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The Diablo Bee - September 2021

editor - Jacalyn Kildare | Published on 9/4/2021

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 Diablo Bee 
  September 2021

Message from the President

Happy Fall (yes, it’s September)!  There’s a lot to cover in this month’s Newsletter:


•          Our September 9th meeting will be presented via Zoom.  It’s the best and safest way to meet while the uncertainties linked to the variant are still with us.  Please log on for a brief business meeting (election!) and then enjoy the great program:  Gardening for Bees.  Two MDBA beekeepers who are also Master Gardeners will give the presentation.  Check out Member Education’s corner for information below.


Did I mention an election?  On the 9th: you’ll elect the 2022 MDBA Board of Directors and information on submitting your nomination(s) for Beekeeper of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. 


•          With regret, the MDBA Board has canceled the October BBQ and raffle.  To host the kind of festive party and over-the-top raffle that is MDBA’s tradition for the last meeting of our year, we need a big space (the Pavilion), a sound system, good lighting, lots of food and lots of members.  After much discussion, we reluctantly agreed to postpone our Big Event until 2o22.  Stay tuned:  we’re targeting Spring, before April’s Bee Day, for the rescheduled BBQ & raffle.


•          We are SO EXCITED about the new MDBA website!  Board members Jaci Kildare and Pete Kritscher have spent hours tailoring the website software to fit your needs as beekeepers and MDBA members.  You’ll be able to sign on and complete your own membership profile; ask questions and exchange ideas with other members; sign up for special interest groups (bee photography?  non-traditional hives?); watch videos of past programs and mini bee days– so many options to explore.  Please read more about it in this Newsletter and join us at our October meeting as we walk thru the interactive website and see all the tools available for your use. 


•          The California State Beekeepers Association convention is on!  Registration is open for the three-day meeting at the Santa Barbara Hilton Beachfront Resort from November 16-18.  You don’t have to be a CSBA member to attend.  While the conference is geared towards commercial beekeepers and the almond agribusiness, hobbyists (like me) can still get a lot out of the program, as the speakers (including Elina Nino from UC Davis) and presentations (updates on bee nutrition, viruses, etc) make the trip and the cost worthwhile.  This year there’s a special focus on UCD’s Master Beekeeper program.  For details, go online to the CSBA website.


Hope to ‘see’ you at our Zoom meeting on the 9th – til then, take care of those honeybees!


2021 MDBA Board of Directors

President - Jan Pinkerton Spieth-
continuing 2022
Vice President - Dermot Jones-
continuing 2022
Secretary - Lois Kail- 
continuing 2022
Membership - Peter Schumacher
continuing 2022
Member Education - Roger Billeci
continuing 2022
Member Development - Peter Kritscher
continuing 2022
Community Education - Ellen Walters -retiring
Veronica Falcinella running 2022
Treasurer - Jamie Frankenfield
Newsletter Editor - Jaci Kildare
continuing 2022
Past President - Mike Vigo
continuing 2022
Ex Officio - Gary Lawrence
continuing 2022
In this Issue
  • Message from the President
  • Awards Beekeeping and Volunteerism
  • VOTE Roster for MDBA Board
  • MDBA General Meeting Announcement
  • Board of Directors and Contents
  • Member Education General Meeting details
  • Sept 11 Mini Bee Day - 
  • Autumn Apiary Inspection
  • Community Ed
  • Article on DCA's !
  • Flower of the Month
  • Homeowner wants to host a hive
  • Club Classifieds



Nominations will be taken at the September Meeting and by email

Please send your email nominations to Lois Kail at

Deadline is September 30 to send your nominations to Lois

These are annual MDBA awards!  Eligible individuals are nominated by members during September and winners are announced at the October meeting. Please start thinking about who you would nominated for these two awards!!

Beekeeper of the Year- established 2002
The Beekeeper of the Year is an MDBA member who stands out as a beekeeper, coach and mentor; one who encourages others to be better beekeepers; and/or whose efforts have resulted in improvements in MDBA for the benefit of its members. 
• Free lifetime MDBA dues is awarded the recipient

Gary Lawrence Volunteer of the Year- established 2018
Named in honor of Gary Lawrence, who created and taught the first honeybee education classes, the Volunteer of the Year is an MDBA member who actively and consistently volunteered at meetings and/or created projects that promoted the wellbeing of members; who served at educational events supporting MDBA’s mission; and/or whose efforts fostered awareness and importance of honeybees in local communities.
•A Mann Lake gift certificate is awarded the recipient.
Former award winners cannot be nominated; please see the two lists of recipients on MDBA’s website ‘AWARDS’ page.

MDBA Board Elections
Every year in September the MDBA opens up the opportunity to volunteer on the MDBA board.  A Board member position is for a minimum of one year. Each Board member must be re-elected for the next year. We will be voting on each board members position this month.
There are 2 members running for Board Positions this year.  Veronica Falcinella for VP Community Education and Jamie Frankenfield for VP Treasurer. Please read their statements below.

Jan Spieth, President - continuing 2022
Dermot Jones, Vice President - continuing 2022
Pete Kritscher, VP Member Development - continuing 2022
Roger Billeci, VP Member Education - continuing 2022
Peter Schumacher, VP Membership - continuing 2022
Jaci Kildare, VP Newsletter Editor - continuing 2022
Lois Kail, Secretary - continuing 2022
Ellen Walters, VP Community Education - retiring
Honorary Members
Mike Vigo, Past President - continuing 2022
Gary Lawrence, Ex Officio - continuing 2022

Veronica Falcinella, VP Community Education- please read statement below
Jamie Frankenfield,  Treasurer - please read statement below

Statement from Jamie Frankenfield running for Treasurer
        I am a third year beekeeper located in Moraga. I currently keep 6 hives.
Like most beekeepers I love learning about bees and seeing how others keep bees. I am so grateful for the guidance of experienced beekeepers in MDBA who answer my many questions. I look forward to continue learning and help continue the great work of MDBA.
        I hold a BS Chemistry degree and am retired from a career in Pharmaceutical Quality Management at Merck & Co. and Genentech Inc. In addition to beekeeping , my other hobbies include volunteering at local serviceorganizations, growing fruits and vegetables, growing orchids, backyard chickens and I am currently learning how to make mead. I am a member of the Moraga Park Foundation Board and past board member of  Kiwanis Moraga Valley Foundation and Orchid Society of SouthEast Asia.

Statement from Veronica Falcinella running for VP Community Education
          In 2015, my husband sent me Flow Hive’s Kickstarter video with the note, “I want this.” It looked cool, so I ordered one. When it showed up months later, I informed him we needed to pick up our nuc, and he was shocked I had taken him seriously! We set up shop under the persimmon tree, and after a lot of ups and downs, my daughter Angelina and I maintain anywhere from 3-12 hives. We have enjoyed keeping bees ever since and have shared our honey and love of bees to friends and family.
           For much of my life, I’ve worked as a consultant and educator, largely reaching for the AHA! moment in people’s lives. I am thrilled when I can help others see the joy of bees and mentor new beekeepers, they teach me so much!  I am very excited about helping to spread the good news about bees to the larger community through MDBA’s amazing membership and our Community
Education programs.

MDBA General Meeting

Thursday, September 9, 7pm
details in Member Education 
We will be 


MDBA General Meeting ZOOM LINK

Join Zoom Meeting

General Meeting Link also On MDBA website in member only tab.
Password:   BeeChat!2021!

MDBA General Meeting
on Zoom this Month

Thursday, September 9, 7:00 PM

"Bee Friendly Gardening:

Creating A Bee Cafe In Your Own Backyard

Guest speakers: Denece Dodson and Sheila Weston

Sheila Weston began gardening at an early age in England. Throughout moves to California, Australia, and then back to California she has always had a garden, from pots on an apartment windowsill to a large suburban lot.
She has worked as a registered nurse in both England and California. The nursing career was unfortunately somewhat disrupted due to international moves, four daughters, and a husband often away on engineering projects
Sheila has been a Master Gardener since 2009. This has led to a greater awareness of the importance of bees of all kinds, and how we can plan our gardens to benefit both the gardener and the bees. She has kept honey bees since 2016, and currently has three backyard colonies together with fruit trees, vegetable garden and assorted bee plants in her Pleasant Hill garden.
Denece Dodson followed her passion and lifelong interest in the plant world and became a Master Gardener in 2012, serving as president in 2016/17.  Gardening is in her blood as a descendant of Kansas farmers. Of particular interest are trees, herbs and veggies. She has worked at the local VA campus in Martinez providing lessons in gardening and helping vets with PTSD create a community garden. In addition, Denece completed a program at the Horticultural Therapy Institute, with an eye towards the therapeutic and beneficial aspects of gardening. 
Denece was introduced to bees by happenstance. Someone on freecycle wanted quart jars for honey in exchange for a jar of honey. The beekeeper eventually placed a hive on her property with no instructions – only that they would be back! They never reappeared, so after 2-3 years of watching the bees come and go, she called a friend to come take a peek inside. And the rest is history after slowly replacing the old funky boxes with new frames, joining the MDBA and getting her first package of bees. She is eternally indebted for all of the advice, support and resources she has received from the generous and gracious community of local beekeepers. Denece’s interest in developing this topic on bees in the garden stemmed from realizing at the tail end of summer last year that she had nothing planted for the bees. Not a plant was in bloom! She vowed that she would do better the next year focusing on year-round, drought tolerant and abundant food resources for the bees.  It was back to bee basics!

Please log in by 6:50 PM



Meeting ID: 895 2855 2577
Passcode: 533307
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Roger Billeci, vp member education

Saturday September 11,10am -12pm
Mini Bee Day/Regional Groups

This will be an in person Hive Dive
at Gary Lawrence's Apiary in Pleasant Hill.
253 Twinview Dr. Pleasant Hill

Registration is Required!
  • Please note attendance will be capped at 10 members (taking COVID-19 precautions due to recent developments with the Delta variant)
  • Email Roger Billeci at to reserve your space!
Member Education invites you to participate “live and in person” at Gary Lawrence’s home in a continuation of our Summer beekeeping forum on Saturday, August 14, at 10AM.
• Learn from our President, Jan Spieth, going through Gary’s hives (live!).
• Get to see the bees, their hive, and frames in person.
• Ask questions and interact with other MDBA members (not through a screen!).
Special focus will be on new (years 1 - 4) beekeepers getting started. 
This mini bee day will be a continuation of last month’s event where we covered a wide range of topics from dealing with Varroa mites this time of year, evaluating current pollen and nectar stores in the hive, and steps we should be taking now to prepare our colonies for winter (yes, it’s that time of year where it is becoming increasingly critical to do so if you haven’t already!). Remember: there is no stupid question when it comes to beekeeping! It's a continual learning process.
A big thank you to Gary for hosting the event again and opening his apiary and hives for the club!


Keep your honeybees healthy going into fall:

Check for frames of capped honey & nectar
Look for stored pollen
Maintain a water source
Assess mite levels and take action if indicated
Watch for pests, ants, yellowjackets

Start thinking about preparing your colonies for winter: reduce the number of hive boxes, improve ventilation, angle the front of the hive down slightly so rain flows away from, not inside, the entrance.

Community Education
We will be doing four in-person programs in September:
Chabad Hebrew School in Berkeley September 5
Alamo - Danville Garden Club September 9th
Greenbrook Cub Scouts in Danville September 26
Alviso Fall Festival in Pleasanton September 25

        If you’ve been a beekeeper for 2 years or more and you would be interested in joining us at any of these events,  please give me a call at the number below. 
        Later this year we will be reaching out to membership to ask about participating and training as Community Education volunteers.  We are hoping for a return to normal next year! 
Ellen Walters
VP Community Education

This is an interesting article on how drones navigate to DCA'S         
     Link to an Article in iScience -
"Harmonic radar tracking reveals that honeybee drones navigate between multiple aerial leks " 

by Author Joseph Woodgate  Postdoctoral Researcher, Queen Mary University of London /The Conversation  May 26, 2021 6.18am EDT

contributed by Dermot Jones, Vice President

  Goodwin Creek lavender,

Lavandula × ginginsii ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ is a tough and long-blooming shrub that can be used to provide winter structure to your pollinator planting. This lavender blooms early and lasting into summer, it is popular with pollinators for its nectar. It attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Lavenders are sun-loving and drought tolerant. It forms a dense, compact silver-gray shrub 2-3’ tall and wide. Can be pruned to control shape and increase branching. It is also deer resistant. Like all lavenders both its leaves and flowers are fragrant. It makes a good cut flower, however, best if left for the pollinators to enjoy.

As with all flowering plants, removing the spent blooms promotes more blooms. When the flowering has stopped on the whole plant it can be cut back to maintain a compact, dense shape.

Valerie Schmidt

Homeowner wants to Host a Beehive!

editors note: Vi is still interested and if it doesn't work out this season would still like to host at the beginning of next years season.

Vi Ibarra, who lives in Concord, had previously hosted hives several years ago at another location. She would like to have a hive on her property, and there is a well on the property that is watering the yard. 
She is not interested in all of the in's and out's of beekeeping, but they love bees and find joy having them.

If your are  interested, you will be the sole person responsible for maintaining and managing the colony. You will be responsible for thinking about placement, access to the yard, access to water and thinking about neighbors. It is usual to always share honey collected with the homeowner. Here is their contact information.
Diablo Bees Classified

Deluxe 6/3 Frame Side Crank Extractor. Mounted on plywood. Used once. $300

Call Jim Hammill
Call 925-930-8577 to view
Located in south Walnut Creek

Liquidating a long-time beekeeping endeavor in Concord. 
For Sale: 8-frame and 10-frame Langstroth-style hive boxes and assorted equipment. 
Call Viktor Yusupov
415 706 1843

Cappings Requested
If you have unwanted cappings I will melt and clean them for the beeswax.
AND: Bee Suit Repairs
Please contact Lois Kail or 925.356.2602

The MDBA honey extractors (electric)
$20 for 1st day and $5 for days 2-5
$20 per day thereafter
For Concord area contact Lois Kail  925.356.2602
For Walnut Creek area contact Jaci Kildare at 925.708.1650

To Submit Articles or Classified Ads
Have you got something to share about bees?
Contact MDBA newsletter editor at
Deadline for submission is the 25th of each month

Announcments listed in the Diablo Bee are for the benefit of the members of the MDBA.  


If you are thinking about getting into Beekeeping or have been a Beekeeper for years and are thinking about insuring your equipment or need liability coverage, we offer a policy designed for you. Here are some of the benefits:

 Planning on selling honey at a farmer’s market? Most will require you to have liability coverage.
 Do your neighbor’s or others have concerns about the safety of your bees? The liability on this policy provides coverage for any harm your bees do including bee stings
 If a theft, vandalism or similar damage occurs to your bee boxes or other equipment you would be covered there too.

This policy costs at little at $310 per year for all these benefit and many more not listed If you would like to learn more, get a personalized quote please contact my office: or 925-866-2929 or 510-548-2929

Thanks Steve Bauer, State Farm Agent