7828 Ray Nash

Gig Harbor, WA 98335






West Sound Beekeepers Association         Volume 9, Issue 1


Buzzword   January 2006

Refreshment Schedule




Tues., January 17, 2006

7:00 P.M.

Stedman’s Bee Supplies











Basil Gunther              360-297-5075

Vice President

George Purkett            360-895-9116


Chanetta Ludwig          253-884-2293


Joe Grubbs                   360-871-8091

Educational Materials

Barbara Stedman          360-692-9453


Roy & Vickie Barton      360-613-0175



George Purkett              360-895-9116

Newsletter Editor

Jerry A. Hominda           253-858-6372

E-mail:   goldenbee@juno.com




Meeting date and contacts 

Next meeting topics                2

Editor’s Corner                        2

Presidents message               2

Minutes Last Meeting              5

Bee Manager’s Note               6



Program Committee

Jay Miller           253-857-6417

Al Twidt             253-884-1038




























By Jerry Hominda


I am open for any topics, information, and idea sharing from any members.  If you have a thought you would like to include in the newsletter you can e-mail me or send it by postal mail.  I would be more then happy to include it.

I look forward to hearing from anyone in the future.

My e-mail address is: goldenbee@juno.com and my mailing address is:

7828 Ray Nash  Gig Harbor, WA 98338


Message From the President:


 Hello Everybody!


In just a few short days even the hard-liners will have to admit that

Winter is here!  Here for a good ninety-one and a quarter days.  Days that will test each and every honeybee colony in the land...and beekeepers as well.  Some colonies will come through loud and strong, some will barely make it on their own, some will have to be nurtured, and some... well...I won't try to explain Winter cluster dynamics- Paul Lundy will undoubtedly cover it superbly in his Bee-ginner talks (held before every meeting at 6:30).  Perhaps our excellent "Bee Manager" will discuss moving stores to where bees can get them, but I won't.  No, this month's column is dedicated to those colonies that must be fed in order to survive winter and the beekeepers who must do the feeding.


Every winter colonies die, but I believe many that could have lived,

perished by a lack of timely assistance by the beekeeper.  Died because the beekeeper didn't keep track of the stores, overestimated them, or sat back with fingers crossed, casting fate to the wind.  Maybe they didn't know to feed in the winter.  Maybe they didn't know how.  It's a crying shame!  There will be many days in Winter-warm enough to peek inside the hive and see what things are like, so be sure to look once in awhile!


Now I know most of you probably pulled your hives out of the mountains in late August and topped them off with syrup in September.  Your Varroa-free colonies weighed in about 200 pounds on October first and you've got plenty frames of sealed honey stashed in your giant freezer in case any of your hives drop under 125 pounds...Well, you folks may wish to skip ahead.  Bees that need feed in the winter need to be fed.  Here's what I know about it.


Some beekeepers put dry granulated sugar around the hole on top of the inner cover.  The bees come up and get it, mix it with water and consume it.  The beekeeper can add more easily and without chilling the bees.  It's easy to see if they need more.  If it gets really cold they may not be able to reach it and there may not be water available to mix with it.  A small cluster has more difficulty than a larger one with this method.  Some beekeepers make it easier on the bees by putting the sugar on the top bars, but it is easier to chill the bees this way and sometimes the sugar gets wet and out of hand.  Many beekeepers save their colonies feeding dry sugar. There are beekeepers that, using the usual methods, feed syrup in winter. Syrup can ferment if not eaten soon enough and cause dysentery. Syrup is often hard for the bees to reach.  Perhaps its worst feature is that it increases hive humidity and condensation which most of us will agree is a bad thing.  Some beekeepers are undoubtedly successful with liquid feed but I'm not recommending it.  Another option, candy feed is my favorite.  The simplest method is to purchase 50-pound blocks of fondant from a bakery. 


Fondant is a soft candy, creamed icing, and usually made from high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar.  Don't get fondant with stiffeners or additives. Slices off the block can be put in one-gallon plastic bags.  In the field, slit an X, open the flaps and slap it on the top bars.  If it's a thick slab you might need a spacer between the hive body and the inner cover.


If you decide to make your own candy you can make a mold any size or shape you like.  Some beekeepers use wooden molds or rimmed cookie sheets greased with Crisco.  Others leave the Candy in the mold that exactly fits the top of the hive-a kind of inverted tray filled with hard candy -the so-called "candy board".  The idea in all these

candy cases is that when the Winter cluster works it's way through it's stores and to the top of the box, instead of starving it will be smack against a great food source.  Hive moisture is absorbed by the candy and actually helps the bees assimilate it!


Here's the classic fondant recipe: (Get a candy thermometer at the

grocery store).  5 pounds sugar to 1-pint water.  Heat mixture to 242

degrees F and pour into mold.  If you want creamy fondant let cool to 110 degrees F and knead like dough on a hard surface before packing the molds.  This adds air.  I can't say if the bees get any added benefit from creamy fondant.  Some beekeepers run screws into the candy portion of the candy boards so it will stay put.  With full size candy boards, figure 3 pounds sugar per 1/4 inch-I've read of beekeepers using 3-inch candy boards.  36 pounds-Wow!

 The downside of candy making is that it can be harder to clean than

George Purkett's paraffin dip tank.  The molten candy is very hot and

will stick to you like glue and burn you so bad you might feel like you

were dipped in George's tank.  Wear appropriate clothing and keep a

bucket of ice water nearby.  Did I mention molten sugar is flammable?  Be careful! If the mold or candy board leaks or is not level, molten candy can run out and make a mess that's harder to

clean than a honey spill!  Hopefully that'll help get some more bees through the coming winter.  To get beekeepers through the winter, I suggest attending our Annual Holiday Banquet, Auction and Honey Taste-Off! See you there-Basil.


Minutes From the

November 15, 2005,  Meeting

Held 7-9 PM at Stedman’s Bee Supply

Submitted By: Secretary Chanetta Ludwig;  chanettal@yahoo.com

Basil Gunther, President, presided at the meeting.



Treasurer’s Report

·        Joe Grubbs gave the treasurers report  $2216.49 in

checking, and $2792.47 in savings. 



Old Business

·        Program committee was not present


New Business


·        Discussion on having a place to take bees to the

     mountains for Fireweed in the summer

Show and Tell


·        George Purkett brought a sample of  small hive beetle



Door Prize Winner:

·        Joe Grubbs, Congratulations!!  He won honey bear





·        Discussion on the NW Beekeepers Conference held in

Newport Oregon.  Queen introduction, how long a queen should be kept in the mating nuc boxes before we receive them.  An optimum of 28 days would be best. A May - June is a better


·        Formic Acid ,Tyleson,m and Oxalic Acid with sugar

water were discussed

·        Small hive beetle

·        Races of bees

·        Pollen patties.  Bee Pro Pollen Patties from Mann Lake

are favored by Paul Lundy

Grease Patties, 2:1 Ratio Pwdr sugar/ veg oil  used in

the fall before they cluster



Hey, buds below, up is where to grow,

Up with which below can’t compare with.

Hurry!  It’s lovely up here!  Hurry!

Alan Jay Lerner  1918-86:  ‘It’s Lovely Up Here’ (1965)


Bee Manager’s Note:                                          By Jerry Hominda


Well it is the end of the year-some would argue the peak of the winter solstice the day after our banquet.  If your bees were not healthy, well fed, medicated, plenty of stores, strong population of younger generation, viable queen, etc. they may not make it through

the winter-oh well.  What is the worst that can happen if they do not make it through the winter you try it again with a new package or a split from what you perceive as a healthy colony.  Quite honestly physically there is not much you can do with your colonies during this time of year, but mentally you can begin preparing to be more successful as a bee manager in 2006.  Read-Read-Read-network-network-network with other bee keepers through out the world if you have Internet access.  The problems we experience are similar to problems other beekeepers experience at a global level.  Many of those beekeepers have a lot more to loose than hobbyist, therefore they are more committed to finding solutions to problems and often those solutions are publicized on the web.


Furthermore, there are many books that have been created discussing various aspects of bee keeping.  From queen rearing, diseases, parasites, medications, new hive construction ideas, bee species options, etc. this is the time of year you should bee reading and preparing for the new year.  Of course this is always a good time of year to bee working on equipment and getting ready for the swarms that you will be experiencing from your healthy hives that survive the winter. 



       ??????????????Have fun working bees??????????????