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.

January 2016 ABC Meeting Announcement

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held  Wednesday, January 13th 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 by professional beekeeper Tony Batchelder.

Tony is a commercial beekeeper located in Buckfield, Maine who began extracting honey over 40 years ago.  He has supplied honey bees and sage beekeeping advice to local beekeepers for many years. His presentation will focus on his best wisdom regarding the causes behind Maine hive loss–both winter survival of the hives of small hobbyist apiaries and the larger scale problems experienced by commercial hives that come into Maine for spring crop pollination.

 

 

 

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.

October 2015 Meeting Announcement

 

Dr. Scott Dobrin Assistant Professor of Biology University of Maine, Presque Isle

Dr. Scott Dobrin
Assistant Professor of Biology
University of Maine, Presque Isle

The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club (ABC) will be held Wednesday, October 14th at Edward Little High School in Auburn.  Club business will be conducted from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM followed by the presentation “A-maze-ing Bees: Solving mazes, learning faces, and saving the honey bee”.

Our October speaker will be Dr. Scott Dobrin who is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Maine, Presque Isle.   When asked to describe his upcoming presentation, Scott replied:

Humans have long recognized the potential of honey bees as pollinators and in their capacity to produce useful resources, such as honey and wax. There is also a rich tradition of honey bees as a model organism to study learning, memory, and specialized areas of cognition (navigation and group decision making). In this presentation, I will discuss various examples of learning and communication in the honey bee. Do your bees know you? Can they solve a maze? How do they not collide in that dark hive? I’ll review the evidence and discuss how knowledge of these answers can contribute to saving the honey bee.

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

Also, as we noted in last month’s meeting announcement email and in the 6:30pm to 7:00pm time for club business, now is the time to become Club President, Vice President or Treasurer.  Please let current club president Bill Hiss (whiss@bates.edu) know by email or at our next meeting of your interest.  Please DON’T reply to this email, but DO email Bill directly.

We hope you can come out for this interesting presentation.

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.

May 2015 ABC Meeting Announcement

Kalyn Bickerman

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: worker@androscogginbeekeepers.org

April 2015 ABC Meeting Announcement

April 2015

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 worker@androscogginbeekeepers.org with:

  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.

When the numbers have been tallied following next Wednesday’s meeting, I’ll post them on our website.

Hope to see everyone next Wednesday.

March 2015 ABC Meeting Announcement

10May2013

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:

http://backwoodsbeefarm.com/

We hope to see everyone at ELHS next Wednesday!

Androscoggin Beekeepers Club February 2015 Meeting Announcement

frank drummondThe 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:

http://thehoneyexchange.com/pages/classes-and-events

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!