Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pollinator Resource

Merry Christmas too each of you! I found this nice 24 page pollinator's booklet for the central appalachian region and wanted to share it with you. It's got a good list of species to consider planting when you are doing some landscape renewal this spring. I will try to remember to make a few copies to have at our January 9th meeting.

Follow the link below

Kind regards,

Ben Cooper

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December Meeting - Holiday Party

The final meeting of the year was so much fun! Everyone was in a festive mood and we all were looking forward to having a plate full of tasty snacks and exchanging jingle gifts. The 2009 Officers were recognized - President: Fred Litten; Vice President: Ben Cooper; and Secretary/Treasurer: Mike Burkett. The club is in good hands!

Steve started the meeting by reviewing the highlights of each meeting to include the topic and who the guest speaker was. Ruth had created a summary chart for each month to include the topic and who gave the presentation. Then made up a poster board of the entire year highlighting each meeting. We covered a lot of ground in 2008! Thank you Steve for providing the club with interesting guests and discussion topics!!! Also your work setting up the Google work space and blog gave the Allegheny Mountain Beekeepers Association a professional presence and the ability to share information "between" meetings and that will enable the club to accomplish so much more.

Ben Cooper was selected as "BEEKEEPER OF THE YEAR - 2008" for Outstanding dedication to beekeeping in 2008. This includes activities related to the Allegheny County fair, support of youth programs, knowledge sharing and overall beekeeping activities; marketing efforts such as the bee costume and displays; Generosity of the numerous hand crafted beeswax molds that he gave to individuals and donated to the club raffles; The sharing of knowledge and contributions of pictures and reporting on the AMBA blog and workspace; Research and initiation to support current AMBA grant applications; Continually being upbeat, optimistic and engaging during discussion of beekeeping and related activities. Congratulations Ben!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

2008 Annual Banquet

The annual banquet was held at the Cozy Kettle restaurant on Rt220 near State Line, PA.   The dinner was exceptional!   The main entrees were Fried Fish fillets, BBQ ribs, and Roasted Turkey breast.  Salad, veggies, bread basket, and dessert was also provided.  Everything was home made and delicious.  

Forty-five members attended.  We had over 60 door prizes provided from bee supply vendors.   Everyone had a nice time.  Winners were asked to write a thank you note to the vendor who donated their prize.  

The 2009 Officers were elected.  Fred Litten, President; Ben Cooper, Vice President; and Mike Burkett, Secretary/Treasurer.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Allegany County fair 2008

Here is a picture from the Allegany County fair.
Some of you were able to see the "bee" at the August meeting / Honey Feast. The donated honey and wax figures brought $100 for the 4-H scholarship fund at the bake sale auction Tuesday evening.

A special thanks goes out to all who took the time to display some of their products and for those who came out and talked with the people about beekeeping. Thanks goes out to Harry Mallow for providing the observation hive each evening.

Honey Feast

Our meeting this month focused on foods and snacks that are made with honey. Members brought in their dishes and recipes. We discussed the recipes and then enjoyed the snacks. I provided some brief information about fall treatments that I had received from the Brushy Mountain
enewsletter. Perhaps this "Honey Feast " will become an annual event that coincides with the annual honey harvest time frame.

July Meeting

Several members were traveling to the Heartland Bee Association meeting in Huntington, WV this month. Mike Burkett provided the group with a demonstration of some honey extracting equipment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Photos - June 21st Field Day

Janet Kessel took a lot of photos at the Field day. Here is a slide show of her photos. Thanks Janet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beekeeping Field Day 6-21-08

Many AMBA members attended the beekeeping field day held at Camp Hickory in Accident, MD on saturday June 21st. Camp Hickory is tucked away in the woods behind the North Garrett High School and the North Garrett Middle School currently under construction. Its an environmental education center for all ages of students. The class room was very nice, you'll notice all of the taxiderminy around the room. It was just a short walk to the filed site. Before the meeting even began a swarm was captured right by the building. We very much appreciate the work that the Garrett county club did to set up the meeting and it gave us a good opportunity to meet members of the Garrett county club. We invitd them to our palnned Honey feast which will be held August 8th. WV Apiarist George Clutter gave a presentation and discussed many of the support programs for beekeepers that WV has implemented. Bob Noel gave a presentation about the formic acid research that he and Dr Amrine had been doing. The wetaher was very nice and it was a very field day event. Oh and the chicken lunch was exceptional.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June Meeting - Guest Speaker Toni Burnham

At our June meeting, Toni Burnham, beekeeper and author of the City Bees blog ( gave us an outstanding presentation about her experiences in beekeeping in the Washington DC area. We sincerely appreciated her driving up to Cumberland for the meeting. She keeps hives on her rooftop in DC and at several other locations. Her City Bees blog is a record of her experiences as she learned beekeeping, expanded to other locations, and began speaking to other groups about beekeeping. In addition to her rooftop, she has astutely found private, protected locations for beekeeping in an urban setting including a monastery and a public park. In short she is a case study of what beekeepers go through in learning beekeeping, expanding, and then trying to share the knowledge by mentoring others. Her City Bees blog is how she has documented and passes on what she has learned. She described the wide range of bee friendly plantings in range of her residence. She also brought a large selection of her soaps that she has made and she very graciously gave our members samples. It was an exceptional lesson in overcoming any potential obstacles that might have prevented beekeeping in her setting. Her spirit of giving, and her willingness to share her beekeeping experiences, are key indicators of her success. We sincerely appreciated her visit and presentation.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Late Night Visitor

I had a late night visitor to my small bee yard. Hopefully, you won't have this problem. I'm thankful for the PA Game Commission for their quick response. It could have been much worse.
Thursday evening, a bear happened into my bee yard after consuming my neighbor's bird feeders. Lucky for me, he had a bit of a full belly. Still you can see the damage done.

I called PA Game Commission by noon on Friday and registered my damage. An officer from the Game Commission called to investigate my complaint at 2:30 PM. By 4:30 PM, the same day, he dropped off the following baited trap.

The trap door was closed Saturday morning when I woke up and a 300 pound, male black bear made the misstake of thinking those doughnuts were a quicker meal than busting into the bee hives. He earned a free trip to the Ohiopyle area. There's a good chance he might be back. This time he will learn about electricity.

I was very impressed with the effectiveness of the PA Game Commission and how quickly they resonded. When everyone else was enjoying a nice holiday weekend, at least two people were on the clock and doing there job very well. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Queen Rearing Presentation - May 9, 2008

We had a great presentation at our May meeting by Adam Finkelstein and Kelly Rausch of It served as a great introduction to the art and science of queen raising. This is a very timely topic with the current launch of the West Virginia Queen Producers Association. Adam will be our instructor for he WVQP training sessions. We went for more than 2 hours as there were many questions from the group. A few AMBA members have experimented with queen raising but only on a small scale.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 11th Meeting

At out April meeting, we had a panel discussion of current Spring hive management issues. Harry Mallow, Richard Cutter and Dwight Kessel served as our expert panel and Steve M moderated the discussion. Steve made several announcements at the outset. out of Pittsburgh is looking to buy local honey for their on line market. Keep them in mind as a customer for early honey harvest. Steve has all the contact info. They are essentially on on line fresh produce market. Many members reported very strong hives at this time. Some have even installed honey supers to provide early expansion room for the hives. Dwight has done very well. He went into winter with 22 hives and had 21 survivors, a great result. It appears that winter losses have been below normal for our group. Most feel they are getting good results by using Honey Bee Healthy and grease patties. Steve mentioned a new book he had called Natural Beekeeping which covers a lot of this material. After a cool March, hive activity in early April has been good. Richard and Harry reported that numerous hives could be split right now, which is a few weeks ahead of normal. The panel felt that all of this could mean a strong swarm season so better swarm management is probably required this year. In particular, we discussed the technique of installing 3 new empty frames in a crowded bottom box as a swarm prevention measure. Harry gave us an update of the preparation for the June 21st Field Day at Old Camp Hickory in Accident, MD. Dr Amrine and WVDA staff will speak and we will be having numerous demonstrations so the excitement is starting to build. Steve will put an agenda together in the AMBA workspace. Our raffle gifts included farm eggs, jarred products, flower seeds, a potted herb, and hive frames as well as a 50-50 drawing. Richard won the 50-50 and donated the proceeds back to the club. Thank you Richard.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

AMBA Meeting 3-14-08

At out meeting we watched the short DVD "Sister Bee". See for details. Its a beautiful documentary of some women beekeepers and their experiences. After pizza, we then had a discussion of value added products and how some AMBA members are packaging and selling their products. Ruth Martin showed some of her products and packaging and related how well some of the eye catching tags and labels help display the products. Ben Cooper then discussed some of his molded figurines. The main point is that the value of the honey or beeswax in the product is minimal, but the value of the product produced is very high and can command much higher sales prices. One example Steve mentioned were the products from Stoneleigh Farms ( and included lavender honey soap and shampoo. Other members had some experience which they mentioned. For ex, Harry Mallow mentioned that a vendor had not sold much of his honey but when the honey bear was dressed up with abit of ribbon, it started selling very fast. We held a raffle and prizes were awarded. Richard Cutter brought in a super, Ruth Martin brought in eggs, and Ben Cooper brought in a large quantity of molds. The gifts donated are much appreciated. A 50-50 drawing was also made and the prize was $55 or so.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

AMBA Meeting - Feb 8, 2008

At our February meeting, Jonathan Showalter of Beeline Apiaries and Woodenware gave a presentation to the club about his wooden ware factory. The factory has just been in production a few weeks at the new location which is just North of Rainsburg, PA Club members, especially the wood workers, were interested in the production methods and tooling used to create beehive parts and supplies.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Harry Mallow's Observation Hives

At our January meeting Harry Mallow kindly brought in two observation hives for display and discussion at the meeting. He was excited to share the fact that the queen had already started laying brood. Harry stated that this was the first time he had observation hives going in January. He'll give us additional detail later but the recent 70 degree weather has obviously energized the queen. Walter had his camera at the meeting and we captured a few very nice photos of Harry and the hives he brought in to the meeting. Thank you Harry. It was exciting for all of us to see active bees in the middle of winter!

AMBA January 11,2008 meeting

The first meeting of 2008 of the ALLEGHENY MOUNTAIN BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION was called to order by Steve Martin. The minutes and treasures report were given by Mike Burkett. The meeting quickly turned into a demonstration by Steve Martin of the new website as Steve drove us through all the amenities of this new and useful site. It is apparent early on of the time and effort that has been done on this site to make it user friendly and also to serve our members. It is a much appreciated job that Steve has done. Later we turned our attention to some very nice refreshments and then the meeting resumed with talk about a summer field day, June 21,2008 at Camp Hickory to be shared with Hampshire and Garrett County bee clubs. Expect to hear more on this as we get closer to that date . Many thanks to Hop Cassidy from Garrett County and Harry Mallow for their input and suggestions on this upcoming event.
One of the highlights of the meeting were 2 observation bee hives brought in by Harry Mallow. The queen in one of these was laying eggs as the meeting transpired. This really is quite uncommon for our area to witness this in January. Normally we expect queens to start laying a small brood pattern in January and continue laying as pollen becomes available from maple tree buds, but we have never seen this in a observation hive this early in the year! The significance of this is that we can raise our queens this time of year and not have to buy queens from the southern part of the United States.We will be able to do this and trade queens with other members to maintain some bio-diversity in our bees and only use the queens from hives who show the characteristics we want,docile bees with good housekeeping traits . This is exciting as we have been preaching to our members to try this technique of raising queens. More on this later as we will interview Harry Mallow to find out exactly what he did to manage this.

Walt Shreve