President Rick Queen opened the meeting and introduced Lewis Cauble, Apiary Inspector with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the Mountain region. Lewis gave an update on the varroa mite situation in Western North Carolina. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, varroa mite populations exploded in mid-September and October 2018, resulting in 2018 being a record year for high mite levels. Lewis stressed the importance of routine monitoring for mite levels and recommended monitoring every four to six weeks. He underscored the importance of consistent monitoring to determine the success rate of treatments.
David Massengill, Mountain Regional Director for the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association, informed the group that on March 01 and 02, 2019, the joint NC/SC Beekeepers Associations Spring Meeting will be held in Monroe, NC. Program and registration information can be found on the NC State Beekeepers Association web page.
David also stated that the Jackson County Beekeepers Association will hold its Beginning Beekeepers School on March 30, 2019.
Bill Skelton reminded everyone that the Haywood County Beginning Beekeepers School will be held Saturday, February 09, 2019, beginning at 8:30 AM and running until 4:30 PM. This class promises many topics of interest to beginning beekeepers as well as some hands-on activities. The cost will be $40.00 per individual, $50.00 per couple, and $20.00 per student under age 18. The cost will include all materials, lunch, and a 2019 membership to the Haywood County Beekeepers Association.
Bill Skelton announced that the Haywood County Extension Master Gardeners Volunteer Association is currently taking orders for their 2019 Plant Sale for perennial plants and edibles. You may contact Bill for order forms. Completed forms (with payment) must be submitted to the Cooperative Extension Office by March 11, 2019. Please note the different pickup dates: For perennial plants, the pickup date is Saturday, May 18 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM; for edibles, the pickup date is Saturday, April 06 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Kathy Taylor of KT’s Orchard and Apiary announced that she will have packages, nucs and queens for sale and will have bees coming in each weekend in April. The bees will be obtained from a properly permitted source.
Pollen Report: After a brutal bout with the Polar Vortex last week, we have had a couple of warm days. Several members noted that their bees have begun bringing in pollen. Some current pollen sources are likely from Alder trees, Dandelion and Henbit. Bill Skelton encouraged everyone to be vigilant about monitoring food stores as the bees are likely to have begun raising brood. Bees will begin to consume food very quickly as brood rearing increases. This is the most vulnerable time of the year with regard to starvation. Please make sure your bees have enough food. Bill also cautioned everyone to not confuse the weight of expanding brood with the weight of food stores.
Door Prizes were given, which consisted of a gift certificate from KT’s Orchard and Apiary, a gift certificate from Honey and the Hive, and a syrup feeder.
Rick Queen introduced tonight’s speaker – a beekeeper who needs no introduction: Our own Tyree Kiser, who presented an amazing program on “Making Splits.” Tyree has been keeping bees for decades and possesses a phenomenal amount of beekeeping knowledge.