2017 North American Mite-A-Thon

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Saturday, September 9 to Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Mite-A-Thon is a week to test Honey Bee hives for levels of Varroa mites across all of North America.

This is the first annual coordinated event to gather data on Varroa mite infestations and to discuss management strategies. Commercial, sideliner, and hobbyist beekeepers will be enrolled to participate through their respective clubs and associations to create a broad distribution of sampling sites across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. A common measurement protocol will be used, and data will be uploaded to the Mite Check database.

OBJECTIVE: To raise awareness and gather data about the level of Varroa mites across the hives of North America and to teach consistent and effective methods to measure mite load. As a secondary goal, treatment strategies will be made available for discussion utilizing partner developed information and outreach materials.

DATE: The week of September 9, 2017, with a practice test during Pollinator Week (June) 2017

PARTICIPANTS: All beekeepers are encouraged to participate

COST: Varroa Mite Testing Kits are available from the UMN Bee Squad, MannLake and Brushy Mountain. Participants can provide their own equivalent materials, and some grants may be available. In addition, participants can make their own testing kit based on directions from The University of Minnesota.

OUTREACH: Promotion of Mite-A-Thon will be through local bee clubs, state beekeeping organizations, and national associations (see appendix for examples)

DATA COLLECTION: Participants will test levels of mites present in their hives using a standardized protocol utilizing two common methods of assessment (alcohol wash or powdered sugar roll); and then upload their data, including location, total number of hives, number of hives tested, local habitat, the number of Varroa mites counted from each hive and any subsequent action taken after monitoring. These data will be collected by Bee Informed Partnership and analyzed for publication and dissemination to the participating beekeepers and organizations. The published information will not identify individual participants.

SPONSORS: Sponsorships are being solicited to underwrite costs and grants, as necessary.

CONTACT: info@pollinator.org. 415-362-1137

TO DO: Determine your preferred method of testing for mites and commit to a day for testing, either individually or through beekeeping organizations, and report your data (see above).

 

 

 

No ABC Meeting Scheduled for December 2016

Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues, there will be no meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club this December.  Normally, we would meet on the second Wednesday of the month (i.e. December 14).  However, scheduling issues with the speaker have caused us to cancel this month’s meeting.

Be safe digging out from Monday’s storm and, assuming scheduling works out, we hope to see everyone in the new year for our January 2017 meeting.

October 2016 Meeting Announcement and Open Hive Reminder

Androscoggin Beekeepers ClubOctober 2016 Meeting Announcement and Open Hive Reminder

Fall Open Hive:

First, please remember that this Sunday (October 2), Moe Morissette has graciously volunteered to host an open hive at his apiary.  As we have traditionally done these in the summer, this could be a good time to see what someone else’s hives look like going into Fall/Winter.  Here are the details:

Who: Moe Morissette

When: 10:30 am Sunday October 2
Where: 81 Leeds Junction Rd, Leeds, ME 04263

And, if that were not already enough…

First Official Club Meeting for the Fall of 2016:

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held:

When: Wednesday, October 5

Where: 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 focusing on advice about mite treatments going into Fall/Winter.  Light refreshments will be provided.
Our October speaker will be Chris Rogers of Backwoods Bee Farm in Windham: http://www.backwoodsbeefarm.com/.  Chris is an EAS master beekeeper who has spoken to the club several times in the past and has graciously agreed to do so again.  As with similar visits, if you contact Chris before the meeting about any beekeeping supplies you need, he can bring them to the meeting and you can pay for them there.  Very convenient.

A Call for New Club Officers (President and Vice President):

Lastly, please be thinking about volunteering to be an ABC club officer.  I think both Bill (Club President) and I (Vice President) are seeing the end of the calendar year as a good place to turn over the reigns to the next crew.  To this point there have been about three distinct phases for the club and it feels right that we should be planning for a fresh group to take over.  If we don’t get any volunteers, there’s even a good chance that we might approach some of you directly.  😉

ABC May 2016 Meeting Announcement

May 2016 speaker

ABC member Dan Kary will present “Strategies to equalize hives, increase colonies, grow your bee business and prevent early season swarms” to the club on May 11, 2016

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, May 11 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 “Strategies to equalize hives, increase colonies, grow your bee business and prevent early season swarms”.

Our May speaker will be local beekeeper and ABC member Dan Kary of Green, ME. Dan provided the following Bio:

As a child, I was fascinated by all of nature. I turned over rocks and logs and dreamed of becoming a naturalist. I am now in my sixth year as a bee keeper. As a retired physician, I have more time to dedicate to my apiary and have more opportunities for observation and study of these amazing insects.
I have learned a great deal from other beekeepers who are always willing to share information and their experience. I wish to share my thoughts and experiences as well.

Dan’s presentation will be of particular interest to beekeepers with hives that have successfully survived the winter. However, the topics covered promise to be of interest to all. His ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.

Swan’s Honey Open Hive Day: May 7, 2016

Swan’s Honey is having an Open Hive Day:
Saturday May 7th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
332 Bessey Ridge Road
Albion, ME 04910

There will be live bees on the premises!
The event is free and open to anyone interested in beekeeping.  Demonstrations and hands-on workshops held hourly on different topics include:
  • Splitting bees
  • Evaluating Queens and Nucleus Hives
  • Introducing mated queens
  • Mite monitoring
  • Mite treatment applications including oxalic acid, Mite Away Quick Strips, and Apivar
  • Tours of honey extracting and processing

All events are free, lunch is included, and there will be door prizes!

The Swan supply store will be open 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM for bee equipment purchases.

RSVP by email to swanshoney@roadrunner.com

February 2016 ABC Meeting Announcement

Chris beekeeping pic

 

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, February 10 at the vestry of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Road, Auburn, ME 04210.  Note that we will no longer be meeting 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 Management for Maine Beekeepers”.

Our February speaker will be Chris Rogers of Backwoods Bee Farm in Windham, Maine.  Chris is an Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) certified master beekeeper who has spoken to the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club several times.  He is a fantastic speaker and teacher who has generously agreed to speak to the ABC again.  As the co-owner of Backwoods Bee Farm in Windham, Chris plays a valuable role as a source of both information and beekeeping equipment.  During his presentation “Spring Hive Management for Maine Beekeepers”, Chris will describe the necessary activities beekeepers in southern Maine must consider as we enter Spring.

Chris’ ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.

December 2015 Meeting Announcement

Carla Essenberg_Hive Opening

December 2015 speaker Dr. Carla Essenberg (right) and ABC club member Rick Drottar (center) look on as Moe Morissette (hand at left) lights a smoker at the August 2015 hive opening.

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, December 9th at the vestry of the West Auburn Congregational Church, 811 West Auburn Road, Auburn, ME 04210.  Note that we will no longer be meeting at Edward Little High School in Auburn). Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “Rich Resources and the Function of the Waggle Dance“.

Our December speaker will be Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Carla Essenberg of Bates College. She completed a BA in Music and Philosophy at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, did her PhD in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the University of California-Riverside, and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona. Her research explores ways in which pollinator foraging behavior influences plant ecology and evolution and includes ecological field studies, theoretical modeling, and behavioral experiments with bumblebees. She has taught topics ranging from zoology to environmental biology and enjoys discussing science and bees with people of all ages and walks of life.

In her presentation, Dr. Essenberg will tell a story about how honeybee foraging is and is not different from the foraging of other bee species. She will begin with her doctoral research on how the density of flowers affects which species visit the flowers and how often. She found that honeybees were more frequent visitors in dense flower patches, while other bees visited flowers in sparse patches more often. Other researchers have found similar patterns, suggesting that honeybees may be particularly well adapted to use dense resources. Could the honeybees’ dance language be the explanation?

Dr. Essenberg will discuss work by colleagues who removed honeybee colonies’ ability to use the dance language, in order to find out whether that language was helping them to forage more effectively. Surprisingly, colonies that were unable to communicate locations of rewarding patches often did just as well as colonies that could communicate that information! However, the dance language did help honeybees in some situations, and in particular, it was an advantage when there were rich patches of resources available. Dr. Essenberg will conclude by returning to her question about whether the dance language can explain honeybees’ preference for dense flower patches or whether they might prefer them for other reasons.

Dr. Essenberg’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.

November 2015 Meeting Location Change!!

Dr. Alison C. Dibble studying bees on butterfly milkweed (ACDibble photo).

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, November 11th 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 “What Do Bees Want?“.

 
Our November speaker will be Assistant Professor of Biology and Ecology Dr. Alison Dibble of the University of Maine, Orono.   Alison C. Dibble is a conservation biologist who researches native bee diversity and ways in which pollinator habitats can be improved to meet their forage needs. She works with Dr. Frank Drummond on several USDA grants, and they teach a one-week native bee course at Eagle Hill, Steuben. Her background includes a M.S. in Botany and a Ph.D. in Plant Science, both at the University of Maine, Orono. Through her consulting firm, Stewards LLC, she is a certified Technical Service Provider with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and she contracts with farmers across Maine to develop pollinator habitat improvement plans. She also paints, publishes literary suspense fiction (as A. D. Morel), and writes songs about bees and other natural history subjects. She lives with her family in Brooklin, Maine.

Alison will present highlights from a 4-year Maine study of bee behavior on flowers. In field tests of more than 70 plant species, butterfly milkweed, willow, and some asters were visited at a much higher rate than other plants. Honey bees differed from bumble bees and sweat bees in their visitation patterns. These results will help farmers, beekeepers and home gardeners support pollinators more effectively.

Dr. Dibble’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.

September Meeting: Russian Stock – improving your odds of winter success, the why and how

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, September 9th at Edward Little High School in Auburn.  Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “Russian Stock – improving your odds of winter success, the why and how.”

Phil the Beekeeper

Our speaker will be Phil Gavin of the Honey Exchange in Portland, Maine.  In the United States, the vast majority of hobbyist and commercial beekeepers manage hives containing the Italian honeybee.  However a small but growing number of beekeepers are moving to other varieties of honeybees.  Phil is an Eastern Apicultural Society certified master beekeeper who keeps stocks of Russian honey bees.  He is also a supplier of Russian bees and educates others in their management. A survey of local beekeepers maintaining approximately 100 hives indicated that about half of the hives succumbed last winter. Phil’s talk will emphasize why Russian bees might help increase survival of hives over the harsh Maine winters.

Phil’s ABC sponsored presentation is open to the public.

Pollinator Health and Safety Conference

cropgoldenrodandaster_0313

If you missed this year’s MSBA meeting and are still looking to attend a good meeting about honey bees, you might consider the Pollinator Health and Safety Conference (PHSC) being held on Thursday November 20, 2014 at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks (200 Sable Oaks Drive, South Portland, ME 04106).

Presentation topics include:

  • Factors Affecting Bee Mortality In the US (John Skinner)
  • Factors Affecting Bee Mortality In Maine Agriculture (Tony Jadczak)
  • Status of Native ME Pollinators (Frank Drummond*)
  • Pesticide Risks (Nancy Ostiguy)
  • Use Patterns for Neonicotinoids and Other Pesticides in Maine (Henry Jennings)
  • Best Management Practices For Pollinator Safety (David Epstein)

 

Note that Frank Drummond will also be the guest speaker at the February 11, 2015 meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club.  Dr. Drummond will describe a four year study he conducted on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Conference registration cost is $50/person on or before October 31 and $75/person after October 31.

For a listing of the tentative schedule and presenter biographies, you can visit the official PHSC webpage here.