January 2014 meeting notes

January’s meeting was a busy one!

AvitalsA fantastic presentation was given by Lesli Sagan, of Avital’s Apiaries, on running a small business based on bee products.  She shared ups, downs, and things to keep in mind, while trying not to inspire too many of us to become her competitors.  Lesli’s handout is available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gOf1lkmoGO5hh8Tvts25I5hGn3BfM8bKOy8A0AOr2HI.

A brief presentation was given by Ellie Andrews, on the results of last year’s winter loss survey (71 respondents).  Now we can prove statistically that beekeepers who checked and treated for Varroa mites had a greater percentage of their hives survive last winter.  If you have any suggestions for revising the survey or want to see more results from last year, please email me at eleanor.snow@gmail.com.

Elections were held.
President: Shelley Stuart 
First VP: Peter Loring Borst
Second VP: Lesli Sagan
Treasurer: Marjorie Pryse (mpryse1@twcny.rr.com).  You can send her checks for $10 for your yearly dues (more information is on the website, http://flbeeclub.com/). 
Secretary: Ellie Andrews

Dues were collected.
Many thanks to everyone who updated their membership for this year.  An annual family membership (September 1 through August 31) costs $10.  Members have access to club equipment, may vote in elections, and may purchase nucs through the club in the spring.  To join the FLBC, mail a check made out to Finger Lakes Beekeepers and mail it to Marjorie Pryse (her address and other information is on the website (http://flbeeclub.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=37&Itemid=54).

May Club Meeting – Comb Honey

comb honey flckr user Nate GrayWelcome spring, and welcome new beekeepers!  Club nucs will arrive sometime this month (we’re still waiting on the exact date), so I hope you have your gear ready.

We are officially moving out to the Club hives for the summer!  The hives are located on the “back 40” of the Cayuga Nature Center.  Meeting times remain from 2-4pm.  We will be working bees.  YOU could be working bees! Bees will be flying around, and probably miffed that we’re interrupting their routine.  Please dress appropriately — the Club does not have a supply of protective gear to borrow.

During the summer meetings, you get the chance to get hands-on with bees under the supervision and support of many veteran beekeepers.  This meeting, members Duane Waid and Rob Sorenson will talk about making comb honey.  Come with some water, your protective gear, and your questions!


Geneva Bee Conference

beelogoThere will be no March meeting in Ithaca. Instead, join us for the Geneva Bee Conference, presented by FLBC and the Ontario-Fingerlakes Beekeepers Association.  Many conference vendors will take orders and you can pick up your orders at the meeting, to save on shipping costs.

The 2013 Geneva Bee Conference (GBC) has two great speakers lined up: Dr. Deborah Delaney and Dr. Tammy Horn.  For information on the speakers and the talks they are giving, click on the Speakers link.

The GBC will be held on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges located in Geneva, New York, in the Vandervoort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.  The date is Saturday, March 16th, 2013.  For information on how to get to the college, click on Directions.  For a PDF flyer of the event, click on Flyer.

The GBC is a free event.  However, if you can donate $20 to help defray costs, it will be appreciated!

For the lunch break, people bring a dish to share (or cups/napkins/plates/utensils, or bottles of water, or…) and we’ll have coffee available.  We’ve always had a good variety of savory and sweet dishes that folks have brought.  If you prefer, you can brown bag it or there are places near the campus where you can go to get lunch.


February Bee Club Meeting

Peter SielingSpring approaches, and the bees are going to be building up soon!  Whether you are just beginning, or anticipate expanding your apiary, you’ll want to come to the Club meeting on February 17, from 2-4pm.

We welcome back Peter Sieling, lifelong beekeeper, regular contributor to Bee Culture for 15 years, and a woodworker. He owns and operates Garreson Lumber Company in Bath, selling cabinetmaking hardwoods to hobby and professional woodworkers.

Peter will talk to us about making your own woodenware, making them in a home workshop, hive assembly and the history of the modern beehive.


Honey, beer, and honey!

Beer glassFor the first Club meeting of the year, we invited Glenn Bucine to share his experiences with brewing beer with honey.  Glenn has brewed for many years, and describes himself as a “brewer, garlic grower, and humble gardner”.  Glenn will cover the basics of brewing beer, and then expand on to how to flavor your brew with honey.

After Glenn’s talk, we will dive into our honey sampling party!  The club will provide crackers as a palate cleanser, and if you want to share your honey please bring some in a squeeze bottle.  It could be a bear, or any other bottle that lets us share honey without sharing germs.  Bring a water bottle or other mug to have a supply of water or tea at hand.

Finally, for the first meeting of the year we will hold club elections.  Anyone interested in serving as an officer should feel free to contact me or the group.

I hope to see you at the Cooperative Extension Building at 2pm on Sunday (January 20).  Officers meeting will start at 1pm.


Honey Bees and Beekeeping Workshop

Presented by the Finger Lakes Beekeeping 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.


When: Saturday, February 23, 2013 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.  Registration starts at 8:30am.

Where: The Cayuga Nature Center, 1420 Taughannock Blvd  Ithaca, NY 14850-9510

Registration details:

Pre-registration (general public):  $20 individual, $10 student

Pre-registration (club members):  $10 individual, $5/guest, $5 student

On-site registration (general public): $25 individual, $10 student

On-site registration (club members): $15 individual, $10/guest, $5 student

Workshop  Topics

Morning topics:

Morning topics are held seminar-style, with a break in between.  After the speaker finishes, you will have an opportunity for Q&A.

Honey Bee Basics or Wax Handling* (Choose one)
A Year in the Bee Yard or Money from the Hive* (Choose one)
Equipment Basics or Top Bar Hive* (Choose one)

There will be a light lunch for sale, or you can bring a brown bag lunch

Afternoon topics:

In the afternoon, you will have a chance to select from two of the following simultaneous breakout sessions.  These sessions will be smaller, more hands-on and interactive.

Hands-On Frame Assembly
Beekeeping Equipment In-Depth
What’s it Cost?  (Beehive start up cost estimations)
Top Bar Hives In-Depth*
Honey Bee Plants of Upstate New York*

* notes topics of particular interest to beekeepers with a few stings on their hands


This year, we will raffle exciting door prizes including:

  • a nuc colony of bees ($90 value)
  • a beginning beehive from Dadant & Son’s (some assembly required!)
  • a gift bag of honey and sundries from Avital’s Apiaries (retail value $25)
  • a $25 gift certificate to Dadant & Son’s Beekeeping Supplies

Handicap sign

Due to the historic nature of the Cayuga Nature Center facilities, there is limited access for individuals with physical impairments.  Contact Matt Sacco at the CNC (607-273-6260 x224) to discuss your personal situation if you need more information.

Questions?  Contact Shelley Stuart (MoviePen@gmail.com)


Meeting Minutes, October 21, 2012

About 25 beekeepers gathered on Oct. 21st for the October FLBC meeting.  First some important reminders:

  • It’s time to think about paying your 2013 dues.  Make your check payable to FLBC.  Your membership dues really help the club and you get all kinds of benefits like our newsletter, the ability to order nucs with the club, and being on the club mailing list, and more.
  • We tried an experiment this year in not taking deposits on nuc boxes.  The club ordered 40 nucs and we returned 40 nuc boxes. Great job everybody!!
  • Next month’s meeting is a week earlier than usual (Nov 11th).  We need some help getting the newsletter out before this.  Who wants to help?  Who wants to contribute? Contact Shelley at president@flbeeclub.com.
  • We now have a “Buy Local” section on our website.  If you sell locally, send Shelley your info and she will put it up; president@flbeeclub.com.
  • For our Spring Bee Basics workshop we need logistical help.  If you can help with contacting speakers, contacting vendors for the raffle, setting up programs, etc. contact Shelley.

At our last meeting out at the club hives, we saw a great example of the club members coming together for group decision making.  We went through the hives and decided that several of them simply had too many mites.  We had a great discussion to consider our options, what were the pros and cons of each, etc.  As a group we decided what to do.  This process provided us with a great sense of community and personal ownership over the decision on how to manage the group hives.  So this time, we came to the consensus that we would like to try this for other decisions.  It was time to make some decisions regarding wintering the club hives.  We had a discussion to review all the experiences of the members.  In the past we have done nothing special.  This year we decided to try a few new things: On some, shifting a top box back to provide ventilation and an upper entrance, while on other drilling a hole in the top box; wrapping weaker hives with Tyvek, and maybe, putting two together, wrap & put foam on top.  We decided to have a work party on Nov 4th Nov. to do all this.

As a final part of the business part of the meeting, we discussed setting up a student internship with Ithaca College or even working with the Ithaca College Dept. of Environmental Studies and Sciences to set up a 1-credit course to get help with the work associated with managing the club hives.  Folks agreed that this is a good idea in principle and Jason will look into it.  We also decided that the club should purchase or otherwise obtain some protect equipment (e.g. veils) to have at the club hives to use for visitors.

The “presentation” this month was a discussion on “what I should have done differently.”  Shelley started us off with her misadventures with metal queen excluders.  After a great discussion we concluded that in many cases bees do best when we manage them the least.  After Shelley, several members had a chance to bring up problems/questions that they had and get good (and often conflicting) advice for others in the room.

We hope to see you at the November meeting!

September meeting

Bee on goldenrod

Hello fellow beekeepers!  I’m watching my bees zip back and forth in the low morning light, fetching the goldenrod and knotweed nectars.  Flow is on!

Save Sunday September 16 for a get-together at the Club hives, for possibly the last outdoor meeting of the year.  We will do another Varroa test, and you will get to help with the last powdered-sugar treatment of this sequence.  Then we will discuss what to do next with the Varroa and the hives, and answer your questions on fall flow, fall honey harvest, winter prep and any Varroa questions you might have.

See you at the hives at 2pm!

Shelley Stuart

August Monthly Meeting

Yes we are having a monthly meeting!

This Sunday (August 19) at the club hives out at the Nature Center.  Planned activities; pulling the honey from the hives.  I hope to demo various methods of getting bees out of the supers.

I sincerely apologize that this notice comes very late in the month.  I am working on an organizational strategy to greatly improve communications!