Nov. 18 meeting – Dr. Tom Seeley biologist and Honeybee Democracy Author

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Tired of the elections? Well find out how the bees do it. On Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. the Northeast New Jersey Beekeepers Association welcomes Dr. Tom Seeley, professor in Biology, in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and the author of Honeybee Democracy.
His scientific work has primarily focused on understanding the phenomenon of swarm intelligence (SI): the solving of cognitive problems by a group of individuals who pool their knowledge and process it through social interactions. It has long been recognized that a group of animals, relative to a solitary individual, can do such things as capture large prey more easily and counter predators more effectively. More recently it has been realized that a group of animals, with the right organization, can also solve cognitive problems with an ability that far exceeds the cognitive ability of any single animal, said Seeley.
Since 1995, Seeley has concentrated on figuring out how a swarm of honey bees chooses a new home. This problem arises when a colony reproduces and the old queen bee and some ten thousand worker bees leave the parental hive to produce a daughter colony. The emigrating bees settle on a tree branch in a beard-like cluster and then hang out there together for several days. During this time, these homeless insects do something truly amazing: they hold a democratic debate to choose their new living quarters. Exactly how they do so is reviewed in his book Honeybee Democracy.
According to Seeley, the analyses of collective decision-making by honeybee colonies indicate that a group will possess a high level of SI if among the group’s members there is:
1) diversity of knowledge about the available options,
2) open and honest sharing of information about the options,
3) independence in the members’ evaluations of the options,
4) unbiased aggregation of the members’ opinions on the options, and
5) leadership that fosters but does not dominate the discussion.
At present, his main research interest is in the area of conservation biology: determining how honey bee colonies living in the wild are able to survive without being treated with pesticides for controlling a deadly ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor. Understanding how feral honey bee accomplish this will help beekeepers develop sustainable, pesticide-free approaches to beekeeping.His book Following the Wild Bees covers this topic.
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Two of Seeley’s books will be available for sale at the meeting: The Honey Bee Democracy and his new book Following the Wild Bees. After the presentation, Dr. Seeley will be glad to autograph these and other books.

We will be meeting on the Ramapo College Campus in the H-Wing Auditorium at 7:30. Ramapo College is located at 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ

Map to H-wing

Mead recipe by Bob Slanzi

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Mead maker Bob Slanzi presented mead making to the Northeast NJ Beekeepers at the October meeting. Here’s his recipe:
Basic Mead Recipe
Combine 15 lbs of honey with water (approximately 3 3/4 Gallons) to make 5 gallons of honey solution in a 6 gallon pail.
Add yeast
Add 1 teaspoon of Go-Ferm Yeast Nutrient
Mix and cover
Set in an area where the ambient temperature is about 65 F.

Combine 3 teaspoons of Go-Ferm and Ferm-K Yeast Nutrients.
Feed the yeast 1 teaspoon of mix for 3 days

Stir the batch every 12 hours for about 5 days.

Transfer batch to a carboy with an airlock and monitor for desired taste and alcohol content.

Stop fermentation with sulfite, optional.

Clarify with Bentonite Clay or “Super Clear”

Bottle!

Beekeeping in October

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Beekeeping in October
By John A. Gaut
The bees have been working some remaining golden rod and the aster has been in full bloom in my area. But it has been dry so there is not much nectar. Most hive weights have been slowly increasing; I have had to add some sugar syrup to help. The colonies are organizing the hive for the winter, storing honey and pollen. (I continue to be amazed how consistently a colony arranges the honey to the top and outside, pollen in the bottom near the center and a brood nest in the center bottom part of the hive.) The field force will continue to bring in pollen and any nectar they can find this month. The colonies will reduce brood rearing as the days get shorter and cooler. The “winter bees” are emerging; winter survival will depend on their health and numbers.
To survive the winter, the colonies should be strong and have a vigorous queen. Three other important considerations are:
1. Adequate food reserves, both honey and pollen. The hive should have 60 pounds of honey and at least the equivalent to 4 frames of pollen (bee bread). The colony will consume the honey to maintain a cluster temperature and also need the protein from the pollen to stay well nourished. In the middle of winter, the colony will start consuming both honey and pollen when they start brood rearing.
2. Low mite parasitism; less than 1% is ideal. Mites suck the bee’s hemolymph (blood) and transmit viruses causing the colony to suffer a virus epidemic in the middle of winter. One last mite count now (after any treatment is removed) will let you know if your mite treatment program was successful. Treatments vary in effectiveness. You can NOT assume that your colonies are OK since you treated; you need to test and verify the treatment was successful!
3. A dry and wind protected hive. A small top entrance helps to ventilate moisture from the hive and provides an alternate entrance if the bottom entrance is covered in snow. A piece of insulation between the inner cover and outer cover can prevent condensation on the underside of the inner cover (condensation raining on the cluster can kill the colony). If a screened bottom board is used, the IPM board should be in place. Too much air moving through the hive will cause the colony to consume more honey to maintain the cluster temperature. Insulating the sides of the hive also helps reduce air infiltration and can reduce heat loss, especially on those windy, sub-freezing February nights.
Most of the colonies I have inspected during September and early October are doing well. There are many variables; the most important is mite counts. If the mite counts are low, the colonies are able to adjust to most of the other variables and pressures. I have found some colonies that have high mite counts though. Grrrr! These are typically the stronger colonies and mites were under control a month ago. They look very healthy now but the alcohol wash shows they will suffer if I do not treat for the mites. Why did the mite levels jump up in a month? Research is showing other colonies collapsing under heavy mite loads are the reason. Untreated colonies are the nuclear bomb of beekeeping. The strong colonies rob out the collapsing colonies bring back mites. And the bees in the collapsing hive will abscond and enter other hives in the area. I’ll reapply ApiVar to the colonies that have more than 1% mite levels. Check your colonies. Please don’t create a nuclear bomb for the other beekeepers!

Oct. 21 Meeting – All about Mead

 

On Friday Oct. 21, the Northeast NJ Beekeepers Meeting will be SWEET as we discuss the wine of the gods – Mead. Bob Slanzi, the Northeast NJ Beekeepers Association’s Meadmaster, EAS speaker, and national award winning mead maker, will be talking about how you can turn your honey into mead. Bob is a nationally recognized mead maker and has won multiple competitions, including Best in Show at NYC largest Home Brewers contest beating out over 750 entries. Bob will be offering samples of some of his award-winning brews, so come and learn how to put your extra honey to work to make the oldest kind of wine.Please click on the link to read more about Mead in New Jersey.
Our meetings are always the third Friday of every month, beginning at 7:30 pm. We meet at Ramapo College 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ in the Anisfield School of Business, Room 135S.

Get ready for Honey Cup 2016 – Sept. 16

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The Northeast New Jersey Beekeepers Association is hosting its annual honey-tasting competition at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Ramapo College in Mahwah and we are looking for your best honey of the year. Members are invited to submit their honey from this year’s harvest. Honey must be in a 1 pound bottle with name, address and phone number. Honey should be handed in by 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 either by dropping off at an officer’s house or at the college 5 -6 p.m. the day of the competition. Please invite family and friends to this free event. We will need as many tasters as possible. We will also have an educational table, and honey, cheeses and bee products for sale. Light refreshments will be served. For information, visit nnjbees.org or call 201-417-7309. The event will be held at the college’s Pavilion 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah.

Best Management Practices for Beekeepers

New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices for Beekeepers in Populated areas

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There are approximately 3,000 to 3,500 registered beekeepers in New Jersey. Of these, only about 5 percent can be considered commercial beekeepers having 20 or more colonies of bees. The majority of the registered beekeepers in the state manage only 1 to 10 colonies. It is possible to keep honey bees in crowded suburban areas, on tiny city lots or on rooftops in large or small cities without problems. However, keeping bees successfully in a populated area requires a good understanding of basic bee biology, property rights and human psychology. Beekeepers in suburbs and cities need to manage their bees so the y do not become a nuisance to their neighbors. By understanding the circumstances under which bees will bother people, beekeepers can take measures to alter circumstances so their bees do not create a problem.
Honey bees can be kept almost anywhere there are flowering plants that produce nectar and pollen. Choose a site for beehives that is discrete , sheltered from winds and partially shaded. Avoid low spots in a yard where cold, damp air accumulates in winter. Be considerate of non- beekeeping neighbors. Place hives so that bee flight paths do not cross sidewalks, playgrounds or other public areas. Provide your bees with a water source in your yard to prevent them from seeking out water at neighbors’ swimming pools or water spigots.
1. Hive Registration. All honey bee colonies wintering in the State of Ne w Jersey shall have their location registered annually with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture by the beekeeper in accord with Regulations established by the Department of Agriculture.
2. Hive Type. In accordance with N.J.S.A.4: 6-10, all honey bee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition. Hives must be capable of being inspected by the Department of Agriculture.
3. Colony Density No more than three colonies of honey bees shall be kept on any tract of one-quarter acre or less in area. For every two colonies permitted on a Tract there may be maintained upon the same Tract one nucleus colony in a hive structure not exceeding one standard 9 5/8 inch depth 10–frame hive body with no supers attached as required from time to time for swarm management. Each such nucleus colony shall be moved to another Tract or combined with another colony on the subject Tract within thirty days after the date made or acquired.
4. Colony Location When a colony is located less than 10 feet from a property line, the beekeeper must establish a flyway barrier. This should be at least 6 feet tall and extend 10 feet beyond the colony on either side. It can be solid, vegetative or any combination of the two that forces the bees to cross the property line at a height of 6 feet. All colonies must be located at least 25 feet from a public sidewalk, alley, street or roads.
5. Fence A substantial barrier / fence must be erected to pr event animals and children from coming in close contact with the hives.
6.Colony Stewardship
(a).Colony Inspection. All colonies shall be inspected by the beekeeper or his delegate no less than three times between March 1 and October 1 of each year.
(b). Water. Each beekeeper shall ensure that a convenient source (within 10 to 25 feet distant from the hive or hives) of water is available to the bees at any time during the year when temperatures are 50°F or warmer so that t he bees are not encouraged to congregate at other water sources which may result in human or domestic pet contact. This water should be in a sunny location and be in a container which makes it easy for the bees to drink.
(c). Queens. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentle ness and non- swarming characteristics. All colonies shall be maintained with queens that shall be replaced if a colony exhibits unusual defensive behavior without due provocation or exhibits an unusual disposition toward swarming. It shall be the duty of the beekeeper to promptly requeen the colony when these conditions persist.
(d). General Maintenance. Each beekeeper shall ensure that no bee comb or other materials that might encourage robbing by honey bee s or other stinging insects, are left upon the grounds of the apiary site in suburban and urban environments.

Aug. 19 Meeting – Dealing with the Dearth

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The Northeast NJ Beekeepers will be talking about dealing with the dearth when pollen and nectar flow shuts down for our bees. Dearths are hard on our bees that have grown substantially in numbers over the summer. We will discuss why feeding is crucial now, feeding options and looking for signs of the next nectar flow.

It’s almost Honey Cup time and we will discuss how to enter your honey. We will also have mite treatments for sale.

Our meetings are always the third Friday of every month, beginning at 7:30 pm. We meet at Ramapo College 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ in the Anisfield School of Business, Room 135S.

July 15 Meeting – Tim Schuler, Mite control

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Confused by the myriad of mite treatments? Please join us Friday, July 15, when Tim Schuler, NJ State Apiarist will speak on treatments such as Apivar and MAQs and how and when to use them. He will also show us how to use the mite alcohol tester. Mite control is one of the most important issues facing beekeepers today. Tim will share his experiences with successful mite control. We will also have a limited number of Apivar and MAQ treatments for sale. Our meetings are always the third Friday of every month, beginning at 7:30 pm. We meet at Ramapo College 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ in the Anisfield School of Business, Room 135S.