DATE:  Saturday Sept. 20, 2014
PLACE:  Keown Orchards, 9 McClellan Road, Sutton, MA

PROGRAM:  Ken will do the hive opening focusing on winter preparation of your colonies.  Final queen evaluation, mite levels, nosema, food stores, hive insulation and ventilation, entrance reducers and mouse guards, wind protection, and frame storage will be the topics discussed at Ken's presentation.  This will be followed by a breakdown into small groups for new beekeepers to get a close up look inside the hive with an experienced beekeeper.  Mary Duane, Dave Lewcon, Roland Sevigney and Kathy deGraaf will all give new beekeepers an inside look in this hands-on opening of the orchard's hives (don't forget your veil!).  Beekeepers may also take a hay wagon ride through the orchard and do some apple picking.  New beekeepers should make an attempt to attend this workship for the good of their bees.  THEY DEPEND ON YOU so be there!  Reminder to bring a baked good to share.  Drinks will be provided.



Leicester Knights of Columbus Hall
Manville Road, Leicester, MA


Dr. Tom Rinderer, USDA Baton Rouge Lab Researcher

Dr. Tom Seeley, Cornell Univerity


The Worcester County Beekeepers are sponsoring their annual Big Name Speaker Conference where beekeepers can advance their knowledge of beekeeping by listening to the finest Apiary Scientists in the world. Admission is FREE TO CURRENT MEMBERS ($10 charge for non-members).  We have Dr. Tom Rinderer, the Team Leader at the USDA Baton Rouge Bee Lab speaking on his research developing bees resistant to varroa and how to manage Russian Honey Bees which are becoming widespread in our area. Dr. Rinderer is on the cutting edge of research in this area. Our other speaker Dr. Tom Seeley is one of the leading bee scientists in the world. He will speak to us on his research on bees in the wild and how they survive which is based on his upcoming book. Dr. Seeley's other talk is The Beehive as a Honey Factory. In this talk he will give us an intricate understanding on what goes on inside the hive that most do not know. I encourage and recommend that all beekeepers attend to get a better understanding on topics essential to sucessful beekeeping. I hope that all beekeepers take my strong advice and attend this informative and exciting conference. I will also present a short 15 minute presentation on the state of beekeeping in Worcester County and where we go from here. HOPE TO SEE A PACKED HALL ON OCTOBER 4TH.    KEN WARCHOL

9 A.M.-10:15 A.M.  Speaker: Dr. Tom Rinderer
                                Topic: Breeding Honeybees Resistant to Varroa
10:15 A.M.-11:30   Speaker: Dr. Tom Seeley
                                Topic: Honey Bees in the Wild
11:30 A.M.- Noon   Speaker: Ken Warchol
                                Topic: The state of Beekeeping in Worcester County
12 Noon- 1 P.M.      Lunch (cost is $15 - you must register for the lunch with the form here)
                                You may bring a lunch or go to surrounding restaurants
1 P.M-2:15 P.M.      Speaker: Dr. Tom Rinderer
                                Topic: Management Research with Russian Honey Bees
2:15 P.M-3:30 P.M. Speaker: Dr. Tom Seeley
                                Topic: The Beehive as a Honey Factory
3:30 P.M.                Wrap up and Raffle-Norm Mercier

LUNCH MENU:  Dinner rolls & butter, garden salad, rice pilaf, fresh seasonal vegetables, pan seared boneless breast of chicken with lemon thyme sauce, eggplant parmesan, homemade Italian meatballs, dessert -- creme puffs, cookies & brownies, coffee & tea.  See reservation form here.


Breeding Honey Bees Resistant to Varroa - will review the history of the Russian honey bee breeding program, the nature and use of the varroa sensitive hygiene trait and explore novel methods of selection for resistance to varroa.

Management Research with Russian Honey Bees - Russian honey bees are ideally suited to commercial beekeeping. However, their response to seasons and management is somewhat different from Italian honey bees. The best ways to manage Russian honey bees will be presented.
Honey bees in the wild (aka Forest Bees and Varroa Mites) - The honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is native to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Until around AD 1600, the species lived only in these regions, but since then humans have introduced honey bees to the Americas, Australia, east Asia, and many of the Pacific islands. Across this vast range, honey bees live both as wild colonies inhabiting natural nest sites and as managed colonies occupying beekeepers’ hives. In this talk, we will look at how honey bees of the European races live as wild colonies in the Arnot Forest in North America, and at how these bees are coping, all on their own, with Varroa mites and the viruses they spread. We will also look at what lessons we can learn from these bees for achieving treatment-free beekeeping. (For this talk, I draw heavily on material to be reported in my forthcoming book Honey Bees in the Wild.)
The bee hive as a honey factory - This talk is about the inner working of a honey bee colony so that it gathers and processes its nectar efficiently, despite tremendous day-to-day differences in nectar availability. An important part of the organization of honey production is the division of labor between foragers, elderly bees who work outside the hive to gather the nectar, and food storers, somewhat younger bees that work inside the hive to process the nectar into honey. We will see how the bees keep the rates of nectar collecting and nectar processing in balance—by means of the tremble dance and stop signal—and so boost the efficiency of a colony’s energy acquisition. (For this talk, he will draw heavily on material reported in his book The Wisdom of the Hive.)


Dr. Rinderer has authored or co-authored aver 300 research publications. The range of research disciplines has included genetics, breeding, behavior, morphology, pathology and toxicology. The range of organisms studied has included several species of honey bees, several species of mites parasitic on honey bees, several diseases of honey bees and two pests of bee hives.

Most recently, Dr. Rinderer discovered a stock of honey bees in far-eastern Russia, imported it through quarantine, and documented its resistance toV. destructor. The level of resistance was sufficiently high that the need for mite control treatments was reduced by more than half. Continued selection using breeding methods developed by Dr. Rinderer has produced a Russian honey bee stock having consistently improved resistance to V. destructor such that colonies rarely require chemical treatment to suppress V. destructor, has maintained resistance to A. woodi, and has increased honey production to commercially acceptable standards. Technology transfer efforts encouraged 18 commercial honey bee breeders in 2008 to form the “Russian Honeybee Breeders Assoc. Inc.”. All lines of the RHB stock have been transferred to members of the association who are now maintaining and selecting the stock using techniques and procedures obtained from extensive technology transfer efforts by this scientist and his team.

Dr. Thomas D. Seeley is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and does research on the functional organization of honey bee colonies. He grew up in Ithaca, NY and began keeping bees while a high school student, when he brought home a swarm of bees in a wooden box. He went off to college at Dartmouth in 1970, but returned to Ithaca each summer to work at the Dyce Laboratory for Honey Bee Studies at Cornell, where he learned the craft of beekeeping and began probing the inner workings of the honey bee colony. His research focuses on the behavior and social life of honey bees and has been summarized in three books: Honeybee Ecology (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive (1995), and Honeybee Democracy (2010).




November 1, 2014  Thanksgiving Banquet  Time: 6 P.M.
Leicester Knights of Columbus Hall
Manville Road, Leicester, MA
Speaker: Dr. Richard Callahan
Topic: A Trip Across Africa
December 6, 2014   WCBA Annual Christmas Party  Time: 6 P.M.
Leo's Ristorante
Worcester, Mass

January 9, 2015  Monthly Meeting and Chef Supper Time: 6:30 P.M.
Leicester Knights of Columbus Hall
Manville Road, Leicester, MA
Speaker: Ellen Ricciardi
Topic: Beekeeping and Bee Culture Throughout Italy

This is our annual WCBA Cookout extravaganza that starts at 11:00 am. Scott and Brian Faucher get the grill fired up and provide the hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, condiments and drinks. It is up to the rest of us to bring salads and sidedishes and deserts for the fiesta not siesta as this is an exciting day. We start off with the eating and/or feasting from 11:00 am-12:30 pm. During that period, Mary Duane will engage us in a quiz bowl of some sort. We will then have our own WCBA Smoker Contest for the County smoker Champ who will win a meal for two at our Thanksgiving Banquet. This will be followed by a hive opening at Scott’s hives and his management style. Scott is one who likes to do a lot of experimentation with his hives and with planting various nectar plants. We will see what’s new and on the horizon.  Norm Mercier will then do a honey extracting demonstration on a small scale in the cellar of Scotts log cabin Mansion. Scott will then offer tours of his work in progress. You do not want to miss this one with all the excitement and fine food.