The Nevada County Beekeepers Association is a diverse group of professionals and hobbyist, 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 refreshments, brief business discussion, raffle and a great program.

Become A Member!

President's Message - August

When you live in crowded conditions with 40,000 of your sisters, it would be challenging at best to keep disease from spreading like wildfire. Bees have developed several methods to keep diseases at bay. These can be divided into two groups: Social behaviors and individual immunity.

Individual immunity is composed of responses that occur within the individual. These responses are similar to human responses to disease and occur at the cellular level. Social immunity occurs at the colony level. Some methods are prophylactic, like imprisoning hive beetles in propolis, while others occur in response to a potential invader. For example, bees infected with certain viruses are not allowed back into the nest, eliciting aggressive behaviors by guard bees at the entrance to the hive.

The construction of propolis is a major hive-level behavior that prevents disease. Propolis forms a protective antibiotic layer around the nest, keeping unwanted bacteria at bay.

Hygienic behavior is another social response to disease. Nurse bees remove diseased brood from the nest before it can develop. This behavior has the added bonus of interrupting the life cycle of the varroa mite if it happens to be the cause of the disease.

Bees can also work together to increase the temperature of their nest cavity, making it intolerable for nosema, chalk broodand mites.

Infected bees will even sacrifice themselves, leaving the nest to die away from the other bees to avoid spreading infections.

Bees are eusocial insects, meaning that they cannot survive without each other. The health of the colony is so important that bees are willing to give up their own lives to protect it.

Happy Beekeeping!

Pura Vida life - relax and enjoy!
Amy Hustead

Bee Bits - August

As we struggle to build our colonies started with nucs up this season to wintering condition, I’m finding that I’m not the only commercial beekeeper who is having trouble. We sold our first 1000 nucs to other beekeepers,so ours got a late start. By chance, the timing of those wonderful spring rains then fell each time that a good bloom came on, so the building colonies kept starting up, then getting slammed back to the start. Those of you with strong overwintered colonies likely fared better.

Robbing has been more of an issue this season than normal. Nectar flows have varied greatly from yard to yard, in response to soil moisture. You may wish to pull honey early, and feed back syrup for winter stores.
We’ve performed well over a thousand mite washes so far this season

...see full article and photos in the current Newsletter

Happy beekeeping!

Randy Oliver
Grass Valley, CA

In The Yard - August

This was a good year for foxglove, digitalis purpurea, in our yard. Most years are. It is a non-native and spreads prolifically; each plant can produce over a million seeds.The scientific name means "finger-like" and refers to the ease with which aflowercan be fitted over a human fingertip. This plant is a biennial – in its first year it puts out a rosette of leaves close to the ground. The following year a flower spike arises which may reach 5 feet in height.Buds on the spike open into thimble-shaped bells with freckled interiors. The freckles are ‘honey guides’ which act as signs for bees landing on the lower lip, pointing the way to the nectar at the back ofthe thimble. Honeybees do not usually forage much on them, but many native bees do.The plant is somewhat toxic so beware planting if young children or livestock are around. 

The plant is the source of a family of medicines for treating heart conditions, including a arrythmia and atrial fibrillation.

When the Foxglove nods its head it was believed in days of old, in Wales and Southern England, that this was to acknowledge that a fairy was passing by.