High Country Bee, 5th ed., Vol. 5, May 2016


Due to this marvelous low pressure system, I am releasing this a bit early so that those of you who have not completed the Bee Informed Partnership Survey, can do so NOW! It closes on Saturday!

The first part takes a mere 10 minutes. If you decide to continue with the management survey, expect to add an additional 20 minutes. I know you've had this request 100 times this month and I feel like an NPR station on a fund drive! But--we need to get these surveys submitted as this is what the media uses for all of their data for the rest of the year. THANK YOU!

They say there’s a first time for everything and this month I had my first ”bee hive as target practice” experience. I noticed that the hive top was askew when I approached the hive. I could see there was considerable damage done to the lid and, when I opened the hive, considerable splintered wood inside. It took me until the bottom box to figure out that the hive had been shot at—2 frames with clear bullet lines right through the comb and out the bottom! And this was not a shotgun, either! The rock on the hive top had been the target and all of the ricocheting bullets are what caused the damage to the lid. The poor aim was what caused the rest of the damage. A shot that missed the rock would’ve landed in the Walmart parking lot. Gotta wonder what they were thinkin’! Bees love the new entrances, of course.

Summer Bee College

Is right around the corner and we have a heck of an event planned for a ridiculously cheap price for CSBA members! This year, the Summer Bee College will be held in Silt/Rifle on June 11th and will be ONLY $15 for members—including lunch!

Once again, the Holiday Inn Express in Silt is offering a special beekeepers rate for the event. Here is a link to the hotel property but you need to CALL to get the special rate of $80 for a standard, 2 queen room. Discounts are also available for upgraded rooms. 970-876-5100. Rates are $5 lower than last year! Rooms are limited at the Holiday Inn this year due to another event. I am working on securing a group rate for a hotel property in Glenwood Springs, too. I will keep you posted.

We are going to reverse the schedule this year so that we are not so beholden to the weather and the morning will feature our “hands-on” sessions. Vera will show you how to collect and prepare samples for analysis. Tina Sebestyen will show you how consistently light a smoker. Derrick Maness will demonstrate how to properly perform a powdered sugar mite roll to assess your mite counts. You will then perform your own. Once you know how many there are, there’s a good chance you will need to consider treatment. Greg Rye will demo his oxalic acid vaporizer and Don Studinski will teach you how to perform an oxalic acid dribble. As noted, these are HANDS-ON so be sure to bring your gear. Might even want to bring that pristine smoker you can’t light…

Featured speaker will be Dr. Vera Krischik of the University of Minnesota. Vera has her own bee lab at the University. She is director of CUES: Center for sustainable urban ecosystems that promote natural resource management, online at cues.cfans.umn.edu/. Her talk is titled ”Residues in landscape plants of imidacloprid and dinotefuran are high enough to kill bees”.

She will be joined by New Castle resident, Randy Mandel of Golder and Associates speaking on pollinator habitat design considerations, CSBA VP Paul Limbach on the history of NW Colorado beekeeping and one of our Journeyperson MBK candidates speaking on brood diseases.

A link to the pre-registration form can be found here. We strongly encourage you to purchase your lunch from the Farm Fresh restaurant and let us know on the pre-registration form. Heck, it’s only $10! Tony Fronczek has done a wonderful job of accommodating many of our dietary needs with vegetarian and gluten-free options available. You can, of course, pre-register using Paypal on the CSBA site.

Of course, it would not be a Summer Meeting without the Beekeepers Ball! The Beekeepers Ball will be Saturday evening after the meeting, at 7 pm. Maud’s on Main in New Castle will be hosting for the 3rd year. Molly has prepared us another fabulous menu that can be found here. The Beekeepers Ball is first-come, first-serve as there is LIMITED SEATING and it always sells out!!! Pricing is ONLY $65 per person with wine, $50 without. Pricing includes taxes and tip. Payment by PayPal on the site or, if you are sending in a pre-registration form and a check, please email or call me so I can ensure you have a seat!

Finally, the Apprentice level field test will also be offered. Details soon.

I look forward to another full house and hope to see you there on June 11th. See full Schedule.

Swarm Season

Swarm season will be upon us by the middle of next week when this low pressure system exits the state. Some pointers: The toll-free statewide Swarm Hotline number is:



If you live in a city or town, you need to exercise due diligence with respect to swarms. You need to be looking IN your hives not looking AT your hives EVERY WEEK for the next month. If your hive swarms, CATCH IT! Or call the swarm hotline and get a beekeeper over there to catch them before they move into a structure—like your neighbor’s deck support post or soffit—or your own!

Are you on a swarm catcher list? Carry your phone. Plug in your dispatch number and answer your calls. Be prepared.

Not a member of a regional association, but a CSBA member, and want to be on the list? Call me/email me with your name, primary phone number, what town you live in, how many swarms you want, how far you will go to get them, and any vacation days you have scheduled for swarm season (now until 6/15).

Master Beekeeper Program--Journeyperson Class

A sincere thank you to the Master Beekeeping Committee for their organizational efforts on the first Journeyperson class held on April 16th and 17th in Fort Collins. Kristina Williams did a stellar job on bee anatomy on Saturday morning. Thanks to Lisa Dysleski for procuring one of CSU’s laboratories for our use. Check out some PHOTOS taken during the class by Greta Olson who has way better photographic skills (and eyes, in general) than yours truly!

The afternoon session featured Stephen Stanko of the Utah Apiary Inspection Program. (You might ask why I didn’t have an agent from the Colorado Inspection Program. And that is a damn good question. It is because WE DO NOT HAVE ONE!) Stephen helped attendees with diagnostics on AFB and Nosema.

His finest line, IMO, was “Inspection with Intention”. Don’t just look in the hive. Look for a reason. Look at brood—robust and pearl white? Look at the queen—can you find her? It is important. Learn to. Look at the laying pattern—is it solid? Does she have adequate laying space? Look at the bees—any sign of disease or parasitic mite syndrome? In a nectar flow? In a pollen flow? Pay attention to what you see and do something if something needs to be done. Be familiar with your options.

The following morning had Stephen back in the teaching saddle on pests and diseases. His presentation was followed by a discussion on record-keeping. Thankfully, it rained instead of snowed and everyone, including the presenters, was able to make it here and home again without incident.

Thank you to all of you who made the journey. And congratulations to David Baker, co-owner with his wife Ashley of To Bee or Not to Bee, who could not make it as their son arrived the week before. We missed you and congratulate you on your latest addition.

Are you interested in the Master Beekeeper Program! Come join us! The criteria for the Apprentice level certification can be found here. The criteria for the Journeyperson class can be found here. Registration is going on NOW for the next 2 field tests. The first one will take place somewhere in Northern CO on May 15th and the next will be at the Summer Bee College on June 11. Tina is trying to outguess the weather to host one in the 4 Corners area. It is tentatively scheduled for Cortez on May 14th.

Veterinary Feed Directive

What is the Veterinary Feed Directive and why am I mentioning it? The VFD is designed to reduce the prophylactic use of antibiotics in food production. The FDA rules have ensnared beekeepers on Terramycin and Tylan—2 antibiotics with relatively commonplace usage in commercial beekeeping and occasional use in smaller operations. By the end of this year, a VFD, signed by a licensed veterinarian familiar with bees and bee disease will be required to purchase and administer these products. Plenty of info on the web.

Looking for Beekeepers

The following locations are seeking a beekeeper to put hives on their property. If you are interested, please contact me and I will put you in touch with the requestor.

NE Fort Collins
Perry Park

Of Interest

New paper: Neonicotinoids and the prevalence of parasites and disease in bees.

2016 ABF Small Research Grant Proposal Submission. Would love to have someone apply to figure out a quick and simple way to remove bees from a structure when they have just moved in.

An anthology of 2,500 years of poetry—and an homage to entomologists, scientists, farmers, and beekeepers who are the best hope for maintaining populations of bees.

Audacious Visions for the Future of Bees and Beekeeping”! (Bee Audacious, for short.) Interesting conference. I may apply.

Landscape Simplification Constrains Adult Size in a Native Ground-Nesting Bee

For Sale

NUCS! Who says you snooze, you lose! Nucs still available from Ale-Chemist.

My neighbor has found some more miscellaneous beekeeping equipment for sale.
Please contact me if you are interested in any of it. 970-213-3099
10 6 1/4 inch plastic frames drawn $20 –no box
1 shallow super, 9 frame spacer, 8 wooden frames, drawn $30

As always,
Thank you for being a member.
Beth Conrey