NCW Beekeepers Meeting
April 23, 2017
May 11 Bee Chat, El Agave, 6:00 p.m.
May 21 Business/Education Meeting, Douglas Co. Fire Dept., 5:00 p.m.
June 9-10 Basic Beekeeping Course, WSU ($125)
June 11 Queen Rearing Course, WSU ($175)
Reports: Treasurer: checking account $3795.27, savings account $1129.97
Educational Presentation Natalie Boyle, PhD, USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit
Dr. Boyle reported on studies and experiences using both honey bees and blue mason bees in pollinating orchards. Mason bees collect dry pollen on their bellies and collect pollen and nectar simultaneously, so are better at moving pollen around in flowers. These bees overwinter in cocoons with just one generation per year.
Studies involved 400 female mason bees per acre for almonds, 250 per acre for cherries with 1-2 hives of honey bees. There was better cross-pollination and better fruit set with this combination compared to honey bees alone.
However, propagation of mason bees is difficult in orchards. They are more pesticide-susceptible, often just leave, and are quite expensive. Propagation has been fairly successful in 5-10 acre cages planted with an appropriate mix of flowers. They use a “cocoon attractant” to increase nesting. Placing mason bee hives on top of honey bee hives provides the needed temperature (80o) to encourage emergence at the desired time.
Al requested recommendations for local speakers for the bus/ed meetings.
Stan is mentoring the WVC student starting beekeeping with equipment used by FFA last year.
Jeff circulated a proposal for insurance for the club. It would require notification and issuance of a certificate for the insurance to cover off-site events, e.g., fair, earth days. No action was taken.
A survey of hive survival over the winter related to management was requested; this will be considered.
Additions and corrections cheerfully accepted.