March 2011 Meeting Minutes
Northern Neck Beekeepers Club
Minutes of the March 14, 2011 meeting
The March 2011 meeting of the Northern Neck Beekeepers Club (NNBC) was held at the
Wicomico Parish Church in Wicomico Church. The meeting was primarily to celebrate
the graduation of the Beekeeping for Beginners Class 2011, and the graduates received
their certificates of completion.
John Gregory, President of the Northern Neck Beekeepers Club (NNBC), called the
meeting to order at 7:00 PM and pointed out to members that a copy of last month’s
minutes was available for those who wished to see them. However, because tonight’s
meeting is an abbreviated one, approval of both the Secretary and Treasurer’s reports was
postponed until the April meeting.
John asked April Cortese to report on the availability for purchase of caps from
Kilmarnock Lettering for those who want to order them. Eight of the caps have been
ordered by members already. The caps come in many different colors and at least
a couple of styles. They are high quality caps and cost $22.90 each, plus shipping,
when ordered in small quantity. If enough members decide to order caps, it would be
advantageous to send a combined order to benefit from a quantity discount.
Michael Church talked for a few minutes about what beekeeping tasks should be done
this time of year. He reminded members that March is the month in which bees are most
prone to starve if they don’t have enough stores put by. It is important to monitor the
hives and to provide supplemental feeding if needed. Mike has already started feeding a
1 to 1 ratio of sugar-syrup to a couple of his hives that he found needed supplementary
feeding. He has also used pollen patties in some of his hives, though he said that some
bees seem to like the pollen patties while other bees do not.
Mike cautioned members also to watch for crowding at the top of their hives. Reverse
hive bodies as needed as a preventive measure against swarming. April is the month
when bees are most likely to swarm if they feel crowded. Mike has seen swarm cells in at
least one of his hives already this year. He cut the swarm cells out. He’ll check the hive in
a few more days, and if new swarm cells have formed, he will move the queen and about
five frames of bees to a NUC, which he hopes will result in the remaining bees raising a
new queen and squelching the urge for swarming in that hive. He said that if members do
likewise, they should make sure the NUC is placed at least 200 yards or more from the
Because heavy nectar flow will begin around April 25 in our area, it won’t be long before
supers can be put on hives. Be sure not to be too hasty to use queen excluders. If you do
want to use an excluder, be sure that there will be an enticement for the house bees to
move up into the super to store honey. One way that can be encouraged is to allow the
queen to begin laying brood in the super. Then move the queen down to a lower hive
body and put the queen excluder between the super and the hive body below it. The
house bees will then have a reason to move up (to take care of the brood), and the brood
will mature and young bees will leave the super before honey harvest. (It is not a good
idea to harvest honey with larvae in it.)
Mike next talked about the number and proper spacing of frames within both the 10-
frame and 8-frame hives. It will cause much grief in managing the hives if frames are
spaced either too close or too far apart. If the beekeeper ends up with unwanted burr
comb from improper frame spacing, he or she should be sure to cut out and save the burr
comb for some other use (like candle making) rather than merely disposing of it.)
Mentors from last year were recognized for their assistance in guiding last year’s
beginning beekeepers, and John Gregory presented a gift in appreciation to Michael
Church. His unflagging efforts since 2009 have resulted in a large club and a growing
number of beekeepers in the Northern Neck.
Mike and John then handed out the certificates of completion to the Class of 2011.
Before everyone attending the meeting lined up to feast on the potluck supper celebrating
the graduation, there was one more treat in store.
As it has in past years, Boy Scout Troop 215 presented the Northern Neck Beekeepers
Club with a delicious cake that was shaped and decorated to look like a big honeybee.
The Troop received a great round of applause and invitation to join the club members for
The next NNBC meeting will take place at the Northumberland County Public Library
meeting room in Heathsville, VA, on April 11, at 7:00 PM.
Bonnie Wilson, Secretary
Northern Neck Beekeepers Club