September 14, 2020 Bee Meeting & Minutes At College Apiary 26 people in attendance

Keith welcomed all to the meeting, and indicated some hand sanitizer for everyone’s use. Any newcomers who are interested in being added to the email list should go to the club web page and send a message to James Atzesberger.

He then introduced Tim Boumeester, who is the Bee Inspector, covering the area from Penticton to the Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. Tim and Stephanie’s services are free to all beekeepers.  People were advised to contact Tim or Stephanie if they spot anything suspicious, and once inspected if the information needs to be forwarded on they’ll take care of it.

The March 16th Minutes were moved as adopted by Rick Plantinga, and seconded by James Wainright.  Passed

Keith encouraged everyone to join the BCHPA for $40, which would give them 4  issues of BeeScene, access to labels for their honey, Liability Insurance ($70.00 would give you a 5 Million Dollar policy), and many other benefits.  You can register online at .

Our Facebook site has just under 370 members and is being used with questions, items for sale, equipment, nucs, hives, and if help is needed.  If you’d like to post items you can contact James or Keith.

Rick Plantinga gave a Regional Report.  All conferences are only on Zoom – and the Annual meeting has been cancelled until next year.  There will be an ad in the next BeeScene regarding Hoodies, hats etc. that will have the ‘100Th Anniversary of the BCHPA’ on them.  The BCHPA and the Honey Council are banding together to prove what Canadian honey is made of … proving it’s 100% pure honey.  Neonicatantoids are now banned in Europe, but are still being used in Canada and the US because the farmers need it for their crops.

Rick mentioned that in November the BCHPA will have a Zoom meeting that anyone can attend.  Also – the murder hornets are in Washington state, but are not yet in BC.  Paul Van Westendorp will test your bees for disease – unlike other livestock testing, the tests for bee disease is a free service to us.  Hive beetles are also in Washington state, but have been eradicated from BC.

Vic MacDonald shared  a way we can test our own hive for AFB or EFB.  It’s called the HOLST test, and you simply put your affected larva in watered down milk.  If it discolours, you’re in trouble.  You can google the HOLST Test.


Keith explained that to test for mites, dump a cupful of bees into a tub and the foragers will fly.  This will leave behind the bees you actually want to test – the nurse bees.  He demonstrated the icing sugar shake test for mites, as well as the windshield washer fluid test.  Before doing the second test make SURE you’ve secluded your queen – the bees do not survive this test.  He found some mites, so he’ll treat all hives with Oxalic Acid in late November.


Tim Boumeester shared what he does to prepare for winter.

  1. Make sure they have enough honey and pollen or they won’t make it through.  He winters in doubles, with the top box full of honey.
  2. Make sure the mite count is low.  He uses the windshield washer fluid test and tests again after any treatments.  He uses 65% Formic Acid for his treatments.
  3. Look for foulbrood or any larva that doesn’t look right.  Give him or Stephanie a call if anything looks off.
  4. Go into winter with a good queen and a good size of brood.  If he doesn’t like the look of a queen he’ll kill her and combine the hives.


Brad Ingram showed an example of a box he puts on top of all of their hives.  A pollen patty will fit below it, and it has 4 screened vent holes in the bottom.  The box is then filled with shavings to wick the moisture away from the brood.  He has a R5 insulation bag he then puts over the brood boxes. His winter mortality rate has gone down considerably.  The box and insulated cover are available for sale.


Vic MacDonald uses a warm entrance, which must face South, and he doesn’t wrap.  He puts insulation on top of the hive, makes sure the colony is the right size, and he favors using a ‘riser’ to have the hive at a workable height and to save his back.  Also the mice can’t climb up it.


Keith advised us that at this time of year you can feed them sugar syrup until they won’t take any more, without running the risk of them becoming honeybound.  He likes to use insulation under the lid and overwinters in a single box.  He demonstrated by putting a queen excluder on top of the blue insulation sheet and cutting around it – that made the insulation a perfect size for the top of the hive.  He then placed a fondant brick on top and cut the center of the insulation out in order to make room for the fondant.  He puts the fondant inside this cutout in late December, and simply cuts a round circle out of the plastic on the fondant brick so they can access it. On top of this he has another piece of insulation and then the lid.  It’s easy to check if they’re using the fondant without disturbing the colony through the winter.  Although it’s an expensive winter feed ($12/brick), it’s a lot cheaper than replacing your colonies in the Spring due to starvation.

If you put about 1/3 of a pollen patty on your hives now it’ll stimulate brood rearing and send you into winter with more winter bees.  Make sure your entrance reducers are heavy enough so the mice can’t push them aside, or put nails in the spaces to reduce the risk of mice getting through them.  Put the reducers on once the mite treatments are done – you don’t want to block the air flow when you’re doing the mite treatments.  In Spring, don’t remove the reducers until you have a full box of bees, so they can guard their hive.  (Note:  one brick of Fondant is equal to two frames of honey).  You can use frame feeders feeders for syrup, but make sure you don’t use them when it gets cold.


Keith thanked Brad Ingram, Rick Plantinga and James Atzenberger for helping to get the container at the yard and set up.  He told us all that the Club owns an Epipen, and it’s stored in the fridge door inside the container.  The club owns bee suits and veils to cover about 40 people, so once Covid is over we can have educational sessions for the College or schools.


Keith has planned the next meeting in the bee yard on October 5th, weather permitting.  A show of hands indicated people agreed with the meeting.


Meeting was adjourned at 7:00 pm