March 2019 ACBA Newsletter

Program:  Quentin Geant of BeeOpic in Martinez – Spring Management Practices

March Program:   Quentin is a relative newcomer to the Bay Area, but his beekeeping roots go back to 1982 when his father went commercial with the BeeOpic brand placing bee hives on roof tops of Paris, France.  So, Quentin has been working bees for most of his life. The BeeOpic branch in Martinez sells bees, provides management services, and teaches beekeeping.
Annual Membership Dues
Annual membership dues are payable now. Please see or contact our membership secretary, Paul Thompson. or 510-339-0641.
You can go to the website to print the membership form and mail it to the address listed.  Only $10. a Year!  Memberships not paid by April 1 will be dropped.

Friday, April 5, at 7:30 pm, Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley
The ACBA and Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association are co-hosting a talk by Thomas D. Seeley, the researcher who studies how honey bees communicate and make decisions.
Tom, a professor at Cornell, will talk about “The Beehive as Information Center.”
He’ll explain how the colony sends out the optimum number of foragers to gather enough food with the right nutritional mix.
He’s found that honey bees have a complex and well-ordered society that is ruled by the best interests of the colony as a whole. Find out how bees communicate with each other, sharing information about what’s going on inside the hive and outside in the world, and how they cooperate to make the best decisions.
His talk will help beekeepers understand what’s going on in the “mind” of the hive.
Professor Seeley is the author of five books, including The Wisdom of the Hive and Honeybee Democracy.
Members of the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association and the Alameda County Beekeepers Association receive a discounted price of $10 (plus a service fee charged by Eventbrite), but these tickets are limited and will only be sold until March 26.
Don’t miss out. Get your tickets on Eventbrite.
Ed Roberts Campus is located at the Ashby Bart station, 3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703. There is free parking and the campus is fully accessible.
On the calendar for this year:2

2010-Apr- 05 Tom Seeley Tom Seeley will speak on April 5, 7:30 pm at Ed Roberts Center
2019-Apr-09 Richard Godfrey, MD Honey and hive products in folk and modern medicine
2019-May-14  TBD
2019-Jun-08 NO MEETING Build the County Fair booth on a date TBD
2019-Jul-09 Bonnie Morse (Bonnie Bees) Marin club board member, professional beekeeper, bee breeder
2019-Aug-13 Dr. Elena Niño
(UC Davis)
Program TBD.

February 26, 2019 ACBA Officers Meeting
Attending: Ronni Brega, Jerry Przybylski, Susan Kuchinskas. Jon Fritsch, Eleanor Levine, Monica Ruck, Jim Veitch
Old Business:
The Hillside Gardeners of Montclair is donating a half-page ad in their garden tour program to promote. ACBA Swarm Services.
Chabot Children’s Film Festival was a big success. See photos on our Facebook page. Thanks again to Ron Carter, Pam Weiner, George McRae, Jack Andreoni, and Maryly Snow for representing us so well.
Rotary Nature Center Grand Opening was excellent. The observation hive is installed but there are not yet bees. Thanks to Chuck Zierdt and Jeri Martinez for leading this.
Membership meeting: Last month’s meeting was discussed. LBI presentation brought two new members to its meeting. Officers affirmed that we support multiple beekeeping practices and multiple vendors of nucs and packages.
Constitution Committee, proposed at February meeting, will meet in March. Volunteers still needed.
Treasurer’s report: No new items to report this month.
Online membership: Thanks to Webmaster Monica Ruck, Treasurer Jon Frisch and Membership Secretary Paul Thompson for creating a streamlined way for members to join or renew online, paying via PayPal. We will still maintain our traditional paper form and check payment for those who prefer it.
Speaker schedule: There are lots of excellent presentations in the pipeline. The idea is to have mix of beginner and advanced talks. Let us know if you have a topic you’d like to have presented at a meeting.
New business:
Mt. Diablo is discontinuing its library and has offered its books to us. Our librarians Elinor Levine and Ron Carter are ready to bring the books into our collection.
Tom Seeley will speak on April 5, 7:30 pm at Ed Roberts Center. Mt. Diablo is partnering with us and will contribute half the cost, with half the tickets going to its members and half to ours. ACBA members can buy discounted tickets at $10.
Next officers’ meeting date:  March 26. Members are welcome to attend the officers’ meeting. Please RSVP to for location.

Treasurer’s Report as of March 1 The Association checking account has $22,489.14 as of March 1.  Expenses in February included our monthly storage fee, hospitality costs for monthly meetings, and a previously approved grant (December) to the Edible Schoolyard Project.

One membership was deposited through our beta-testing of PayPal—the remainder of February’s membership receipts will be deposited in March.  Our Webmaster has made PayPal available to everyone for membership on our website (yay, Monica!).  If you haven’t renewed your membership for 2019 yet, please remember to do so in March either online here, at a meeting or via snail mail.
ACBA Meeting Notes Feb 12, 2019
Bee Chat:
Q: Bees on the back porch attracted to the light? Could be the phorid fly, zombees. Or sometimes bees are just attracted to light after dark.
Q: Hives in January were building out and raising drones. Now, colonies are pushing out the drones during this cold weather. Anyone else seeing this? Yes.
Announcements: Rotary Center is reopening; Chuck Zierdt and Jeri Martinez will install the observation hive. Grand opening is Saturday, Feb 16, and the ACBA will present. ACBA also will staff a table at Chabot Science Center.
Audit Committee is waiting for materials to begin the 2018 audit.
A committee was formed to propose revisions to the ACBA constitution. Susan Kuchinskas will chair the committee; Elinor Levine and Jeri Martinez agreed to be on the committee. More volunteers are invited. People who don’t want to be on the committee are welcome to submit their comments to Review the constitution here.
Tom Seeley will give a special lecture to the ACBA. More details to come.
We’re starting to get more requests for speakers and presentations. Who can volunteer to coordinate these?
Judy Casale was recognized for her many contributions to the ACBA. She has been instrumental in helping with the fair and providing observation hives. She has done much outreach and facilitated packages. Now she is moving away. We are very thankful for all she’s done, and will miss her. A motion was made, seconded and carried to make her an honorary lifetime member.
People are urged to set up bait hives in their yards to attract swarms. They can also sign up to be on the swarm hotline to get notifications of swarms. Member dues must be paid up to get on the swarm list.
Program: Introducing the Local Bee Initiative
Jerry Przybylski, Phil Stob, Eugenie Scott and Jim Garcia presented. Serge Levesque’s theory of beekeeping is that treating colonies for varroa can create treatment-resistant mites and prop up weak hives. Levesque recommends letting colonies die out while finding and propagating resistant, locally adapted colonies.
Darwin’s concept of natural selection is that individuals in populations of organisms that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce.
The goal is to increase resistance to mites by increasing ability of our bees to adapt to our local environment and to the varroa mite. Assisting natural selection to operate on our bees.
Many commercial operations that supply queens and packages breed their bees for success at almond pollination. These are not necessarily suited for Alameda County.
The LBI wants to reduce the number of packages, nucs and queens imported from outside the county.
Small beekeepers can benefit if they lose their hives. And the community will benefit if there are locally adapted bees.
LBI members will be able to swap, sell or share bees with others. The LBI will allow treatment for mites, but beeks need to keep records.
Pirate Creek Bees is a commercial beekeeping operation in Sunol. It’s offered its location to breed queens for the LBI. Queens will be bred for varroa resistance, gentleness and honey production.
Committees needing members: webpage, continuing education, point system, queen breeding, outreach. If you’re interested or for more information, contact

Alameda County Local Bee Initiative, February 25, 2019
The Englander; 101 Parrot Street, San Leandro, CA 94577

Present: George McRae, Jim Garcia, Phil Stob, Rebecca Haussmann, Dean Atkinson, Greg Mau, Phil Stob, Paula Breen, Bob Baty, Jerry Przybylski, Doug Winter, Sung Lee, Susan Donohue,
Charles Carlson, Kevin Mulvey, Kailyn McCord , Brian from Oakland
Notes taken by Genie Scott
The meeting was called to order by George McRae at approximately 7:15 PM. The meeting consisted of committee reports and a class on splitting, conducted by Phil Stob and Jerry Przybylski.
Committee reports:
Outreach Committee
The committee is continuing to try to inform the local community of the LBI. Bob Baty reached out to former member Al Kramer who is a likely good recruit; he is someone who raises queens
Education Committee
Phil Stob reported that the Education Committee is continuing to work in three areas:
1) assemble reference materials for increasing the proportion of locally-adapted bees, including raising queens and making splits;
2) teach classes on splitting (tonight’s program being an example);
3) arrange for practical workshops on splitting in someone’s bee yard
Regarding the last, he has some volunteers in Fremont willing to share their yards for splitting demos, and there is a good chance that the Fremont nonprofit organization LEAF may also provide a yard for this purpose. He’ll put out a request on the LBI list for volunteers to offer their yards for splits.
Webpage Committee
The Website Committee has two new members: Eugenie Scott and Kailyn McCord. The committee plans to determine contents of the LBI webpage (which will reside on the ACBA website), design the page, and write copy for uploading. The page will have information about the LBI, best-practices instructional materials (such as those being collected by the Education Committee), schedules for classes and Queen Breeding Project activities, links to other similar organizations, and other resources.
Points System Committee
Paula Breen reminded us to fill out the Data Entry Form on the Drive folder, which automatically fills in the Data Entry Form Responses spreadsheet. The committee has revised the spreadsheet to include new tabs, one of which presents the tally of positive and negative points for LBI participants, and the other proving FAQ and policy information. Paula will be the point system contact person keeping track of credits and debits. The group semi-seriously considered awarding a prize to the person with the largest number of credits at the end of Summer! [The suggestion of a booby prize for the person with the largest number of debits was not part of the discussion, regardless of a generally recognized value of parallelism….]
Queen Breeding Project

Originally, the QBP was conceived to be an adjunct to Jim’s commercial breeding project, where LBI members would bring bee stock (queens and drone comb) to Jim’s ranch in Sunol, and work in parallel with Jim and his staff on “our” bee stock. LBI members would learn techniques of grafting, mating, and other facets of queen rearing under the tutelage of Jim and his staff, and when LBI-sourced bee stock was available, use this stock to produce queens for distribution within the LBI and ACBA.
The LBI will be integrated more closely with Jim’s commercial queen breeding operation. He will welcome the participation of LBI members donating queens and drones, and continue with the training in grafting and other techniques as planned. But instead of being two parallel tracks (the LBI project and Jim’s commercial project) there will be one integrated one, using Jim’s equipment and supplies.
Those LBI members who will donate queens and drones and/or time grafting and otherwise taking care of the hives will receive free queens, in addition to training in queen rearing and breeding. In the spirit of increasing the numbers of locally-raised bees, members of ACBA will receive queens at a lower price than market rate, but not free bees.
Jim also wishes to institute a queen exchange system where someone with a poorly-performing queen (for whatever reason) can exchange it for one of his. The goal of this last parallels the goal of the LBI, which is to decrease the number of poor queens and increase the number of “good” queens.
The LBI members will be invited to lend queens and drone comb to be taken to Sunol for the project. More classes in grafting will be held in Sunol, though the rainy and cold weather has interfered with these plans. Brenda McCormick will be the contact person to keep track of schedules of who is willing to perform what duties regarding the production of queens from LBI hives.
After committee reports, Phil Stob demonstrated three types of splits: the OTS (On the Spot), Walk-Away, and Doolittle types of splits. When the Webpage is available, materials explaining the advantages of each approach will be posted in best-practices resources. Phil and Jerry will provide a shopping list for what needs to be kept on hand for making splits.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 PM.
Next month’s meeting will be held on March 25, 2019, also at The Englander.