Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free-bee Articles

Hello Bee-loveds, I hope you are enjoying this wildly early and abundant spring. Here in Western NC, our honey flow started about a month early and there is so much to be grateful for.

I want to point you to two free honeybee articles you might find useful.  They are both posted on One is about how to make a split (particularly relevant to spring bee management and for those of us in places like NC and ORE who are having a very swarmy spring) and the other is about how to work with Varroa.

Here is the link:

TRUSTING THE BEES: Thoughts on a Stronger Stock or How to Raise Queens with Just a Few Hives  (Carl Chesick, President of The Center for Honeybee Research)
PARTICULARLY HELPFUL article right now about how to make splits. Many of us are experiencing a very swarmy spring and now is the time in the year to have this information to hand. Learn an easy way to make a daughter colony that helps to both breed a stronger bee and supports the bees’ ability to select their own best future queens.  If you are wondering things like this -- What frames do I take from a large mother hive to start a new colony? And when can I take them? --  then this article will clearly lay out the how-to steps that will help create a great daughter colony and also respect the life of the mother hive that sourced it.

TAMING THE MIGHTY MITE: Some Thoughts on Living with Varroa  (Kefyn M. Catley, Ph.D.)
THIS INFORMATION ABOUT VARROA IS VERY HELPFUL as we look ahead across our bee stewarding year; it will help you understand Varroa so you can select for better, less-virulent mites and better-adapted bees. It also helps educate us about why chemical treatments are not a fruitful path in the long run. This is one of the clearest articles I have ever read about the unique characteristics and nature of Varroa and how to think about them in relationship to our western honeybee.

And if you want to be notified about future articles across this year, you can subscribe to Holy Bee Press (on our home page, in the upper right hand corner, is a Subscribe button).  Here is the link:       We are planning about one article every two or three months.

Blessed be. Blessed bees.

-Debra Roberts

Monday, May 28, 2012

June 2012 BCBC Meeting

The splendid Edd Buchanan will lead our program on June 4, 2012.
Our focus for the month will be honey. 
Edd will show us how to  harvest cut comb honey.

Edd is one of our founders.  He is also Master Beekeeper and master story teller,
keeps bees at the Biltmore Estate, and is known for his knowledge and humor far and wide.

Click here to read Edd's recent article in USA Today.

7:00 pm on June 4th, 2012 at Groce United Methodist Church
at 954 Tunnel Rd in Asheville, NC.
Come early at 6:30 for informal mentoring, conversations about your bees,
opportunity to talk to other beekeepers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


In April, we had the gracious Dr. Copenhauer visit the BCBC meeting and give us information about the proper use of the Epipen. This is a first aid tool for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions, commonly bee stings. It injects epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline, to tighten blood vessels and relax muscles in the airways, lessening the dangerous symptoms of severe allergic reactions.

Normal symptoms of a honey bee sting include swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the sting. Systemic symptoms, or reactions that occur where you didn't get stung, are of greater concern. A drop in blood pressure is the most dangerous symptom, because in this case blood isn't being pumped into your brain, which can lead to death.

No matter the symptoms, if you are in doubt of the severity of the problem, use the Epipen! It results in a feeling like you drank too much coffee, but these symptoms pass in about 20 minutes and are preferable to a severe allergic reaction. About 25-30% of people need a second dose, so it is a good idea to keep two around.

To use the Epipen, remove the cap, jam it into the victim's thigh, and hold it there for about 10 seconds to allow the pen to deposit all of the medicine into the bloodstream. The top picture demonstrates a foolish hold; if the pen were to accidentally be upside down with the thumb placed on top, the needle would surge into the administrator's thumb instead of the victim's thigh. The bottom photo demonstrates the correct hold.

Dr. Copenhauer also suggested that a "feeling of dread" is a common indicator that the sting is very severe. In this case, it is better to administer epinephrine than to wait to see how the symptoms play out. Interestingly, the "knock-off" brands are not as effective. Additionally, even if the pen has passed its expiration date, it is better to use it than to wait. Some ibuprofen might also help as an anti-inflammatory in case epinephrine is not available.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 2012 BCBC Meeting

Join us once again at 7pm on Monday, May 7th, for the May Buncombe County Bee Chapter meeting at the Groce United Methodist Church. The meeting topic is yet undecided, but there are a lot of things to talk about this month as we, and our bees, gear up for summer.

As a new beekeeper, I recently set up my first hive with the help of Marion local Ray Revis (, and got the chance to inspect it for the first time a few days ago. I was very excited to snag this picture of the queen (she's over to the left on the frame).

I hope all BCBC members and WNC beekeepers have a wonderful and productive beekeeping year! See you Monday!

7:00 pm on May 7th, 2012
at Groce United Methodist Church
at 954 Tunnel Rd in Asheville, NC.
Come early at 6:30 for informal mentoring,
conversations about your bees,
opportunity to talk to other beekeepers.