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