Page 1

Smoker Signals Coming this month… COBA Board Meeting August 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm Rothenbuler Lab, OSU Waterman Farms, 2501 Carmack Rd Columbus, OH 43210 All members are invited to attend.

Volume 1, Number 7

August 2011

President’s Corner: Dog Days of Summer Contributed by Dana Stahlman

I don’t know if you have been working your bees in all your protective bee gear or not on these hot days, but it doesn’t take long before you feel the effects of 90 degree weather. I am not complaining however. After the spring we just went through, I welcome weather like this. When it was wet, cool and cloudy, we longed for days like this. Now that it is hot, I hear “I wish it were cooler!”

COBA All members Meeting, Wednesday August 17, 2011, 6:15 p.m., Franklin Park Conservatory .

I have noticed quite a bit of robbing going on, even though I see a lot of small white clover in my yard and along the road sides. I am also watching my bees eat almost everything they stored away this spring. Brood rearing continues to be strong, and most of the nectar and pollen being brought into the hive is used for brood production rather than honey stores. Let’s hope for a good goldenrod honey flow this fall to help get our bees through the winter.

Inside this issue:

COBA is going to need a lot of volunteer labor at events coming up yet this summer and fall. Remember you earn a bee dollar for each hour you donate. Mike Hatter needs COBA volunteers for the Lithopolis Honeyfest to be held in September, and John George also needs volunteers for the OSBA booth at Lithopolis. If you are able to volunteer for either booth, please contact Mike or John. (continued on page 2)

Presidents Corner (cont.)


Winter Nucs


Report from Scholarship Winner


Education Committee News Submitted by Pat Chambers and Dan Wampler

Our committee work has slowed down but not our work in our bee yards and gardens. Our community talks have been continuing. Lydia Voorhees and John Weaver recently spoke to a group of home schoolers at the main library. Thanks, Lydia and John. We still need forms from you folks who have given talks and have not turned in a report form. The forms are on the web page and can be downloaded. Also, if you gave a talk or other community activity and need “Bee Dollars” for it, please let us know. If you were at the picnic this year, you saw the pipe cleaner fuzzy bees which were made there. They are easy and a fun thing to add to a talk you may be giving to children. The directions and materials list are available if you are interested. If you need the observation hive or other “props” for a talk, please let us know. I’m sure that when school starts, school talks will increase. We have a mini-hive, several DVDs and beautiful pictures to show off the bees, as well as an observation hive. The items may be borrowed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email Pat Chambers or Dan Wampler to get these items or for more information. Our contact information is on the web page. Thanks to our speakers. Pat and Dan

Page 2

Check out the new flavor of Velvet Ice Cream, Honey Caramel.

The carton features a picture of our COBA Treasurer, Barry Conrad.


President’s Corner (continued) In my column this month, I would like to recognize the valuable contributions of Sue Daly, who is currently the chairperson of COBA’s Political Action Committee. I first met Sue and Joe Daly when I was the bee inspector for Delaware County in the early 1990’s. They had just started beekeeping and both were new to the hobby. Sue was the beekeeper and Joe gave his support from a distance. They are a good team. Sue has served as first vice president of COBA, and has served on numerous committees. One committee job stands out – Sue chaired the COBA committee in charge of hosting the OSBA fall meetings held in the Columbus area in 2008 and again in 2010. Sue did a super job in getting volunteers and ensuring the that the OSBA meeting ran smoothly. The Political Action Committee has already developed a COBA pamphlet which has been distributed at the Ohio State Fair and will be distributed at the Lithopolis Honey Fest. It is used by the Education Committee as well. The committee is working with the legislature on standards of honey, the Department of Agriculture apiary inspection program, and other legislative issues affecting beekeepers. A new issue has now arisen, namely zoning laws affecting beekeeping. As president, I was contacted by a beekeeper living in Gahanna, Ohio who was notified that keeping bees in a non agricultural area was a code violation. It appears that COBA must find out what the zoning codes are in various central Ohio townships, villages, and cities and bring our needs before those groups. Complaints have increased because of the large number of individuals who are taking up “the hobby of beekeeping.” Members of COBA should be aware that they have a responsibility to maintain their hives in a way that does not cause problems with neighbors. Complaints I have heard this year include: (1) a beekeeper was keeping a hive in the front yard of his home with 5 boxes stacked on it. This was less than 10 feet from the sidewalk. (2) A beekeeper was keeping seven hives in a back yard – ¼ acre lot. (3) A neighbor called the police because of a swarm resulting in a visit by the zoning officer who cited the beekeeper for keeping bees on a lot zoned non agricultural. I will have more in the next issue about how the Political Action Committee and I are working with the City of Gahanna Zoning board. The Board has recently ruled that honey bees do not belong in residential neighborhoods but in land zoned for agriculture. We are trying to reverse this ruling. I am asking Sue Daly, as Chairperson of the Political Action Committee, to lay out the goals and ef-

forts the Committee is taking on your behalf to find out the zoning regulations governing beekeeping and to take action on behalf of COBA members. This committee needs volunteers to help carry out these tasks. Contact Sue if you are interested in becoming involved in very important matters concerning beekeepers.

Volume 1, Number 7

Page 3

Report on Styrofoam Nucs in Winter contributed by Steve Sikora

I bought one of the new Styrofoam nucs thinking that in the winter nothing could better insulate the cluster than the same thing that coolers are made out of. The bees seemed to adapt to the new material just fine. It did pose a bit of a problem when trying to get those propolized frames out. It took just a bit more care not to dig into the Styrofoam with the hive tool. The propolis seemed to be a bit less determined to stick to this new material than to wood. The bees even enlarged the opening of one of the Styrofoam openings to twice its original size. Last winter, I had used one Styrofoam nuc and the bees did great except for the last day when I moved them. All five frames were bursting with larvae, bees, and honey. They had prospered all winter with just two openings. I closed up the front and back openings with fiberglass screen early in the morning to keep all the bees inside for the transfer. There was frost on the ground. Four hours later I moved them to the new hive, pried off the top, and all but about ten bees were dead! They were cooked to death. Two small openings with screen on them were not enough space to get rid of the biological heat generated by the bees and larvae, and insulated by the Styrofoam. This past winter, I made splits and put them into four nucs, with varying results. At the start of the winter, two seemed loaded up with honey and two were just so-so. In the nuc advertisements was a story on how easy it is to feed the winter bees. Just hand weigh the hive. If it is light, then put some sugar water in the bottom to feed the bees. Mid-winter, the bees seemed to be doing well but I thought it safer to feed all four nucs anyway. I used an old maple syrup squeeze bottle and tipped the nuc up a bit and squeezed all the twenty-four ounces in the bottom of each hive. One light nuc died in the middle of the winter. Another died in late winter, with the bees starving on the comb despite good insulation, plenty of honey in other frames away from the cluster, and plenty of sugar water in the bottom. In the spring, one nuc seemed to have nozema signs on the outside of the hive, with a very slow build up. I treated this nuc for nozema and added a frame from another hive to help. The lfourth nuc did very well with good build up. In all four hives, the practice of putting sugar water in the bottom of the hive was problematic. In the bottom of each hive were huge numbers of bees drowned in the sugar water. Even the strong hives had copious amounts of sugar water in the bottom all loaded with dead bees. This does not appear to be a practice I would recommend.

Lithopolis Honey Fest Photo Contest Entries for the Lithopolis Honeyfest Photo Contest are due August 21 at the E-COBA meeting. Awards: Cash prizes and rosettes The Theme of the Contest: The World of Bees Entries: 8 x 10� photograph with 11 x 14� white matte Photos must be labeled on the back with: 1) title of work 2) name 3) Category (Youth or Adult) 4) Address and telephone number 5) email Contact: Connie Schalinske at

COBA Officers President Dana Stahlman Vice President Terry Eddy facilitymanagementsupport@ Secretary Gail Walter Treasurer Barry Conrad One-Year Trustees Pat Chamberlain Mike Hatter Joy Voorhees Two-Year Trustees Nina Bagley John George Dan Wampler

Central Ohio Beekeepers Association:

To Queen or Not to Queen By Nathan Sexton, Age 14, Scholarship Winner

In September of last year, I looked into the youth scholarship program sponsored by COBA. At the time I had no idea what beekeeping was really about and all the processes involved. January came and I was blessed to win one of the scholarships. Following this, my family and I went to general meetings, attended the Bee School, and received our equipment from the scholarship, as well as purchased a second hive. We hived our two packages of bees on April 20, 2011. In each hive, both queens were alive when hived and after waiting five days we saw that they had exited their queen cages. In our first hive, we located the queen and found eggs upon inspection. In our second hive, we found no trace whatsoever of the queen ever laying a single egg. She had completely disappeared. After 17 days with no sign of a queen, I debated what my options were. I knew buying another packaged queen was always an option. But in many beekeeping books I had read of raising your own queen. Although this seemed the cheaper option, I wasn’t sure if it was the right course for a first year beekeeper. Eventually, I decided to try raising a queen to gain a great deal of experience from the endeavor. So on May 7, we moved a frame full of eggs from our first hive into our queenless hive. On May 10 we inspected our hive and were ecstatic to find three developing queen cells. We inspected on May 14 again to see them still developing. On June 5 we actually saw her. We saw the new queen. We saw eggs. We saw larvae. This has been an amazing experience to see how honeybees actually will create a new queen. I know that this hive is behind in production, however, I am still happy with my decision to have the bees create their own queen. Later, I may experiment by giving this hive frames from our other hive to hopefully boost their population and increase their odds of overwintering successfully. I look forward to reporting all I have done in my first year of beekeeping to COBA next April and I am so thankful for what COBA has already done.

Smokers Signals  

Central Ohio Beekeepers Association Monthly Newsletter August 2011 issue

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you