January 2019 Beekeeping Events

Happy 2019 All! 

Our NBBA meetings began tonight- it was great to see club members and some new faces as well. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 26th at 7pm at Adams Visitor Center. Hope to see you there!

Here are some upcoming local beekeeping events:


  • Beginning Beekeeping Courses


Bennington County Beekeepers Club is offering free (donations welcomed) beginner beekeeping classes. Learn about the life of honey bees, the skills and equipment needed to care for them and the many challenges they face.

Classes meet at Vermont Veterans Home, in Bennington, in the Crispe Room. January 24th and 31st, February 7th, 14th, 28th 6:30-9pm


To sign up or for more info contact Jeanne Davis- 802-823-7955 or jdavisbwheat@comcast.net



  • State Apiary Educational Events 2019


Held at UMass Agricultural Learning Center Farm, 911 North Pleasant street.

Amherst, MA 01002  10am to 12. Bring veil and proper clothing.


Saturday, 4/13- Winter Evaluation and Spring Management Part 1

Saturday, 5/11- Spring Management Part 2

Saturday, 6/8- Summer Management

Saturday, 7/13- Pests, Parasites and Pathogens

Saturday, 8/10- Fall Management Part 1

Saturday, 9/14- Fall Management Part 2

Saturday, 10/12- Winter Prep


For more info: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mdar-state-apiaries



  • Berkshire Backyard Beekeepers: Berkshire Botanical Gardens


Upcoming beekeeping workshops and events:

  • *Creating a Varroa Management Plan – Hannah Whitehead, Honey Bee Extension Educator
    • Saturday, March 9, 10am-noon at Berkshire Botanical Garden
  • Honey Bees under the Microscope – UMass Honey Bee Extension Center
    • Saturday, February 9, 10am-noon at UMass Amherst
  • *Utilizing Natural Queens and Making Nucs with Jack Rath, Betterbee
    • Saturday, February 16, 10 am – noon at Berkshire Botanical Garden
  • *Beekeeping 101: An Introduction to Beekeeping
    • Saturday, March 16, 9 am – 4 pm at Berkshire Botanical Garden


*Denotes a class held through Berkshire Botanical Garden. Register at berkshirebotanical.org/events. Contact the host organization for all other events.

Next Berkshire Backyard Beekeepers Meeting: Tuesday, February 12 at 6pm


Please feel free to ‘bee’ in touch with questions! northernberkshirebeekeepers@gmail.com


January 2018 news

January 2018 Beekeeping 

Hi All,
Happy 2018!  There a number of events later in the month that you might be interested in (including our first meeting of year)   I hope your bees are doing well.  It’s been quite a winter so far!

January Beekeeping Events

1 January NBBA Meeting

Our first meeting of the year will be at 7PM, January 23rd at the Visitors Center in Adams. Open discussion.  Bring your questions and observations and let us know how your hives are doing!

2)  Beginning Beekeeping Course

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club will again offer a free (donations welcomed) beginner course for new beekeepers.  Learn about the life of honey bees, the skills and equipment needed to care for them and the many challenges they face.  Classes will meet at the Vermont Veterans Home, in Bennington, in the Crispe Room on January 25, February 1, 8, 15 and March 1 from 6:30-9:00 PM.  To sign up or for more information call Jeanne Davis 802-823-7955 or e-mail jdavisbwheat@comcast.net


3) Introduction To Beekeeping  Seminar


 Three of our members are hosting an “Introduction To Beekeeping” seminar on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at the Adams Visitor Center from 1 to 3 PM.   Bob Balawender, Sherry Zepka, and Shira Wohlberg, will discuss how to get started in beekeeping, equipment needed, and how to have a pollinator friendly community. The seminar is free and open to the public. Honey and honey related products will be available for purchase. For more information call 413-743-3356.


4) Turning Your Hobby into a Business: What it does it mean, and what does it take?


Hosted by the the Columbia County Beekeepers Club

Presenter: Mary Kate Wheeler, serves as the Applied Economic Analyst for the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team, based at Cornell University. She loves helping people achieve their business goals, and recently launched a new Financial Analysis and Business Benchmarking program for beekeepers.


Have you ever thought about turning your surplus honey into cash? Or growing your beekeeping hobby into a source of income? Building a business can be exciting and rewarding, but it is not for everyone. This talk focuses on what it means to go into business, what it takes, and whether or not it would be a good fit for you. During this presentation, participants can expect to:

• Review the differences between pursuing a hobby and managing a business
• Assess their strengths and motivations for going into business
• Understand why a customer-centered business model is key to success
• Learn about the core functions that make up a healthy business
• Identify important steps in the business planning process
• Receive a to-do list of the tasks necessary to launch a startup honey business

This is a free event, open to the public.

So that we can provide enough seating for everyone in advance, we ask that you please RSVP as soon as possible at the following site:


Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA
125 Humane Society Road 
Hudson, NY 12534

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)

5) There is a Youtube video on the Massachusetts Apiary Program that you might find interesting

I hope to see you all at the meeting on 1/23.

Bee Well!   Bonnie

September meeting and year end banquet

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 7 PM at the Adams Visitor Center, Adams, MA
• Guest Speaker : Tony Pisano
Topic: Making your own beekeeping equipment.
• Raffle items are always appreciated.
• See Sherry at the meeting for banquet reservation or if you want to buy t-shirts.
Other news:
1) Annual NBBA Banquet: Date: Friday, October 13. Location: Bass Water Grill.
Attached is the RSVP form. Please bring your RSVP form and payment to the meeting.

2) 2018 NBBA Officers: At this point, we have candidates for all positions. Unless, other members are interested in the President position, officers will be confirmed at the banquet and election ballots will not be needed.
3) Worcester County Beekeepers Assoc. All Day Conference Oct. 7 9am-3:30pm
The WCBA will be hosting our an All Day Conference on October 7 from 9am to 3:30pm at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre, MA. Our speakers will be Dr. Eric Mussen from the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda from Clemson University who will be presenting on:
Nutritional Needs in the Honeybee Colony
The Future of Bees in Sustainable and/or Organic Crop Production
Behavioral Resistance to Varroa Mites
The Foraging Behavior and Other Behaviors of Honeybees Within the Colony
Cost is $10 for non-members, free for members (membership is available at the door for $15). Lunch can be ordered in advance for $10 using this form (must be received by Sept. 30).
4) Home in Williamstown with honeybees is seeking a beekeeper to remove them. Email Sue @ jericho900@gmail.com for more information.

5) Bee Yard Locations available in:
• Alford, MA,
• Blackington area of North Adams are still available if anyone is interested in a new bee yard location. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll get you the contact info.
• Washington. MA (Johnson Hill Rd) Eric Vincelette, ericvincelette@gmail.com or
(413) 329-7207

Bee Well! Bonnie


Northern Berkshire Beekeeping Association
2017 Banquet RSVP

The 2017 NBBA Banquet will be held at the Bass Water Grill in Cheshire (287 South State Road/413.743.1911) on Friday, October 13th. Cocktail hour starts at 6pm, followed by dinner at 7pm.

Please return this form and a check for your meal to Treasurer Sherry by October 1st. Make checks payable to NBBA. You can hand this form and your check to Sherry in person at our meeting, or mail it to her via the club’s mailbox at NBBA, PO Box 2, North Adams, MA 01247.

Meal Options are: Chicken Cordon Bleu $25, Seafood Stuffed filet of Sole $25, or Prime Rib $35


Name: Menu Option: Cost:
__________________________ ____ Chicken  Sole  Prime Rib __¬¬____
__________________________ ____ Chicken  Sole  Prime Rib ______
__________________________ ____ Chicken  Sole  Prime Rib ______
__________________________ ____ Chicken  Sole  Prime Rib ______
Total Meal Cost: ______

If you pay your dues at the same time as you pay for your meal, the club will pay $5 towards your meal. A single membership gets $5 off one meal. A family membership gets $5 off two meals.

Paying Dues?
 Yes – Individual ($10) Yes – Family ($15) No


Total Cost of Meals: $_______

+ Dues Included: $_______ ($10 Individual, $15 Family)

– Discount from paying dues now: $_______ ($5 if Individual, $10 if Family)

Total Enclosed: $_______


Questions? Email Bonnie at bhfrank1@gmail.com /(518) 794-8450

April 2017 newsletter

NBBA April Meeting Notice and Newsletter

Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 7 PM at the Adams Visitor Center, Adams, MA

· Guest Speaker: Chris Cripps from Betterbee
· Topic: Swarms & Splits
· Chris is willing to bring orders to the meeting, so if you need something from Betterbee, this is a good opportunity.
· Raffle items are always appreciated.
· See Sherry at the meeting if you owe dues for 2017.

Other news:

1) May 13th NBBA will be represented at 2 of the Farmers Market events being sponsored by Tractor Supply, 10AM – 5PM
Tractor Supply, 898 Crane Ave., Pittsfield, MA (Richard Klapper)
Tractor Supply, 826 Curran Memorial Highway , North Adams, MA (Barbara C., others?)

2) May 13th 10AM – 5PM
BEAT (Berkshire Environmental Action Team) Spring Enviro Action Fair & Expo
Location: The Stationery Factory, 63 Flansburg Ave., Dalton, MA (We need volunteers.)
More info at http://www.thebeatnews.org/BeatTeam/

3) Bee Yard Locations available in Alford, MA, and the Blackington area of North Adams are still available if anyone is interested in a new bee yard location. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll get you the contact info.

4) Temporary Break for USDA Disease Diagnostic Service
“Due to a staffing crisis, the USDA-ARS Bee Disease Diagnostic Service in Beltsville, MD will be on hiatus, effective immediately. The University of Maryland Bee Lab has graciously supported Mr. Samuel Abban as he leads this 100-year old program, but Samuel is now needed fulltime for a critical University project. Every effort is being made to finalize the hiring of Samuel as a USDA employee so that he can continue this program. Please do not submit new samples until further notice. Samples in hand will be held in cold storage pending our ability to staff this program. In the meantime, the Bee Informed Partnership offers a paid service for analyzing colony loss samples, https://beeinformed.org/programs/emergency-response-kits-2/. We are extremely sorry for this disruption and look forward to continuing this program as part of USDA-ARS efforts to help beekeepers. Please contact us regarding urgent needs. Jay Evans, Research Leader, USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705 jay.evans@ars.usda.gov, 301-504-514

5) On a personal note, I am using up my beeswax supply and will be needing more. If you have any extra beeswax that you might be interested in selling or bartering for, let me know.

Bee Well!
Bonnie Frank, NBBA Secretary

March 2016 Meeting

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7 PM at the Adams Visitor Center, Adams, MA

· Guest Speaker: Amie Collins from Betterbee
· Topic: Spring feeding and inspections
· Amie is willing to bring orders to the meeting, so if you need something from Betterbee, this is a good opportunity.
· Raffle items are always appreciated.
· See Sherry at the meeting if you owe dues for 2017.

Other news:

1) There is Bee Clinic from 11 AM -1 PM on March 25th at the Nassau Country Value Ace Agway. They are located at 3517 US 20, Nassau NY. I believe the clinic is being run by the Norray family, who are selling nucs through that store. They are asking folks to sign up. I assume it can be done by phone. Their phone number is: 518-766-3717.

2) Ken Warchol, as always, gave an informative and entertaining presentation last week at the Berkshire Botanical Society. It was very interesting and well attended. I was glad some of our members were able to attend. I have attached a 2 page handout from Ken outlining what you should expect to see week by week from a 5 pound package.

3) The individual from Alford, MA, is still looking for someone interested in placing hives on his property. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll get you his contact info.

Bee Well!
Bonnie Frank, NBBA Secretary

Feb 2017 NBBA newsletter

February 2017 NBBA Newsletter

Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 7 PM at the Adams Visitor Center, Adams, MA

· Topic: Discuss Ordering Bees. If you have any nucs or packages for sale, please let Barb or me know the price and any quantity discounts, before the meeting on Tuesday.
· Topic: Filtering Beeswax. Bonnie will start off the discussion with how she filters beeswax for candles. If you have an approach to wax filtering that works for you, please come and share it with the group.
· Raffle items are always appreciated.
· Let me know if you are willing to bring refreshments to the meeting

Older news:

1) A request came in from an individual in Alford, MA, who is looking for someone interested in placing hives on his property. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll get you his contact info.

2) Some notes from Kim Skrym of the MA Bee Program:

Winter/Spring Inspections 2016/2017: We are getting reports of unanticipated colony losses again this time of year from beekeepers all over MA. Based on what we have seen so far these losses cannot be attributed to CCD, but rather due to low/no pollen stores, low/no brood and high Varroa mite levels. However, this may not be the case for all colony losses so please reach out if you are interested in getting an inspection to evaluate the loss send an email: hive.inspection.request@state.ma.us or leave a message: 617-626-1801 and we will get back to you ASAP.

Colony Collapse Disorder: If you think you have CCD, please note that the USDA specifies that colonies lost to CCD must meet all of the following criteria: 1) Little to no build-up of dead bees in the hive or at the hive entrance; 2) Rapid loss of adult honey bee population despite the presence of queen, capped brood; 3) Absence or delayed robbing of the food reserves; 4) Loss not attributable to Varroa or Nosema loads. If your colony loss fits this definition, please contact us ASAP using the information above.

MA Hive Loss Survey 2017: If you have unfortunately lost a colony this season, please consider reporting it to the MA Hive Loss Survey so that we can collect local data to evaluate these incidences: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfQN4wEBe0x3B6nK-t1llqOTR5yCT6bCMhUsYIAISy20_rVHQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

Inspection Request Form 2017: The Apiary Program website has been updated with an online request submission platform for those wishing to get a jump start on requesting their 2017 inspection – you can find the link here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/farm-products/apiary/mdar-apiary-inspection-request-form.html. If you have not already, I urge you to go ahead and submit your inspection requests for the 2017 season so that we can better plan to meet your needs.
Also, Don’t forget to bring your 8 oz jars of honey if you want to donate honey for the MA Bee Organization
Bee Well!
Bonnie Frank, NBBA Secretary

February notes

NBBA Update

Tue 2/7/2017 9:34

1) Mass Bee is looking for donations of 1/2 lb jars of honey. They are hoping to get 2 cases of honey from every beekeeping organization. The honey is given out at Agriculture Day at the State house in Boston to the State Legislators. The honey is representative of agriculturalproducts produced throughout the state. Massachusetts Agriculture Day is on March 24th this year and is the one day a year where farmers come together to focus on agricultural legislation.

So, if you are interested in donating honey, please bring it to the February mtg. Please put your own label on the jars.

Some background: “The Massachusetts Beekeepers Association represents over 1200 beekeepers across the state ranging from hobbyists with 1-2 hives to commercial beekeepers with several hundred hives. MassBee has representatives serving on the Eastern Apicultural Society Board, the National Honey board, and Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. Our representatives to these organizations are the voice of beekeeping in Massachusetts.”

2) Mass Bee also would like to know if our club wants to take a stance on the spraying of pesticides throughout the state (mosquito control). A “Yes” vote will mean, we will go along with other clubs fight the use of pesticides, a “No” vote will leave things as they are. We will vote with a show of hands at the February meeting.

3) The Worcester County Beekeepers Club has invited us to their SPECIAL March 4th meeting. Dr. Tom Seeley and Dr. Dennis vanEngelsldorp will be presenting. The cost is $10 for non-WCBA members and free to WCBA members. Lunch must be ordered in advance and the cost is $10.

Please note that we are anticipating a large turnout and therefore we have switched from our normal meeting location to a much larger facility- Quabbin High School in Barre MA.

More information can be found on our website:

Mary- WCBA President

AGENDA & TOPICS: 8:00–9:00 Free Coffee, Danish & Bee talk 9:00 WCBA President’s Welcome—Mary Duane
9:15–10:30 DR. TOM SEELEY The bee colony as a honey factory We will explore how a colony of honey bees operates as an factory that produces honey efficiently despite tremendous day-to-day swings in the supply of nectar, the raw material for making honey. An important feature of the organization of the honey production process is a division of labor between the nectar foragers, elderly workers who toil outside the hive collecting the nectar, and the nectar receivers, middle-age workers who toil inside the hive converting the nectar into honey. For this talk, I will draw heavily on material reported in my book “The Wisdom of the Hive.”
10:30–12:00 DR. DENNIS VANENGELSDORP Drivers of colony losses Managed colonies have been dying at rates that are unacceptably high. Why? There is growing consensus that these losses are driven by three major factors: parasites and pathogens—principle among them Varroa and the viruses they vector; pesticides—both beekeeper and farmer applied; and poor nutrition. These factors can work alone or in synergy to reduce colony health. Here we explore the evidence for each, with an eye on how to reduce unacceptably high rates of colony losses.
12:00-1:00 Lunch (Register for lunch using the form on page 4, or bring your own)
1:00–2:15 DR. TOM SEELEY How does a honeybee colony regulate its water collection Water collection is essential to two parts of a honey bee colony’s well-being: thermoregulation of the broodnest and nutrition of the immature bees. When overheating of the broodnest threatens on a hot day, a colony increases its water intake. And when a colony is not able to gather much nectar, it must raise its water intake to produce the watery food given to the young larvae, which is 70-80% water. We will look at how a colony controls it collection of water to meet its needs.
2:15–3:30 DR. DENNIS VANENGELSDORP Data Driven Management: Practices that work The Bee Informed Partnership has been conducting annual loss and management surveys for 5 years. This data can now be used to help model ideal management practices. Here we will look at practices that have consistently correlated with increased survivorship, with the aim of developing generalized best management practices that are regionally and operationally appropriate.
3:30 Closing and Raffle

Meet our Guest Speakers: Dr. Tom Seeley has a degree in chemistry from Dartmouth College and his PhD from Harvard University. He held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Society of Fellows at Harvard until 1980, when he accepted a faculty position at Yale University. He remained there until 1986, when he joined the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. In recognition of his scientific work, he has received the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished U.S. Scientist Prize, been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, received a Gold Medal Book Award from Apimondia for The Wisdom of the Hive, and been elected a Fellow of both the Animal Behavior Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most enduring honor, though, is to have had a species of bee named after him: Neocorynurella seeleyi
Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp is an Asst Professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology and an internationally known honey bee epidemiologist. He graduated with his master’s in apiculture at Guelph, worked for the Canadian Gov. as a consultant to the Antigua Beekeepers Cooperative in the West Indies. He returned north to work at Cornell University as an extension agent before working as the Acting State Apiarist for PA, through a contract with Penn State, where he earned his PhD. Among other postitions, he has served as the President of the Apiary Inspectors of America, is a founding member of the Colony Collapse Working Group and is the President of the Bee Informed Partnership, Inc. Dennis has written extensively, been widely interviewed and has given well over 300 talks on beekeeping, including a TED talk on bee losses.

– Bonnie