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


Master Beekeeper Phil Gaven to present to ABC on Wed, Feb. 13th

Androscoggin Beekeepers Club Offers Presentation by Master Beekeeper Phil Gaven

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club will have a presentation by Master Beekeeper Phil Gaven:

A giant step toward sustainable beekeeping can be made by multiplying your number of queens from survivor stock.  We will discuss methods for backyard queen rearing with the ultimate goal of spending less money buying bees.

The presentation will be at the Vestry of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Road in Auburn.  A brief business meeting and brain dump on our hives at 6:30 will be followed by Phil’s presentation at 7:00.  Coffee and desserts will be served, and the meeting is open to the public.

Phil Gaven with his wife Meghan and daughters Maura and Caitlin have owned the Honey Exchange in Portland since 2011.  Starting with a single hive of bees in 2008, over the several years their enthusiasm grew as they mentored new beekeepers, did presentations at local schools, took classes and kept reading about and studying honeybees.

The Honey Exchange expresses their admiration for all honeybees do for the planet.  It is a central place where beekeepers can extract their honey conveniently, and buy the equipment they need for their apiaries.  The store gives everyone an opportunity to learn about honeybees, safely see the workings of the bees in their observation hive, and support local beekeepers who sell their honey, beeswax products, and other products of the hive.

Jen Lund, Maine State Apiarist, will speak to ABC on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 6:30


Jennifer Lund - Maine State Apiarist

Jennifer Lund – State of Maine State Apiarist and Bee Inspector

Read more:

Jen Lund, the Maine State Apiarist, will speak to the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club on Wednesday, Dec, 12 at the Vestry Building of the West Auburn Congregational Church (811 West Auburn Road, Auburn.)

The business meeting and general info swap of what is happening in our hives is at 6:30, and Jen will speak at 7:00.  She will speak either on the latest information on how to deal with varroa mites, or how to do a hive autopsy.  We all have varroa issues, and at least in my five years in the club, we have never heard how to do a hive autopsy, so either presentation should be intriguing.

Desserts and coffee will be provided.

Call Bill Hiss with any questions:  207-576-4497 or

Our January program will either be Phil Gavin from the Honey Exchange in Portland or our annual Beekeepers Pot Luck Supper, with all the dishes including honey.  Our Feb. meeting will be the other program of the two.



November 2018 Meeting Announcement

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held  Wednesday, November 14th at the vestry of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Road, Auburn, ME 04210.  Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “The Maine Bumble Bee Atlas: A Multi-Year Citizen Science Project to Survey Bumble Bee Species in Maine” by speaker Kalyn Bickerman-Martens.
Kalyn ( is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Maine and her work focuses on the health of Maine’s bumble bees and wild blueberry pollination. Her research interests include disease ecology and the natural history of Maine. Kalyn helps to coordinate the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas, a citizen science project led by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to document the diversity, distribution, and abundance of bumble bee species in Maine.