Educational Topic Suggestions for Chapter Meetings

Sometimes trying to keep the educational portion of a local chapter meeting fresh, new, interesting, and engaging can be a challenge. Mostly folks want to know how to do something that they don’t already know how to. Keeping a balance of topics that are interesting both to new beekeepers and those more experienced is one reason to construct an agenda for the entire year so that you can visually see if you have established that balance. It also helps your membership plan to participate.
Encourage your ‘seasoned’ beekeepers to participate by asking them to prepare lectures, comments, and perhaps bring samples of equipment for comparison. Encourage your newer beekeepers to participate by asking them to help the presenter(s) if feasible.

ASSISTING PRESENTERS: A minimum of two weeks prior to each monthly presentation, your program director should confirm that the presenter(s) are going to attend, and inquire of them what they may need. Don’t assume they will bring their own laptop, projector, or other equipment. Ask them how much time they will need: for set-up and reaffirm the agreed length of time for their presentation. Does the meeting area need to be arranged in any special order? Give the presenter a contact phone number so that if they are lost, or running late, they have someone to contact. Good communication is essential.

Over the past year the MBP committee has been collecting suggestions from the membership. Following is a listing of possible ideas for your program director to consider.
Most of these can be presented in a variety of formats
 open forum discussion or show-and-tell
 power point (or other) presentation by an experienced local member or visiting specialist
 some can be done in the form of a workshop, or field-day
 check the video/audio library for available materials
We recommend that you plan ahead. As an example, have a presentation about swarm collection one or two months before swarm season. That would allow interested members to gather resources to participate in what they have just learned at your meeting.

Following is a suggested list of topics. You may find that you can combine topics, or shorten the intended presentation to one specific concern within the topic. It is for this reason that we have detailed content within topics. Perhaps you have time for a 15 minute presentation, 30 minutes, an hour. You can look through this listing to see what may work for you and your membership.
Please email the MBP committee with any additional suggestions.. If your chapter is doing something terrific that works for you, let us know so that we might share it throughout the membership.

UPDATES: Present monthly updates concerning NCSBA programs, news from NCSU, news from the Apiary Inspection Service, NCDA&CS programs and news of other chapters’ activities (past and pending). By making the membership aware of the activities of the state, you will promote a sense of belonging and inclusion; thus encouraging involvement.
Committee Presentations:
You might arrange for a member of one of the NCSBA committees to come and make a presentation to your club explaining what the program is and how it might be beneficial to the beekeeper.

Honey :
 Types marketed
 Heating honey – How, Why or why not
 Honey Labeling Laws – regulations and marketing
 How to make Creamed (whipped) honey
 How to make ‘cut comb’ honey
 How to make ‘chunk’ honey
 How to make honey-straws
 Extraction – from the hives techniques
 Extraction – in the honey house
 Bottling : how to reduce foam, crystals, lint, filtering, cleaning up afterwards
 Safe Storage of honey – temperature considerations and effects
 Pollen:
 How bees collect it, distribute it, use it
 How do beekeepers collect it, clean it, store it
 Uses such as pollen patties & dietary supplements; marketing and sales.
 How do bees collect resins, mix resins with wax, How bees use it
 How do beekeepers collect it, clean it, store it, market it.
 Uses: Making varnish, homeopathic antiseptics.
 Gathering, cleaning, filtering and storage for future use
 making Candles
 making Furniture Polish
 making Lotions
 making Balms
 making Waterproofing
 making Blocks
Encaustic Painting
 Marketing
 Contests & Judging
 Mead:
 How to make mead (carbonated vs not carbonated)
 Preparing mead for judging & contests.
Photographing Bees:
 How-To
 Products you can make
Copyright Laws
 “commercial” Pollination:
How to move hives
Understanding crops to be pollinated
 Pollination contracts between grower and beekeeper
 how the ‘big’ commercial pollinators do this.
Cooking With Honey:
 moisture considerations
 recipes that work and are favorites
 FAQs
Venom: Apitherapy
Honey Tasting Expert: compare to wine tasting – courses now available in the U.S.

Record Keeping: Present options from handwritten notebooks up to paid-for computer programs
Safety & First-Aid in the Apiary: basic procedures, up to and including Epi-Pen Training and CPR
Equipment Comparisons: pros and cons 
 10 & 8 frame ‘Langstroth’ running with 1 less frame
 ‘Langstroth’, Top Bar, Horizontal, Flow-hive, other
 Veils and Suits and Gloves
 Hive Tools
 Solar Melters vs Crock Pot and other wax melting
 Frame Types:
 Foundation Types:
 Screened vs Solid inner covers and bottom boards
 Extractors
Equipment Construction
 How to make a Polariscope
 How to make an Observation Hive
 How to make a Solar Melter
 How to make a sugar-shake or alcohol wash ‘kit’
 How to assemble frames & place foundation
 How to construct hive bodies
NUCs how to assemble; when, why & how to use them
Paints, Stains, Sealers or Not
Swarm Prevention:
 Demaree Method
adding space
 Swarm Capture
 equipment needs (bee vacs, moving screens, foundation supports, bait hives)
Bee Removal from Structures
 legal concerns
 physical abilities and equipment needs
Managing for Nectar & Honey Production:
 70% rule
 checker-boarding
supering – adding space, when and how
 Honey Extraction
 see above in hive products
 Determining when the moisture content allows extraction
How to remove honey frames from the apiary – discuss the various techniques (fumigants, brush, use of smoke, bee escapes etc.)
How to remove honey from frames in the honey house – discuss equipment needs and varieties (de-capping knives, scrapers, de-capping tanks, pail heaters, refractometer, filters, etc.)
 How to clean up, or store extracted frames
Spring Management
 Stimulating colonies
 Watch food resources – avoid starvation
Young queens / Re-queening?
 Making Splits
 Rearranging boxes
 Installing a new queen
 Installation of a package of bees
 how to mark a queen (why or why not do this)
Summer Management:
 Monitoring for Varroa
 Monitoring for SHB
 Monitoring for Wax Moths
 Monitoring for weak colonies / combining colonies
 Water resource(s)
 Fall Management & Winter Prep
 reducing equipment
 equipment and wax storage
 early fall varroa management
 understanding winter ‘fat’ bees and vitellogenin
 mouse infestation prevention
 temperature and the dynamics of the winter-cluster
Winter Management
 wind blocks
 ventilation
 checking food stores
 temperature
Feeding Bees:
 Sugar Syrup: ratios; wet vs. dry
 Pollen & Substitutes
 additives
 Techniques, feeder types
 Making Splits
Combining Colonies
Queen Rearing
 Different Methods: Doolittle, Miller, etc.
 Raising your own
 Understanding the math
 Understanding mating
 Genetics
 Understanding artificial insemination (pros and cons)
Diseases & other maladies: Recognizing the symptoms; Knowing the causes; Knowing what a beekeeper can do to reduce the occurrence and/or relieve the symptoms; knowing the effect each can have on the colony.
 Nosema
 American Foulbrood
 European Foulbrood
 Deformed Wing Virus
 Chronic Bee Paralysis
 Black hairless syndrome
 Sacbrood
 Chalkbrood
 Starvation
 Chilled
Pests: Recognizing the symptoms &/or pest; knowing the life cycle (developmental and reproductive needs of the pest); know what the causes are; know what the effects are; know what a beekeeper can do to reduce the incidences and/or relieve the effects of the pests.
 SHB Small Hive Beetles
 Understand their life cycle, reproduction and development needs
 equipment used to control (traps, hive placement etc.)
 recognize them and know the damage they can cause
 GWM Greater Wax Moth
 Understand their life cycle, reproduction and development needs
 equipment used to control (traps)
 recognize them and their effects on your colonies
 Tracheal Mites
 recognize the symptoms
 know what effect they can have
 what the beekeeper can do to relieve the situation
 Varroa Mites
 understanding the life cycle is crucial to varroa control
 management (treatment) products and techniques & their effects on you and their effects on your bees and hive products
 drone brood removal
 sugar dusting / spraying
 broodless period (its effect on management techniques)
 temperature restrictions of products
 honey super restrictions of products
 New Pests on the horizon: Zombie Flies, Tropilaelaps Clareae, other mites
 Bear
 bear fencing
 Opossum, Raccoon, Mice, Braula Flies, Ants, Yellow Jackets
 equipment to thwart
IPM: Integrated Pest Management
 Know what the definition is, and what the use of IPM can do for you
 Counting varroa to understand the level of infestation and threshold
 sugar shake / alcohol wash / sticky-board
 Pesticides:
 how to read a pesticide label (understanding the specific effect a product may or may not have on honey bees; application requirements; the label is the law)
 how to prepare your hives when notified of a pending (and legal) pesticide application that might affect your colonies
 what to do if you suspect your bees have been poisoned by a pesticide application near you ( who to call, what to do and not do)
Other Stinging Insects:
 Other Bees [ “blue-orchard..aka “mason” bees / bumble bees /sweat bees]  their strengths and weaknesses as pollinators
 Other ( wasps – variety / hornets) [paper wasp, mud-dauber, golden-digger, black-faced ‘hornet’, yellow jackets, cicada killers, flightless wasp aka velvet ant, European hornet]  their strengths and weaknesses as pollinators
 how they differ from bees
Races of Bees:
Africanized Honey Bees ( AHB)
 how they differ from European HB (development and characteristics)
 how they take over a geographic area
 measures and practices in place in NC to reduce infiltration of AHB
 how is testing for hygienic behavior done
 Buckfast
 Russian

HONEYbee foraging plants
 parts of a flower (emphasis on reproduction)
 plants that are toxic to honey bees
 plants that honeybees dislike or cannot forage well upon
 plants that make good honey in YOUR area
 plants that offer good pollen in YOUR area