Monday, June 16, 2008

June 14, 2008 Training Session at Allen Leadmon's beeyard

SEVEN members of the West Virginia Queen Producers met at 9 am at Allen Leadmon's beeyard in Hurricane, WV for a training session with Adam Finkelstein & Kelly Rausch Imogene Leadmon had a wonderful breakfast spread with coffee, donuts, sweet rolls and everything you could ask for to start your day right [THANKS, IMOGENE!] To say that Allen has an impressive farm would be an understatement. It is truly a beautiful place. We couldn't have asked for a better location to do the training.

Gabe Blatt had brought a tent to put over the two hives we would graft from since there was rain in the forecast, but it turned out to be a great day after all. We proceeded to the Honey House for the morning session and Adam presented his thoughts on how we should be proceeding to raise queens. After the morning session, we went inside the Leadmon home for a lunch spread. Gary Strickland had made his famous brownies with rice crispies, chocolate and all kinds of delicious things in them [THANKS, GARY!]. Gordon & Jean Vernon stopped by the see how things were going and got a good report about our progress.

After lunch it was out to the beeyard to find some frames of eggs to graft from. It was amazing how well Allen's packages had progressed this year in such a short time. The eggs were found and we returned to the Honey House for a lesson in grafting. Mike Stickler took lots of additional photos. Everyone had a chance to graft. Several people also learned about how to use their Nicot grafting kit. Adam & Kelly answered many more qeustions and were very compimentary about our efforts to raise local queens. They felt certain that we could do this in West Virginia.

We all look forward to seeing Adam and Kelly at the HAS meeting in July in Huntington where they will be teaching queen rearing classes and discussing Instrumental Insemination. Additionally, the members of the West Virginia Queen Producers will have a private meal with them to ask follow-up questions and discuss where we go from here.

Thanks to Adam, Kelly, Allen, Imogene, Mike, Gary, Gabe and everyone who helped to make this training such a great success!

June 15, 2008 Training Class


Dave and Jean, I just want to thank you both for a great day. I really enjoyed the round table discussion and the calm atmosphere. I think I am speaking for all of us that this is better for learning. Jean, thanks so much for the great food, and drinks. Pastor, thank you for letting us use your home. Adam and Kelly, thank you for taking your time away from your family and bee yard to try to teach us something. Maybe I will learn how to graft queens, may be not. I will practice a lot. It was a wonderful day. Again thank all of you, Have a great week.


We had a fantastic day yesterday, blessed with great weather, good company and the finest of instructors. All went well as we progressed through the instruction and discussion session and then went to the hives. Sorry we don't have photos of the hive work (our photographer was chicken!). The hives are about 150 yards away past the truck seen in photo #4 and blocked from view by a grove of pine trees.

The afternoon started with us going to the hives and checking the cell builder that I had grafted into last Friday. As timing would have it we removed the cells and installed them in queen less Nuc's that I had set up this Friday for the class. Of the 18 grafts, 12 had taken, two had just hatched "I am no expert and this was my first attempt at grafting". We left the 2 in the cell builder box and installed six in the finisher/mating Nucs. The remaining four cells where given to Doris Mellott and Cathy Loque for installation in their hives (let me know how they do).

We then pulled some brood from my breeder colony and went back to the class area for some hands on. All marveled at the small size of the larva required and the tools that Adam had showed us to make. We started to get the hang of using the tools and locating the larva. After the class broke I completed the grafting and installed one each 18 cell frame into two cell builders that I had readied for the class. Now it's wait and see, I should know later this week.

Thanks again Adam and Kelly for your fine instructions and coaching. A special thanks to Dave and Donna Spencer who gave us the use of their lands and home to hold the class. Jean and I gave the Spencer's a copy if the Jackson County Beekeepers Honey Cook Book as a token of our appreciation. And as always to my wife Jean, many thanks for preparing such a great meal (even if you wouldn't go to the hives).

Unfortunately Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Dillon where not able to attend. I will be glad to have them come out with me one weekend and go through the grafting procedures.

If you notice the grafting table use, is a modified Black & Decker Work Mate. This thing works great since the angle of the work surface can be adjusted to suit the user. It may also be folded down and used on the tailgate of the truck for a quick and portable grafting table.

Lets keep the queen raring going and improve our stocks.

David Rectenwald

P.S. Your welcome Doris.

Thanks to all involved in the June 15, Kenna hands-on training. It was excellent. I had tried my Jenter set-up prior to going to the training and everything and more was covered. I was very pleased. I will let David know how the 3 Kenna Queens do. I left with three perfect queen cells ready to hatch at any second. Fortunately, none started flying around my truck before I arrived home. They were immediately placed in queenless nucs and the worker bees were very pleased to have them arrive...I'm sure. Congratulations on the order of $7200 WV Queen orders for next year and the added Florida banking for the queens. What a wonderful effort of cooperation and coordinaton!! Good luck to us all in keeping WV bees safe. -Aussie

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Photos - WVQP Northern Region Second Training Session

Our Second training session was held at Church View Farm, Three Churches, WV on Saturday May24th. We again covered a wealth of information as well as worked in the apiary. It was just an outstanding day weather wise. Sunny and mid 60's, an Almost Heaven WV Day. The sweet locust bloom smell was in the air. Bees were also working the blackberry blossoms. Ruth captured some good photos of the locust bloom between our pond and the hive locations. We scouted the location for a mating nuc yard on the path down to the pond. A good sheltered location. I plan to build some work platforms to set mating nucs on. We even picked spinach after class. And Ruth captured a few rhododendron bloom pics. One minor disappointment was that we were had not received the Nicot System from Betterbee yet so we were not able to play with that and install it.
Hopefully it will arrive this week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WVQP Northern Region Session Two Training

Session Two WV Queen Producer Training will be held on Saturday May24th beginning at 9:30 AM at Church View Farm near Romney, WV. Using Google Maps just search for Church View Farm and you'll see the map flag for the farm location. Just call 304-822-3878 if you get off track. Directions are from Route 50 about 3 miles East of Romney, turn onto Jersey Mountain Road. This turn is between the Liberty Station and the Exxon Station. Come approx 9 miles through Three Churches, WV. About 1 mile past Three Churches, turn right onto J R Rannells Road. Go 1/8 mile and turn right onto Peach Tree Farms Lane which is a gravel lane. Come to the back, we are the white farm house, gray barns, white outbuildings behind wood fence. At the front corner of the fence, you'll see Martin, 2027 which is our box #. At that point you'll likely hear barking which is our security system going off. You'll see a large black dog of questionable and highly suspect parentage. That is Daisy. If you smile and wave you've probably got a new friend. Her day pass price of admission is a pat on the head. The black and white border collie running in circles, yipping and jumping in the air is Zoey. A lovable border collie and tick magnet that won't herd sheep, but she may herd your vehicle to a stop. She means well. Welcome to the farm, hope you like your coffee strong.

Link to WVQP Home Page

You can now get to this WVQP blog site from the WVQP Home Page. The link is in the left margin and is entitled "WVQP Blog".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What a great first class!

Thanks to all who helped make it possible. Special thanks to Adam Finkelstein for teaching us & Steven Martin for organizing this class. Thanks also to Steven for creating this blog & posting the pictures. It's almost like being there. Thanks again, Dan O'Hanlon - President, WV Queen Producers

WVQP Northern Region Session One Training

The first training session for the WVQP Northern Region was held on May 18, 2007 at the location of in Frederick, MD. The instructor was Adam Finkelstein.