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Watch this area for information on when and what we will be offering through the club. Equipment and package information for 2016 is in the works.
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Our Neighbors to the north
Monday night (1/4 - 7:30pm) was the Nevada County Beekeepers meeting. Three of the EDBBK members were in attendance. We also met a member living in Cool who may be joining us soon. They started the meeting with 'new business', but as it is the new year there was not much to report. Opening the floor to questions there were questions about how to shore up hives when stands sink into the muck in the recent rains, the questioner answered her own question with the best answer - she dug a gravel footer and rested her cinder-blocks on the footer - everyone pretty much agreed. One of the commercial beekeepers reported that in a recent inspection of his yards (he has several ranging between 3,000 and 1,500 ft. in elevation), he reports 15 out of the approx. 100 hives he looked at were dead.
At this point Randy Oliver came in and addressed an issue raised earlier, apparently there has been a growing issue of migratory beekeepers in the valley relocating hives (several hundred at a time) into Nevada county (and apparently Placer as well) and literally sucking the local resources dry for both hobbyist and smaller commercial operations. Apparently this is happening at times without property owners permission and without identifying the hive owner (violation of state law). Randy crafted a resolution to go to the Ag department based on the Placer regulation.
The consensus from the room was that this oversight was good for both the hobbyist (as his local resources would not get absorbed by the squatter) and the commercial beekeeper (for pretty much the same reason). Randy summed up by saying, if you have a good fishing hole - don’t tell anyone!! He suspects that this kind of migration of the valley beekeepers to the foothills will become common as the drought continues. Probably, right after the almond pollination season in the spring. It is cheaper to move bees to the foothills, than it is to move them out of state.
[As an aside - your webmaster called the E.D. county and spoke with Charlene, she was not aware of this being an issue in ElDorado County, but did encorage the local beekeepers to keep your eyes out for any unusual BIG bee yards poping up.)
At the break, they held a raffle - a grab-bag of items, at least three went to EDBBK members!
Following the break, Brian Dunbar gave a presentation on splitting hives. Some points brought up (above and beyond the usual advice on 'how-to-do-it': He expects about a 66% success rate - this does mean that some of his splits do get re-combined. Since the divide-for-swarming-season-and-combine-after, is an accepted practice, there is little harm to the colonies. Splitting generally happens March/April (just about the time packages & nucs arrive!) He did advise that you look for drone cells in the hive before splitting, this indicates there will be someone for a virgin queen to mate with. The most important information was to be aware of hive strength. Make sure that there is enough capped brood - this will be the next generation - adult bees are not as important. The reason is that adult bees will be dead in six weeks (average life-span) and that if there are not replacements, the split will fail. He did caution that there does need to be enough adults to tend to any uncapped brood and keep the hive warm. He recommended five frames of bees with a lot of brood as the minimum for a split. He also recommended that nucs be placed somewhat distant from the established hives to minimise the drifting back to the established hive of foragers.Walk-away splits were mentioned, but this leads to a long broodless period (six weeks or more). Good in breaking the mite cycle, but means the hive is bearly getting started when the majority of the foothills necter flow is subsiding. A good deal of his information came from Randy Oliver's site, for more details http://scientificbeekeeping.com/
Anote for folks wishing to attend future meetings, it is about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half from Placerville to the meeting site. Meetings break up at about 9pm, and hwy-49 can be dangerous for the groggy driver. Just be careful!