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Status on the 2017 Nuc Season

Greetings my seasoned and aspiring fellow beekeepers. It has been a while since I’ve formally reached out to you with a communication

Our River Rd. yard

regarding the 2017 nucs. This year truly has been a wild season to say the least. Warm spells, cold spells, rain, hail and snow, etc., you name it we’ve had it this year. One thing that has benefited the most from this season are the weeds, oh are they growing like crazy, keeping the weed eaters going constantly. Nevertheless, the honey bee is a resilient insect, and in our yards, they’ve done good for themselves so far.

As you can see in the pictures, the nucs are progressing nicely, and we are getting to the point where we are comfortable to release them. I understand many of you are you are anxious, and I can  tell because of your emails and phone calls. So here is some news for you, bee wise the wait

These nucs are good-to-go.

is over, and now it is time to start getting the shipping containers ready to transfer the bees in, and have you pick up your nucs or be delivered to the post office for shipping. So say in a week or two we should be all caught up with this.

As far as the honey flow season goes, believe it or not we’ve had our major sources of nectar bloom almost all at once, and I can only think of the reason for this being the very mild winter. All of that to say that perhaps here in the Mid-Atlantic we will be starting to feed bees early this year. But whatever it takes to keep this beneficial social insect alive and well, and around for future generations to know and enjoy in one way or another.

Main nectar sources.

Until next time, and I will try to keep these posts coming more frequently.

Charles

Picking up your 2016 Nuc(s)

PICKING UP YOUR NUC(s)

By now you’ve received a notice with date(s) for nuc and queens pick up/shipping. The time frame set for this is May 28 – June 26, 2016, anytime between 7-10am, appointments necessary. If you do not have an email from us confirming your schedule, please do not show up without an appointment, we will not have nucs ready for you. We suggest you contact us and make arrangements.
The Pickup:

1. You are coming to an active bee yard where bees are constantly flying, so there is a possibility of getting stung. Bring appropriate protective gear for you and anyone else with you.

2016 Nucs bursting with bees.

2016 Nucs bursting with bees.

2. If you are receiving this notice via email, please scroll to the very bottom of the email for our address.

3. The 2016 price for the nucs is $165.00 each. If you did not take care of your invoice, most likely we do not have a nuc for you unless prior arrangements have been made with us.

4. Keep in mind that for the 2016 season, all nucs are 5 deep frames. Queens are guaranteed alive and marked at time of pick up; however, we cannot cover queen losses due to rough handling, bumps in the road or any situation out of our control. For this we will box the nucs when you arrive.

5. The nucs will be located at our home yard. We will not be installing bees in your equipment, so leave it home. We will provide the nuc in a one-way cardboard nuc box, or a box we consider appropriate. It is your responsibility to inspect the nuc to ensure it meets your expectations before leaving. Your satisfaction is our goal.

6. We would appreciate if you pick up the nuc at the appointed date.

7. On your way back home with the nuc, make sure the hive is properly secured and not shifting back and forth. Try to make a direct trip to avoid the risk of overheating.

 

Caring for your Nuc

1. – Install the nuc as soon as possible in a brood box with additional frames to fill the box. Feed the nuc a 1:1 sugar syrup mix, and do not let the feeder run dry.

2. – Abstain from disturbing the nuc for the first few days except to feed it. After a week, you may inspect the hive. Use as little smoke as possible and minimal disturbance. If things are going well within the hive, the bees should continue drawing out the remaining foundation if that is what you are using, the queen should continue to lay, and there should be brood of all ages, including eggs, milk brood, and capped brood.

3. – Keep inspecting your colony once every 7-10 days. This is an amazing opportunity to watch your nuc grow and develop into a full hive. Just be careful while handling your colony to avoid the death of your queen. Try to have your mentor with you at least the first few times. As the population grows, the bees will cover more frames and draw out more frames of foundation and the queen will begin to lay in these newly drawn out frames.

4. – In general, place the combs back into the same arrangement that they were. The frames with brood and eggs should be together in the center, and pollen at the edge of the brood nest and honey to the outside. The only time you should change the hive configuration is with the frames of foundation at the end. Bees have a hard time drawing the outermost side of the comb on the last frame; so when the inner side is complete, swap position with the closest frame (see picture).

5. – Once you’ve had the nuc for about a month or so, test for your mite level using any of the commonly know methods, your mentor can help with this. Remember all bees have varroa mites, so please monitor the colony for mite level, and if the threshold is met, then use the method of control that best suits you. Test for mites in the spring, mid to late summer and in the fall. If your levels are at threshold take action, mites are a reality, not a myth, and they do kill colonies of honey bees. Work with your mentor to help you achieve your objectives.

6.- Once you have 8-9 drawn frames in the first box, add the second box and continue feeding 1:1 syrup until they’ve drawn the second box as well. Please monitor your feeding as to not over feed to the point there is no place for the queen to lay eggs. Again your mentor will come in handy with guiding you on how to feed.

7. – Read all that you can about bees, subscribe to the bee journals, attend your local organization meetings, also if possible your state meeting, and try to make it to at least one of the national meetings (EAS, HAS, etc). Ask questions and use good judgment. Remember, just because it works for me, does not mean it may work for you. Find what works for you and your bees and take it from there.

To summarize, in order to be successful keeping bees, you need good management and good bees; if one is lacking it simply will not work. The good news you can acquire both.

Thank You,
Charles Walter
info@walterswholesomegoods com
www.walterswholesomegoods.com

2016 Honey Bee Season Progress

Greetings from wonderful West Virginia,

Spring is well on its way, and lots of outdoor activities are keeping us very busy. For one, in our bee yards we have been diligently controlling swarming in our colonies. With the variable weather, rain, cold, and windy at times, the bees has spent most of the past 11 days indoors, and have started to eat the little they’ve gather in the earlier part of spring.

We had an early start this year, but have been waiting for the past month on the state inspector to visit with us and get our honey bees inspected for release. During the wait for the state apiarist, the splits have exploded and it has been quite the battle to contain swarming. We have been busy moving them back to 10-frame equipment for the extra space and slow down the swarming due to overcrowded conditions.

As I captured one swarm, the mother of all swarms landed next to me.

As I captured one swarm, the mother of all swarms landed next to me.

Of course without the inspection, we are unable to ship our queens or nucs across state lines. The good news is that we have confirmation that he will be here on May 11th. In the event of yet another delay we will have to go to plan B.

We are setting the Memorial Day week for shipping of our nucs, and the 28-29 for local pick up from 7:30am – 9:00am. Please make arrangement with us for pick up, you must have an appointment, do not show up to pick up your nucs without one. Our queens will start shipping as soon as we are inspected.

Once again, thank you for your patience, your patronage and support. Here is to a great 2016.

Cordially,

Charles Walter

Happy Thanksgiving

Greetings my fellow Beekeepers,

As we look forward to one of our nation’s greatest holidays, when we gather with our families and friends, I want to sincerely reach out to you in gratitude for your consideration and support. Many of your emails have gone unanswered, but not intentionally.

My wife and I had a rough 2015 season during her battle with lung cancer; finally, the good Lord called her to rest from her sufferings. This occurred during the month of September. It hasn’t been easy for me to get back into the gist of things. However, I am very grateful that I was afforded to be there with her, hand-in-hand, during every step of her battle.

With our busy lives, it is easy to lose sight of the greater picture. May I suggest that each of us consider what we are grateful for and count our blessings if you will, and extend your good deeds to those in need. Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action, so please share the bounty of this holiday with those who are less fortunate.

We are honored that you’ve considered, and supported us over the years for your beekeeping needs, and for that we give thanks, and I wish each of you a very safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Cordially,

Charles Walter
Walter’s Wholesome Goods
www.walterswholesomegoods.com

thanksgiving2

The latest Russian Nucs news

Update: 2015 Russian Nucs

Howdy fellow beekeepers!!! I am sure by now you are as anxious to hear about the nucs as we are to tell you all about them.

We’ve firmed up dates for pick up  and shipping of your nucs. You must email us with a date and time that will work for you.  We will in turn reply to you confirming your pick up appointment.

We plan to release the nucs Memorial weekend May 23-25, and we will ship as soon as the post office opens May 26-28.  We understand that for some of you these dates will not work and you would like to come at a later date, and we are willing and able to hold your nucs no later than July 15th. If you cannot take delivery by then, it will have to happen next season.

Again, please note that if nucs are not picked up by 10am on your scheduled date, we will have to let them fly to avoid suffocation. Thank you very much for your patience and support; it has been a tough season coming out of winter and now straight into summer at least in our area.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Charles & Maxine Walter
www.walterswholesomegoods.com

Spring has Sprung & Our Russian Honey Bees Are on the Go

Spring has sprung and with it lots of outdoor activities are keeping us very breezy. For one, in our bee yards we have been diligently preparing our hives for the upcoming season. Our Russian queens are steady laying building up that brood nest and the little worker bees are back and forth with their daily duties.

At this time of the year we continue to feed both, pollen substitute and a 1:1 sucrose syrup with some additives to help promote good health in our Russian bees, and to stimulate production of healthy brood, that will ensure a handsome crop of bees for nucs, and should we have a nectar flow, perhaps some honey may be attained. We push for a rapid growth in population in order to allow us to make strong splits that we make available to new as well as seasoned beekeepers during the spring/early summer period. We also use these splits to add to our numbers or to replace weak colonies.

As we go through our hives assessing their condition and needs, we take the opportunity to implement our comb rotation program, clean/swap out bottom boards, make any repairs that are necessary, as well as take our sample of bees for evaluation. Lots of work in the bee yard, but now onto what you really want to hear, an update on your reserved nucs and/or queens.

Welcome spring of 2015

Welcome spring of 2015

March 20, 2015, marked the first day of spring, and we welcomed it with 6 to 8 inches of snow. Winter felt like it would never leave us, and we started to grow antsy, wondering if the colonies would build up in a timely manner and allow us to meet our delivery time-frame. We continued to supplement carbohydrates and protein on a constant basis, starting on February 27, 2015.

By early April 2015, we were able to perform full inspection on our hives and we were very happy with what we were seeing. Brood nests were expanding handsomely, and the bees were gathering and storing nectar, oh what a wonderful salve to our eyes.

Early nectar

Early nectar

Spring build up

Spring build up

 

With all the work that it entails, we were fortunate that Christopher took a week leave from the US Navy to lend a very needed hand in the initial set up of our 2015 nuc and queen production.

We are sure that you are very anxious to receive your nucs and/or queens, and we perfectly understand; rest assured that we are working as diligently as the weather and our Russian honey bees permit.

Thank you very much for your patronage and support; until next time.

Warmly,

Charles & Maxine Walter

 

Timely help

Timely help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Nuc Progress Update

As the season moves forward, we have received many inquiries about the progress of the nucs and delivery dates. So we decided to send a group update instead of individual emails and hope this answers your concerns. If not, please feel free to contact us.

Nucs making sheets of honey

Nucs making sheets of honey

Undoubtedly, this is a great season and hopes are high for a good crop of honey although that is also the reason for our current dilemma.

This year the bees decided to make honey, while plans were to have them make bees. This is happening with both, mediums and deeps, but it is more so for the mediums. Sheets, and sheets of honey and maybe a fist size patch of brood. The workers seem to be filling frames of honey faster than the queen can lay in them. We are actively trying to remedy the situation. We are currently moving the bees back to 8 and 10 frame equipment, perhaps the extra space will help.

We are so sorry for the delay, completely out of our planning. It is another one of those “that’s not in the book” moments.

Should you need to modify or cancel your order we completely understand. Our intention is to fulfill every order.

Warmly,

Charles & Maxine Walter
Walter’s Wholesome Goods
www.walterswholesomegoods.com

2014 Honey Bee Season Update

As we welcome the long awaited spring season, and shower our soul with the pleasant weather that we’ve been experiencing recently, I know that many of us grow anxious when it comes to the honey bees, especially if you have been waiting for them for what seems to be a good while.

Brood and bees – 2014 Spring Build up

After visiting all our yards, we thought it would be prudent to provide you with an update. Out of the 225 that went into winter, 207 hives are alive and well; that’s a total loss of 18 hives.  Of course, some colonies are booming, while others are coming along a bit slower, but overall, the great majority of our colonies are doing very, very well, and this gives us the confidence to say that we should be able to meet our commitments to you of having our nucs ready by mid to late May (trying hard for earlier than that).

Our starter/finisher colonies were selected and setup over the weekend now that we’ve confirmed the presence of purple eyed drone brood, which always signals the start time of our initial graft.  This, if all goes as planned, will enable us to start shipping our mated queens the second week of May and thereafter.

Maxine and I greatly appreciate your patronage, we understand you had options to fill your honey bee requirements this season, and we want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so.  Cheers, and although we had having heavy rain, sleet, and snow yesterday, and a cold day today, the wait is almost over.

Warmly,

Charles & Maxine Walter

 

2014 West Virginia Beekeepers of the Year

bkoyFrom left to right:                                     Charles & Maxine Walter, Eastern Panhandle Judy & Frank Wilhelm, Preston County

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Charles and Maxine Walter manage about 200+ hives, and run all Russian stock.  Charles has been keeping bees on and off for the last 30+ years, and consistently, with his wife Maxine, since 2009. They relocated to Shepherdstown, WV, in the summer of 2009, with 15 hives.

At the local level Charles just completed serving his second term as the Vice President of the Eastern Panhandle Beekeepers Association and Maxine served 2011-2012 as the Membership Chairperson. They share the wonders of beekeeping among schools, 4H clubs and church youth groups and also offer workshops for groups of beekeepers or interested parties of all ages and walks of life.  These programs included presentations on: Nucs, Splits & Increases, Feeding & Sugar Boards,  Overwintering Nucs, Russian Bees and Raising Queens.

At the state level, Maxine is serving as the WV Beekeepers Association Newsletter Editor, and Charles is the EAS Director for West Virginia. Charles and Maxine are also members in good standing of the West Virginia Queen Producers, members of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, as well as the American Honey Producers Association and the WV Farm Bureau.  ,

Together, on a part time basis the focus of their attention is on the production of nucs, and their small queen boutique, where Russian queen honey bees are bred and selected to order.  Honey is a by-product that they welcome very much at the end of the season, and they’ve carved out a niche for it. They love sharing their love for bees, as well as continue to learn about this interesting creature.

They have given presentations at the Honey Expo in Parkersburg and the WVBA Fall Meetings as well as their own local association and various associations in WV, VA and MD.  These sessions have included the presentation topics listed above as well as demos on making creamed honey, lip balms, candles and hand lotion.  Maxine has been a popular attraction at the Fall meetings with her sessions on making bee inspired greeting cards,

Charles is currently working to complete his Certified level of the Master Beekeeping Program.  They have entered and won ribbons at state honey shows with their Comb Honey, Cream Honey, Frame Honey, Cut Comb and Chunk Honey.

They have been a great asset not only to their local association but to beekeeping organizations all over.  They are good ambassadors for the promotion of beekeeping in the state of West Virginia.

___________________________________________________________________

After retiring in 2000, Frank and Judy Wilhelm moved to Preston County.  Beekeeping runs in the family.  Judy’s Uncle Herbie and Aunt Vertrude Shafer lived nearby and had been beekeepers for years.   Frank and Judy began beekeeping on their own with mentoring from Uncle Herbie.  Then Frank helped Herbie with his bees until Herbie’s death in April 2013.

Frank and Judy started out with two hives, which have grown to twelve hives at present. Preston County has an abundance of bears but using an electric fence has been successful in deterring the bears.

Uncle Herbie and Aunt Vertrude invited Frank and Judy to go to meetings of the Marion County Beekeepers Association so that they could learn more about beekeeping. Since then, the Wilhelms have been valued members there.

In 2008 they worked to start the Preston County Beekeepers Association, which now has over 40 members.   After a couple of meetings, Judy became their Secretary.  She also serves as their representative on the WVBA Executive Board.

They help man the Preston County Beekeepers Association’s information booth at the annual Buckwheat Festival.  Their group was able to raise enough money to start a Youth Beekeepers Award to encourage more young people to become beekeepers. Since 2009, PCBA has selected one youth (ages 13—16) each year from written applications.  This youth receives a complete hive, bees, bee suit and veil, and other necessary equipment. Frank and Judy have made presentations to local 4-H meetings.  On one occasion, they went to their grandson’s 4th grade class in Alexandria, VA, to talk about the importance of bees and pollination.

When asked what has been the favorite part of their experiences as beekeepers, without hesitation, they said that what they value most is meeting with other beekeepers who they described as “great people.”  Frank takes many calls from local beekeepers who need help with their beekeeping questions and problems.  Often he travels to the beekeeper’s apiary to provide first-hand help—all of this without remuneration.  They also help other beekeepers with their extracting using their own equipment.

They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June.   Their son, Jeff, who lives in Pittsburgh, comes home every weekend to help them with the farm work and their bees.  Their daughter, Kelly Andrews, and her husband Steve live in Alexandria, VA, with their two sons, Spencer (17) and Silas (13).   When Spencer and Silas visit, they help with the farm work, including the bees

 

 

Have a Prosperous 2014

Maxine and I want to extend our wishes for a very happy New Year.   24

I know 2013 was a particularly challenging year for most of us beekeepers. The cold snaps early in the season, lots of rain, and at Walter’s Wholesome Goods, we faced some additional challenges.  But in spite of all of the distractions and obstacles, we made real progress in cementing and stabilizing our honey bee lines, getting the genetic certification for our lines, as well as securing a few more yards for the 2014 planned expansion, just to mention a few.

None of these achievements would have been possible without your unshakable commitment, and tireless support, and consideration for our honey bees, our different products of the hive, and all of our endeavors.  So as you look back on 2013, and celebrate this New Year, I hope you will pause to reflect on the many blessings that you’ve been showered with every single day, and the positive impact you’ve had on the lives around you.

Again, happy 2014 to you and your loved ones!  We are extremely honored that you’ve considered us as an option for your honey and bee needs. We hope to continue to be your first choice for many more seasons to come, and we look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2014.

Sincerely,

Charles & Maxine Walter
Walter’s Wholesome Goods
www.walterswholesomegoods.com

Bees for Sale

Walter’s Wholesome Goods apiaries are comprised of 100% Russian honey bees released by the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge, LA. Our out-apiaries are located across the region, spanning from West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. Learn More

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