the multiple factors affecting honey bees and other pollinators. In one NIFA funded project, University of Minnesota extension specialists are assisting honey bee queen breeders in selecting for hygienic behavior, a trait that helps bees defend against varroa mites and other diseases. In another, Cornell scientists are testing the hypothesis that giving colonies smaller hives will provide the mites fewer opportunities to reproduce and this will lower the per capita level of mite infestation of the bees.
The work at USDA is part of a government-wide response to the large and ongoing declines in pollinator populations in the U.S. and world-wide. The President’s FY 2015 budget proposes over $71 million for USDA alone to focus on this issue. This includes a $25 million initiative to create an Innovation Institute on Pollination and Pollinator Health, a competitive program that will be managed by NIFA. As a measure of the seriousness with which the varroa issue is regarded, USDA hosted a Varroa Summit in February of this year. More than 75 representatives and researchers from beekeeping organizations, agricultural commodity groups, the crop protection industry, universities and federal agencies such as APHIS, ARS, NIFA, NRCS
and EPA attended to discuss research needed to solve the problem of varroa mites. The attendees identified numerous specific short-term and long-term research priorities. Most of these concerned the need to develop the underpinnings for new approaches to controlling varroa mites: finding natural biocontrol agents, developing RNA interference as a control measure, developing area-wide management practices and improving best management practices, and identifying genetic markers and breeding for bee traits that will provide varroa survivability. Attendees also recognized the need for more extensive communication between researchers and beekeepers for collection of epidemiological and economic varroa mite data and for transmitting new information from researchers on techniques for controlling varroa. One potential outcome of the Varroa Summit will be an increased level of collaboration between scientists and more public-private and Federal-university partnerships.
But even if the varroa mite problem were solved today, this would not by itself solve all of the problems facing honey bees and beekeepers. In the last 20 years, a whole host of new honey bee pathogens—viruses, bacteria, fungi, mites—have entered the United States. We know that the effects of viruses in particular are significantly exacerbated when coupled with the presence of Varroa. Colony collapse disorder, a syndrome for which scientists still do not have a cause, continues to take a toll on apiaries. Exposure to pesticides in the environment may be weakening bee colonies, possibly making them more susceptible to other stresses. A lack of diversity in nectar and pollen sources may also play a major role in stressing honey bee colonies. The loss of honey bees may also reflect a much larger issue of general pollinator declines, with honey bees acting as an indicator species. The relative contributions of different stressors for CCD is not well understood and solving this problem will take an all hands on deck approach, including research, public education, increased foraging lands and public/private partnerships to address CCD and the larger loss of pollinators.
To meet today's increasing pollination demands, we need well over 3 million managed honey bee colonies in this country. To do that, we need to make beekeeping profitable again and that starts with controlling Varroa destructor.
I Want To Put Myself Out Of Business
Last year I imported 240 nucleus colonies of bees for Long Island. Pete Bizzoso imported approximately 160 packages of bees for Long Island. In addition to those we had a number of other beekeepers bringing in packages or nucleus colonies for people to start bees. I would like to see this importation of bees stopped. Pete is no young chicken and I am getting older too. Not many of us have the acreage where they can have 240 nucs dropped off for a few days without the neighbors getting upset.
There are several reasons why I'd like to see this practice stopped. One of them is the fact that Africanized bees are moving further north and it is becoming more likely that the bees we get from off the island will be more aggressive in the future because of Africanization. Another reason is that it is been proven by a study done by Erin McGregor in Maine that bees bred locally have higher survival rates over the winter than southern packages. Another reason is that we are becoming a global economy and because of that we have had pests brought in from all over the world that are attacking our honeybees. The more our bees are moved around the country, the more likely they will be exposed to these new diseases and pests and bringing the bees on the Long Island will expose our bees to these diseases and pests.
We do not have migratory beekeepers bringing bees onto Long Island and thus exposing our bees to outside genetics and pests but the use of imported package nucs and packages each year is making an open door for poor genetics, in the form of Africanized bees, and diseases and pests that been brought into the rest the country. I have considered establishing my own business of producing nucs on Long Island and overwintering them for sale each spring. The main state beekeepers are trying to do this and they now run their beekeeping classes late enough in the year so the locally produced nucs are available to new beekeepers.
The problem I have with this is that I am not a full-time beekeeper. Nor do I want to become a full-time beekeeper. I am an engineer with 40 years of business background. Like the biblical advice I do not start to build a tower until I have counted the cost. I have thus developed a model for a nucleus production business and performed the analysis to determine its cost effectiveness. Let me describe this process.
A colony that has come through the winter is set up for honey production and managed as normal. Approximately the end of June as our honey flow is drawing to a close, the Queen and two frames of brood are removed from the colony and established in the nucleus colony. At that time two more frames of bees are shaken from the original colony into the nucleus colony. This nucs is now in a position to build up for overwintering. The original hive is now queenless and will start raising new queens. Normally there will be multiple queen cells produced on different frames of the hive. One week later these queen cells have been capped and are going to their pupal stage. The honey supers are then pulled for extraction. On the original hive stand, one frame of brood with a queen cell and one frame of honey and pollen with attached bees should be left in place with new foundation or empty drawn comb. The remaining brood area is split into multiple nucleus boxes making sure there is at least one queen cell in each nuc, two frames of brood, two frames of honey and pollen, and one frame of either foundation or empty drawn comb. This split is performed late in the day when the bees are all home and all of the bees should be partitioned to the individual nuc boxes. These new boxes are then moved to a different area of the apiary. The next morning all the field bees from the nucs moved will return to the original hive stand and supplement this very small nucleus colony that will be mainly made up older bees.
The nucs produced in this way in the nucleus boxes will have a lighter load of tracheal mites. Most of the tracheal mites will be resident in the older bees and will return the original hive stand. Typically each overwintered colony or nuc can be built up to two deep boxes by this point and can be used to produce at least four nucleus colonies. The colony on the original hive stand should be very strong, be able to draw new comb and build up to overwinter in the single box. The nucleus colonies will then be nurtured so they can build up in population and go into winter as a strong well-stocked nucleus box.
The breaking of the brood cycle in this way reduces the potential varroa mites while the new queen is emerging and mating. Each nuc produced in this way will need to be checked after a couple weeks to verify that the queen is well mated and laying. It would be good if she could be marked at this time so that she is more easily found as the colony grows. If the queen has failed to mate or is been lost completely a new queen cell should be put in that time. This allows you to reproduce from stock that has overwintered and allows the queen to mate with local drones, hopefully from hives that have also overwintered. Alternatively, the queen cells used in this nuc production could come from selected breeding stock that has a particular beneficial genetic trait so that this trait can be introduced into our local area.
If I were to do this I would plan on keeping 12 nucs at an apiary throughout the remainder of the summer and through the winter. This would mean that to produce 240 nucs that I sold last year would require 20 apiaries scattered around Long Island. This is not even accounting for losses so it actually takes more than 20 apiaries and more than 240 nucs would have to be started. Establishing this as a continual operation and process, my analysis shows that the business could become profitable within two years. The table below shows the potential profit with various survival rates during the first three years. It shows that the financial outlay in the first year will be approximately $63. If your survival rate over that first winter averages 70%, the profit would be less than four dollars. The following year, however, we have a profit of around $39 per nuc started. This accounts for both winter losses and the reservation of nucleus colonies, to use as a starter colony for honey production and then subsequent nuc production.
Table 1. Profit per Nuc started with various survival rates over successive years.
The second table contains a list of the costs that I have included in my analysis. The nuc boxes selected are the Betterbee Styrofoam nuc boxes but I would be buying them as the boxes with no holes and no hardware to get this price. This allows the nuc to be fed without taking up a frame space for a feeder. I do not like the closure that they have on their standard of box because it eliminates the handhold at one end of the nuc box. I have developed my own closure which is a slide in a channel. The boxes would be painted in groups with four different primary colors and then the face of each box would be painted in a different color with a pattern that would allow the bees to orient themselves to their particular box. I also included a numbering of each nuc box so that they can be tracked. I have estimated that each nuc box may require one pollen patty, up to 10 pounds of sugar and one medication treatment for varroa mites. I have also allowed for ½ hour labor per nuc and the cost of the money at an 8% rate.
Table 2. Expenses per Nuc started over successive years.
The picture shows how I envision one of the stacks to look in the apiary. I believe I would stack six nucs in a single stack and then put a weight on top or maybe strap them together to prevent them from getting knocked over or lids from blowing off. A stack of only four would make it so there's only one entrance on the face where the stack of six will have two entrances on two of the faces and will require more unstacking to examine the bottom nuc. A stack of 8 would be four feet high and seems unwieldy to me. I would consider putting these hives on a pallet compatible with my hand truck but that is not required and is not included in the cost. The advantage to having the nucs on a hand truck pallet is that I would be able to easily load a number of nucs at a time into my trailer for consolidation at my house for nuc pickup.
Figure 1. Nuc stacking to reduce heat loss in winter.
One of the advantages of having overwintered nucs is that they would be available earlier in the year. Where our imported nucs and packages are normally not available until early to mid April, these overwintered nucs could be distributed at the beginning of March and then moved into a full-size hive on the first nice day. They could be then fed for drawing of comb and expansion of the brood cluster and then these would be ready to start gathering nectar for honey production at an earlier date. Taken care of, these boxes should last for many years.
So, since I don't want to become a full-time beekeeper and I would not want to invest the kind of money that is necessary to establish this kind of business I would like to investigate the possibility of a loose partnership. If I can find a number beekeepers interested in running 12 nuc boxes, I would work with them to get the nuc boxes, get them completed, painted and numbered. The individual beekeepers would then be responsible for using their own bees to generate the nucs in the first year and taking care of them. I would imagine that we can use the club to allow you to count the number of healthy nucs you have at the beginning of February and put them up for sale. Individual beekeepers could then contact you and make arrangements for purchase and pickup. I have used a price of $155, just $5 more than this year’s imported nucs. I feel that this is low. A price of $175 should be justified because of the locally mated queen, five frames of bees instead of four in the imported nucs having a space for the feeder, proven overwintering, and earlier availability. After they move their bees into their own equipment they would then return these nuc boxes to you to start the next cycle. It would cost you about Eight hundred dollars to get into this business at this level.
If you're interested contact me and let me know of your interest. If we can get enough people interested, I would then plan on having an organizational meeting, getting the nuc boxes in March and we could have a couple workdays at my house to drill, paint, and complete the boxes. Price for boxes was based upon 240 purchased to get the quantity discount. This means that we need to have 20 units of 12. Some, like me, may want to take two or more units of 12. There is also the potential for some to take smaller units of 6 or such. What do you think? Let’s talk.
Mr. Frank Edward Hurley III
HURLEY III– Frank E. on February 8, 2014 of Oyster Bay, NY at age 77. Beloved husband of 50 years to Janine; loving father of Frank E. (Katherine) Hurley IV, Christiane (Philip) Zoller, Alexandra Hurley; dear grandfather of Olivia & Emily. Cherished brother of Mary Jeanne, Trudy, Maureen and the late Barbara. Also survived by niece Regina and nephews Mark, Charles, Herbert and George. Services to be held at St. Dominic’s church February 12th.
Frank had a stellar career as Chief Chemist at Grumman Aerospace for 39 years, one of the highlights of which was his work on the Lunar Module project. He was also a master of the mechanical disciplines and could build and fix virtually anything. Frank and his wife Janine converted a barn in Cove Neck into a beautiful home where they raised their children and have lived for the past 50 years. Frank was also an avid naturalist and beekeeping was one of his many passions. Over the many years he enjoyed lecturing about honeybees to garden clubs and to grade-school children. After his retirement from Grumman, he enjoyed working as a trail guide at the Muttontown Preserve.
Honey & Hive Products Judging Results
Our honey judging contest was a lively affair as usual. We had a full house for the beekeeping 101 and then little by little the entries for the contest came in. This year we held things a little differently by putting the entries up on stage and pulling the screen down so the judges were able to do the judging in privacy. Thanks to the judges Ray Lackey and Donal Peterson for all their hard work and we had some great winners.
Category: Light Amber Honey:
2nd- Wayne Vitale
3rd- Bill O’Hern
1st- Helen Mecagni
2nd- Charles DeStefano
2nd- John Hardecker
1st- Conni Still
1st- Conni Still
1st- Conni Still
Novelty Package of Honey
1st- Conni Still
1st- Samantha Boyd
Best in Show
Congratulations to all the winners!
Here is the prize winning candy recipe thanks to Samantha.
Apple Cider Honey Caramels
1 cup Apple Cider
1 stick butter (1\2 cup)
1 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1\4 tsp cinnamon
Pour apple cider into a heavy, deep saucepan. Bring to a boil then add stick of butter. Continue boiling until butter is melted, then stir in honey, salt and cinnamon.
Cook until mixture reaches 245 on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently. Pour into a parchment paper lined baking pan and let cool. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares..Place onto strips of waxed paper or plastic wrap and seal and twist the ends closed. Enjoy a sweet treat.
The refreshments were an interesting change too, thanks to the hospitality crew and all who brought them. The conversations were certainly lively during the breaks, everyone still on a BEE high from the conference at St. John’s. We were happy to welcome some new members, Tina McGill, Patrick Daffy, Prudence Heston, and Evelyn Blinn,