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.

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President's Message - January

Happy New Year Beekeepers! As I write this it's a week past the solstice so the seasons have officially changed from fall to winter and the days are getting longer. The commercial beekeepers are gearing up for the almond pollination season.

I'll be here again as president this year, it will be my fourth year. The lesson here is don't ever miss the elections at the November meeting. All kidding aside I'm still having a good time with it and am happy to serve another year.

Where has the time gone, it seems like I was just a newbie with one colony trying to figure out what a deep or medium super was. Now here it is ten or so years later, I can tell the difference between  a deep and medium but thanks to a bear raid on my bee yard I'm a fourth year president of a bee club who doesn't have any bees. Is that allowed....I'll have to check the bylaws.

Spencer Wingfield has volunteered to be vice president for the coming year but we'll have a vote at the January meeting to make it official. Spencer attended the program meeting in December where the board gets together and pools ideas for speakers and the schedule for the coming year. The vice president then takes that information and puts together a calendar for the coming year so he has already been hard at work. I'm sure you will all give him your support and welcome him into his new position.

We have some great speakers lined up for the year and as usual we will all be educated as well as entertained. I'm looking foreword to another year of beekeeping (what bees?) with you all and will see you at the next meeting.

Jerry Van Heeringen

Bee Bits - January

Happy New Year!  We’ve passed the solstice, and the days now start to get longer (although slowly at first).  There’s a common misconception that bees use the solstice as a trigger for broodrearing, but I’ve yet to find any evidence to support that hypothesis, and plenty of observations to the contrary.  In warmer climates where flowers are blooming over the solstice, colonies are fully engaged in broodrearing.  And hives kept in complete darkness still commence broodrearing in late winter without any stimulation by the sun.
Here in Nevada County, all my hives used to shut down broodrearing in November, but now do so only during the years with the coldest winters.  This season only some colonies exhibited a complete brood break.  In preparation for almond pollination, we’ve fed all our hives some pollen sub, in order to stimulate them prior to the alder bloom, which will really get them going.

Update on our breeding program for mite resistance: as of this week, out of 1500 hives started this spring, 70 of them have maintained varroa infestation levels below 3%--without any treatments whatsoever.  Note that this is less than 5% of the hives that we started with—the rest required treatment in order to remain healthy.  The big question is whether such apparent resistance proves to be heritable.  It takes a few generations to see, since we need to shift the genetics of not only the queens, but also of the drone population with which they mate.  Next year should tell us whether we are making progress—keep your fingers crossed!

The scuttlebutt going around is that there will likely be a shortage of hives for almond pollination this February, due to poor honey crops in the Dakotas, and inadequate varroa control.  If so, it will likely drive up the offered rental rates for hives for pollination.  This will put even more pressure on Valley beekeepers to ramp up their numbers.  That said, our Ag Commissioner, Chris de Nijs, and I have made great progress on a new Beekeeping Ordinance for Nevada County (we’re up to Draft #13), that will greatly help to protect the sustainability of beekeeping in the County, especially for hobby beekeepers.  Anyone with fewer than 10 hives will not be affected by the Ordinance.  Those with 10 or more hives will not be able to register any new locations unless they are at least 2 miles from any existing commercial apiaries.  And the number of hives per location will be limited to 48 between May 15th and October 15th, in order to avoid overstocking the carrying capacity of the land.  This Ordinance will help to protect your ability to produce a honey crop, and prevent out-of-county commercial beekeepers from encroaching dropping of full truckloads of hives right next to already-established apiaries.  We owe a big thanks to Chris, who is scheduled to speak to us at the January meeting.

Randy Oliver
Grass Valley, CA