Friday, September 19, 2014

2013-2014 Honey Bee National Management Survey

     The 2013-14 Bee Informed U.S. National Management Survey has been released and has produced some interesting results.  First, it was a good year to be beekeeping in Hawaii (isn't it always) and not so for beekeepers in Indiana, Illinois and especially Michigan with winter mortality rates of 69% (Losses by State).
      Amitraz, the insecticide produced considerably better results than any other product at treating Varroa mites.  Organic and natural beekeepers would argue it also has sublethal accumulative detrimental effects on the colony.  Beekeepers who used powdered sugar, mineral oil, drone brood removal, sceened bottom board and small cell size did not report losing any more or less colonies than those who did not use these techniques.  
      Dry Sugar produced the best results of the carbohydrate feeds and beekeepers who fed their colonies protein saw 8% less colony loss.  Queen and Brood Comb replacement resulted in fewer colony losses and those using Fumgillin reported losing 7.5% fewer colonies.  While Tracheal mite controls did not seem to produce a benefit Antibiotic use did. 
     The survey also includes feed supplements, small hive beetle control, winter management, treatments of dead outs and colony replacement and honey bee stock management. 
     Although the results of this annual survey are not the definitive judgement on the use of a particular beekeeping practice the more beekeepers that participate in the survey the more helpful it will become.  I encourage all U.S. beekeepers to sign up and participate in the Bee Informed U.S. National Management Survey. 
     Below is a survey of the Honey Bee Sting Pain by body location.  I noticed that penis shaft ranked third and was wondering how they came to that conclusion.  Did they do tests?  Were there volunteers? Is getting stung in the penis shaft a major problem for beekeepers?


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beekeeping Webinar: Hive Monitoring for Pests

 Hive Monitoring: Measuring Primary and Secondary Pests of Your Hive 

     I have always used a sticky board under my screened bottom for mite testing but recently learned that this may not always be a good indication of hive mite population.  If your bees are not good groomers or non hygienic you may have a high number of mites that don't show up on your testing board.  I've used the test board on the basis that a 24hr count of 10 or below is insignificant and above 50 is a major problem.  When or how you treat depends on your beekeeping style.  The approximate number of adult mites would be the 24hr count times 60.  Of course it is not the mites themselves that are the problem but the diseases that they bring like the Deformed Wing or Kashmir Virus which friends have observed recently.  I will confirm my board counts with the "Sugar Roll" method of mite testing.
     While there are numerous methods of dealing with Varroa including treatment free (used by a few natural beekeeping friends of mine) I presently employ the annual split (brood break), screened bottom, alternating organic treatments (Formic and Oxalyic Acid) to prevent pest adaptation (only when a high mite count) and regular monitoring. Of course everyones' goal is to have hygienic bees capable of effectively managing mites.
     On June 18th at 9 AM (EDT=PFE pretty frigging early for us west coasters) Ohio State University will be presenting the free webinar "Hive Monitoring: Measuring Primary and Secondary Pests of your hive" featuring master beekeeping instructor Alex Zomchek with 40 years of beekeeping experience.

"Are you monitoring your hives for varroa and other key pests? Knowing what's there is the first step to successful pest management. Alex will explain the "whys, hows and whens" of hive monitoring for primary and secondary pests, just in time for summer monitoring of varroa."

     To join in this free webinar login as a guest at .  This webinar will be recorded and available at the OSU Bee Lab website and the webinar section of our Beekeepers' Library.

Angry stormy weather Bee

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Wonder of Bees

     A great BBC series that follows Martha Kearney's beekeeping adventures in England.  To view more Bee Documentaries check out the Bee Video page of our website. 
     Our bees have had a great start to the year with a few colonies 4 deeps full.  We are entering a high pollen period with the Black Locust trees, raspberries and blackberries coming into bloom and hopefully good foraging weather.  This period will last for about a month followed by lesser but diverse and consistent foraging for about 3 months until October.  A split I did a few days ago appeared to have active robbers so I made and applied a robber screen which has done the job.  I hope all of your bees are as happy and healthy as ours.


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