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 bobrita@usa.net 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

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


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.

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


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”