Working to re-start my blog with a post from the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2019 Short Course & Conference in Greenville, South Carolina in the United Status. I am sitting in my hotel room Tuesday evening after the second day of the conference. As is typical for EAS, the first two days are set up as a short course on beekeeping: beginner, intermediate, and advanced instruction along with an outside Apiary for demonstrations and discussions. The rest of the week is a more traditional conference with keynote speakers and classroom lectures.
This was my second year helping to plan and organize the conference, providing IT support for the registration site, data reporting, and name tags. It’s a lot more work than you might think, but I enjoy helping to make the meeting a success.
On Monday morning I made my way to the registration desk at the Greenville Convention Center, where I spent my morning printing name tags and answering questions.
In the afternoon I attended a lecture by Erin McGregor-Forbes on Sustainability, and another by David Arnal on the brood nest. McGregor-Forbes makes a nuc from each of her hives every spring using the existing queen, just as the hive is starting to make swarm cells. The removes the swarming impulse and creates a nuc, plus a new queen (from the swarm cells, which she reduces to one or two). According to McGregor-Forbes, the main hive gets a 30-day break from raising brood at just the right time to make a lot of honey and keep mites in check; also she can sell or maintain the nuc as desired. If a hive doesn’t produce a new queen, she can recombine the nuc with no harm done. I’ve spoken with others here that use the same approach, and may try this next year.
David Arnal’s lecture was focused on having a successful brood nest. Apparently, the famed beekeeper Brother Adam stated that a queen needs about 4,200 square inches of comb for a strong brood nest. Arnal then showed how various hive systems do or do not meet this threshold, and discussed management strategies for maintaining a strong colony. For Langstroth hives, this justifies two deeps or three mediums for brood. Top bar hives, he says, have trouble meeting this threshold because the bees will only use so much vertical space for a brood nest. It was an interesting talk that I quite enjoyed, and I need to go home and measure my top bar comb….
Monday evening was a sponsored walk of downtown Greenville, followed by a wonderful dinner at The Lazy Goat restaurant. When they realized we were beekeepers, then gave us a free dessert that was just delicious.
Wednesday will be our next big registration day, so Tuesday I had more time to enjoy the sessions. I attended three of five sessions by Jennifer Berry on queen rearing, which was quite enjoyable. I’m not quite ready to formally rear queens, as I enjoy my more informal ways of splits and swarm cells. I enjoying seeing different techniques and strategies, and we spent some time in the apiary, so time well spent.
I also attended a talk by Bill Hesbach on thermoregulation that was quite good. Details on how bees cluster and why it works, and where heat is transferred in and out of the hive. In the end Hesbach advocates insulating rather than ventilating hives for winter. The talk is based on his October, 2016 article Winter Management in Bee Culture Magazine. It is worth the read, and makes me rethink my wintering approach. In my first year I insulated and had no problems. Since then I have used a sort of hybrid approach with mixed success, so perhaps more insulation would be a benefit.
That’s my quick recap after two days. Tomorrow begins the Conference portion of the week, and registration will be very (very) busy in the morning as people arrive for the final three days.
May you prosper and find honey.