The Nevada County Beekeepers Association is a diverse group of professionals and hobbiest, men and women, young and old, with a keen interest in promoting the well being of honey bees and their habitat while enjoying their amazing benefits. The NCBA strives to promote education on beekeeping and agriculture by providing the latest news and techniques in these fields. 

The club members meet once a month on the first Monday at 7pm and visitors are always welcome. All meetings are held in the Veterans Memorial Building at 255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA. Entrance is off the back parking lot, in Grass Valley at 7pm.  The August meeting is always moved to the County Fair Grounds with a fair booth clean up following by a barbeque social. 

  • Any questions about bees?
  • Always wanted to get bees?
  • Questions about honey production? 
  • Have some information to share?
  • Wondering about pollination in your garden or orchard?
  • Have some bees or equipment to sell?
  • Want to meet some great folks?

Join our lively question and answer session starting promptly at 7pm followed by refreshements, brief business discussion, raffle and a great program.

President's Message - March

Brrrrrrrr! In last month's message I wrote that winter was finally here and then within days the weather turned sunny and warm. It's different now with the low temperatures of the past week and many more cold days and nights in the forecast. I'm sure the warm weeks we've had helped kick start the almond bloom but the growers must be concerned with the cold days and nights we're having now. At least the ground in the orchards was dry and firm for the beekeepers dropping off their colonies. Any rain I've seen in the forecast has dried up to almost nothing by the time it gets here and it sure seems to me that we are back in a drought pattern. We are going to need some good spring rains to get enough moisture in the ground for a decent honey crop this year. As always through the winter months we need to continue to monitor the weight of our colonies and feed if needed. With few days in the next couple of weeks forecast to be above the mid 40's our bees are not going to have a lot of flight time. With those temperatures they may not even take the sugar water if we have to feed. you don't have to know everything about bees just the basics. I would encourage anyone to give it a try!

Jerry Van Heeringen

Bee Bits - March

It appeared that we were going to skip winter altogether as my springtime flowers burst into bloom in January and early February. Manzanita came into bloom really early, and we had colonies capping over fresh manzanita honey before we moved the hives to almonds! If this is our new norm for our climate, we’re going to have to rewrite the books. As I type these words, cool weather has finally moved in, which may keep our bees inside a bit, but not to worry, as colonies are in great shape, with plenty of stored beebread and fresh honey. I hate to rain on our parade, but it also means that varroa is having a great start to the year—this large amount of early broodrearing means that the mites are already getting a jump on the bees. I strongly suggest that everyone gets on mite management early, incorporating it into swarm management. Please do everything that you can to prevent your colonies from swarming—those escaped swarms become mite bombs that come back to bite us in the butt when they collapse in late summer.

...full story in the newsletter

Randy Oliver
Grass Valley, CA

In The Yard - March

I have taken my last load of bees to almond pollination. It was my best year ever- an even 400 colonies. Several people have asked how I feel about getting out of commercial beekeeping. It is very much a mixed emotion- I look forward to having more free time of course, but it was a great thing to have done. Even though it was sometimes very hard work, with long hours, I never once wanted the work day to be done sooner. Even getting stung multiple times and having a sore back and getting up in the middle of the night to move bees the memory of this endeavor still brings a smile to my face. The opportunity to get out of the cubicle world and work outdoors in my own business with such an awe inspiring animal was worth any lost income and a decision I would make again in a heartbeat. And I will always have some bees around, maybe ten colonies or so this first year.

This photo of a hive entrance that was reduced (by me) to begin with, and then reduced further by the bee's propolis caught my eye. It seems like a very small opening for a busy colony to use effectively. But they will probably open it up wider later in the spring- now I wish I had marked that hive to confirm. The word propolis comes from the Latin meaning ‘in front of the city’. The bees collect resins from plants and add saliva and wax to make propolis and use it for sealing cracks and making walls. Propolis has antibiotic properties, and the bees sometimes encase an invading mouse or lizard entirely in propolis. This may have inspired the Egyptians in their invention of the mummification process. Propolis is used as a varnish sometimes, and it is said by some that Antonio Stradivari used it in making the varnish for his violins. Some bees also use it to protect themselves from wildfire.

...full story in the newsletter

Brion Dunbar
Grass Valley, CA