April 24th, 2023
Rich passed out attendance and gave a recap of Bee Day which was held at Debbie’s beeyard in Dallas. The plans are for Bee Day to be held there next year as well.
Rich announced Agfest will be held April 29th and 30th.
Rich mentioned the “bee buddy pod” Debbie will work on it when she gets an updated roster.
Todd was introduced to talk about sugar boards. He announced his 100% overwintering success. He said bees were eating the sugar boards even with stored honey still available. He strongly advocated for sugar boards, especially in a late spring like this.
Rich said that the candyboards observed at Debbie’s at bee day were mostly consumed.
It was discussed how bees fare after being through a sugar shake, by day 5 all the bees in the sugar shake test were dead, so he recommended the alcohol wash method.
Rich passed around the swarm list. He says he will update in the next couple of days. Swarm list is only for paid members.
Handouts were passed out, Todd’s feeding handout and a bee friendly plants handout.
Also a recipe handout and swarm postcards were passed around.
Rich introduced Dewey to talk about the Pacific NW Honey Bee Survey.
The survey is in its 14th year. There is one more week to complete the survey.
There is an electronic or paper option to fill out the survey.
Also available on the website is a sheet to keep track of management practices.
Here is the link to the website
He mentioned there is also a national survey through Bee Informed.
Dewey introduced Max, a visitor to the club who is a beekeeper in Brazil.
Rich mentioned an article in American Bee Journal regarding sampling drones rather than worker bees. Five or six mites can be found on drones. Todd interjected that now, during the spring, mites are primarily on drones, then as drones get kicked out they migrate to worker bees.
Drone trapping frames were discussed, frames must be removed within 21-22 days.
It was asked what is the acceptable mite threshold on drones. It is not yet known.
It was asked why is it necessary to test when they would inevitably need to be treated anyway.
Dewey said a reasoned approach is to use the available tools (pesticides) only when needed, to treat without testing is an abuse of the available tools. We need to treat but not overtreat.
The problem with our sampling is that mites are not randomly distributed among the bees in the colonies.
Sampling worker bees is more accurate later in the season when the mites have migrated from drone to worker bees.
Rich said that word of mouth indicates that commercial beekeepers that did not use tactik came through well, those that did use it did not come through well.
Steve asked if anyone had seen viable queen cells. Four people had
It was asked if reducing the number of drones in the colony will cause drones from wild colonies with mites to come in.
Rich said now was a good time to feed 1:1 syrup and protein patties.
7:52 Rich thanked Terry for refreshments and announced a break.
Debbie Blando is creating a new sugar list. This is no delivery and you have to show up or it goes to someone else. But if you signed up before you are still signed up. Be sure to bring your own containers. They don’t have any yet this year but expect some soon.
On drone frames it is a larger size cell. Getting the bees to fill them out nice can take some work. So make sure the frames are coated with lots of wax. The more wax the better. The frame is green so the beekeeper knows which ones to pull. Pull them out before the winter. Don’t let them over winter.
Taktic had brood problems. The brood did not develop right. They don’t know why it was this past year and not in previous years. Could be because large quantities were bought and they are degrading.
Dewey presented Deadout topic
Local task forces have been established
AFB is a bacterial disease that inevitably leads to colony death. Determining why a colony died can help you help other colonies to survive the next year.
One dead colony can lead to disease/same cause of death in other colonies.
Sunken perforated cappings are an early indication of AFB. Bees perforate with mouth part but then are put off by the smell so do not immediately clean out cell.
Varroa mites are a more serious problem in european honey bees who do not have the same defenses against mites as asian honey bees.
European honey bees have longer brood cycles and don’t as easily recognize pests.
Viruses vectored by the mites are the primary concern, but we don’t have treatment options for the viruses so we must control the mites.
Viruses vectored by varroa mites do not live in comb, comb can be reused.
Decision to cull frames is based on how much drone brood is on the comb and how dark the comb is.
Field test for AFB is to use a toothpick to test to see if adult bee will come out. In AFB the bee will be scaled and stuck to the bottom of the cell. If testing a cell with brood, use the ropey test.
If you suspect AFB, get it checked out by an expert.
Look more closely at any suspicious cell, look closely at open brood.
Larvae double their growth every day for 5 days.
Healthy larvae need to have enough food.
Brood rearing to ensure that colonies survive winter starts in January.
Colonies that had low bee populations, low resources and high mite levels are those unlikely to survive the winter.
Bees will continue to share resources so in starvation all bees will die at once.
70% of losses are the result of viruses vectored by mites.
Cluster will contract if too small or cold, thus abandoning brood area.
Other pests like yellow jackets/skunks will hasten deaths of colonies that are weakened by mites.
Absconds can occur in fall when mite levels are too high.
Sustainable beekeeper guild of michigan is a good resource to read about mites on drones. Their website is https://sbgmi.org/
Understanding the correlation between adult bee population and mite population is key to flattening the growth curve of mites. This is best started early in the spring.
Check out WVBAHIVE for tools to control mites.
Apivar needs to be in the colony for two full brood cycles (56 days), then removed two weeks prior to supering.
In drone brood trapping after cells are capped you can use uncappings scratcher then sharply snap out the brood from the cells and the frame returned to the bees to clean up
9:00 Dewey’s presentation ended and floor was opened for questions
Jeremy asked how to be involved in task force
Dewey stressed if you are using something unregistered to make sure know these two things:
You know what you are doing (that your treatment is working)
And make sure you know that what you are doing is not doing harm to your colony.
9:07 Rich mentioned a need for help for bringing refreshments, that the library has books available to check out to all members.
Rich admonished to watch out for bad youtube videos and to watch out for poorly mated queens because of poor conditions in california.
9:12 raffle was concluded.
Submitted by Elaine Timm