A couple Saturdays ago we had the WCBA bee club meeting for August. Like all summer meetings, it was an outdoor meeting at the home of a member who has bee hives (of course!). The first part of the meeting was the instructional part, with Ken Warchol going through the hives talking about starting Fall preparations.
He focused on what we should be seeing at this time of the year, and also focused on types of pest treatments for the hives. In this part of the country the biggest pests are Varroa mites, tracheal mites, and later in the year (and over winter) Nosema. Treating hives for hobbyists is a personal choice - not everyone chooses to treat, and different people treat different ways.
For example, treating Varroa mites can be done using pesticides (Mite Away strips); Thymol gel (which vaporizes in the hive); or powder sugar treatments to help the bees themselves handle the mites.
Here are the hives that Ken was working - I like the different color combinations:
Incidentally, the hive owners are also participating in a USDA study on the effect of the Asian Longhorn Beetle pesticide on beehives. There are some "USDA Hives" on their property too:
The instruction went well, and I was pleased to see that there were no grand revelations in what was said (in other words, I knew a lot about what was discussed). There was a pretty good crowd of people there:
Ken spent some time showing us what we should be seeing if things are going OK in the hives: good brood patterns with honey on the edges:
The owners have a very nice piece of property. There were lots of other bees and butterflies around:
There was also a small pond in the back yard with lily pads on it. Of course, the bees were making use of it as a water source!
And one last funny situation: at the meeting there were refreshments (of course!). Someone brought some cupcakes shaped like hexagons, with a candy bee on a toothpick on top. It looked like the cupcakes were made with honey, given how popular they were with the bees!
Ken came up and grabbed a cupcake, gently brushed off the honey bees, and started chowing down...