Beekeeping Workshops

The FLBC will not host a beginner’s workshop this year, instead focusing on more advanced topics by way of the Geneva Bee Conference in March. Here are other workshops offered in the greater area this winter:

Beekeeping for Beginners. Jan 20, 2016. 6-8pm. $20.  Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY  14865. 607-535-7161.

Advanced Beekeeping. Feb 17, 2016. 6-8pm. $20. Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY  14865. 607-535-7161.

Summer bee health

ChalkbroodIf you see white and/or black “mummies” in front of hive entrances, your bees might be battling chalkbrood.  Conditions this summer are conducive to chalkbrood, a common bee brood disorder.  It is a fungus that seems to thrive in cool, wet summers like this one is becoming.  The disease will weaken your hive.

Learn more online: there are multiple guides to brood diseases such as the Penn State one that is on our club website and also on the NYBeeWellness website.

Prevention involves plenty of good hive ventilation, and minimizing other hive stresses.  So keep on top of it and make sure your bees have a good location and plenty of honey!

– by Christina Wahl

Photo by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

Preparing for a honey judging contest

Provided by Sue Garing 4/2/2015

Resources for Honey Contest Entrants

“How To”

Search YouTube for Virginia Webb’s “preparing honey show entries” videos.

USDA Honey Color Standards page 6 table. Yes you will need a meter that reads in Pfund mm units to make sense of this table.  See below.

Rules of the Game

New York State Fair Honey Show Department 21 Division F

Empire State Honey Producers Association Honey Show Calendar/Fall Meeting/Honey Show

Eastern Apiculture Society Honey Show (2014, 2015 not posted yet)

Judging equipment

  • Moisture meters are available in most beekeeping catalogs. Yes, you can learn to judge by eye but viscosity is very temperature dependent.
  • Color category gauges

“Professional”  Readout is in Pfund mm units.

“Get you close” Jack’s Scale – available in beekeeping catalogs.   Has a table to map to USDA categories.

A few folks around the state own an original “Pfund” grader which compares a sample to a standard glass plate.  The plate gets darker from one end the other. Thus the “Pfund millimeter” unit concept  (see USDA honey color chart). Color is very subjective and dependent on the jar, the light, and how clear the honey is.  That’s why we ask for comparable Queenline jars.

  • Polarometer

I don’t know of an affordable commercial instrument.   Most are homemade from polarizing film and a bit of woodworking. Using synthetic filter cloth and long sit time will get you a long way toward clear honey. $29

Beginning beekeeping: a short course

The Finger Lakes Beekeepers Club is pleased to offer a short (3-hour) course on Sunday, March 22 from 1-4pm, at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building in downtown Ithaca.The cost of the program is $5. We have a few more spots available.

This abbreviated course will cover the very basics of what you need to consider when getting started with bees: equipment, a year in the bee yard, very basic bee biology, and further resources. The facilitators are David Hopkins and Peter Borst, veteran beekeepers.

If you would like a hard copy of the Penn State Extension Beekeeping Handbook, it will be available for an additional $7 (you must order in advance). You are most welcome to download the book, and/or print it on your own; the $7 simply covers our cost to print and bind the books.

To register and pay for the short course online, click here. If you would like to pay with a check instead, please email Ellie Andrews for a registration form ( If you have any questions, please let us know!

Beginning Beekeeping Workshop

Beginning Beekeeping Workshop
Presented by the Finger Lakes Beekeepers Club

with generous support from the Cayuga Nature Center

Learn about honey bees and the joys of beekeeping, and network with beekeepers of all experience levels. Our speakers each have decades of personal experience with bees and beekeeping, and all enjoy sharing their love of the hobby!

The Beginner’s Workshop has reached maximum capacity.

If you would like to be placed on the wait list, please email

Workshop raffle update!

We will once again offer a raffle table at the workshop. Tickets will sell for $5 each or three for $10 (cash only for the raffle). This year we have:

  • One package of bees ($110 value, arrives in May)
  • An observation hive from Dadant ($100 value)
  • Gift bag from Avital’s Apiaries, and skep-shaped sandwich cutter
  • Smoker from Dadant
  • A one year subscription to the American Bee Journal
  • Bee brush, and several bee books
  • a $20 gift certificate to Edible Acres


Calling all bee artists!

The Geneva Bee Conference seeks submissions for design, art, or photography to feature in the 2015 Conference program. The selected piece will be featured in the Conference program, and the artist will received a framed print of his or her submission. (In addition, we will offer a second framed print for the raffle.)

We are not looking for a particular subject, theme, or style. It should appeal to beekeepers, but other than that, your imagination is the limit! Paint, sketch, photo, photoshopped image… anything’s fair game.

Contact with additional questions!

The fine print:

  • Submissions are open now until January 15;
  • Work must be the artist’s original work;
  • By submitting, you agree to allow the artwork to be used for the Geneva Conference, but all other rights remain yours;
  • Initial submissions must be digital (jpg, gif, tiff), and at least 500px wide (keep your resolution high, so the art isn’t affected by the image file quality);
  • Include your contact information with each submission (Name, Club affiliation, email);
  • If your piece is selected for the conference, we will ask for a large, hi-resolution file for making the final prints and the programs;
  • Conference organizers are not eligible.

Submit your entry to We look forward to seeing your submissions!  Feel free to share this with any artists you know, beekeeper or not!

Gizmos, gadgets, gewgaws, and weird looking hive tools!

GaringJoin us on Sunday, November 16, for the next Club meeting! Beekeeper and Empire State Honey Producers Association Treasurer Sue Garing will start a conversation about home grown gizmos we’ve created to improve beekeeping task efficiency. Sue will bring a few of her own gizmos and some photographs of ones too large for table top for show and tell.

Please bring and share your novel feeders, tools, varroa traps, tool caddies, and other thingamabobs that make keeping bees easier.

Immediately following Sue’s presentation, we’ll have a short business meeting that will include a treasurer’s report, update on the Club hives, a reminder about January officer elections, and updates on the Beginner’s Workshop and Geneva Conference. If you have any additional club business you would like to discuss, please email Shelley at


If you’re interested in bringing a dish to pass, bring a honey-based snack! We’ve all had time to harvest; show off something you make with your honey!

Winter is coming!

ChecklistHey folks! We’re approaching winter, so here are a few tips on getting your hives ready!

First and foremost, food. We recommend overwintering in two deeps, with about 100+ pounds of honey in them. If they don’t have enough weight, feed them 2:1 syrup (2 pounds of sugar for 1 pound of water; a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds).

Put on an entrance reducer to keep out the mice (pesky, greedy, freeloaders). It helps with robbers as well; if we get a warm snap in November, the girls might come out and try to steal each others’ stores, since there’s no forage.

Do you have mites? Treat. This is the time of year when varroa can really explode in population and wreak havoc with your bees. I think nearly all treatments need warm weather, so get on this one quickly before the weather turns. With any mite treatment you risk losing your queen, so you have to consider mite loads versus that risk. If the mite loads are high, might as well treat; you’ll likely lose the hive anyway.

Weatherize. If you live in a snowy area, consider an upper entrance. That can be as simple as pushing the top deep back to expose a bee’s width of the frames in the lower deep. This keeps a large snowfall from burying the lower one, and suffocating the hive.

If you’re in a windy area, consider a wind break, like wrapping the hives in tyvec or tar paper. Or a physical barrier like hay bales or a fence. I’m on a windy hill, so I’ll actually move my hives into an old horse run-in that faces east, but blocks the westerly winds. I had good luck with that last year. Out at the club hives, we are pretty sheltered, and wrapping or not doesn’t seem to matter as much.

A block of foam insulation under the outer cover can help with keeping the top of the hive (the inner cover) from icing over, which can melt and potentially rain down on your bees. Wet bees are dead bees in the wintertime.

Then all you can do is let them be, and hope for the best. Don’t muck about with them in the winter, be very, very frugal mucking about with them in the spring (another hazardous time of year).

Have questions? Send a message to the list! Not on the list? You can add yourself here.