An NPR story reports on a White House plan to help pollinators including the honeybee and the Monarch butterfly.
At the May Meeting, several club members asked about possible sources for more bees this Spring/Summer. We were contacted by someone at Stone Corner Farm in New Sharon, Maine about hives and nucs for sale. None of the regular club members have experience with bees from Stone Corner Farm, but we wanted to pass this along for interested members. Here’s the message we received:
Nuc’s for sale for mid June pick up. $140 with a $35 box deposit which you get back when you return the nuc box.
Hives for sale – top, bottom board and 1 deep and the bees and queen. $225.
Also used equipment including: deeps with frames, supers, bottom boards, candy boards, shims, tops, inner covers.
All of our hives have been inspected by Tony Jadzack.
Androscoggin Beekeepers Club May 2015 Meeting Announcement
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, May 13th at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “The Status of Native Bumblebees in Maine’s Wild Blueberry Fields” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Our May speaker will be Kalyn Bickerman. Kalyn is a Ph.D. student at the University of Maine under the supervision of Dr. Frank Drummond and works on investigating the health of native bumblebees in Maine’s lowbush blueberry fields. Before arriving at UMaine, Kalyn completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Beyond looking for common parasites (conopid flies) and pathogens (the microsporidian Nosema bombi) in the bees, Kalyn has also looked at a the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid and its effect on colony development, along with how well individual bees are able to detoxify themselves when faced with pesticide exposure.
Lowbush blueberries are one of Maine’s most important exports and bumblebees are instrumental in their pollination for successful fruit production. Therefore, it is vital to protect our native pollinators, particularly in a time when our managed pollinator, the honeybee, is facing such grave declines.
Kalyn’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.
Because this is the last presentation meeting for the year, it is very important that we line up volunteers for open hives in June, July and August. For our club “Open Hive” meetings, a club member volunteers to have club members and members come to their hives for 1 -2 hours. The host will perform a basic hive inspection and attendees can observe and ask questions. This is a very valuable experience for soon-to-be beekeepers, new beekeepers and experienced beekeepers alike. We try to schedule one of these open hive meetings to take place on a Saturday or Sunday in June, July and August.
So far this year, all three months are still open. If you’d like to volunteer, please let me know by email or you can let Bill Hiss know at the next club meeting. These open hive events are very low key and generally a lot of fun.
I’m also making a Last Call for hive numbers going into and coming out of last winter. After next week’s meeting, I’ll assume I have all the data I’m going to get and I’ll send it out to everyone in an email and will post in on the club website. As a reminder, here is the information we are looking for:
1. Your Town
2. Number of hives that went into the Winter of 2014-2015
3. Number of hives that survived until the Spring of 2015.
Feel free to email your hive survival/loss information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, April 8 at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM. This month we will be treated with a pair of speakers giving the presentations “Pollen and Nectar Nutrition for Bees” and “Mapping How Wild Bees Use Maine’s Landscape” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Our April speakers will be Megan Leach and Brianne Du Clos. Megan and Brianne are both graduate students in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program at UMaine Orono. Both scientists work as part of a large research team that studies both pollination of the wild Maine blueberry crop and native bee conservation.
Megan is particularly interested in plants and plant-insect interactions. She notes: “Plants and insects have so much influence on our daily lives, most of which we don’t regularly think about or even know about.” Megan’s research and the topic of her talk focuses on pollen and nectar nutrition and the influence they have on bee foraging behavior.
Brianne, a biology graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, received her MS from UMaine in Forest Resources in 2012. Her present research focuses on landscape ecology–specifically how wild bees use the landscape around blueberry fields. Megan’s presentation will describe a mapping tool for landscape analysis of pollinator habitat.
Megan’s and Brianne’s ABC sponsored presentations are open to the public.
Now that everyone who went into the winter with bees has had a chance to check for survivors, we’d like to take a poll of colony survival numbers for the 2014-2015 season. If you can’t make the club meeting next week, it would be great if you could send an email to email@example.com with:
- Your Town
- Number of hives that went into the Winter of 2014-2015
- Number of hives that survived until the Spring of 2015.
When the numbers have been tallied following next Wednesday’s meeting, I’ll post them on our website.
Hope to see everyone next Wednesday.
Androscoggin Beekeepers Club March 2015 Meeting Announcement
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, March 11 at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “Spring Hive Maintenance” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Our March speaker will be Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) master beekeeper Chris Rogers of Backwoods Bee Farm in Windham, Maine. Chris’ presentation “Spring Hive Maintenance” will describe what Maine beekeepers should be doing to prepare their hives for the coming Spring. Chris’ ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.
For those of you interested in making some pre-Spring equipment purchases, contact Chris to let him know what you would like and he can package it and bring it when he comes to speak to the club next week. For the Backwoods Bee Farm catalog and Chris’ contact information, check out the Backwoods Bee Farm website:
We hope to see everyone at ELHS next Wednesday!
ABC members have expressed a lot of interest in the recent announcement of the forthcoming (February 23) Kickstarter campaign for Flow™ Honey frames. The basic idea is that you can collect honey from your supers without removing the honey frames from the hive. Sounds too good to be true, but I guess we get at least one of those in a lifetime.
If you are not familiar with this purported revolution in beekeeping, you can check out the company’s web site here:
As I searched for more information about the technology behind this new method of honey collection, I came across a posting of a letter from the company to an interested beekeeper. If valid, the letter appears to be a part of their ongoing marketing campaign. It provides some believable details about how this technology might work. I’m not so sure about collecting the honey in an open container, though!
Here’s the text from the letter (as copied from the Beesource.com Forums):
Thanks so much for your interest in the Flow hive. We (Cedar, Stu and our whole beekeeping family) are so excited to be letting you and the world know about the invention we have been working on for over a decade. The response has been quite overwhelming, thanks for all the amazing comments. We are working as fast as we can to complete a video that will show you all the details about the technology.
We want to tell you a little more about the Flow frames/hives, how they work, what we think this will mean for beekeeping and where we are at with producing them.
How do the Flow™ frames work?
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, February 14 in Room 118 of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by a public presentation by Dr. Frank Drummond of the University of Maine (Orono) titled “CCD and ME: How Colony Collapse Disorder affects Maine Honey Bees” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Dr. Frank Drummond is a professor of insect ecology and insect pest management at UMaine (Orono). Frank also serves as director of the Pollinator Security Project (PSP) for Fruit and Vegetable Crops in the Northeast. The USDA funded PSP involves more than 20 researchers with the goal of uncovering ways to protect crop pollinators and to ensure profitability of fruit and vegetable production in the Northeast.
Frank’s expertise on honey bee health and his entertaining speaking style have resulted in requests for presentations throughout the United States. Closer to home, Frank speaks regularly with blueberry growers, honey bee keepers, and Maine state and non-profit agencies. If you have questions about CCD or honey bee health in Maine, please join us for Dr. Drummond’s ABC sponsored public presentation.
For those looking to take a bee class this winter/spring, Phil Gaven of the Honey Exchange in Portland (and an upcoming speaker for our club) made us aware of several classes with room down at the honey exchange. For more information, you can investigate at:
I hope everyone has finished digging out from the most recent snow storm and has made room for what is coming in the days and weeks ahead. We hope to see everyone next Wednesday for Frank’s presentation. He’s coming from a ways away and it would be great to have a big turn out. Tell your interested friends!
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, January 14 in Room 118 of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by a public presentation by Paula and Pete Schlax titled “One Year in our Beeyard Through Pictures” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Paula and Pete Schlax are a team of hobbyist beekeepers with two hives they have maintained for nearly 4 years. They are also active members of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club. Pete pretends he has a short memory, Paula is an amateur photographer and both love spending time with their bees. Put all of that together and you have a recipe for a large collection of photos of spanning four years of beekeeping in a small Maine bee yard. Paula and Pete will tell an illustrated story of how they manage their bees in a typical Maine year.
Pete and Paula’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.
The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, December 10 in Room 116 of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by a public presentation by Rick Cooper titled “Mites, Germs, and Other Critters: Keeping the Bad Guys Out of Our Hives” from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Rick Cooper has been teaching people about bees since the 1980’s.
He became Maine’s first EAS certified Master Beekeeper in the summer of 1994. Since 1980, Rick has grown his one hive of bees into almost 100 and has educated more than 500 potential beekeepers. He has also talked to many groups about bees and their value to agriculture. He retired from the sale of beekeeping supplies in 2012, but continues to speak to beekeepers and the general public about bees when the opportunity arises. In his 18 years of selling honey and talking bees at Fryeburg Fair, Rick figures he has talked to over 500,000 people.
Rick’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.
Here is a recap of some of the tips and information provided by Karen Thurlow-Kimball in her excellent presentation to the Androscoggin Beekeeper’s Club from November 12, 2014.
Reasons to Re-queen a hive:
- Queen has a depleted supply of viable sperm.
- Beekeeper wants to change the race of bees (e.g. European, Caucasian, Carniolan, Russian, Buckfast and Minnesota Hygienic).
Fun Aside: The journal article “Gramacho, K. P., and L. S. Gonçalves. 2009. Sequential hygienic behavior in carniolan honey bees (apis mellifera carnica). Genetics and molecular research : GMR 8, (2): 655-663.” does a nice job of describing hygienic behavior and how it is “considered the primary defense of honey bees against American foulbrood, European foulbrood, chalkbrood, and Varroa infestations”.
- Queen is infected with European foulbrood.
- Can reduce swarm impulse by creating a break in the brood cycle.
- Queen is physically damaged.
- Sometimes you have no choice (i.e. the hive is queenless, the hive has a virgin queen that is too old to be fertilized).
Many options for re-queening a hive:
- Introduce a mated queen to the hive
- Introduce a young, virgin queen that will (you hope) get mated and begin laying in your hive
- Introduce queen cells
- Allow hive to raise a queen from fertilized eggs within the hive (i.e. a “walk away split”)
Fun Fact: If you introduce a mated queen using a queen cage with a candy plug and the the hive bees are not eating out the candy plug, there is probably another queen (or queen cell(s)) in the hive!
The practical results of re-queening with a mated queen versus generating a queen from a walk away split:
Karen notes that it will take a minimum of 24-28 days before a mated queen introduced to the hive will result in the emergence of new bees. Time required to produce new bees from either a virgin queen, a queen cell or production of a queen from fertilized eggs is approximately 31 days, 37 days or 49 days, respectively. This will factor into your choice of re-queening method.
- A good laying queen can lay between 1,200 – 2,800 eggs per day.
- About 21 egg laying days are lost to a hive with a queen produced in a walk away split versus a hive re-queened with a mated queen (i.e. [49 days before a queen produced in a walk away split produces new bees] – [28 days before emergence of new bees from introduction of a mated queen] = 21 days).
- Assuming that 1,200 eggs laid over 21 days results in the emergence of a baby bee, the hive re-queened with a mated queen would have ~25,000 more new bees than the hive re-queened as a walk away split.
- A 3 pound package of bees with a mated queen contains about 12,000 bees and costs approximately $110.
- A mated queen costs approximately $25.
- So 12,000 worker bees/drones costs approximately $110 – $25 = $85.
- You are paying about $85 / 3 pounds = $28 per pound of bees.
- If 12,000 bees are ~ 3 pounds, then 25,000 bees are ~6.25 pounds of bees.
- By introducing a $25 mated queen into your hive instead of waiting for the hive to produce a queen, you produced (~6.25 pounds of bees) x $28/pound = $175 worth of bees!
Tips for finding your queen:
- Look on a sunny day
- Look on a day with good nectar flow when most of the field bees will be out
- Don’t use smoke, as this can induce the queen to run around in the hive. Use a spray bottle of water to move the bees.
- Make things easier for yourself and mark your queen.
Karen’s choice for best time to re-queen:
Re-queen just after the summer solstice (i.e. June 21st for 2015). Karen believes this will result in a smaller chance of swarming the year following re-queening as you are going into winter with a young queen.