Keeping bees on Long Island since 1949.


Welcome to the new members: Elizabeth Marcellus, Richard & Susan Barkey, Keith Perry & Arlene Verante, Bryan Pedigo, Martin Kenna
Finally got my garage (honey house) cleaned up and all the buckets ready for next year. Next I have to make a few more batches of cosmetic products and then clean off the entire work counter. My kitchen renovation includes bringing the old cabinets down and putting them under the work bench instead of the saw horses that have been there forever. That will give me much more usable and neat space. Hopefully it can all be done before the weather gets nasty and I want to get the car into the garage!! Guess I’m not going to get much decorating for Christmas this year. Wreath on the door might be all I can do, I have to pack up my 100 skeps that are in my kitchen! My Bee Christmas tree in the dining room will have to do double duty for Santa this year. My bees and I wish you and all your loved ones a Happy and Healthy Holiday and New Year.

Congratulations to Tim Perry, winner of the Top Bar Hive Raffle!

Guest Speaker Chis Kohl of Sweet Valley Hives with his Warre Hive.

Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:


Welcome to the new members: John Lovett, George Yakaboski, Daniel Messina and Kimberly Fitzgerald.

Blue Ribbon Winning Recipes:
Apple, Ginger, Honey Jelly, Conni Still
1 cup prepared apple juice, (used juicer to obtain juice from apples)
3 cups honey
1 tablespoonful grated ginger
½ bottle Certo pectin

Measure juice into saucepan. Add honey and mix well. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. At once stir in ginger, then Certo. Then bring to a FULL ROLLING BOIL and boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam with metal spoon and pour quickly into glass jars. Cover at once and seal according to Ball jar directions. Makes about 5 medium jars.

Local Raspberry-Honey Cello, John Hardecker
2 quarts raspberries
1 quart 190 proof grain alcohol (Everclear)
3 cups honey
Soak raspberries and alcohol.
Mix and strain to remove solids.
Add honey.

Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:

Honey & Hive Products Judging Results

Our honey judging contest was a lively affair as usual. Thanks to the judges Ray Lackey and Donal Peterson for all their hard work.

Very Light, Water White
First, Bill O’Hern
Second, Moira Alexander
Third, John Hardecker

Very Light Amber
First, Charles DiStefano
Second,Helen Mecagni
Third, Giuseppe Caso

Light Amber
First, Roy Baillard
Second, Jessica James
Third, Moira Alexander

First, John Hardecker
Second, Charles DiStefano

Dark Amber
First, Miriam Kissel
Second, Peter Kissel

First, Helen Mecagni
Second, Giuseppe Caso

Comb Honey
First, Conni Still

Wax Block
First, Charles DiStefano

Novelty Beeswax Blocks
First, Conni Still

First, Barbara Curtis

Honey Bread
First, Betty Fletcher

Honey Spread
First, Betty Fletcher

Apple, Ginger, Honey Jelly
First, Conni Still

Raspberry Honey Cello
First, John Hardecker

First, John Hardecker

Gift Basket
First, Conni Still


Club Correspondence: Letters to the Hive

Dear Long Island Bee Club,
We would like to thank you for supplying us with the bees we’re using to conduct our study. This donation helped us to acquire the necessary samples very easily and quickly, which allowed us to start our research as soon as possible. Also, we were able to collect a large variety of bees from one central location instead of having to drive to different areas, which helped tremendously. We will be sure to send you the results of our study once we are finished so you can see that your bees were used purposefully.

Thanks again,
Zack Abrams and Nicole LaReddola, Commack High School


Dear Long Island Bee Club,
We would like to thank all of you for participating in our project! We couldn't have gone through with this project without the generosity of all of your donations. We aim to put these bees to good use, and contribute something great to the beekeeping world!

Jungsoo Ahn, Kristin Orrach, Sydney Sirota, and the rest of the Commack High School Science Department


Dear Conni,
I cannot make next Sunday's meeting but just wanted to thank the board for a wonderful conference! I learned so much and it was terrific to meet so many beekeepers. Clearly it was a lot of work to put together. Thank you so much for your efforts!

Paul Romanelli

The Garden Column: Late Fall

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

(These are all just SUGGESTIONS from CCE)
Don't go crazy!!

• Finish planting bulbs for spring flowering.
• Spray woody ornamentals browsed by deer with repellent
• Protect newly planted tree trunks with thin barks from winter sun scald (freeze-thaw cracking) by winding them with paper tree wrap.
• Practice water-wise irrigation as needed until the ground freezes.
• Water those thirsty evergreens well into the winter whenever the ground isn't frozen. ( I always leave a well-insulated water tap open, just for that purpose).
• Drain and store hoses and irrigation lines.
• If desired, allow dead annuals to self-seed by keeping their flower stems intact.
• Leave seed heads from native perennials intact to provide visual interest and feed the birds.
• Finish removing leaf litter from diseased plants to reduce overwintering of disease in soil.
• After the ground freezes, mulch planting beds to protect perennials, especially newly planted ones and bulbs from frost heave.
• Leave ornamental grass leaves intact to protect their crowns from freezing.
• Continue composting deadheaded flowers and plant debris, but don't put weed seed heads in the compost pile.
• Collect raked leaves in a convenient place for adding "browns" year-round to the compost pile.
• Continue to remediate soil in garden beds with manure and compost to revitalize it this winter.
• Increase the humidity available to houseplants by misting them frequently or placing them on a tray of wet pebbles.
• Pot up spring bulbs for indoor forcing and make room for them in the refrigerator. (most avid gardeners have an old fridge in their shed or garage for that purpose).
• Do the final mowing of your lawn to less than two inches, this will reduce vole and mice activity.
• After aerating your rose beds and the first good frost, hill up soil into 10-12-inch mounds around each rose plants.
• Store terra-cotta pots indoors ( a cool place is fine) to protect them from freezing and breaking during the winter.
• Remove plant supports and stakes so you don't trip over them in the snow.

2014 ESHPA Fall Meeting: November 21 & 22

ESHPA 2014 Flyer

Pollinator Conservation Short Course: November 18th

Announcing the 2nd
Long Island
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 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)

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:

For More Information please contact:

Sara Morris
The Xerces Society

Honey Bee Science Project Needs your Help

Students at Commack High School have a couple science projects planned that relate to honey bees. To perform these projects, they would like to collect samples of bees from as many hives as possible over as large an area as possible. They are planning on coming to the bee club meeting on Sunday and request 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, 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.


Welcome to the newest members of the club: Dave and Julie Kapuvari, Lorraine Leacock, Isabella Rossalini, John Machado, Melissa Beasley, Carolyn McQuade, John, Sofia, Nancy Witzenbocker, and Douglas McDermott.
Last month’s meeting was amazing. Eighty nine beekeepers buzzing around to hear the Master Beekeepers Forum and the wonderful presentation by our scholarship winner Julie Kapuvari. Then we had a honey tasting and honey yield competition and there were very happy winners and here are some photos to show you how much fun we all had.
Honey Tasting: First Place, Moira Alexander, Ties for Second Place, Conni Still, Marsha Greenman, Helen Mecagni, Paul Romanelli and Charlie DiStefano.
Honey Yield: First Place, Richard Meyer 110 lbs/hive, Second Place, Conni Still 80 lbs/hive, Third Place, Jim P. 50 lbs/hive.
Congratulations everyone for keeping such productive and happy bees.

Julie Kapuvari and her dad, Dave, gave a wonderful presentation of her Girl Scout Gold Award Project that she accomplished with her scholarship from the Long Island Beekeepers Club.

Dave Kapuvari, Master Beekeeper Ray Lackey, and Julie Kapuvari.

Moira was happy to find out that her honey was judged to be the BEST tasting. It was very delicious as were all the entries. Thanks to Lidia and Frank Kiss for the prizes of saplings of Evodia “Bee Bee” trees.

Moira sets up the honey tasting competition as Lidia Kiss looks on.

Moira has the chart to compare the honey yields and Richard Meyer from Amityville was the winner!

Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:

The Garden Column: Cleaning Up

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I had a wonderful gardening year. From a slow beginning to bumper crops, I had it all. Sometimes, you follow all the rules, consider all the variables and come up with nothing but weeds. In my case, I didn't follow any rules that I am aware of but used any empty spot and planted or seeded something. Any seeds that I had leftover from last year went into the ground. I bought some tomato plants from the Farmingdale State College Horticulture Department where I sometimes volunteer.
These, and some peppers, eggplants and assorted herbs went side by side with the newly seeded swiss chard, salad, radishes and assorted beans and cucumbers. I have heard about "companion planting" but had not bothered to find out what could go with what.
The cucumbers took over my garden. I had so many, I was giving bags of cucumbers away almost daily!
The climbing string beans (I don't like the bush type) snaked up onto my deck and I didn't even have to go down into the garden but could pick them up right from the deck. We picked beans every day and ran out of storage space. We had bean soup, green beans as dinner vegetables, green bean salad, you name it. We certainly ate healthy.
Finally we let the rest of the beans dry out and they will be planted for next year.
I also have a plan for next years cucumbers. I will make pickles. I will surf the web for pickling supplies and order everything that I need to become the next "pickle king".
We are still busy cleaning up.
Once everything is bare and raked out, we always want to make changes. "How about we move the lilies and the other flowers over to the other side and just keep vegetables and herbs over here?"
Planning is easy. Once shovel in hand and faced with this "labor of love", things look a bit more challenging.
Gardening is fun. But old geezers like me take their "fun" in moderation.
So plan next years garden now. Take a piece of paper and draw your "dream garden". Don't get too ambitious, just do what you can.
As for me: I'm a lazy gardener. The helter-skelter approach worked fine last year, why not next year? -- Well, I will do some planning.

President’s Message: You Can Be the Judge of This

By George B. Schramm, LIBC President

Every October the Club holds its “Annual Honey, Wax, Mead, Cookery, Arts and Crafts, and Gadgetry Contest.” That title is a bit long, so we usually just refer to it as “Honey Judging.”
But as you can see from the “official” title, we encourage our members to bring more than just honey to the contest. And, as you might expect, we have categories and rules for our judging. You can find the current rules on our website:
This year will be no different, but we asked some of our members to review those rules and categories and make some suggestions to change them and bring them into alignment with current trends and practices. You can find a copy of the proposed document in the Club’s Digital Library:
You will notice that proposed deletions are in red and through-lined, and additions are blue and underlined. These are only proposed changes, so we need your feedback on whether you agree with the suggestions, or maybe you have some of your own. We’ll be discussing the changes at the next meeting.
Whatever the result, the changes would go into effect for 2015, but it’s probably a good idea to think about the revisions during this year’s competition.
Also at this month’s meeting we will have our Master Beekeeper’s Forum and an opportunity for honey tasting. The honey that’s entered into the October judging is evaluated on a number of factors, but the taste is really secondary. So we thought it would be fun to have everyone bring an unlabeled jar of their honey to the September meeting so we all get to do a little sampling and judging of our own.
So if you’re looking for an opportunity to be a little (or maybe very) judgmental, then you don’t want to miss the September meeting because you will get the chance to express your opinion on the proposed contest judging rules and everyone else’s honey. See you there!

The Garden Column: Mid-August

Journal of the Ulster County Beekeepers Association

Now that the forage season for honeybees is winding down, plan on letting your vegetable garden plants flower to provide a little extra boost of pollen until after the first snows come. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country, the city, or somewhere in between, autumn pollen and nectar are an invaluable commodity to help build healthy and “fat” bees for winter. Letting your basil plants flower in July will most likely result in bitter basil, not honeybee forage, and most of us groan when our lettuce bolts in the heat of summer. Once a majority of forage sources has dwindled by early October, basil, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and mustard greens left to flower can provide sustenance to foraging honeybees. Lettuce is actually in the aster or sunflower family of plants (Asteraceae), and seeing it flowering in the grayness of November is a beautiful sight. Or, seeing a stretch of flowering mustard greens or broccoli rising above the snow with its welcoming yellow creates a honeybee destination on warm late autumn days.


I had to peel myself from the stickiness of my honey house to work on this newsletter. This was the best year I can remember for me, a wonderful yield of lovely honey. The bees were so mellow and I am busy bottling the honey in between all my other activities and a great visit from my family from California. I must send thanks out to John Holden for helping me with the lifting to take the honey off the hives. Couldn’t have done it without your help John!
This month’s meeting will be fun. Bring a jar of honey for the tasting contest, make sure your dues are paid up for next month’s honey judging contest. And don’t forget to send in your checks for the conference. Without your support for this great project we will not be able to continue bringing this excellent programming to our local area.
Welcome to new members: Jim Coleman, Lynne Coleman, Dawn Cozine, Dianek Birkel, Leslie Clarke, and Doris and Ed Nostrand.

Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:


Our meeting at Sweet Pine Apiary was a buzzing success! Lots of new faces joined us for a lecture to the newbees and a tour of Ray Lackey’s apiary and honey house. We had lots of delicious refreshments thanks to everyone and great talk and mingling between sessions.We welcome new members Anita Von Himmel, James Coon, and Ursala Altomare Here are some pictures of the honey house and new members thanks to Peter McCabe and John Mix.

Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:

Peter and Miriam check out the honey house.

Bruce and Charlie looking over Ray’s equipment.

Isabella and Graheme chat with Ray.

Conni at the Girl Scout Camp in Yaphank giving a tasting of honey after the lecture on honeybees.

The Garden Column: Mid-August

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

This will keep you busy!
  • Photograph your garden in peak summer bloom to remember what you liked this year and what you could change next year!
    Be a water-wise gardener: never water at midday. Water in early morning so plants can absorb moisture before it evaporates from the soil. Morning irrigation also prevents damp foliage at night when plants are susceptible to fungus.
    Once a week, deeply water all newly planted trees, perennials and shrubs, also deeply water those now forming spring flower buds and fall berries.
    Daily check moisture levels in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes as they dry out faster.
    Refresh your mulch for weed suppression and water conservation.
    Deadhead annuals for more blooms, leave perennial seed heads for the birds.
    Pinch herbs like basil to prevent flowering and keep foliage growth strong.
    Get rid of weeds before they go to seed!
    Dont put weed seed heads in your compost pile!
    Remove dying plants and diseased foliage to reduce disease overwintering in soil.
    Put dead annuals in compost pile, and replace with finished compost and mulch.
    Stake up tall, leggy flowers.
    Don't let food rot on the vine. Harvest daily!
    Best to pick veggies when plants are dry, not moist with dew or rain to reduce spreading disease. Especially green beans!
    Dont over-cut your lawn or too short. Tall grass shades soil and keeps it moist.
    If your lawn needs it, late August is the time to use slow-release fertilizer.
    Avoid pruning so plants can heal before winter.
    Plant trees, shrubs and perennials soon so they can take root before winter.
    Start seeds for winter vegetables now.
    Sow a fall crop of peas or spinach.
    Get supplies ready for your hoop house or cold frame to extend the season.
    Order spring bulbs to plant in fall.


The summer heat is finally here and the bees are so busy. I added a third honey super and in the next day or so will go back into the hives and check again for small hive beetle and mites and the overall health of the hive. But they seem to be “busy as bees” and doing what the books say they should. This is the first year that I have folks calling me to reserve honey, so I am hoping for a wonderful harvest.
We welcome new members this month: Bruce Matters, Chris Edmonds and Jean Schieck

The 12 Days Of Christmas Carol Contest!

On The First Day Of Christmas, My Bee Keeper Gave To Me, A Beautiful Italian Queen Bee
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
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.

2014 EAS Summer Conference, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky

The Garden Column: Things I forgot to tell you

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I was so carried away with my goose and turtle hunt, that i didn't give you any hints of what to do in YOUR garden.

So here goes:
1. Check compost piles for signs of more rapid decomposition in the summer heat. Turn regularly, moisten, and adjust ratios of greens to browns if necessary.
2. Fertilize annuals, container plants and vegetables.
3. Mulch, mulch, mulch for weed suppression and water conservation.
4. Deadhead roses and other spent blossoms.
5. Don't wait for invasive weeds to flower; remove them now before they set seed.
6. After early perennials bloom is a good time to devide and transplant them.
7. Finish planting such summer bulbs as dahlias, gladiolas and cannas.
8. Check plants for pests and diseases and address any problems before they get worse.
9. Spray repellants to discourage deer from eating tender plant shoots. (Doesn't work on geese or turtles)
10. When you mow, leave clippings on the lawn to return nitrogen to the soil.
11. Such early producers as lettuce and other greens should be harvested now before bolting in the July heat.
12. Train plants onto trellises carefully, and don't girdle young shoots by tying them too tightly.
13. Transplant self-sown annuals to new locations.

The above list should keep you busy. My bonus tip: Do it early in the morning, so YOU don’t start to wilt!

The Garden Column: June

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

For your information, I seem to have the "goose problem" licked. Or maybe they are busy raiding someone else’s' vegetable garden. In any event, almost all is peaceful in my little garden and most of the plantings are growing nicely.
I take a walk in my garden at least two or three times a day. I carry a pair of clippers and a container for the weeds. As I walk thru, I pick out some weeds here and there and snip off some dead flowers and rotten twigs.
There is always something to do. I do believe in benign neglect, but sometimes you have to help just a little...
To my astonishment I discovered several freshly dug holes. Right in the middle of my cucumber patch. I have no dog or cat and the only thing that could create these holes would be a cat or raccoon.
I have long since learned to tie down my garbage cans to prevent the raccoons from having a feast. Have they become vegetarians?
The other possibility is a snapping turtle, The same giant turtle comes up from the lake each year and digs up my garden beds and lays her eggs. Mind you, this reptile has to crawl up from the lake about 100 feet, up a set of stairs and then find some soft spot to lay her eggs. She spends about two hours straining to lay her eggs. In previous years we had watched her, but this year we missed it.
We even experienced the little turtles hatching. My grandson went down the outside cellar stairs and started hollering Grandpa we have a thousand little turtles!
I came running quickly. It wasn't a thousand, just thirteen.
We quickly got a bucket and picked them all up (I resisted my spouses' suggestion for turtle soup) They were all piled up in front of the door so it was relatively easy to scoop them up.
We carried them back down to the lake and they took off.
Both my grandson and I were amazed how fully developed those turtles were. Shell and all. They even tried to bite me!
So much for hole-digger possibility No. 2.
Our "snapper" however usually only digs one hole and here were several. What gives? Several egg-layers? We will definitely keep an eye on those holes and see what develops.
Meanwhile I have fertilized and watered and weeded and hope for the best. My tomatoes are doing great, my peppers have flowers already and everything else is coming along nicely too.
With all the rain we had in the last few days I can skip watering for today. It is important however that we avoid drought in the garden.
Remember I mentioned benign neglect, which is a nice word for being "lazy," but really, don't drive yourself crazy. Plant only as much as you can comfortably handle or eat, your neighbors don't need any extra tomatoes.

PS: I just got a note from Cornell, to be aware of Basil downy mildew. If you bought plants from any of the large nurseries you may have gotten sick plants. If you started your plants from seed, don't worry.


We welcome new members this month: Catherine Watson, Mary Ellen Cubbon, Alexandra Hurley, Sister Mary Lou Buser, Sister Heather Ganz, and Ben Moran.


Do you have a beekeeping story to tell or information or pictures you would like to share with fellow beekeepers? Please send text and pictures to the editor of Beeline at this email address:

Annual dues are $35. Please send a check payable to LIBC to Conni Still at 82 Stephen Road, Bayport, NY 11705, use PAYPAL, or pay directly at the next meeting.

Jeff Pettis' Testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture

Statement of Jeff Pettis, Research Leader USDA - Agricultural Research Service

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.

Club Meeting: Sunday, June 22

Guest Speaker:
Gary Reuter, Scientist, a.k.a. Gary-of-all-Trades, University of Minnesota

cfans_asset_314845 A long time hobby beekeeper and trained in technology education, Gary began working with Marla when she moved to Minnesota in 1993. Without his hard work, the program would not be what it is today. He maintains the research colonies, helps train and work with students in the field, designs and builds specialty equipment and speaks to beekeeping, student and civic groups. He plans the Extension short courses and together with Marla teaches beginning as well as experienced beekeepers. His humorous style of teaching helps the classes stay interested and enthusiastic about a sometimes challenging subject. He is a past president of both Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association and Wisconsin Honey Producers Association and director of the American Beekeeping Federation, and remains active in these groups. He still finds time to mange his own colonies, while learning to blacksmith, maintaining an orchard, and helping his wife raise sheep.

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.


I spent a lovely Mother’s Day visiting the mothers of all my bees. It was a beautiful day just perfect for a hive inspection. So I checked my hives and found that my queens are doing exactly what good mothers should be doing, laying tiny eggs in a perfect pattern. The larvae was glistening and surrounding the brood was packed cells with brilliant yellows and oranges of pollen. Nectar looked nice and full so I quickly added a honey super and praised the girls for all their good work. They were very calm and just kept busy despite my interruption. A perfect afternoon for a beekeeper. I topped off the day with filling the bird-feeders and the hummingbird feeder. Hopefully I will have a hummer visiting my yard of buzzers soon.

Annual dues are $35. Please send a check payable to LIBC to Conni Still at 82 Stephen Road, Bayport, NY 11705, use PAYPAL, or pay directly at the next meeting.

President’s Message: Magic Wands

By George B. Schramm, LIBC President

Recently, researchers at the University of Illinois have combined thin silicon sheets of photodiodes and 180 elastic micro lenses and stretched them into a hemisphere. Each of these photodiodes is essentially a camera, and together these cameras can capture a 160-degree-wide field of view. Sound familiar? What these scientists are attempting to duplicate is the compound eye of an insect, like a honeybee. (The bee has other types of “eyes” on its head, the dorsal ocelli, but we’re going to discuss the functions of only the large compound eyes.)

A traditional camera, like a digital or film camera, imitates the functionality of the human eye: a single lens that projects light onto a photoreceptive surface, the retina in an eye or the sensor plate in a digital camera. For humans, two eyes and a head that swivels enables us to explore our surroundings without even moving from our seat. But for the honeybee, the movement of the head is restricted, so a pair of single-lens eyes wouldn’t be as useful. Instead, the bee has a compound eye made up of multiple lenses that effectively spreads the retina all over the surface of its head. Unlike the man-made version mentioned above, that only has a 180 micro lenses, the worker honeybee has about 5,000 lenses (the queen has about 3,500 and the drone about 10,000).

Each of the six-sided lenses visible on the surface of a compound eye is actually the cap on the end of a long crystalline cone, or wand; it is these wands, the ommatidia, bundled in a hemispherical shape that makes up each compound eye. The tip of each ommatidium is clear to let in light, but the sides of the tube are surrounded by a layer of cells with black pigment to prevent light from passing between adjacent tubes; each ommatidium looks sort of like a conjurer’s magic wand with only a white tip on one end.

Inside the ommatidia are nine photoreceptors that relay to the bee’s brain the intensity and color of the incoming light. Unlike a single-lens camera or the human eye, each ommatidium does not project a tiny inverted image of the outside world, but instead the ommatidia act together to create a mosaic of light and dark spots. The “image” created in the bee’s brain is very coarse-grained and nowhere near the resolution of the human eye.

While we would consider this lack of spatial resolution to be a disadvantage, the ommatidia of the compound eye have an attribute that is lacking in the human eye and highly valuable to a honeybee: temporal resolution. When we look at a slowly flashing light we can distinctly see each flash, but if we increase the rate to 35 or 40 flashes per second, then the light appears to us to be constantly “on.” The photoreceptors in the human eye cannot respond quickly enough to distinguish the flashes of light above a certain rate. (We actually make use of this “shortcoming” when we watch a movie or a television screen; what is actually a flickering image appears to be a continuous image to our eyes.) By contrast, the ommatidia in the compound eyes of a honey bee can detect flashes of light as high as 200 times per second. So, objects moving quickly past our eyes (or as our eyes move quickly past objects if we were flying like a bee) would look blurry and indistinct, but would appear very clear and obvious in the eyes of a honeybee. We can simulate this difference ourselves at an electronics store. Low-quality flat screen televisions will have a low refresh rate, so scenes from a high action movie will appear “smeared” because the action is happening quicker than the images can appear on the screen, while the same scenes on a higher quality flat screen television appear clear and more “realistic.” The bee’s eyes are like the high-quality flat screen, which is perfect for navigating around flowers at high speed, or in the case of a predator like a dragonfly, for capturing prey.

The photoreceptors of the ommatidia are also sensitive to a different range of the electromagnetic spectrum than human eyes. The electromagnetic radiation that pervades our universe ranges from very long wavelengths, such as gamma waves, X-rays, and ultraviolet, to very short wavelengths like infrared, microwave, and radio waves. Our eyes have evolved to be sensitive to a very small range of this spectrum; which is what our eyes and brain interpret as being from blue to red. For honeybees, that range is shifted toward the blue end, so bees see from ultraviolet, which is invisible to us, to orange; what we see as red is invisible to honey bees. If we use a special camera that is sensitive to ultraviolet light to photograph flowers, we can see patterns on the petals that are visible to honey bees. These patterns create radial targets that help guide bees toward the center of the flower. They also help bees to distinguish between flower types; so to us the dandelion and the ragwort both appear as yellow flowers, but the honeybee can see two completely different flowers in ultraviolet light.

Although the large majority of the surface of a compound eye is devoted to discerning low-resolution patterns, there is a narrow band on the upper edge of each eye that specifically aids in navigation. The ommatidia in this region are oriented up toward the sky and are sensitive to polarized light. If our eyes were sensitive to polarized light then when we looked up we wouldn’t see the sun’s light diffused across the sky, instead we would see concentric rings of light and dark. The rings would be very thin and light immediately around the sun, and would get increasingly darker and wider as you looked away from the sun. So even if the sun was hidden behind some trees, or even just below the horizon, or the day was cloudy, you could always tell in which direction the sun was just by looking at the width and direction of the polarization rings in the sky. This is what the polarization region of the compound eye does for the bees. After witnessing a foraging worker perform a waggle dance, a bee can then emerge from the hive, determine the direction of the sun from the polarization rings, and fly at the appropriate angle to the sun to find that patch of dandelions.

So, despite what you may see in the movies, a bee’s, or a fly’s, compound eyes do not create a mosaic image composed of hundreds of pictures of the same screaming woman, instead they create a single low-resolution, sort of blotchy, but not “smeared,” blue-green-yellow image of a large pale oval with a small dark screaming oval; probably not as frightening an image, but far more useful to the honeybee.

The Garden Column: Garden Tips For March/April

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

My laundry room is filled with aluminum trays full of seed starters. Tomatoes, peppers, broccolis, you name it. Trays with pansies cover up the freezer. Any time I want to get at my ice cream, I have to move things around.

Let it get warm already so I can start to transplant things!

Should we finally experience some real spring weather here are some suggestions for you:
1. As the soil warms, reset frost-heaved plants for optimal spring growth.
2. Begin to assess the salt damage to your property from winter road spray and other de-icing compounds. Wait until the beginning of April to remove and replace salt-laden mulch protecting garden beds and trees near the road.
3. When the snow subsides, top dress your lawn with compost.
4. Cut ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs that like a hard shear back to new shoots.
5. Prune trees and shrubs NOW because this is the best time for woody plants to heal. Externally they produce rolls of wound wood over the cut. Internally they compartmentalize or wall off the damaged tissue from the healthy wood. These responses to wounding or cutting take place more rapidly this time of the year. (March/April).
6. Try forcing spring blossoms indoors from branches you have pruned.
7. Plant deciduous shrubs and trees when the ground is workable.
8. Get yourself a soil thermometer to gauge the real temperature of the soil, which is different from the air temperature. (Don't plant when the ground is still frozen).
9. Do like me and start your seeds indoors no more than six weeks prior to transplanting them, so they don't get leggy.
10. Mist delicate seedlings, don't drench them!
11. Plant peas outside even if it is snowing, they can stand it!


Anxiously awaiting my new bees with new brood chamber freshly painted and new Bee Smart stands to aid my aged back. Planning to put up a pot of syrup next week in preparation to feed the girls when they arrive. I hope the crazy snow we had last night has not delayed their travel plans. Another new year of beekeeping awaits us.

If you received this month’s newsletter then you are the wonderful members who have paid your dues for 2014. Thank you. If you know any members who ask why they did not receive a newsletter, please gently remind them that dues were overdue and must be paid to be put back into our database. We are happy to welcome some new members, Donna Sinetar, Timothy Perry, and Robert Kleehammer.

The Garden Column: Consider "Leafing it on the Lawn" This Year

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I am looking out of my office window over the lake and everything still looks white and cold. My seed catalogs are laying on my desk and I am perusing all the different vegetables and flower pictures.
This year, I would like to do something different, but what?

My beekeeping days are over, but I still dream of one day starting up again. So why not create a garden that atracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Usually, when I think about what plants I want in my garden I usually consider color, size and how the individual plant fits into the overall design. Maybe I should also consider the scent of a plant. Our sense of smell is very important and scents can soothe and relax us.

Apart from the lovely smell, the abundant wildlife that scented plants entice to your garden is another bonus. (bees)

One of the main reasons that plants have lovely smelling flowers is to attract insects (bees) to aid in pollination.

Honeybees and butterflies are especially sensitive to the scents of plants and can find perfumed flowers from distance away. The leaves of plants can smell too. Herbs such as rosemary and thyme have especially lovely scented leaves.

It is important to position ascented plant in the right spot in your garden. Consider not only the conditions the plant needs (sun, soil type, etc) but also you will be able to smell it. Locating the plant by a path or seating area is a good idea. Some plants need to be brushed against or rubbed before they release their sent. Bear in mind too that he scent can vary depending on the ime of day, the heat and humidity.

Some are noticable at night (Hosta plantaginea) which is a great way to enjoy your garden when i's dark too!

When selecting scented plants there can be a big difference between the scents of plants in one species, so make sure to sniff before you buy.

Fragrant plants can be truly evocative, reminding us of happy memories from the past.

So why not create some of your own memories now, by adding lovely scented plants to your garden. Here are some great ones: Daphne, Vibernum, Lilac, Skimmia, Hosta planntginea and Clethora (summersweet).


Tomorrow is the Ides of March, so we must all beware of the evils that might befall us. Like finding that our bees did not survive the horribly cold winter. Nothing more devastating than opening the hive to see all those poor frozen bees. Now I start all over again, again!
March is the deadline for DUES! In an effort to get the LIBC membership list properly updated, if you have not paid your dues for 2014 this will be your last newsletter. We will remove your name from our email and snail-mail database . So if you want to remain in touch with your fellow beekeepers and our excellent program planned for this year please get your dues paid by the end of March.
Did you know that St. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers? Show honey bees and their keepers some love today. Start planning your pollinator garden for the spring! from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

Welcome to the new members: Linda Weed, Roy Baillard, Barbara Curtis, Mark Leuly, David Anderson, and thanks to the 16 members who renewed their membership this month.


LIBC memberships run from January 1 to December 31. All memberships should be renewed annually within the first two months of the year. Membership forms are at each monthly meeting’s greeting table. Cash and checks (written to LIBC or Long Island Beekeepers Club) are accepted at meetings or checks can be sent via snail mail to our membership secretary, whose address is noted at the bottom of this message, or through PAYPAL.

Your paid annual membership is an invaluable support to the beekeeping community. Funds go toward speaker fees, LIBC’s wonderful library materials, and operating costs. Our monthly meetings are open to anyone who wishes to come, and our Beelines newsletter is emailed to anyone who signs up to receive it. LIBC embraces everyone interested in supporting the health of honeybees and broadening knowledge about their value and the need for their gentle care.

Above and beyond these valuable activities, your membership benefits include:
● LIBC Library — Materials are lent for a period of one month, from one meeting to the next.
●LIBC Yahoo Group Access.
● Discounts for Beekeeping Periodicals — Bee Culture and American Bee Journal.

We will be preparing a membership directory. If you DO NOT want your name listed in the directory please indicate that on a note with your membership checks.

If you DO NOT want your name listed as INACTIVE please send in your dues by March 1, 2014.

Of course to avoid a big long line and waiting at the meeting, please feel free to mail your check, or at least have the check written or have correct change of $35 ready. Thank you.

I Want To Put Myself Out Of Business

By Ray Lackey

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.


Another great meeting with a wonderful presentation. Landi sent us a copy of her formulas for her great cream, lotion bars and lip balms. Look for them on our club website. These are the same ones I’ve been using with great success. Give us something to do while we wait for the snow to melt!
At the last board meeting it was decided that the Swarm List will be removed from the newsletter and be kept on the website. Only members in good standing will be included on the swarm list, so if you want your name to remain on that list please make sure you have paid your dues for 2014.
Please remember to let us know if you want your name included in the member directory that we are getting together. It will NOT be put on the website, but be given to members only for their information.
We welcome the new members that joined at the last meeting, Michale Attanasio, Bob Moire, James Pfister, Diane Coglietta, Patricia Hafen,Sara Shepherd, Mary Ann Lento and Joseph Matza,

Mr. Frank Edward Hurley III

April 06, 1936 - February 08, 2014

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.


LIBC memberships run from January 1 to December 31. All memberships should be renewed annually within the first two months of the year. Membership forms are at each monthly meeting’s greeting table. Cash and checks (written to LIBC or Long Island Beekeepers Club) are accepted at meetings or checks can be sent via snail mail to our membership secretary, whose address is noted at the bottom of this message, or through PAYPAL.

Your paid annual membership is an invaluable support to the beekeeping community. Funds go toward speaker fees, LIBC’s wonderful library materials, and operating costs. Our monthly meetings are open to anyone who wishes to come, and our Beelines newsletter is emailed to anyone who signs up to receive it. LIBC embraces everyone interested in supporting the health of honeybees and broadening knowledge about their value and the need for their gentle care.

Above and beyond these valuable activities, your membership benefits include:
● LIBC Library — Materials are lent for a period of one month, from one meeting to the next.
●LIBC Yahoo Group Access.
● Discounts for Beekeeping Periodicals — Bee Culture and American Bee Journal.

We will be preparing a membership directory. If you DO NOT want your name listed in the directory please indicate that on a note with your membership checks.

If you DO NOT want your name listed as INACTIVE please send in your dues by March 1, 2014.

Of course to avoid a big long line and waiting at the meeting, please feel free to mail your check, or at least have the check written or have correct change of $35 ready .Thank you.

We welcome new members this month, Tom Tyrrell, Graheme Williams, and Bruce Roberg, Christopher Kelly, Ligia Santos, Matthew Juvet, Jeffrey Hollman, and George Hohenstein.

Your continued support will give the club the opportunity to move forward with educational programs, the cost of printing and mailing newsletters and other mailings, guest speakers and other endeavors that make our club the long-lived organization that it is.

Credit Cards Accepted Here

Supporting local beekeeping by becoming a member of the Long Island Beekeepers is now just a click away, and renewing your membership couldn't get any easier.

The Club now accepts credit cards, so now you can pay your membership dues online, safely and securely.

Just visit our "Membership" page, then click on the "Beecome a Member" button and you will be automatically transferred to a secure PayPal-hosted page where you can complete the payment for your membership using American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa, or if you have a PayPal account, you can use that too.

Your credit card information remains safe and secure with PayPal's encrypted website; the Club does not store, nor have access to, your credit card data.

Still not convinced that becoming a member with your credit card is safe and secure? Then visit our "Membership" page for more information about PayPal, including how to create a secure account of your own.