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Beekeeper’s Buzz Coming this month…

Volume 1, Issue 1

COBA Board Mtg. 7:00 pm La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro, 1550 W. Lane Ave All members are invited to attend.

Winter Hive Management Tips

COBA General Mtg. Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 6:15 pm-Roundtable discussion 7:00 pm-Meeting w/ speaker Judge Dan O’Hanlon

Inside this issue:

COBA Fall Banquet


COBA producing Queens


President’s Corner 3

Audit Committee


BeeYard News




Winter Management Web sites


January 2011

Contributed by Joy Voorhees

Just because it is winter don’t forget about your bees.

As a last resort, granulated sugar sprinkled on top of frames

Key task for January: check hives for food:

Never break the cluster unless temperatures are above 60o F and the bees are flying.

A 2-deep or 3 medium hive should weigh about 100 pounds. If in doubt, feed hive with any of the following: Homemade candy patties 2# powdered sugar 5 oz high fructose corn syrup (karo) 2 T honey B healthy if available Water (about 5 oz) to form patties Mix patties and place on top of frames. Fondant Recommend Dawn Fondant, part #00071746, can be purchased at Corbett Bakery at 3675 Paragon Rd near Roberts Rd, 614-771-1123. Form into patties and place directly on top of frames

If you do open the hive, open it briefly, remove the inner cover, add the food, but do not remove the frames. If have a snow build-up around the hive, there is no need to clear it from the entrance if there is an upper entrance. To ensure the presence of an upper entrance, slide top cover toward gap in inner cover so bees can get out between the two. The Bee cluster will be but brood production will begin again, near the end of January. Thus the bees will need honey stores. January is also a great time to build and repair hive equipment for the coming season.

The Dinner Subcommittee needs YOU Standard of Identification of Honey: This Subcommittee has created a Standard of Identification of Honey. It is trying to get the State of Ohio to adopt the Standard and is also working on getting the Ohio Department of Agriculture to consider the proposal.

Dinner: This Subcommittee needs you. The purpose of this Subcommittee is to plan informational dinners for legislators, local officials, COBA officers and officials of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. This is a newly formed Subcommittee, so get in on the ground floor and be as creative as you like! No dates, places, times, menus, costs, etc. have been decided, everything is wide open.

Brochure: This Subcommittee has created and is finalizing an educational brochure to promote bees and beekeeping to our political representatives.

If the Dinner Subcommittee sounds interesting to you, please contact Sue Daly at or 740-965-5878 (evenings).

Our COBA Political Committee currently has 3 Subcommittees:

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Beekeeper’s Buzz

COBA Fall Banquet Review

2010 Beekeeper of the Year Bill Tolliver with his wife Emma

COBA will again send a bus to the Wooster Tri-County Workshop. Last years trip was enjoyed by 48 individuals and many have already indicated a desire to sign up for this trip. Sue Valentine Cooper is the chairperson organizing the trip. She will be providing details.

Queen Project, Orange Line

The COBA 2010 Fall Banquet was held on Wednesday November 17 at LaScala Restaurant in Dublin, Ohio. According to COBA member Cheryl Wachsmuth, our banquet began approximately eight or nine years ago with only 8 persons in attendance. This year’s banquet was attended by 56 members! The guest speaker at our Fall Banquet this year was Carmen Conrad. She treated us to an outstanding discussion on honey judging. Then she presented

awards to winners of our own honey show. Everyone who entered ended up being a winner in one of the many categories. All entries received a ticket for a drawing for prizes given out as $5.00, $10.00, and $25.00 awards. The banquet concluded with a presentation of awards. A major new Achievement Award program that began this year was the introduction of the COBA Beekeeper of the Year. This award began with the superlative selection of Bill Tolliver as the 2010 Beekeeper of the Year. Additional COBA Achievement Award winners included: Sue Daly, Anne Hatter, and Kay and John George.

COBA joining with OSBA to produce Queens By Dana Stahlman

This summer I am donating time and effort to not only help COBA with its queen project but also, with the Ohio Beekeepers (OSBA) to help raise money for Jim Tew and Sherry Ferrell to keep the OSU Bee Lab open and functioning. The two projects will be separate. COBA’s project is a 5-line queen breeding and evaluation project. The OSU/COBA/OSBA project is a queen production project. COBA already donated $1000 to the Bee Lab in 2010. However we did not have the largest donation as we were outdone by the Mahoning County Beekeepers Association who donated $2000. However many of our members are also helping. For example Barry Conrad arranged with the Walter T. Kelley Company to donate $180.00 in beeswax foundation for the frames to be used in nucs to build support for OSU. OSBA is supporting this project with money to purchase package bees, queen cages, grafting materials and other miscellaneous items required for producing queens. No donated money

will be used to pay salaries – all involved persons are volunteers. The goal of the project is to produce 1000 queens to be sold by Ohio bee clubs and cooperating vendors. The mother queen was produced by Joe Latshaw, who artificially inseminated a queen from a hive found this last summer in the Don Scott OSU BeeYard. This hive had not been managed since Sue Colby left Ohio State. (Four years) The drone population will be provided by Hygienic queens from producers of Marla Spavik queen lines. Because the A.I. queens were marked with orange tags, it will be referred to as the orange line. The new queens will be sold, with all money going to the OSU Bee Lab. Details are forthcoming. If the weather holds, the queens should be available in late April and early May. They will be produced in an isolated bee yard which is not open to anyone not involved in the project. Watch for more information as it becomes available.

Volume 1, Issue 1

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President’s Corner As you know, beekeeping practices will vary from beekeeper to beekeeper and this fact can be confusing to a new beekeeper. Beekeeping should be considered an art as well as a science. One lesson learned in the COBA BeeYard is that there are various ways to do the same thing and mistakes lead to better understanding of what is happening. Beekeepers therefore need to keep an open mind about practices, and learn from each other. As an example, we have used screened bottom boards and solid bottom boards in the BeeYard is to see if there is a difference between using one or the other. Some (but not all) research indicates that the screened bottom board is better than the solid bottom board. Last year (the winter of 2009-2010) COBA had six hives survive the winter. Three were on screened bottom boards and three were on solid bottom boards. So what do we tell new beekeepers? Time is the best teacher of what is right and what is wrong.

were asked to evaluate the results. In hindsight, I should have done several things differently. First, I should have treated only ½ of my hives and compared results between the two groups of hives. Second, I should have used various amounts rather than the recommend dose—for example, one yard with ½ scoops rather than a full scoop. Instead, I used the recommended dose rather than experiment on my own. After all, USDA had good results so why should I mess with something they said worked. The first reaction that Howard and I observed was that the stuff drove the bees out of the hive. Later we began inspecting hives and found many queen-less hives. I found out that formic acid is hard on queens but it was too late. We also suffered very high losses to our bees that winter. “I think my bees would have been better had we not treated them.” However, it was a lesson learned.

I was therefore not inclined to listen to other information about ForThose of you in the BeeYard know mic Acid treatment of Varroa mites. However, a new beekeeper that I was against the use of fornamed Brad Pewitt had been usmic acid for treating Varroa mite ing the internet to study treatbecause of a bad experience I ments for mites. Brad found an had with the stuff when I had 600 article about Dr. Amrine’s formic colonies of bees. A company in acid treatment for Varroa mites Columbus gave me an unlimited and was very enthusiastic about supply of the formula of a Formic the ideas in the article. I was very Acid Jell developed by USDA to skeptical. However, I happened to test on my bees. They had the have some formic acid and pads I license to develop the product. It won as a door prize at HAS was absolutely free! Everything I read was positive about the use of (Heartland Apiculture Society) and offered them to him. I was curious Formic Acid. Howard Feole and I to see what his results would be, used one ice cream scoop as we so I tagged along when he did the were directed to place on wax treatment. In short, the treatment paper above the top frames of is of short duration (24 hours), each hive. We were required to wear protective gloves, gas mask, used with Honey Bee Healthy and removed from the bees after the and avoid breathing the stuff. We

(24 hour treatment period). Brad used screened bottom boards which had to be sealed and we had placed paper over the screen for the mites to fall on. I was surprised at the number of mites that were on the paper at the end of the 24 hour period. Brad’s bees did not suffer the queen loss that I had experienced. His hives did quite well during the winter. We used the Amrine treatment on our COBA hives. All of our hives survived the winter of 2009-10. We also fed our bees to make sure they had plenty of winter stores. From this experience, I now consider this method one of the many valid mite treatments. This is a treatment that must be conducted to the exact measurements given in Dr. Amrine’s directions during early summer. So, when someone gives you advice, consider it as something to experiment with but not with all your colonies. After using a particular method, you should develop some idea if the method is for you or not. Eventually, you will figure out what your management techniques will be. At that point in time, you will have developed your own personal art of beekeeping.

$$ Audit Committee Info $$ COBA is looking for someone to conduct a financial review of our 2010 COBA financial If you know of a qualified individual, please contact us: Pat Chambers: or Joy Vorhees:

COBA Officers President Dana Stahlman Vice President Terry Eddy facilitymanagementsupport@

BeeYard News contributed by John George

We will be starting our BeeYard meetings on March 30 this year. They will be held on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer. Bill Tolliver and John George will be in charge of the classes along with help from a number of other members.

Secretary Gail Walter

Our first two classes are Wednesday March 30 and Wednesday April 6 and will be devoted to building frames with foundation, hive boxes, and talking about BeeYard safety. We need to build a total of 6 complete hives. We will be installing the bee packages on Saturday April 9.The starting time will be 6:00 pm except for the Saturday April 6 bee installation, which will begin at 10:00 am or 12:00 pm, depending on the weather.

Treasurer Barry Conrad

Beginning beekeepers are asked to bring a 3 ring binder note book as well as their veils and any other safety equipment they feel they need. We will have smokers and hive tools.

One-Year Trustees Pat Chamberlain

Anyone who will be attending from previous years are asked to email John George at so that he can make sure they are on this year’s BeeYard meetings list. Also note whether you can help with the mentoring of the newbees. We are going to break down into 6 groups and each group will be responsible for maintaining a hive. We plan to assign a captain to each hive who has previous bee experience.

Mike Hatter Joy Voorhees

The Masters class is for the members who have previously attended the “fun in the BeeYard” classes or are experienced in beekeeping. That class will be held on Saturdays at the bee yard. The time is yet to be determined.

Two-Year Trustees Nina Bagley

We will also be having queen rearing classes for those interested. The times and date will be determined and posted soon.

John George Dan Wampler COBA Email: (for general questions, to submit BeeKeepers Buzz articles and information) centralohiobeekeepersassoc

Tentative Date for our Pancake Breakfast: Saturday, May 14

Finally, Nina Bagley will once again be managing the bee yard at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Community Education: COBA Speakers One of COBA’s missions is to educate the public about bees. The community education Committee will be sending Nina Bagley and Patty French to a speaking engagement to a garden club in Delaware, Ohio on January 20, 2011. We are very proud of our speakers and these two young ladies have much experience in talking to the community about bees and their impact on our gardens. We are anxious to hear about their experience.

If any of our COBA members would like to be part of this growing group of speakers, please let our committee know of your wishes. We will not send you alone and as of this year, we are planning to purchase items to help you present your program. If interested, please contact Pat Chambers at or Dan Wampler at

More Information about winter management Dan Wampler suggests the following Web site for winter management information:

There is also a calendar on this site:

Beekeeper's Buzz  

Central Ohio Beekeepers Association monthly news magazine.