Wasatch Beekeepers Association

Serving beekeepers and the public in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley

Category: Presidents Message

Proposal to Change WBA By-Laws

Due to the ongoing pandemic, where social gatherings are not in keeping with CDC and local government guidelines, the WBA Board is proposing the following changes in the Association by-laws to deal with mandatory elections under Article 6 – Election of Officers.  Please read the two proposed additions to the by-laws.

Paid members of the association may vote to:

  • Approve the guidelines as written,
  • Propose amendments, or
  • Disapprove

Paid members may submit their vote or comments to the association’s phone number or email:
WBA phone: 801.692.3371
WBA email: wasatchbeekeepers@gmail.com

We will review the feedback and take the appropriate action(s).  We will need your response by 16 September so that the results can be announced at the next WBA meeting on 17 September. If you wish to nominate yourself or someone (with their approval), let us know so we can make the decision regarding which of the alternative by-law options would be best for the Association.

Current Executive Board members are listed here.

April 2016 – Presidency Message

Presidency Message – April 2016

By: Owen Parry

The weather has been warm and beautiful. I have been seeing beekeepers doing really well. The more experienced beekeepers are working with new beekeepers and sharing their knowledge with them. Those with hives that wintered well are ready to make splits. This comes with the added benefits of either giving or selling their good queens.

This kind of participation is advantageous for both the experienced beekeepers and the newbies. With the bees that have been strong enough to make it through the colder months, the beekeeper can pull out one frame with at least one queen cell and put them in a nuclear box. This can be accomplished with frames that have eggs in the cells. A ‘nuc’ box should have five frames in it; one with eggs, larvae, and pupae, two frames, one of either side of the first frame(from the same hive or even different hives) that have drawn comb, two more frames of honey and pollen.

The frame with queen cells might also be a frame with the queen, leaving the existing hive with the opportunity to either grow a new queen or to leave the existing queen there for her to continue laying.

The experienced beekeepers have the same opportunity to help the new beekeepers by sharing their inspection technics and frames as well. This occasion works both ways for the good of both parties.

•If you are a mentor, call your ‘mentees’.

•If you are a ‘mentee’ call your mentor.

As president of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, I am asking that more of the experienced beekeepers come forward and volunteer to be mentors.

February 2016 – Presidency Message

Presidency Message – February 2016

By: Owen Parry

We have had a few nice days here in February and there’s a few things to remember.

First, drawn out comb needs to be indoors. It is a good common practice and required by the dept of agriculture.
Frames older than 3 to 5 years should be melted down. Unless its really clean as in year one you had a hive and years two and three you didn’t, making a frame three years old, melt it down.
Second, time to do hive autopsy(s) if needed. About 80% will be from weak hives caused from diseases like varroa mite; some can be from starvation some from dysentery and nosema.
What does starvation look like? Starvation looks like a dead cluster of bees with many bees stuck in the cells on the frames, with their butts looking out at you. They were trying to get the last scraps of food.
If you have a dead hive clean it out and close up the entrances. Don’t try to clean out the bees out of the cells, the new bees will do this.
Clear bottom entrances of dead bees and other debris.
Mid March Is the best time to start varroa counts and treatments, to allow the instructed 4 weeks to pass before adding honey supers. So start thinking about what treatments to use. Because backyard beekeeping is taking off and we all share, if you or your neighbor has varroa then everyone in the area does including you.
The queen can start laying eggs in February and pollen will be needed as a brood food source. Be careful about feeding pollen too early though. In addition to stimulating brood production which might exhaust food supplies prematurely, pollen causes bees to defecate. Late winter weather may be inappropriate for cleansing flights, increasing the likelihood of dysentery which can quickly convert to a nosema infection.
Fun fact about bees:
Beeswax has a relatively low melting point range of 62 °C to 64 °C (144 °F to 147 °F). If beeswax is heated above 85 °C (185 °F) discoloration occurs. The flash point of beeswax is 204.4 °C (400 °F)
In the temperate zones, winter temperatures dip below 54 °F (12 °C) for extended periods. All brood rearing stops for some period during the winter. In early spring, brood rearing resumes inside the winter cluster when the queens starts to lay eggs again. Once a broodnest is established, the cluster must maintain a steady temperature between 94.1 to 98.0 °F (34.5 – 36.7 °C) inside the cluster.
For some local Pollen times and colors check this link
Also can be put in the news letter
An alcohol wash can be used to estimate Varroa populations with or without the presence of brood. A mite count is simply a ratio of the number of mites per given number of bees multiplied by the total estimated bee population, and then factoring in the Varroa population hidden in the brood. An estimated ⅔ of the mites are within the capped brood. An example: brood is present, and there are 30,000 adult bees. You find 5 mites in a ¼ cup alcohol wash (about 150 bees). This is equivalent to one mite per 30 bees, or 1000 mites total on the adult bee population. Add the 2/3 hidden in the brood, and you have roughly 3,000 mites, which is close to the economic threshold number of 3,200.
Wax moth starts up as the weather gets warmer
The queen can start laying eggs in February and pollen will be needed as a brood food source. Be careful about feeding pollen too early though. In addition to stimulating brood production which might exhaust food supplies prematurely, pollen causes bees to defecate. Late winter weather may be inappropriate for cleansing flights, increasing the likelihood of dysentery which can quickly convert to a nosema infection.

Presidency Message – January 2016

Presidency message for January of 2016
by: Owen Parry
So we’re starting out a great new year and we would like to thank our presidency from last year and the great work fulfilling their duties.
There are a few things as beekeepers can do to help take care of our bees year round. Yes even in January we can be caring for them.
I remember that one year on the 24th of January my wife called and said there was bees coming out of our one of our hives like crazy. Later on that spring I did an autopsy on the hive and they had starved to death, it turns out the activity on the 24th, was their last ditch effort to try to go find some food. I was a new beekeeper so in hindsight it would have been a really good idea to put a entrance feeder in there, then I might not have been doing an autopsy. Also it’s a good time to start thinking about hives that you know were strong last fall,  after knowing you have all the equipment necessary to go ahead and split the hive.  If you are unsure on how to do this, it is why we have a mentoring program and people willing to help.
Also it’s a good time to maybe knock on the side of a your hive and then see if you can hear it buzz and another good way to know some of the condition of the food in your hive is to lift up the back to feel how heavy it feels.
January is also the time to order nukes and or packages. The price has been going up, double since when I started in 2012. The longer you wait the higher the prices will go, so ordering as early as you can is ideal.
Here are a few other tips and tricks for January.
What a beekeeper should be doing in January:
  • In general disturb your bees as little as possible. Learn to access what is happening inside the hives by looking around outside of your hives and within the apiary.
  • Look on the ground around the entrance of a hive. Dead bees can actually be a good thing – indicating that live ‘undertaker’ bees are cleaning up the inside of the hive.
  • Keep entrances clear of snow.
  • Check entrance reducers and mouse guards if you use them. Mice can chew the openings of wooden reducers large enough to get in. Look for this evidence and cover them with tin or hardware cloth making sure to leave the opening large enough for bees to pull the dead out.
  • Check for life by knocking on the hive and listening for the buzz.
  • Lift the back of the hive to assess its weight and provide emergency feed to featherweight colonies. Those using candy boards can chock some new blocks of pre-hardened sugar in to the top if necessary.
  • Make periodic checks of your apiary, especially after a wind storm to make sure nothing is amiss.
  • For the non-procrastinators, this is a good time to assemble hive components and repair older equipment while there is not much else to do.
  • Order your queens, nucs, and packages now.
  • Attend bee club meetings and read a bee book.

Additional resource:


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