Bee Order 2016

For the 2016 season, the club officers have once again decided to pre-order 40 packages from Dadant. Bee packages differ from nucs in that all you get are bees, not frames or brood. You will have immediate view of the queen, and you should receive bees with fewer pests (mites and small hive beetles). In the spring, we will provide information on how to install packages. We have been told that the price will be similar to last year, so right now bee packages will cost $120 each, and you can order up to five through the club. If the price turns out to be substantially higher, we will contact you.

To pay for your bees, send a check payable to “Finger Lakes Beekeepers Club” and mail it to: George Myers, 8373 Falls Road, Trumansburg, NY 14886. To pay for your bee package using a credit card, go to http://mkt.com/FLBeeclub/bee-package-1 and add a bee package to your basket. (You can go to your basket and change quantities if you want more than one package.) If your membership has lapsed, and you need to renew, you can renew online through this link. The online system will walk you through the checkout process.

For members who prefer to obtain a nuc instead, refer to our list of local nuc suppliers that we have online. (We provide this list for your convenience: it does not imply and endorsement of these vendors, and may change through the spring.) You will need to arrange to pick up this nuc yourself, or “nuc-pool” with others.

If you are trying to decide between ordering a package through the club, and a nuc on your own, check out this Nuc Versus Packages comparison list.

Queen Rearing Workshop 2016


The queen rearing workshop is at capacity.


Two queen rearing workshops will be offered for FLBC members who have kept bees and successfully overwintered them for two winters. Participants are being accepted to join a collective hands-on learning experience organized by Linda Mizer, Christina Wahl, and David Hopkins.

The goal of the workshop is for participants to learn how to raise a few queen cells for your own apiary, or for those considering nuc production or selling northern queens. You don’t need to have any professional goals in mind; having a few queens on hand for your hives (or to help out others) can be a handy tool for your beekeeping toolkit!

A queen yard will be set up at the former Dyce lab (near the Lab of Ornithology) with breeder queens and cell-builder colonies. The group will meet on either Sunday, May 1 or Sunday, May 8, at 9am in the morning for an all-day session. You will:

  • graft larvae into queen cups
  • prepare a cell builder hive to nurse the grafts

There will be a second date where your group will examine the cell-builder hives and take home the successful queen cells, to install in their own nucs or hives. (Date TBD.) Prior to the workshop, you will receive mandatory reading material, to prepare for the workshop.

The $40 cost of this introductory workshop includes basic grafting equipment, which may be taken home for use in our personal apiaries. (With this equipment, you should be set up to make your own queens without any further purchases.) You will also be able to take home queens you have successfully grafted.

Each class will be limited to 8 participants. Due to the hands-on nature of the course, couples need to register individually. 


The queen rearing workshop is at capacity.


January 2016 Meeting

Jane Marie LawWinter has finally arrived! While our bees hunker down, let’s get together and learn. The next FLBC meeting takes place on Sunday, January 17, 2-4pm at the Cooperative Extension building, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca.

At this meeting, FLBC member and Associate Professor Jane Marie Law will speak about her research in the summer of 2015 in Oslo, Norway on the activities there to promote public awareness of pollinator loss. She will discuss the activities of the organization BYBI (Urban Beekeeping),  the establishment of the first Bee Superhighway (Pollinator Passage) in Oslo, and the Honey Bank established by Alliance Francais.  Her talk will present ways that people in Ithaca can connect with people in Oslo for international collaboration. The talk will be presented with informative slides on the projects in Oslo.


We also have business to attend to. On that agenda:

  • The spring bee order
  • Officer elections
  • The 2016 queen workshop
  • Managing the 2016 mentorship program

See you at the extension building!

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.https://www.facebook.com/events/928682330532940/

Advanced Beekeeping. Feb 17, 2016. 6-8pm. $20. Human Services Complex, 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY  14865. 607-535-7161.https://www.facebook.com/events/1697306380546893/

November meeting

Join us on Sunday, November 15 for our November meeting. We will have Cornell researcher Michael Smith as our guest speaker, talking about the oft-maligned drones. This looks to be an entertaining (and informative) session!

From Michael:

I will be talking about drone comb, and how colonies “know” that it’s time to build drone comb. You might think the answer to this question is always, because those bees seem to fill every available space with pesky drone comb!  We’ll talk about drone comb, when and why they build it, how they use it, and some cool new results from his research.  This is not going to be a dry academic talk.  There will be at least one water pun.

As usual, 2-4pm at the Cooperative Extension Center at 615 Willow Ave. in Ithaca. See you there!

Need to borrow the club extractor?

The club extractor is for club members. If you aren’t a member, please join! Contact the Treasurer, George Myers, get $10 to him, and you’re all set!

The process is pretty informal. If you’d like to borrow the extractor, send an email to the FLBC mailing list to see if whoever last had it has returned it to the club’s shed. If the borrower still has it, you can arrange a pickup between you, or at the shed when it’s returned.

Not a mailing list member? Sign up!

We’re looking into ways to make the process more 21st century, but this has worked so far!

September meeting

Well, it’s that time of year again — the last regular Club meeting at the hives!

Join us on the back 40 of the Cayuga Nature Center to see what those girls have been up to this past month. The Club hives don’t usually pack a lot of extra fall honey on for us, but with this month’s weather that might be a different story! We’ll talk bees, overwintering tactics, mites, whatever you bring to the apiary. September 202-4pm — see you there!

October will start our indoor meetings at the Cooperative Extension building. Shelley’s still working on the complete winter talk lineup, including a talk by Michael Smith about drones, and she’s working on booking Emma Mullen (Beekeeping Extension at Cornell). If you have a bee-related topic you’d like to hear more about, let her know at president@flbeeclub.com. Some ideas Shelley has been noodling around for talk topics:
  • Very historical beekeeping (pre-1700s)
  • Hobby beekeeping in Europe
  • Wax cleaning and candle making
  • Current directions in honey bee research
  • Citizen science projects for beekeepers
If you know of someone who could speak on any of the above, please let Shelley know. If you feel the topics aren’t interesting enough, give her feedback!

Bee well,

The FLBC officers

July Club Meeting

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with July‘s club meeting at the hives (July 19, 2pm)! In addition to bee business, we will take care of some Club business with a mid-season election of a club treasurer.

We are going ahead with a kid-friendly day at the Club hives for July 19 Club meeting. This isn’t day care, so plan on getting into the bees with your Jr. Beekeeper! They don’t have to be your kith and kin, but you will be responsible for them. I don’t intend to forego regular inspections, so there should be room for the grownups to play, too. 🙂

In addition to getting kids near/around/in the bees, we will have a SCREENED tent set up nearby with bee-themed kid crafts to keep the kids occupied when their attention spans falter.
We will have at least two Jr.-sized bee suits (one jacket/veil, the other pants/jacket/veil) for folks to borrow, as well as small Club loaner suits (and various other sizes for grownups). If anyone else has a loaner kid-sized suit to offer, please feel free to bring it!

With the busy summer, it looks like plans for a club picnic will fall through.  Instead, we’ll try for a fall or winter potluck at the Cooperative Extension building.

We have “members” whose dues haven’t been paid in many years — we’d like to keep our lists up to date, so let us know if you’d like to be removed from this list… or send us a $10 check!

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

Queen Rearing Workshop Closed

The queen rearing workshop is at capacity!


A queen rearing project is now forming for FLBC members who have successfully wintered honeybees. Participants are being accepted to join a collective hands-on learning experience organized by Linda Mizer, Christina Wahl, David Hopkins and Shelley Stuart.

The goal of the workshop is for participants to learn how to raise a few queen cells for your own apiary, or for those considering nuc production or selling northern queens. You don’t need to have any professional goals in mind; as you’ve seen in discussions recently on the list, having a few queens on hand for your hives (or to help out others) can be a handy tool for your beekeeping toolkit! Looking into the future we see potential to continue learning, improve queen production process, as well as improving the genetics of bees in the area.

A queen yard is being set up near Groton with breeder queens and cell-builder colonies. The group will meet on two Sundays beginning on July 5 at 2pm. At the first session, we will:

  • graft larvae into queen cups
  • prepare a cell builder hive to nurse the grafts

On July 12 the group will examine the cell-builder hives and take home the successful queen cells, to install in their own nucs or hives.