Oct 2011 meeting minutes

Minutes of PBC Beekeepers Association for October 2011

Date: October  7, 2011

Called to order  7:10 PM

34 members  14 Visitors

Minutes Correction:  Regarding the new law for cottage industry honey, there is a maximum of $15,000 sales not 1,500 gallons of honey.  Just the beekeepers name and address is required on the label, not the registration numbers.  Corrections approved Sara 1st, John 2nd.


Speaker:  Dr. William H. Kern, Jr. Associate professor of the University of Florida

Topic:  Africanized honey bees


-It is still illegal to keep Africanized honey bees in Florida without a permit, however, this may change.

-Africanized honeybees are a “plastic” subspecies with a wide variety of behaviors from extremely nasty to some, when smoked, as docile as Italians.

-Florida is one of the strongest beekeeping industries and has more state support than the rest of the country.

-Western honeybees are Apis Mellifera.  Within the species are many subspecies.  Scutellata is referred to as the Africanized honeybee.

-  Bees were kept in the Mediterranean region for 4,000 years which allowed much time for selection based on gentleness, good honey producers and domestication.  African honeybees have not gone through the process of human selection.  They are more wild and non-domesticated.

-African honeybees were brought to Brazil in 1954 in an attempt to create a honeybee that would do well in a tropical climate.  In 1957, some escaped.  By 1985 South America and half of Central America had Africanized honeybees.  They reached southern Texas in 1990.  By 1994, Africanized bees were in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.  By 2005 they were found in Florida away from ports.

  • European honeybees, when defensive, will go after you about 30 years.  By contrast Africanized honey bees will go 300 yards, ten times as far with ten times as many bees pursuing you.  Once a threat is detected, especially after one sting, one-third to one-half of the colony will come out.

-Africanzed honey bees

 More defensive

Have more receptors to alarm pheromones on their antenna

Respond quicker and longer to an alarm

Swarm more often.  The swarm size is dependent on the colony size.

They are less particular about nesting sites because they are from a subtropical climate and don’t need to accumulate large stores of honey.

More prone to absconding

African colonies should be re-queened to weaken a colony.  This can be somewhat difficult.  Remove original queen cells.  When AHB are desperate enough, they will accept a European Queen , 2 times out of 3.


Swarms are a way for colonies to divide when they get too large for a hive location.

The old queen and some workers leave the old colony to found a new colony.

Swarming bees are not  defensive because they do not have resources (honey and babies) to defend

Even Africanized bees are not very defensive at this state.

Africanized bees tend to be by flighty than European honeybees.

When comb is present, expect bees to be VERY DEFENSIVE.  They have something to protect.

Bee Protection:

-Bee suit with zippered veil and bee gloves

-Always wear eye protection or a face shield, goggles  under a veil so bees can’t spray venom into your eyes.

-Smoke blocks receptor sites for pheromones, however you must watch out for returning foragers who have not been smoked.

-Wear a sting suit, veil, leather gloves, eye protection and duct tape helps close areas.

Africanized AHB will spray venom through your veil.

-Danger zone of an Africanized colony is 150 feet and then goes out to 150 yards (when agitated)  to all directions, which is 2 residential blocks.  Your smoker is your best friend.  Fuels include: pine needles, wood chips, burlap, dried banana leaves.  There is also  commercial smoker fuel.  Pet bedding products will also work.

-Ferral bees in the US are all mongrels.  You cannot tell is a bee is Africanized by looking at it.  Generally AHB drones  fly into the box whereas EHB land and then walk in.

-Open artial nests are more likely to be AHB.  Bees within a tree cavity could be either.

-AHB are often first discovered in water meter and irrigation valve boxes.

Locating bees /cut-outs

Thermal imaging (is expensive)

Infared laser thermometer—cost about $50.

A circular saw has less vibration than a reciprocal saw.  You can also adjust the depth of the cut.

Perimeter swarm traps can be effective.

AHB have more drones and drones fly faster than EHB so more AHB mate.

South of I-4 95% of feral bees are Africanized.  Managed bees have a much lower ratio.


We almost never have problems with tracheal mite in any bee in South Florida.  It happens in temperate climates where bees are locked up.

AHB have shorter development time.  The longer development time causes varroa destructor.  In general AHB have less trouble with varroa.  The varroa is a vector for lots of viruses.

Currently there is no safe varroa treatment that won’t effect the bees.

The number of varroa detrimental is 5 adult varroa per 50 bees.

Pull out drone brood and look for mites.  1-2 has a potential for trouble.  5 is heavy.

European Queens shut down in production in fall which gives a virus more time.  It was thought this may be the cause of CCD.

American Foulbrood is caused by a spore forming bacterium Paenibacillus .

AHB evolved with small hive beetles,

Beetle traps:

Use a CD case turned upside down with the clear side down.  Break the prongs, use pear extract or pear juice as an attractant.


Get the stinger out ASAP.  Gently scrape the blunt end.  The 3 greatest risks:

  1. Allergic reaction which could be fatal in less than 30 minutes.
  2. Toxic response from massive envenomation.  5-10 stings per lb. of body weight is potentially lethal.
  3. Infection, which is more common and normally less serious.

If you get more than 400 stings, you will be in the hospital for about 3 days to monitor organs.

Signs of trouble when  stung:

-large areas of swelling

-abnormal breathing

-tightness in throat or chest



-Nausea or vomiting


-Persistent pain or swelling

First Aid:

-Apply a cold compress or ice pack  wrapped in cloth 

-Paste of baking soda or water

-sting swab

Talk to an MD before taking Benadryl unless you’ve previously spoken to one.  Benadryl might mask symptoms of stings.

Meeting resumed:

Treasurer’s report :  Total funds  $10,694.47

Request was made for 2 members with bookkeeping/accounting experience for conduct an internal audit.  Les volunteered.

The following 5 items  were unanimously voted upon by members:

-This is an amendment to the constitution article 5: Dues. Item 2 . to read:” The membership year shall be from January 1 st to December 31 st of each year. New members joining after June, will  be provided with their membership continuing into the next year.’

The annual dues shall be payable at the January meeting of each year. A member becomes delinquent if dues are not paid by the February meeting’.

-Amendment to By-Laws. Article 5. Section 1. Item 3: ‘Also make an annual statement of monies collected during the prior calendar year ( January 1st  to December 31st) and present it at the meeting in January.

-Amendment to Article 7: Duties of the Officers. Item 6.To be added: The President shall appoint all standing committee chairpersons except the nominating committee. Such chairpersons are not members of the board.

-Amendment to  By-Laws: Article 5: To add section 3.The following standing committee  chairperson shall  be appointed by the President:

-Hospitality Committee of one person who will ensure that the meeting place is in order before and after the close of each meeting .May also serve refreshment provided by the association.

-Amendment to Article 7: Duties of the Officers. Item 6.To be added: The President shall appoint all standing committee chairpersons except the nominating committee. Such chairpersons are not members of the board.

Nominations for 2012 year:

President- Jim Chapman

Vice President- Al Salopek

Treasurer- Sara White

Secretary- Alexandra

Voting will take place in November.

PB Beekeepers Conference- There will be a 1 day program to be held April 14, 2012 at Pine Jog Environmental for beginner and intermediate beekeepers.  Gary Ranker from the FSBA and Bud Grant, retired apiary inspector will be resource speakers.  Kim Flottum will be the keynote  guest  speaker.  

Dr. Kern, at this meeting, also agreed to be a resource speaker.  Details and the budget will be discussed at the November meeting.  There will be a complimentary lunch for approximately 80 people, which is the capacity of Pine Jog.  Volunteers will be needed, the details of which will be presented in November.

Treasurer’s Annual Report: Two member sought  with bookkeeping/accounting experience to do an internal audit.  Les volunteered.

Hands-on Basic for Beginners-  This will be held next Saturday on if  6-8 people sign up.

T-Shirts and Nametags:  Both items are being made by suppliers and will be available shortly.


Lantana Greenfest- October 22 10AM-2PM

Orchard View Elementary School, Delray Beach, Autism outreach

Guest Speaker:  Mark McCoy will be the November speaker

He will give a history of his organization and explain the challenges of a commercial beekeeper.

South Florida Fair:  Volunteer sign-up sheet to be circulated and Roger will help signing up.  Brendhan will be the coordinator for observation hives.

FSBA Conference- Will be held at the Orlando Holiday Inn, October 27, 28, 29, 2011.

Member Appreciation: There was some discussion about a free raffle give-away and member appreciation dinner/picnic.  Dr. Kern suggested that volunteers could receive “free” shirts.

Scholarship:  Suggestion of donating to a scholarship.  It was noted that this could be for any amount.

Presentations o the public:  It was suggested that a Powerpoint  be  made for members use to use for presentations.  The association has a virtual hive with photos attached to frames.

FSBA- Annual conference will be held October 27-29 in Orlando.  There is a free barbeque for those registered by October 15th.  This conference will include the Master Beekeeping program.

Cottage Industry Law:  You cannot sell honey by e-mail or you will be disqualified as a cottage industry.

Yahoo Groups:  It was stated that this site was created for bee related topics.

Open position for apiary inspector:  Dr. Kern stated that his position is now open, since Bud Grant retired.  The state is willing to train an interested individual.  Contact Jerry Hayes, Division of Plant Industry.

Bee documentary:  Guest, James Reford, is creating a documentary on bees and their connection to the food supply.  He had contacted Al Salopek after he saw a magazine article.

Meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM


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