My hive swarmed; am I queenless?


By John Gaut

We had a lot of swarms again this year. I have had a lot of questions about “queenless” colonies. Often, I suggested the colony was not really queenless, the new queen just had not started laying yet.

Also, a colony that supercedes the queen will look queenless for several weeks.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to manage my queen rearing schedule. I simplified the Excel sheet so it could be used to predict the dates a new queen would begin laying eggs after a swarming or supercedure event. While the predicted dates may vary due to several factors, you can see it really takes about 3 to 4 weeks before the new queen starts laying! This means the colony will be broodless for a while; a few days or a week.

Here is an example: June 1 entered into the YELLOW area and the rest of the dates were calculated in the spreadsheet.

Download the spreadsheet from below and try it!

Queen Schedule After Swarming

May 19 Meeting – Swap meet, Hive management


Our officers will be answer the question what’s going on in my hive? with a discussion on hive inspections and summer management.
We will also be hosting our first ever Sell It or Swap It. Do you have bee equipment that you never use, just sitting in your garage taking up space? Have you ever bought some bee equipment that you never use and you’d like to get rid of? Grab any equipment you’d like to sell or trade and bring it to our monthly meeting. Since the club is sponsoring this event, we ask that you donate 10% of the money you make from the items you sell to the club.
So, if you sell something for $10, that’s only $1 to the club. (And if you sell something for $1 million dollars, then that’s a mere $100,000 to the club!)
So dust off all your stuff, and bring it and your cash to our regular monthly meeting at Ramapo College on May 19 at 7:30 p.m.

April 21 meeting- Nucs, swarm management


So you got your nuc, now what do you do? The Northeast NJ Beekeepers will go over care for your new colony and what to expect your first year.
Swarm season has already hit with one of our member’s colonies swarming on Easter. We will discuss swarm management, splits and what to do if they do swarm.
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.

Bee-ing a good neighbor

Looking at a frame of bees

Looking at a frame of bees

With the opening of beekeeping season, it’s important to follow some guidelines that will help you bee a good neighbor. You don’t want your bees to be seeking out your neighbor’s pool or pond for a water source and you want to avoid swarming if possible. Our bees should be noticed for their pollination, not bee-ing a nuisance.

Here are some tips:

Colony density
The state recommends no more than three colonies per one-quarter acre or less.

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.

Colony Stewardship
Colony Inspection: All colonies shall be inspected by the beekeeper no less than three times between March 1 and October 1 of each year.

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 the bees are not encouraged to congregate at other water sources which may result in human or domestic pet contact. Without a water source, the bees will seek the nearest neighbor’s pool or pond.

Queens: Queens should be replaced if a colony exhibits unusual defensive behavior without due provocation.

Cleanup: Each beekeeper should ensure that no bee comb or other materials that might encourage robbing by honey bees or other stinging insects, are left
on the grounds of the apiary site.

Room to grow not swarm: Add supers in a timely manner when things start getting tight and the bees have drawn out the boxes. This will reduce swarming tendencies due to tight quarters. It requires frequent inspections during swarm season.

Happy beekeeping!

March 17 Meeting – Value added products for beekeepers


Landi Simone of the Essex County Beekeepers will speak on going beyond honey sales and will discuss making honey products to sell or give as gifts. From creams to honey spreads to bees wax candle, Landi has been turning her honey into the area’s best organic honey products for years.
John Gaut will also be discussing the mentoring program. And Bob will be taking nuc orders for April delivery.

Favorite beekeeping tools of the trade



At our February Meeting Frank Mortimer and John Gaut went beyond the basics in beekeeping gadgets and showed us their favorite beekeeping tools.
Here’s a list of their favorites, costs and where to find them:

Favorite Hive Top – English Garden Copper top allows for ventilation. Betterbee is the only company that sells this outer cover with the hole for ventilation and that’s the key. $93.95

Slatted Rack – Great for overwintering and swarm control. Allows queen to lay in lower comb and provides for clustering which can reduce swarming. Install between bottom board and brood chamber. It also conveniently fits a tray underneath for easy inspection of hive droppings. Slatted rack Mann Lake $18.25. Varroa Debris Tray Betterbee $6.95.

Favorite Hive Tool – Frame Lifter and Scraper (Italian) The best at lifting frames out of chamber. Best used two at a time. All Companies sell them, but Mann Lake has cheapest at $8.95.

Least Favorite Hand Tool – Frame grip

Hive scale- Place an eyelet on the back of bottom board. Attach luggage scale to weigh hives. Wisefield on Amazon $12.99

Must Have Mite control tool – Mite alcohol wash is a must to count mites. Available through the club at meetings. $20

Best Gloves- Economy Venter gloves. Mann Lake $17.95

Best Helper – Cloth to cover top of chamber and frames to keep bees calm while hive diving. Any dishtowel will do.

Coolest Looking – Bee Belt to hold tools. Just like Batman, every beekeeper needs a good utility belt that holds everything they need. Countryfields out of Canada $85.

Nice to have around – Use Terramycin if diagnosed with American Foulbrood by dusting top bars. Grant Stile Stiles Apiary. 732-661-0700.

Best hive mover – The Brushy Hive mover makes moving the hives easy. Make sure to strap the components together first. Brushy $75

Bucket Blanket- When honey crystalizes the Betterbee bucket blanket does the trick.

Handy – Bucket bench allows you to rest a pail in the Bucket Bench to allow honey to drain out into another bucket while you do other tasks.

Feb. 17 Meeting – Gagdets


This month we go beyond the basics of hive tool and smoker with Frank Mortimer and John Gaut who will show us their favorite beekeeping gadgets. From the hive mover to quiet boxes to Italian hive tools we will have a show and tell on the coolest tools of the trade.
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.

Nuc orders 2017


The club will again bee bringing in nucs from Grant Stiles. Each nuc is $160. You can reserve yours with a $60 per nuc non-refundable deposit.
There are only a limited number of nucs available, and when they’re gone, they’re gone, so please reserve yours early.
Please see or contact Bob Jenkins at or bring a check to the Feb. 17 meeting to reserve your nuc today!
Members need to be up to date on their dues to place an order. The nucs will be delivered to Ramapo College sometime around April 19. Purchasers must be available to pick up their nuc that night. Exact date will be announced in April.

One of our own featured in magazine – Leigh Lydecker


By Jaimie Julia Winters
He’s 91 and one of Northeast NJ Beekeepers Association’s most active members. Leigh Lydecker was also just featured in Bergen County’s magazine “Autumn Years” in a five-page spread. The article “What a Honey of a Hobby!” takes readers through Lydecker’s initial interest into beekeeping as a Boy Scout to his retirement when he became “serious” about the hobby at the age of 75. He now maintains four hives in Oakland, which he proudly says produced 120 pounds of honey this year.
He credits the Northeast NJ Beekeepers Association as his first smart move in re-entering the world of beekeeping. (The article also features a sidebar on the club).
Lydecker says much has changed over the years when beekeepers didn’t have to deal with Colony Collapse Disorder and varroa mites, and he credits the club for educating him on how to deal with the plights.
He advises all beekeepers to stay educated by attending meeting, reading all that you can and attending workshops such as the one offered by Rutgers to keep up to date on the issues and challenges surrounding beekeeping. Lydecker also stays physically fit, and even at his age can lift those 50-pound honey supers.
Another retiree and newbee featured in the sidebar is Jim LaConte, 70, another active member. His first move was also to attend a Northeast NJ Beekeeping meeting he says. He left that meeting with a mentor, John Gaut, who has been with Conte along his journey into beekeeping.
To read the full article Click here