Bee Club Notes for June

Preservation Beekeeping Meeting June 3, 2017 @ Camas Library, 10 to 1

Attendees:  Susan Knilans, Pixie LaPlante, Thea Hayes, Jennifer Bargar, Barry Malanger, Jody Hymes, Tina Carter, Mel Khairia, Rick __?___, Larry Clow, Kay Clow, Bill Avery, Terry Brodie, Elizabeth Brodie, Jane Rice, Ginger, Mary Helen Beveridge…

Introductions and concerns regarding their bees by the attendees (17); then Susan talked about swarm season being late (due to wet spring) and building up for May and June.  Portland area swarms are settling high and difficult to get them.  Right now, there should be lots of brood, queens really productive.  If you don’t see new building constructed (lots of comb) you may have a “queen problem.”  First blackberries starting to bloom, so flow is starting.  Grey pollen is from blackberry.

This is our first year to have a club, and Jacqueline is now out of the “swarm catching;” Susan is passing out cards for this.  She posts every week with neighborhoods, but there are few calls.  We need to talk about ways as a club to make this happen.  Jody has not gotten one call yet, and Susan has only rescued bumblebees.  Ideas?  Susan brought up lawn signs; check into cost of lawn signs with Vista Print.  Landscapers, property management firms are good contacts.  Not easy to move bee frames from Langstroth to alternative hives, and Susan is doing another move on June 8.  She’ll be moving hives off of Langstroth frames and up into her skep. Within 21 days after bees swarm, there’s a new queen, and little brood left. It is a great time to move or rehome hives. 

Swarm stuff: Swarms can stay in their first landing spot for 20 minutes, or up to 3 days.  Usually settle low to condense themselves at first, then move higher and hang in the trees; at that point are hard to get.  Scouts return to original hive (Susan saw research) to collect missing bees left behind!  8 to 10 days after a hive has swarmed, you can you can use a stethoscope to listen to just hatching, piping queens.  They sound like ducks!    The virgin queens head for the door (sometimes together) after wings are dry and expanded.  Bees beard when swarming, but also just if it’s nice weather.  If you see bees running between the combs, with tremendous buzzing and racing back and forth (you can see in the windows), then you know a swarm is only moments away.

Susan talked about the start of the non-profit:  PreservationBeekeeping.com. Members have complained about the bee club signup forms not working, but every time Susan checks, it seems to be working just fine. Susan is meeting with member who is a tech-person and will fix those issues, related to hard-to-understand forms.

Pixie talked about plants good for pollination, followed by seed/plant exchange, and after the meeting there was information about the non-profit.  Pixie talked about seeing gardens from the perspective of bees, and the fact that you need to grow masses of similar types of plants.  Most important for 4000+ pollinating insects:  one out of every 3 bites of food we take is from natural pollinators.  Rudolph Steiner said we would lose our honeybees, but they are not the issue as much as “cleaning” away all the dead materials in our gardens.  For example, nipplewort can be cut back and stems put in pots for the pollinating insects.  You want aromatic herbs and plants so bees get their medicine as well.  They need a wide variety of foods and habitat choices.  She talked about working on the edges in your front yard to make neighbors happy, but leaving the backyard wild.  Good edging makes the grubbiest weed patch look great! Pixie also talked about different native “weeds” that are good for us as well as the pollinators to eat.  Showed Lambs Ears, discussing varied uses for the plant for us as well as the bees.   Lemon Balm is also called Melissa (“bees”)….antibacterial and antiviral, cold and flu medicine, natural ritalin, “melancholy herb,”  great for nosegays, put under chicken skin and cook in it for lemon flavor.  Can grow in the shade, good in pots, bees love it, and mosquitoes hate it.  She recommends Greek Oregano for bees.  Susan mentioned ground covers, and white clover, violets, wild geranium (root stops bleeding), sedum and trailing raspberry (which will take foot traffic as it’s really tough stuff, and you get golden berries you can eat!).  Also, cardoon (flowers to ten feet!…Huge blue globes….treasured Mediterrean vegetable), sea thistle, blue globe.  English Ivy blooms at the end of the summer with white nectar, and it crystallizes into “candy” for bees in the winter.  Practice “chop and drop” to feed your soil, and it keeps the soil cool and moist.  Susan talked about bumblebees being “lazy” and cutting holes in deep flowers which is utilized by other pollinators.  Tomatoes are “buzz-pollinated,” and tomato growers have hired cheap labor or electrified greenhouses for imitating the frequency of bumblebee buzzing.

Mary Helen came in late; she is a permaculturist in north Portland, and brought many cool seeds to share, as she has been saving seeds for over 20 years.

Questions and discussion about the issues with pesticides and finding plants/seeds that are not toxic. Mary Helen told us about a really good local website: “Beyond Toxics” is a non-profit in Eugene.

Pixie brought up Meetup.com and how to use it.  (“Eat the Wild Weeds”)  Mentioned “Eat the Wild Edibles” by John Kallas, and “Wild Adventures” by his wife.  He teaches out of Portland and has been on OPB.

Death Camas is poison for bees….look up!

Pixie says Comfry looks like Foxglove (poisonous), but does not flower the first year.  Don’t pull bare-handed.

End meeting at Noon.

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