Philadelphia beekeepers, Spring is here and we want your help documenting when and where the blooms are in Philadelphia. Use the hashtag #phillyblooms2014 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Tell us what’s in bloom, the date, your neighborhood and or zip-code and follow the conversation throughout the season!pb

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Mar 29 – Free Beekeeping Workshop

PennApic’s Beginner Beekeeping Workshop is a free event held March 29th from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. at the Union Firehouse, 30 East Canal Street, Dover, PA.  The program follows:

9:00 State of the State of Beekeeping
10:00 Beekeeping Basics
11:00 Honeybee Pest Management
 12:00 Youth in Beekeeping Award, Honey Extraction Demo
 1:00 Warre Hives: Alternative Hives
 2:00 Round-Table Discussion
 3:00 Pollinator Gardens
 Outdoor programs weather permitting

Open hive programs (weather permitting) and an observation hive will give you a view of the inner workings of the hive.  Try your hand at beeswax candle-dipping, learn about solitary bees, and visit the honey-tasting station.  Demonstrations on honey, soap-making, lip-balm making, honey extraction and more! Local honey, hive hardware, and t-shirts will be for sale and a silent auction and door prizes will feature bee- related items!

Whether you are curious about beekeeping, an avid gardener, into local foods, or just love the outdoors, this is the place to be! For more information, please visit our website at www.pennapic.org or call 717-991-8070.

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Bee-vangelists Wanted

Do you enjoy talking about bees with total strangers?  If so, we have some great opportunities for you!  In April, the Guild is participating in the Philly Farm & Food Fest and the Philadelphia Science Festival to raise awareness of the importance of honey bees to our food sources and to our environment.

We will provide an observation hive full of bees, bee-related handouts, and other visual aids (honeycomb, bee suit, tools, etc.).  WE NEED YOU to staff the booth and simply chat with people about beekeeping for a 2-hour period or longer if you’re into it!  Anyone who has kept bees for a year or so, will know the answers to the vast majority of questions people have.    PLEASE VOLUNTEER by contacting the appropriate coordinator, below!

April 13 (Sunday) Farm & Food Fest   from 11 am – 4 pm   at Convention Center on Broad St.
Volunteer Coordinator:  Don Shump  don@philadelphiabee.com

April 25 (Friday) Science Festival Preview/Kick-off from 5 pm – 7 pm  at Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th St.
April 26 (Saturday) Science Festival Discovery Day at Hunting Park from 10 am – 4 pm at 900 Hunting Park Ave.
May 3 (Saturday) Science Festival Carnival on the Parkway from 9 am – 4 pm Logan Circle/Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Volunteer Coordinator:  Suzanne Matlock  president@phillybeekeepers.org

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March 20th meeting: Ken Outten on raising “local” bees

ken_outten_speaker_Mar_2014Next monthly Guild meeting on Thursday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., at St. James School.
Delaware beekeeper, Ken Outten (pictured at right), has a small farm where he grows hay for the racehorse industry and strawberries. He started keeping bees “a bunch of years ago” in order to improve his berry crop yield.  Then, a few years ago, he mentally prepared himself to raise queens by reading everything about it he could find.  His ethic was not to sell or give away any of his queens until he could do it consistently well – he found it to be a lot of work!  After a couple years of selling queens to other people, he settled on growing & selling nucleus hives (nucs) as the lower maintenance alternative.
On March 20, Ken will speak to us about how his thinking evolved and perhaps save you some time and headache, if you are thinking of embarking on this process.  In his day job, Ken teaches high school AP/Honors Biology and coaches soccer and wrestling.   Oh yeah and, as if he has any time left over . . . he is the President of the state of Delaware Beekeepers’ Association!!
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For ease of tracking, we are changing the membership term to coincide with the calendar year.  Therefore your membership will expire at the end of 2013.  Anyone who paid their dues after July 1, 2013 may make special arrangements with the membership coordinator for prorated dues for 2014.  Contact membership@phillybeekeepers.org

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February 26 FREE – Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VHS) Genetics in Bees

VSH Bees – Moving from Selecting Lines to a Stock of Bees
7 p.m., Mandell Hall, Room 114, Delaware Valley College Campus
Join Dr. Jeff Harris, assistant professor of apiculture in the Department of Biochemistry, Entomology and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University, for a VIDEO-link seminar on beekeeping.  (19 miles from Philadelphia – 700 E Butler Ave., Doylestown, PA 18901 Get Directions call 1.800.2.DelVal

Seminar Summary
Although queens produced from pure lines of Varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) bees retain a useful level of resistance after they have been mated with other bee stocks, their level of resistance is diminished to about half.  Additionally, pure VSH lines suffer from narrow selection that has reduced their genetic variability, and many purebred VSH queens need to be supported heavily for their colonies to survive.  Jeff believes that by narrowly focusing on a single trait, his previous breeding efforts missed the chance of producing a more sustainable stock with the VSH trait selected along with a suite of other important traits.  This talk will provide his new goals of producing a uniform stock of bees with a higher expression of VSH while retaining as much genetic variation as possible.

Difficulties in selecting for VSH traits have made breeding for resistance to varroa mites difficult.  Some new strategies will be offered as alternatives to the detailed selection of complex behavioral traits.  With these approaches, it is hoped that beekeepers, beginning with already selected stock can focus on measuring mite population levels as a primary selection tool to enhance resistance to varroa mites (or any disease being considered).  A strategy for eliminating the most susceptible bees from the breeding pool while retaining colonies that have some resistance will be emphasized as an approach to keeping multiple resistance traits in the population.

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Mar 3 – Deadline EXTENDED – Beekeeping Supplies Group Order (Save Money)

DUE TO SNOW THE PICKUP DATE IS DELAYED UNTIL MARCH 6 or so.  Therefore you can still call in your orders to Forest Hill Woodworking.  Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild is offering members a chance to order woodenware & other supplies, including gear and FONDANT, collectively to save on shipping.  Our member Tanya Veitch is kind enough to co-ordinate the effort. Click here to see how it works:

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