FLBC Members Help Dyce Lab Class

On the weekend of May 1, three FLBC members volunteered to help Nick Calderone teach his Apprentice Level Master Beekeeping class.  Laurie Buck, Lesli Sagan and Shelley Stuart each shepherded a group of seven students in the Dyce Lab bee yard.  On Saturday, we walked our groups through a basic inspection: how to use a hive tool effectively, how tDyce Lab May 2010o maneuver equipment, basic hive housekeeping, queen-spotting, egg-finding and the like. Sunday we stood back and watched as the students got down and dirty with their own inspections.  We gave pointers and answered questions, but for the most part the students did all the work and all of the analysis.  The class was a mix of first- and second-year beekeepers, and most seemed very eager to start working in their own yards.  We hope to see some class members at the next FLBC meetings!

It’s time to order your nucs!

As a service to beginning beekeepers the FLBC coordinates nuc (nucleus) orders in the spring for its members.  We order through Wixon’s and the bees come from Kutik.  The specifics about our nuc orders are:

  • 4-frame nucs plus a feeder (occasionally a box will have 5 frames).  This means that you will get four deep frames of bees, brood in various stages of development (eggs to larvae), a laying queen and some honey to feed them.  You will need to transfer the frames from the box they arrive in to your hive bodies.
  • Cost: $80 per nuc, plus a $10 box fee (refundable if you return the box)
  • A word on the quality, from ex-president Mike Griggs:  “these nucs overall are just great, really full of bees.  Several times people have pick up their nuc & not moved them into a full deep only to have them swarm.   Got one call, one year,  the bees had absconded because the new beekeeper did not get them moved & they can be very full & crowded”
  • They will be ready for pickup around the second week in May (pickup location TBD)

If you were at the January 17 club meeting, and put your name down for nucs, we have your request but you need to pay in order to finalize your order (see below).

The Club has ordered a total of 40 nucs.  Club members have already spoken for about 24 34 of them.  If you haven’t already expressed interest in a nuc, email Barb DeWall.

Please note that you are guaranteed a nuc only once you’ve paid.  To secure your order, send a check payable to the Finger Lakes Beekeepers Club for the requisite amount ($90 per nuc) to the Club treasure:

Barb DeWall
3166 Perry City Road
Trumansburg, NY  14886

If you want to order more than five nucs, call Wixson’s directly at 607-243-7301.

Bees Release Deadly Odor That Shortens Sibling Lifespans

Here’s one way to get back at your sibling: Release a deadly odor. Honeybee researchers have discovered the first example of a pheromone that shortens the lifespan of other family members — in this case, older sisters.

“Just one little sniff can change your life,” said biologist Gro Amdam of Arizona State University, co-author of a study published Dec. 1 in The Journal of Experimental Biology. “That’s kind of cool.”

As bees continue to die off…


For Collin County commercial beekeeper John Talbert, the mysterious malady that is killing off bees means he’s keeping his hives close to home.

“It’s like people and the swine flu: The more people you get together in one spot, the higher probability you’re going to have a health problem,” said Talbert, who lives near Josephine in southeastern Collin County. “I don’t move them around and keep them isolated.”

But here and abroad, many other beekeepers haven’t been as fortunate.

Last winter, 29 percent of U.S. hives were lost to the mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, according to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Agriculture Department. The disorder was first noticed in 2005.

Colony collapse disorder has a variety of suspected causes: pesticides, varroa mites, viruses, stress from shipping hives long distances to pollinate crops — or some combination. Colony collapse disorder typically affects commercial hives and generally not those kept by hobbyists.



Youth Apprentice Applications

Youth Apprentice: The club last year approved the allocation of funds–$100–for one annual youth apprentice.  Our apprentice last year–Nikki–was able to get a real feel for beekeeping and contributed her time and energy during club-sponsored events.  Applications will be reviewed at our meeting on January 17, 2010.  First consideration will go to mentor applicants who are active, participating members of FLBC as the goal is to engage the young person in the beekeeping community (ours) as well as in beekeeping.