FLBC Deadout Clinic

On Saturday April 19, 2014
, from 1-3 pm, the FLBC will host a NY Bee Wellness-supported deadout clinic to evaluate why ONE of your hives did not survive the winter. THIS IS A TEACHING CLINIC! The instructors will teach YOU how to autopsy your hives, and therefore you will gain important skills you can carry back in to you apiary for years to come.

We have a limited number of spaces to accommodate participants, and a few spots available for people to just come, observe and learn. Priorities for all slots will be given to FLBC club members.

We do have space for non-members as participants! Our observer slots are FULL, so we are wait listing folks for observers.

You will receive a confirmation email within a week of registration, with important instructions on what you need to bring to the clinic, and where to mail your registration fees to secure your spot in the clinic. The fees collected will cover the costs of the room rental, light snacks and Bee Wellness supplies and expertise.

Registration fees: $5 per observer, $15 FLBC member ($20 nonmembers, space permitting). Light snacks will be provided.

Register online here.

February Meeting

Our next club meeting will take place on Sunday, February 16 from 2-4pm at the Cooperative Extension building downtown. The topic of this meeting; MENTORING, as led by Monika Roth. Monika is the Agriculture & Horticulture Program Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and among many other programs, has taught mentoring to farmers. The FLBC would like to nurture this talent within the club. Many of us have started mentoring others naturally; we hope this adds to your skillsets, and encourages others to try it out.

At the Club meeting we should also have more information about (and hopefully registration forms for) the Club’s first deadout clinic, where Bee Wellness folks will teach you how to analyze your deadouts. This will be a hands-on workshop with your bees and your deadouts. The goal is to give you skills to confidently understand why a hive didn’t survive the winter, and prevent the same from happening in the future.

Also, don’t forget about the Geneva workshop on March 22!

See you on the 16th!

Where to Buy Bees – 2014

Before you decided what kind of bees to buy, peruse this helpful resource from the Bee Wellness folks.

Nucleus packages

The Club will be buying 40 nucs again from Wixon’s. After our January 19 meeting, we will post information on costs and how to reserve them. This service is available to Club members only and limited to three nucs per person.

We have sold out of nucs for 2014.

If you ordered one and were uncertain about needing it, you will certainly be able to sell it by posting to the Club list. Just please let Marjorie Pryse know so that I know who will be picking up the nuc you ordered.

If you are in a place where you need more than three nucs, here is a list of apiaries from 2013. This doesn’t constitute an endorsement by the FLBC, just a resource to help you source bees for your hives.

Company Location Contact
Anarchy Apiaries anarchyapiaries.org
Betterbee Greenwich, NY www.betterbee.com
Dadant Waverly, NY www.dadant.com
HoneyRock Farm Ithaca, NY www.honeyrockfarm.com
Johnston’s Honeybee Farm
(Sold out 2014)
Eaton, NY www.johnstonshoneybeefarm.com
Morse Mills Honey Co Moravia, NY 315-497-0549
Natures Way Farm Lowman, NY www.natureswayfarm.com
Wixon’s Honey Dundee, NY www.wixsonhoney.com


Package bees

Thanks to Club member Christina Wahl for providing this list of package bee suppliers.

Aaron Morris will have packages from Wilbanks (Georgia) by May 2.  He will charge $105.

Betterbee will have Italian packages, also from Wilbanks, for delivery on the last weekend in April.  They will also offer Russian bees later in April, depending on the supplier’s schedule.  See their website for details.  Prices are about the same as Aaron’s.

Mann Lake’s new facility in Wilkes Barre will have packages April 5, 9, 26, at $99.50, with a $20 gift certificate to their catalog.

If you sell bees near Ithaca, NY and you would like to be listed here, please email us with your information.


January meeting

Our winter meetings resume on Sunday, January 19, from 2-4 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building in Ithaca. Leslie Sagan, founder and COO of Avital’s Apiaries will talk about lotions, soaps and balms. Her product line started with sales to friends and family, and is quickly blossoming — if all goes well, Avital’s will sell products online this summer.

In addition, we will conduct the following Club business: annual officer elections, and dues collections. If you haven’t already paid for 2014, now’s the time!
See you at the meeting!

That’s a Wrap!

Thank you to all who have attended the meetings for 2013. I personally am repeatedly inspired by the enthusiasm of those new to keeping bees, and heartened by our members who support each other no matter what the question and how experienced the authors.

As a reminder, we have NO MONTHLY MEETING in December — it’s just too busy! Our next meeting will be at the Extension building on January 19. At that time we will either talk about observation hives, or have Lesli’s postponed talk on lotions, soaps and balms from hive products.

At January’s meeting we will also hold elections for 2014 officers, as well as collect club dues. If you are interested in running for an office, feel free to raise your hand in January. You are also welcome to contact me to see what is involved.

Happy holidays!


Regional Fall Meeting

The Empire State Honey Producer’s Association promotes the interest of New York State beekeepers on many levels. This state-wide organization holds meetings in the summer and the fall. The fall meeting will be on Friday and Saturday, at the Comfort Inn & Suites, 6701 Buckley Road in North Syracuse.

Officer elections will take place on Friday, and include two local candidates: Peter Borst and Rob Sorenson. There will be FLBC members in attendance; please feel free to use the list to arrange carpooling for the meeting!

In addition to officer elections, which will inform the associations future endeavors, this fall’s speakers include:

Dr. Jerry J. Bromenshenk received his Ph.D. in insect ethology (behavior) from the University of Montana .  He co-founded Bee Alert Technology in 2003 and is the statewide director of Montana’s EPSCoR program (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). His research focuses on insect behavior, ecotoxicology, population dynamics, and environmental chemistry

Dr. Beth Holloway is a Research Molecular Biologist at the USDA Baton Rouge Lab.  She has a diverse genetics background ranging from understanding genetic components responsible for development of zebrafish embryos, an analog system for human development, to understanding gene expression and regulation in corn as a means for crop improvement through breeding.  Her research at the Honey Bee Breeding Lab focuses on developing molecular markers useful for marker assisted selection, identifying genes responsible for important colony traits, and elucidating how regulation of those genes contributes to overall colony health.

Peter Borst. Mr. Peter Borst has worked in the beekeeping industry since his first job working as beekeeper’s helper in Wolcott NY, in 1974. Since 2006, Peter has been a regular contributor to the American Bee Journal, writing on topics as diverse as beekeeping technique, the value of pollen for bees, and the history of bee breeding.

Kristine Jacobsen is a member of the American Apitherapy Society and the Michigan Beekeepers Association.  She has been practicing apitherapy since 2005 and is happy to give presentations on apitherapy to clubs and   organizations when invited to do so.  Best of all, she gets to experience the joy on people’s faces from their healings and good health, where before there was pain and suffering. There is nothing small about a honey bee.

November meeting

Club meeting

Our November meeting will take place on Sunday, November 17, 2pm at the Cooperative Extension building downtown. There is an adjustment to the speaker schedule. Lesli Sagan, originally scheduled to talk about soaps and lotions, will be selling her soaps and lotions at an all day fair (go, Lesli!). She will give her talk tentatively in January.
Our VP, Peter Borst, will instead give us a presentation about the History of Beekeeping, a reprise of the talk he will give at the ESHPA meeting on Friday. Much of his talk involves Tompkins county beekeeping history. It will be fascinating to learn about the roots of our craft.

Beginners workshop
Normally I would be arranging the details of the February workshop now. With my Mead Magic endeavor taking up 110% of my free time, I am unable to give the workshop the attention it needs and deserves.
I need someone to take over the workshop organization this year. I can be an advisor, helper, tip-giver, but not the organizer. There’s a lot left to do, but most importantly line up speakers and do advertising. Email me if you are willing to take this on, or have more questions.
If we don’t end up with an organizer, I will move the mentor talk from the workshop to the February meeting. I think there’s enough interest from folks at the last meeting to make that happen one way or another!
See you on the 17th!

October Club Meeting

Mead magicHello fellow beekeepers!

Our next Club meeting takes place on October 20, from 2-4pm at the Cooperative Extension Center downtown (here’s the Google Map link).  I will spend the first hour talking about how to make mead, or honey wine.

Mead is a very ancient drink — possibly the oldest fermented beverage.  We derive “honeymoon” from mead: in medieval times, newlyweds would drink mead (“honey”) for a month (“moon”).  My talk stays small — I approach this as an introduction to the art where you make one gallon of mead with only necessary ingredients and equipment.  Depending on how resourceful you are, you can make a gallon (about 8-10 beer bottles) in under $10.  If you can make coffee, you can make mead — it’s just that easy.

I’ve been brewing mead since the 1990s, starting with a distressingly large 5 gallon batch.  I got the bug, and have made all sorts of mead variations (with varying successes as well).  I started beekeeping in order to have free honey to make more mead.  (We all know how that works out!)  I’m now taking homebrewing further with my meadmaking kit, Mead Magic (at the last meeting, some of you heard my pitch about Mead Magic on Kickstarter).

We will have an officer’s meeting before the event, and afterward, Ellie Andrews would like to talk with small groups of beekeepers about the resilience of beekeeping locally, which is part of her research at Cornell.

Since we are back inside, we’ll have the teapot fired up, so bring your own mugs.  And, given the topic, there might be other beverages to sample as well.

See you on the 20th!

September club meeting

Have you caught the unmistakable smell of goldenrod honey curing in your hives yet?  There’s no surer a sign of fall than that, for a Finger Lakes Beekeeper!

Our next Club meeting will happen at the hives on September 15 — it’s early this month, so don’t let it catch you by surprise!  This will be our last regular meeting at the hives, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about mites, and wintering, and not wintering mites!  We’ll assess the honey situation, then see what it will take to button up the hives.  (We may have a work session in early October to finish things up.)
After September we move back to the Cornell Cooperative Extension building for our monthly meetings.  Our winter topics, as currently scheduled:
October 20: Making Mead
November 17: Balms and lotions from your hive products
December: NO MEETING
January 19:  Observation hives
February 16: [TBD] (February will also be our beginners workshop)
March 22 (tentative): our joint meeting in Geneva
April 20: Planting a pollinator garden
One note — I am going to start announcing our monthly meetings to the general public, via various sites available to us. We may see an increase in attendance, if all goes well.  If the response is too positive, I’ll have to revisit the publicity.
At the meetings, I’ll have a donation jar for non-members to toss in a fiver or two, to help offset the costs of speakers, the cost of our meeting space, and hopefully establish funds for things like the proposed AFB fund.  Members are welcome to contribute to the funds, but it will absolutely not be necessary.  If anyone has the talent to create an encouraging sign to accompany a donation jar, contact me offline.
See you at the hives!