Annual Androscoggin Beekeepers Potluck Supper: Wed., Feb 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Image result for dishes with honey                                                                                            This baked honey lemon chicken is a healthy take on a classic dish.

Androscoggin Beekeepers Club

Third Annual Beekeepers Potluck Supper

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM
Vestry Building, West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Rd.

No charge for the supper, but if you can, bring a dish with honey as an ingredient. If you can, let me know what dish you might bring, so we don’t end up with 8 desserts and no main dishes. (I will bring a couple of main dishes, and 3 bottles of mead, each different from each other…)

Our normal monthly hive brain dump after supper. I have lost one hive, the other one still going…

Normal meetings are the second Wednesday of each month, from September to April.  We will try to arrange hive openings for May, June and July.  Have suggestions for meeting topics or presenters?  Email Bill Hiss at, or 207-576-4497.

Dec. 11 Meeting topic: a Minot Beekeeper in Vietnam

Hi folks—

As you might know, I spent 9 weeks in Vietnam this fall as a volunteer consultant to a new university.  But while there I took photos, trying to capture both the stunning vitality of modern Vietnam, and also its very threatening environmental issues, from the air pollution problems of having a population of 100 million people largely using two-cycle scooter and motorbike engines for transport, to very ominous sea rise: Vietnam’s usable land area is tabletop flat with only tiny elevations above sea levels.

So our Dec. 11 program will be a little different: a PPT show on my stay, with some attention to agriculture and bees in Vietnam.

Desserts and coffee as usual.  6:30 for business meeting and hive check-in (with a call for requested program topics for 2020), program at 7.  At the West Auburn Congregational Church vestry, 811 West Auburn Rd.


Hive Opening at Whiting Farm, Sunday, Nov. 10 at 12 Noon, 876 Summer St., Auburn

Hi Folks–

Our next two meetings:  Hive opening this Sunday, Nov. 10, at noon at Whiting Farm, 876 Summer St., Auburn.  This will be our November meeting: no meeting at the West Auburn  Congregational Church on Wednesday, Nov.. 13.

Our December meeting will be at the normal time: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6:30.  The program will be a little different: “A Maine Beekeeper in Vietnam.”  I am just back from nine weeks as a volunteer consultant to a new university in Saigon, and will offer an illustrated PPT talk on the environmental issues facing Vietnam, and a few humorous reflections on my geezer adventure twelve time zones from Maine.

The Whiting Farm Hives.  You might remember that the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club installed two hives in June at the Whiting Farm in Auburn.  They are to be teaching hives that we can use to train new beekeepers, offer programs, expose people interested in the bees, and the like.  And they will help with pollination at the Whiting Farm, a non-profit now owned and managed the Murphy Homes organization.

Several members of the Club have been checking on the hives over the summer and fall, and both were growing.  At a recent visit, it was found that one of the hives was without a queen, so the two hives were merged, and that seems to have gone successfully.

To have a last look before winter and be ready to close up the hive, we will have a hive opening this Sunday, Nov, 10, at noon.  Depending on weather, this may be a quick or more extended opening, but we wanted to offer the members a chance to see the hive before winter came.

The hives are up in back of the plastic greenhouses at Whiting’s.  You can either park by the greenhouses and walk about 100 yards to the hives, or drive up one of the dirt tracks between the greenhouses and come right to the hives.  When Charlie Armstrong and I were there this last weekend, one of the farm managers was plowing up a new field immediately next to the hives, which they will plant mostly in berries: blueberries, blackberries, and others. The bees and the berries will presumably both be happy with their close neighborhood arrangement!  Snaps of the hive and the new berry field below.

Bill Hiss



Hive Opening at Rick Drottar’s hives, Aug. 10 at 11 am

Hi folks–
Several of us have gotten nucs from Rick Drotter, and he is doing great work growing hives and queens. He is a walking example of what Phil Gavin from the Honey Exchange talked to us about, of growing our own queens and nucs, to build more resistance to weather and infestations.
Rick will host a hive opening at his home at 95 Webster Road in Lisbon, on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 11 AM. The rain date is exactly a week later, on Aug. 17 at the same time.
Rick has had great success with his hives in recent years, and this hive opening can be a great learning experience for us.
Also, I have checked on the two hives which the ABC has installed at Whiting’s Farm in Auburn, and they seem to be off to a good start, filling out foundation, so that I added a medium box of empty foundation to each hive, and refilled the sugar water jugs.
I am away on a family trip from today, 7/22, until Aug. 7. Charlie and Dan will keep an eye on the hives for that time.
Cheers! Bill

ABC Meeting this Wednesday, May 8

Hi folks–We will be meeting this Wednesday the 8th at 6:30 for our business meeting and brain dump, and will have a discussion at 7 which carries forward our April agenda, which had to be cancelled. The topic is controlling varroa mites, and especially the various ways to use oxalic acid. Members should bring any materials or tools they want to explain, if possible. As always, coffee and desserts. At the vestry building of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Rd in Auburn. See you there! Bill

Managing Varroa Mites: Oxalic Acid and Other Treatments at April 10th Meeting

Shoveling out the hives!


At our March meeting, after a wonderful Beekeepers’ Potluck Supper (eat your hearts out, those who could not attend), we talked about the various ways to administer oxalic acid as a treatment for varroa mites.  Several members of our ABC group are using oxalic acid now, and several others are interested in using it.  We decided to have a home-grown meeting for April, with those using oxalic acid bringing samples of their equipment for a “dry run” show and tell, and discussion of the various approaches that we have tried in recent years to keep varroa mites under the best control we can.

As usual. we will start with a “business meeting” and brain dump on general topics at 6:30, with our discussion of administration of oxalic acid first, and then any discussion of other forms of mite control.

As always, coffee and dessert will be supplied, and by then the West Auburn Congregational Church parking lot should be mostly dried out.

Give me a call or email with any questions–576-4497 or


Beekeepers’ Potluck Supper for March 13th Meeting, with short presentation on smaller, lighter hives

Hi folks–

Two or three times over the years we have had a “Beekeepers’ Potluck Supper” for one of our meetings, with a request that people bring a dish in which honey is an ingredient.  So we will have another Beekeepers’ Potluck for our March 13th meeting, at 6:30 PM in the vestry building of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Rd in Auburn. Perhaps if you can, send me an email ( to let me know what you would like to bring, so we don’t end up with 15 plates of honey peanut brittle.  I will do a big platter with meat, to provide at least one main dish.  But in the past, people’s favorites have covered a good variety, so bring what you like to make, and don’t feel that honey is a requirement, just a suggestion.  (So bring those lobsters, standing rib of prime rib, or Lafitte-Rothschild ’59 wine, even without the honey ingredient…)

Also, we will have a short presentation from Jonathan Mitschele on a topic probably important for several of us: how to adjust as the heavy weights of deep boxes full of honey become a problem.  Below is a description:

Small is Beautiful, Light, and More Successful.

I have realized that I am not really up to lifting 60 lb supers off of the top of a hive that is nearly as tall as I, so I am changing the way I do things with bees. I am running two-queen side-by-side hives that consist of a pair of stacked 4-frame nuc boxes sitting on a modified 10-frame bottom board and covered with a standard 10-frame telescoping outer cover. I find survival is better than it is with standard 10-frame hives and honey production is about the same. The best part, of course, is that a full 4-frame medium nuc box (a) weighs less than 25 lbs, so easily lifted, and (b) has only four frames in each box, so doing an inspection and finding the queen is a breeze. With a table saw, a dado blade, and some scrap lumber you can make your own boxes. Come to the March 13 ABC meeting to learn more.

And, with all of our meetings, they are open to the public, so feel free to invite a friend or bring your family if they would enjoy it, or someone is thinking of taking up beekeeping.  We had 25 attending our Feb. meeting with Phil Gaven, so will hope for an equally good turnout for our Potluck.

Bill Hiss