The Nevada County Beekeepers Association is a diverse group of professionals and hobbiest, men and women, young and old, with a keen interest in promoting the well being of honey bees and their habitat while enjoying their amazing benefits. The NCBA strives to promote education on beekeeping and agriculture by providing the latest news and techniques in these fields. 

The club members meet once a month on the first Monday at 7pm and visitors are always welcome. All meetings are held in the Veterans Memorial Building at 255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA. Entrance is off the back parking lot, in Grass Valley at 7pm.  The August meeting is always moved to the County Fair Grounds with a fair booth clean up following by a barbeque social. 

  • Any questions about bees?
  • Always wanted to get bees?
  • Questions about honey production? 
  • Have some information to share?
  • Wondering about pollination in your garden or orchard?
  • Have some bees or equipment to sell?
  • Want to meet some great folks?

Join our lively question and answer session starting promptly at 7pm followed by refreshements, brief business discussion, raffle and a great program.

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President's Message - May

A couple of months ago John Miller generously donated to the club a certificate for 27 queens. It would have been difficult for the club to manage receiving the queens and distributing them to club members who wished to purchase one. Our member Dan Wheat from A to Z Supply saw our problem and offered to buy the queens from NCBA for $20 each making John's gift worth $540.00 to the club, quite a generous donation. As  I announced at our last meeting Dan would sell them for $25 and give NCBA members first right of refusal so we would be first in line to get high quality queens at a great price. I know for a fact Dan paid much more than that to re-queen his own colonies. I know I speak for the entire membership when I express my heart felt thanks to John Miller and Dan Wheat.

Jerry Van Heeringen

Bee Bits - May

It has recently come to my attention that there will be a workshop in Nevada City promoting the use of log hives.  Please realize that this is illegal in California--only movable frame hives are allowed.  This is to allow for the inspection for the deadly disease American Foulbrood, which used to be of major concern in Nevada County.  With the new restrictions on antibiotic use, we definitely do not want an epidemic of AFB to gain a foothold in the County.

It is also very difficult to monitor varroa in log hives, which will lead to the creation of "mite bombs" that affect all beekeepers within a two-mile radius.  The members of NCBA would be doing the beekeeping community a favor by reporting any log-hive beekeepers to the Agricultural Commissioner Chris de Nijs by email at: Chris.deNijs@co.nevada.ca.us

Randy Oliver
Grass Valley, CA

In The Yard - May

After selling the majority of my bees, I ended up with 5 large colonies and one small one.  Wanting to avoid having my bees swarm, I divided the 5 large into 12 smaller colonies and inserted queen cells.  This was on March 31.  It takes about 5 days for the virgins to mature and get strong enough for their mating flight.  Then it takes another 3-5 days for her to start laying eggs.  Within 9 more days those first eggs will start to be capped.  So 19 days after inserting a queen cell is a good time to both check for the laying queen, and give a dribble treatment of oxalic acid, since its effectiveness is much enhanced if there is no capped brood for the mites to lay into.  When I checked on day 19, only two of the new queens were successfully laying- though I saw virgins in almost all the colonies. 

I have learned over the years to not get too excited at this point, and will come back in another few days to check again.  Looking back at the weather over those 19 days, there was only one day close to 70 deg., and it had some wind, which is not good for mating flights.  If the virgin queen does not mate with 14 days, many commercial breeders destroy these queens as there is some evidence they will be inferior layers.  Woyke and Jasinski (1976) found that #queens that were more than 14 days old stored only 1/3 the number of spermatazoa that queens 5-10 days old did, given the same amount of artificial insemination.

I was watching bees on my Hawthorne tree today (April 26).  Hawthorne is a nice tree for bees and it was buzzing like a 30 ft tall rattlesnake.  The downsides of this tree are A) the little prickles, and B) the smell of the flowers is very much like something died out in the yard!  Watching the bees for a while I realized they weren’t getting any nectar, just bouncing from one flower to another to get the pollen onto their bodies.  Hope you enjoy your bouncing bees this spring.

Brion Dunbar
Grass Valley, CA