6:40 President, Doug Galloway, gave the invocation and started the meeting. New members and visitors introduced themselves briefly and were welcomed.
Guest Speaker Tim Sider: Bait Hives, Swarm Traps, and Free Bees
Because of Tim’s long drive home, he spoke at the beginning of the meeting rather than after the business portion. Tim began keeping bees in 2012 and is now a commercial beekeeper who provides pollination services in North Carolina. Before beginning his talk he made clear that he would be speaking about the way he does swarm trapping, but that his way is not the only way—this works for him, but something else may work better for you.
Tim set swarm traps the first year he began beekeeping because of the attraction of free bees. He recommends the website beesouce.com as a reference for information on cut-outs, swarm traps, and bait hives. He prefers to set swarm traps rather than responding to swarm calls, because swarm traps can be managed on your own schedule.
Tim’s swarm trap design starts with an old hive body. Old, used boxes are important because they will smell like a hive and be more attractive to bees. He fills the box with empty frames or frames with starter strips, not full foundation or drawn comb, so that the bees will see plenty of room—although he may include one frame of old dark comb to increase the “old hive” scent, and may wire the frames to support the comb the bees will build. Frames can be shallower than the box. He uses nine-frame spacers in ten-frame boxes to keep the frames from sliding around in transport. He screws on a plywood top and bottom, with a ventilation hole in the bottom. A round entrance hole in the front of the box should be ¾” – 1½” in diameter and angled upwards at 30º-45º to keep rain out. A small square of plywood screwed down in one corner serves as a swivel-on cover for the entrance that can be secured with a second screw when transporting a swarm.
Tim baits his traps with a straw of lemongrass oil. He cuts plastic drinking straws into 2” lengths, then stuffs a cotton ball in each one, being careful not to leave any cotton sticking out of the straw or the bees will pull it out and discard it. After stuffing it into the straw, he saturates the cotton ball with lemongrass oil (available anywhere that essential oils are sold). He then tucks the straw into the notch of a nine-frame spacer at the back of the trap box, and it will last for several years. He noted that he has not tried any of the commercially available swarm lures but finds that plain lemongrass oil works fine for him.
Tim checks his swarm traps weekly, and makes notes on any traps that have scouts so that they can be re-checked sooner. His goal is to collect the trap four to five days after a swarm moves in. Since the frames are foundationless, if the bees are there for more than a week they will draw out cross-comb, joining the frames together. When he collects a swarm, he immediately puts another trap in the same place, and often catches back-to-back swarms from the same location.
Tim prefers to put his swarm traps in locations with old-growth hardwood trees. Anywhere he’s gotten a swarm call is another good location, and so are old, falling-down houses. He reminded us to be sure to have landowner permission before setting swarm traps—each county government will have a parcel map with ownership information, which can often be found by googling the name of the county and GIS. (For Caldwell County, it is http://gis.caldwellcountync.org/.) He sets his traps about half a mile apart, and he places them so that he can reach them from the ground—but this means that bears can reach them, too, so keep that in mind if there are bears where you want to set swarm traps. Each February he scouts and cleans up the areas where he will place traps (remember that you will be retrieving swarms in the dark!), and he sets the traps in March.
Tim collects trapped swarms at night, and tries to avoid shining his light into the hive and disturbing the bees. Even so, he recommends wearing a veil. When he brings the swarm to his bee yard, he sets the box in what will be its permanent location, then leaves it alone for three to four days before transferring it to a regular hive box in the same location and configuration.
After concluding his prepared talk, Tim spent some time answering a wide variety of questions about bees, beekeeping, and the commercial bee industry.
7:40 Fifteen minute recess including bidding at the silent auction
7:50 Business meeting
Secretary, Sara Kennedy:
Minutes from May were emailed prior to the June meeting, and minutes from June were emailed last week, with a few paper copies of each available at the meeting. May and June minutes were approved.
Volunteers are needed for the NCSBA Summer Conference in Hickory next month. As we are co-sponsoring the conference (along with the Catawba chapter), we have an obligation to provide volunteers. A sign-up sheet was passed around. Sara will work with a representative from the Catawba chapter and Doug Vinson from the State to coordinate volunteers. Volunteers must be current on State dues and will be admitted to the conference for free.
Treasurer, Julia Brown:
A corrected treasurer’s report for May and a treasurer’s report for June were emailed earlier this month, but as Julia was absent the reports were not formally presented for approval and will be addressed at the next meeting.
Program Chair, Mickey Hollar:
Next month’s meeting will be our annual picnic at Redwood Park in Hudson. The club will provide hamburgers and hotdogs with all the fixings plus soft drinks. We ask that everyone bring a side dish or desert to share. Family and friends are welcome. Sara passed around a sign-up sheet to get a tentative head-count and a list of what people will bring.
We will be trying a “black-label” honey tasting at the picnic this year. Travis and Amy Sholar are coordinating this. Please bring a plastic bottle of your honey, at least six ounces. Your name needs to be somewhere on the bottle, but you should wrap the bottle in foil before you bring it. Everyone present can vote for their favorite honey, and the winner will receive bragging rights for the year.
Vice President, Tracey Carriker:
Tracey was absent from the meeting.
President, Doug Galloway:
Congratulations to our five new Certified Beekeepers! Ron Cifu, Liz Cifu, Mitch Mast, Sharon Monday, and Luba Skibo all took our beginners class this spring and have now passed the Certified Beekeeper test.
Today is the last day to bring items for the gift basket for the silent auction at the NSCBA Summer Conference. If you forgot your contribution, please see Doug to make arrangements.
The Caldwell County Fair will be Tuesday, September 17 – Saturday, September 21. The Fair would like us to have a booth again this year, and they are planning to make repairs to the Exhibit Hall after rain damage from Hurricane Florence forced us to cancel last year. If we are going to participate, we will need volunteers, and we will need donated honey to sell. A sign-up sheet for volunteers was passed around, and will be going out over email as well. If we do not have enough volunteers, we will not attempt to have a booth.
We have missed the deadline to sponsor a day at the NSCBA honey booth at the State Fair in Raleigh. Anyone interested in volunteering can still do so on an individual basis. You can sign up online at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4aa8a923a6ff2-state. The State Fair runs from October 17-27 in Raleigh.
The nominating committee for next year’s officers is Mack Whiteside (chair), Travis Sholar, and Danny Jaynes. Please speak with one of them if you would like to serve as an officer next year or have someone to recommend.
If you are attending the NCSBA Summer Conference in August, and you listen to a workshop that you think the rest of the club members would enjoy, please bring the Speakers name, contact information, and subject to Mickey or Doug. We need a speaker for November this year, and can certainly start lining up speakers for 2020. If you have an opportunity to visit with the speaker, tell them you are with the Caldwell County Beekeepers and ask if they would be interested in speaking to our club. Most are honored to be asked.
The business meeting was adjourned at 8:10, and bidding for the silent auction remained open until 8:20. The silent auction brought in a total of $523, of which $260 will be donated to Dr. Tarpy’s lab and $263 will stay with our club. Thanks to all who donated or bid on items.
Meeting Adjourned at 8:20.
35 people in attendance, including visitors and children.
Minutes submitted by Sara Kennedy, Secretary
Future Chapter Meetings at 6:30 pm, United Presbyterian Church, 415 Pennell Street, Lenoir
2019 Chapter Meetings/Tentative Schedule of Speakers
Aug 15: Annual Picnic
Sept 19: Debbie Mitchell
Oct 17: Robert Smith / How to Build Affordable Woodenware/Sizes
Dec 19: Annual Christmas Dinner
Future Conference Meetings
Summer 2019 NCSBA Meeting, August 8-10 in Hickory NC.
Caldwell County Fair, September (exact dates TBD?)
NC State Fair, October 17-27, in Raleigh