Dear reader,

Greetings beekeeping friends! We've been having a great season thus far and the bees are growing wonderfully. Our area seems to be in a nice honey and nectar flow, giving our bees all the resources to thrive. Keep and eye on your bees and add hive bodies as needed, especially when they are expanding so quickly. 

 If you've attended any of our classes or workshops, we would appreciate if you would kindly write a  review on our website and share your experience. 

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June 20th - Making Summer Nucs for Overwintering

As part of our goal to get folks to be as self sufficient as possible, increasing your overwintering success is key. We would like to discuss making nucleus colonies from the full size hives in your apiary to help increase the odds of coming into spring with bees. For our newer beeks, we recommend purchasing a mated queen to introduce to the nucs you make. Mated northern queens will be available for $25 each. Please email us ahead of time to request your queen and they will be available for pick up at this months meeting. See you there!



Swarm Captures

Our favorite time of the year! Swarm season is always such a thrilling time for beekeepers. It gives us the opportunity to catch fast growing, ready to build comb- bees, for FREE! We've caught some great swarms so far, here are a few fun pictures to enjoy.

(left) High Falls: Had to get the bee vac out for that one!

(bottom)West Shokan: Helping our friends catch a swarm from their hive.

 We always appreciate people sharing pictures/stories for the newsletter.  Please send them to


Hands-On Beginner Course

On Saturday, June 4th we held this fun filled course and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Thank you all who participated, it would be much appreciated if you left a review of your experience on our website! 


Thanks to BeeGroup member Ursula Zorika for forwarding this article relevant to the discussion at last months meeting

Sticky Fingers: The rise of the bee thieves 

Bees have become a billion-dollar business. But who would try to steal them?

by Brett Murphy

"The thief squatted low and heaved the 30kg hive, about the size of a large office printer, up and on to the bed of his white GMC truck. He had been planning his crime for days. He knew bees – how to work them, how to move them, and most importantly, how to turn them into cash."

"Half the industry is built on handshakes with the farmers, one beekeeper told me, “millions of dollars every day without a single paper signed”. Beekeepers try to look out for themselves and each other. A select few hire private security guards or install expensive GPS chips in every hive. Others hide cameras in their yards or make nightly rounds in their trucks. Most simply brand every single piece of equipment with their name, number and a unique registration code in the hope that a friend may recognize their name if boxes go missing."

Full Article HERE


Two Day Bee Improvement workshops w/Roger Patterson


Next Week!

A few openings are still available

Bee Improvement is please to have Roger Patterson coming from England to run 2 Day hands-on workshops on bee improvement.   Thurs/Fri workshop will be in Modena, NY & Sat/Sun workshop will be in Middletown, NY.

Due to limited size of workshops, two different sections will be offered.

1st session will be Thursday June 23rd & Friday June 24th. - more info/register
2nd session will be Saturday June 25th & Sunday June 26th. - more info/register

Roger is a practical beekeeper who has kept bees since 1963. This was directly after the harsh 1962/3 winter when a large number of bees and queens were imported. He quickly realized these imports were not well suited to our climate and conditions. A chance meeting with Beowulf Cooper resulted in him joining VBBA (now renamed BIBBA) in 1965. At one stage he ran 130 colonies, but has now reduced to around 25. He concentrates on teaching the practical aspects of beekeeping at his local BKA where he is the Apiary Manager. He lectures and demonstrates widely and is a regular contributor to the bee press. Roger now owns and maintains Dave Cushman's website that is widely recognized as one of the world's most comprehensive beekeeping websites. He is the author of "Beekeeping. A Practical Guide". He is a BBKA Trustee and Vice President of Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI). Roger can often be seen in the company of his border collie Nell.

Who is it aimed at?

This course is aimed at local beekeepers who are looking to become self sufficient and understand the importance of local acclimatized bees. It will suit those who want to raise good quality queens by using “artificial” methods in batches of 6 or more in controlled conditions. The information gained should prepare attendees for producing many more queens on a regular basis if required.
Attendees should know the “basics” of beekeeping, i.e. the life cycles, swarming procedure of a colony, disease recognition, etc., and be able to see eggs and young larvae. This is not a course for raw beginners, although it may suit fairly inexperienced beekeepers who know the “basics”, can handle bees reasonably well and are capable of learning quickly.

Note: If you suffer reactions to being stung by honey bees you are advised not to attend this course. Circumstances vary, where some locations may not be in an area that enjoys a speedy ambulance service. It is also unlikely there will be tutors or attendees who are able to deal with an emergency.

Why should we improve our bees?

Many older beekeepers agree that bees are not as tough or as suitable for our climatic conditions as bees once were. This could be for a number of reasons, including the continued importation of bees and queens, “treatments” and “supplements” that mask problems and the failure of beekeepers to cull the poor doers.
When we look to “improve” our bees, perhaps we should take into account the characteristics that have served honey bees so well since their re-colonization of Britain following the last ice age.
To help make our beekeeping more pleasurable we can select for characteristics that we prefer, such as gentleness. This is a much more rewarding and sustainable approach than simply buying replacement queens that may be imported, which have the added risk of introducing diseases.

What will be covered?

There will be both practical and theoretical elements, with time spent at a number of colonies of bees.
Amongst the topics we hope to cover are:-
Colony handling techniques.
Making up and managing queen mating colonies and nuclei.
Discussing and demonstrating Q/C building methods.
Clipping and marking queens.
Q/C raising colonies.
Assessing colonies and deciding which to raise queens from and which to cull.
Selection criteria.
Working with other beekeepers.
Setting up and running a bee improvement group.
Equipment required – buying, making, improvising or modifying.
Drone production.
Q/C distribution.
Queen introduction.
Mating control.
Some of the myths.

What can I expect?

A well run course with a limited number of attendees, so the tutors aren’t overstretched and we can give individual attention.
Experienced tutors who will be teaching from their own experience, not from books or the web. Please accept they may not have experience of all methods – few people have, however, there will be a number of options, so you can make your own mind up which you prefer.
This course will be fun, interactive and full of encouragement to explore the joys of raising your own queens that have the characteristics you want. The knowledge gained will help give you the satisfaction of producing your own queens and the confidence to assess and improve them.
Attendance is not intended to be a quick fix to improve your bees and that is it. Bee improvement is an ongoing part of beekeeping in the same way that honey production is.
We believe that beekeeping should be fun, not a chore. We don’t give attendees loads of information that is based on narrow thinking and difficult to absorb, but tried and tested methods that are simple to understand.
The order in which the course is presented may be adjusted to suit the weather (or the forecast!). If we expect our bees to make the best of our unpredictable climate, then so should we!
These courses are held in a number of locations. Local conditions, apiaries, bees, equipment, personnel and facilities may vary considerably. Please accept and respect that hosts may not keep bees in the same way that you do.

Although not part of the course it is hoped that attendees will meet up for dinner on the first evening, so they can get to know each other and have a chance to relax in the company of others with the same interest.


Local Northern Queens

Local Northern raised marked queens will be available after June 1st.

more info/order


Hudson Valley Hives is a beekeeping group that  meets at the Olive Free Library on a monthly basis and discuss all things beekeeping. The meeting starts with a short seasonal appropriate presentation followed by general open discussion. It is very informal and we welcome anyone interested to participate. If you are just thinking about getting started in beekeeping, a new beekeeper, or a seasoned beekeeper, you will benefit from the group discussions.

• What: Bee Group

• Where: Olive Free Library, West Shokan

• When: 3rd Monday of the Month - 6:30PM

Rob Overton
Lindsay Brower


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