The Mission of the Central Oregon Beekeeping Association (COBKA) is to promote effective, economic and successful regional beekeeping through education, collaboration, communication and research in the spirit of friendship.
We are a diverse bunch of individuals who share a fascination for the honey bee and its workings. Our members range from full-time beekeepers and pollinators with hundreds of hives to hobbyists involved in backyard beekeeping.
Some members do not even keep bees, but are fascinated by the six legs and four wings of Apis mellifera.
COBKA May Notes
We have ARRIVED!
May is possibly the highest activity month for the girls. They turned the corner for winter survival and food and life are now abundant and good! We now shift to emphasis of keeping colonies intact and population management: prevent or control swarming.
We want populous hives in order to procure a sufficient work force to bring in, hopefully, a honey surplus. Therefore, a few hard learned tips I have learned, the long, arduous way…ie: ‘Hey everybody, look! There goes my bees, loaded with my honey, off into the sunset!’ (or more recently, the neighbors high trees).
What to do…..
1-go through your hives every 7 days, lifting the top brood box to see if swarm cells are hanging down from the bottom frames. If there are, either remove the resident queen herself to a nuc hive with drawn comb and field bees (imitating a swarm situation) . Place the nuc and old queen in front of the old hive to catch more field bees if needed. Take some pollen and honey as the fake swarm bees may not be already carrying full tummies. Feed them once you move them to their new location.
2-If you can’t find the old queen, either destroy ALL the swarm cells (not any emergency ones however if you come across them. Swarm cells are on the bottom of frames, emergency supercedure are on the face of the frames). Once swarming procedure has begun, and you find swarm cells, you will have them every 7 days, for about five weeks. So mark your calendar to go back in and do the same each time.
3-If you want to start another hive, you may take a swarm cell on a frame, and remove all the others. Put the cell in a nuc box with some pollen, honey, capped brood and some (not a lot) of uncapped brood. Let it hatch and wha-lah, a new nuc. Feed sugar water with a restricted entrance so as to prevent easy robbing. Shake some nurse bees off the capped brood of the old hive to have caretakers for the brood you have placed into the nuc. Make sure you don’t shake off the queen.
Okay, enough about THAT! I tend to ramble…. If however you have a nice hive and they have not started swarm preparations, here is what you can do to help prevent them from going down that vortex of activity….
1-ROOM! There should always be plenty of space for the queen to lay eggs. At least four frames in my opinion. You may also insert the sparsely used frames from the side areas into the brood area, checker boarding them to expand the brood chamber area.
2-Sunlight and fresh air- good ventilation, and morning sunlight help prevent swarming. Entrance reducer should be at largest opening if colony is healthy.
3-Young queens that have not been through a spring swarm much less.
Okay…I must stop and desist talking bees, or I will talk you into a coma.
Happy beekeeping all!
Note to new bee arrivals: get your bees in, reduce the entrances, feed them sugar water to stimulate wax glands, throw on a protein patty if you like to spoil them (I call them welfare bees)…and make sure there is a safe (no drowning) water source nearby. Okay…I am REALLY, REALLY going to stop talking now….(its SO hard). Besides, I probably have one of my hives to chase after by now….. Kim Rivera
Thursday June 11th at 6:00pm
Guest Speaker Lynn A. Royce, Ph.D.