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June-September 2005 Next Membership Meeting is Tuesday, September 27, 2005 7:30 p.m.

Cafeteria, Falls Church High School 7521 Jaguar Trail Falls Church, VA 22042 Check at entrance for last-minute change of room. Judy Chen featured next meeting The featured speaker at the next meeting will be Dr. Judy Chen. She is a research entomologist newly arrived at the Beltsville Bee Lab and conducts research on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of honey bee viruses, including establishing insect cell lines for propagation of viruses; characterization of genomic structure of viruses; developing molecular methods for detection of virus infection and characterization of virus seasonal activity; and studying the possible role of parasitic mites in the transmission of virus diseases. She was scheduled for last March, but was unable to attend because of an injury. 2 B A Bee 4H Club Report Brenda Kiessling, Leader We presented a program to a summer school of 5-16 year olds. We had a video, an observation hive, a "dress up like a beekeeper" opportunity, an equipment station. They were so appreciative they sent us a thank you note. Fairfax 4-H Fair was Aug. 6-7. Something like 15,000 people visit the Fair and I think all of them came to the club table! We were swamped. One club member, after an exhausting day of talking to the public and stamping "passports" (a booklet the younger members get stamped at various stations and then they get a reward at the end of the day) declared "that was a blast!" We had a display including an observation hive, a (large!) hornet nest, a yellow jacket nest, a paper wasp nest, posters, "Beekeeper Bob" (who is a 'scarecrow' beekeeper dressed in bee suit outside the door). 20 interested new persons/families

President Pat Haskell Vice President Tom Merz Secretary Kathy Heslep Treasurer Bennie Liles http://www.beekeepersnova.org Website In This Issue Next meeting program 4H Report Presidents Corner EAS 2005 reports VSBA Norfolk summary News Notes and Announcements ApilifeVAR approval Va. Tech mite survey Future Meetings of BANV November 22, 2005 Dennis van Englesdorp, Penn State January 24, 2006 Pot Luck Dinner, Election March 28, 2006 Heather Mills, VA Tech May 22, 2006 July 15, 2006 (tentative) Picnic Other Meetings of Interest October 14-15 Weston, WV WV State Beekeepers Association Featuring Larry Connor October 15 Annapolis, MD Maryland State Beekeepers Association November 5 Weyers Cave, VA Virginia State Beekeepers Association Pre-Registration deadline October 1 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 7

BANV Newsletter September 2005

signed up to maybe come to meetings, learn about bees, join the 4-H club. Honey and wax and original posters about bees were entered into competition and many received ribbons. Prizes were also won in the categories of ceramics and model rockets. At least two members won prizes on entries in the Arlington County Fair. At the September club meeting, the program was "How to Make an Insect Collection", presented by Alan Markowitz. Presidents Corner Pat Haskell Greetings! I hope that this missive finds you and your bees healthy and strong as we head into winter. With the moisture we have been receiving lately, we just may have a gorgeous honey crop next year. Give those honey supers a little extra attention this fall/winter and you will them have them ready to capture that beautiful, golden harvest. Wouldnt it be grand if each of us could realize 100 lbs. a hive or more? This years program of speakers is strong and I am hoping that each of you will find something of interest. For September, Judy Chen from the Beltsville bee lab. will deliver our long awaited talk on the viruses affecting our bees. November sees Dennis VanEngelsdorp from Penn. State. (Many of you will remember him from the VSBA meeting last fall.) January is our perennial PotLuck Supper and election of new officers. March features one of Rick Fells premiere graduate students. May is an open slot at this time, but we hope to fill it shortly. July 15, 2006 is the proposed date for the Summer Picnic. We are working on a new site and possibly combining the picnic with PW-S beekeepers. As you can see the schedule is quite varied with many items to interest you. Yes, we will again be teaching our course Practical Beekeeping for Beginners in February. The date has not been set yet, but this will be the old standard nine weeks course. I would like to hear from those of you who would like to help teach and those of you who feel they can shepherd a new beekeeper through a year or two as a mentor.
BANV Newsletter September 2005

As you know, Virginia is putting in a bid for EAS-2008. I am hoping that BANV, as a club, can handle a project or committee for that convention. That would mean the members of the club would get a chance to work together to make a meaningful contribution. In addition, I would urge each of you to contact Ann Harmon and volunteer your talents. It is my dearest wish that the EAS-2008 Convention in Virginia will stand out as one of the most memorable. With the varied talents we have at BANV and the spirit you all have shown in the past, I know that this is possible. 50th Anniversary Meeting Kent, Ohio From Pat Haskell:

Reports from EAS 2005

My husband, Jim, and I attended the 50th Anniversary of EAS, that was held at Kent State University, Kent Ohio during the first week of August. The accommodations were lovely as we were housed in a brand new dormitory. Of course, meals were typical university fare. The Biology Based Beekeeping Short Course featured many outstanding speakers. Among those presenting were Dave Tarpy, Tom Webster, Larry Connor, Joe Latshaw, Dewey Caron, George Ayers, Jennifer Berry, Sue Cobey, Anita Collins, Dennis VanEnglesdorp, Clarence Collison, Mark Winston, Malcom Sanford, Nick Calderon, Mark Feldlaufer, Marion Ellis, Tony Jadezck, and Jim and Dwight Tew to name a few. Fortunately, Jim and I were able to divide and conquer, as the presentations were varied and enticing. Workshops for the convention were numerous and practical. Michael Young, from Ireland, brought his culinary skills and encaustic painting. While other workshops featured splits, creamed honey, clipping and marking queens, making mead, soap making and many, many more subjects. My only wish is that could have cloned myself so that I could attend them all. Awards given include Stanley Schneider who received the Hambleton Award, Lora Morandin was the 2005 Student Award Winner, and Marion Ellis received the Roger Morse Extension and Teaching Award.

Next year the EAS Short Course and Convention will be held in Georgia with Jennifer Berry as chairperson. Her proposed treats include a Bar-B-Que on Wednesday, a Low Land Boil for Thursday, and the banquet on Friday is titled Back to Tara with all persons attending urged to wear antebellum costumes. Hummmmmmsounds like a hoot to me. Count me in Jennifer! Georgia here I come! And from Brenda Kiessling: The format is to have lectures and workshops concurrently, so I could only attend some of them. I found particularly outstanding presentations by --Anita Collins (Beltsville Bee Lab) on queen anatomy and then drone anatomynot the same old stuff but information that you didn't know before. (She is researching freezing of sperm, but hasn't had great success yet with viability.) There are antioxidants in the sperm in the spermatheca! Some come with the sperm but the queen may add some, too. She reports that the sperm from the various drones mix in the vagina but "the sperm have to swim into the spermatheca" and there "they are clumped some". --Sue Cobey on New World Carniolans: stock improvement techniques, selection methods, breeding system. She reports that artificial insemination (the technique she uses with her stock) was done as early as 1946 by Roberts in the Czech Republic-even before cattle were artificially inseminated. --Claire Waring, editor of Bee Craft (in Britain) on honey hunting and stingless bees. She is a riveting speaker. I loved this since I have a special interest in stingless bees. --Marion Ellis (Nebraska) on oxalic acid. He says it may be out this year. --Lora Marandin (sp?), Mark Winston's graduate student, on "Bees and Genetically Modified Crops". She studied wild bees (solitary, etc). There are 3000-4000 species in the U.S.! Genetic modifications are not all the same; e.g. sometimes they are directed toward insect resistance, sometimes they
BANV Newsletter September 2005

are directed toward herbicide tolerance. Lora is going to take more training in California; she is an organized and interesting speaker and has a topic not even touched by others. --Also, of course, seeing old friends is a big part of EAS. VSBA Summer Meeting Highlights One hundred people registered to participate in the VSBA summer meeting, held on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, July 8-9, 2005. The general theme was Long Live the Queen an exploration of conditions that affect the quality of queens. The aspects that were explored included defining a perfect queen, conditions under which queens are produced naturally and their effect on quality, how a queen survives to take over a hive, mating behavior, the importance of drones, and the effect of human intervention through grafting and chemicals. Four workshops related to queen production methods were offered, and the progress in setting up a co-op for producing queens in Virginia was described. State senator Harry Blevins was the opening speaker, and though he understands the problems faced by beekeepers in Virginia, and the intent of the legislation passed last year to help them, the reality of getting funding to implement it is unlikely. David Gaines, from VDACS, described the threat posed by West Nile virus, the necessity of controlling mosquitos, and why it should pose no threat to honey bees if carried out correctly. Some highlights: Dr. Larry Connor led an interactive discussion on what constitutes a perfect queen. The qualities mentioned by the audience included gentle behavior, lots of eggs and a good brood pattern, survivability, and resistance to disease not all genetic traits. Other factors to be considered in producing queens are timing the production of drones relative to queens, age of eggs for grafting, time of year and possibility of mating, and effects of shipping queens. Dr. David Tarpy, NC State, described his experiments to determine what factors affect the survival of newly emerged virgin queens. Step one studied the effect of the

age of brood on a queens quality. He found that no matter the age of the initial egg or larva, queens that emerge are of similar reproductive quality. Step two studied the competition phase among virgin queens. Factors influencing duels include relatedness of queens to workers genetically, age of queens with respect to each other. Step three was mating after defeating all rivals. Queens mate with 1-45 drones, averaging 13 in 1-3 mating flights. Is the number of flights related to number of matings? The results say not, but the cue to the number of mating flights remains unknown. Dr. Rick Fell explored the cause of the observation that increased use of pesticides for mite control has coincided with increased complaints that queens cannot survive nor be satisfactorily productive, of rapid supercedure, and inability of colonies to requeen themselves. Is the problem caused by the mites, by mite controls, or by something in drones and mating? He described experiments to find the effects specifically caused by each of several widely used chemicals. Dr. Wyatt Mangum described his experiments to determine the effects of the attendants in the acceptance of an introduced queen. During a nectar flow, it doesnt matter, but during a dearth, it is best to remove the attendants. Current thinking on producing the best quality queens is that it should be done locally, not through queens produced by a breeder far away. Billy Davis described a project that he has begun to set up a queen breeding program in Virginia, and operate it through a co-op. A questionnaire sent through USDA earlier this year produced a positive response that justifies continuation in that way. Attendees were offered the option to attend two of four workshops: producing queens on a small scale by the Jenter method, or by the Miller method, a way to split colonies with assurance of success, and novel ways to have productive hives based on five-frame nucs. In the business meeting, new officers elected are President, Fred Hollen; 1st Vice President, Alan Fiala; 2nd Vice President, Ron Hanawalt; Secretary, Ronnie Henk; Treasurer, Ann Harman.
BANV Newsletter September 2005

News Notes and Announcements The VSBA Winter Meeting at Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA (between Staunton and Harrisonburg) has the theme Wintering Productive Hives. The program will include: Rick Fell on Stress and Biology of the Colony; Gordon Wardell, Tucson Bee Lab, on nutrition and feeding bees, and uses of essential oils to control varroa; Tom Webster, KY State University and founder of Heartland Apicultural Society, on new reasons for using screened bottom boards, and controlling nosema; and Wyatt Mangum reporting on his research into genetics of miticide-resistant varroa. Pre-registration by October 1 will save you $5. Please dont let the price of gas discourage you from attending this informative program! Arlington County Fair. Congratulations to Kathy Heslep for winning blue ribbons in medium extracted honey and chunk honey, and to Alan Fiala for winning a second-place ribbon for medium extracted honey, and to Paul Diehl for first in dark extracted honey in the honey show. Chris Reed won for section comb. Unfortunately, these were also the only entries in their classes. The sales booth, with seven sellers, grossed $5303.50, down a bit from last year. EAS Director. Billy Davis of Loudoun County was elected to be the EAS Director from Virginia for a four-year term beginning July 2005. VA Tech mite control and cost surveys. How bad are the mites in Virginia? How much do you spend to control them? These are questions legislators ask when beekeepers request funds or assistance. In order to get a handle on this, Dr. Rick Fell and Carlyle Brewster are undertaking a survey of VA beekeepers. A copy is attached. If you havent already submitted one, please take a few minutes to do so. May meeting report and minutes are not available at press time. They will be distributed at the Sept. 27 meeting. Apilife VAR approved for VA. Keith Tignor reported on August 28: Earlier today I received notification that EPA has approved a Section 18 exemption for use of Apilife VAR in Virginia. This is good news for

beekeepers looking for alternative Varroa mite control in their hives. A copy of the notification was sent to Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, distributors of this product. They should shortly begin notifying suppliers that Virginia beekeepers may purchase Apilife VAR. Apilife VAR is a fumigant pesticide used for control of the Varroa mite on honey bees. As with other pesticides, it is regulated by the EPA and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Office of Pesticide Services). There are specific instructions provided on the label for the handling and storage of this product. Apilife VAR has lethal and sub lethal affects on mites. Although considered by many beekeepers as a "natural" product, if misused or inappropriately handled, it is potentially injurious to bees, beekeepers, and consumers. You should use caution when handling this or any pesticide product. You are legally required to follow the instructions contained in the label and any additional requirements as determined by the EPA. In addition to application and storage requirements listed on the label, EPA has issued the following conditions and restrictions in the application of Apilife VAR: 1. All applicable directions, restrictions, and precautions on the proposed product label submitted by the state must be followed. 2. Do no use when surplus honey supers are in place. 3. Use when daily temperatures are between 59F and 69F. Do not use Apilife VAR at temperatures above 90F. 4. Two treatments, consisting of 3 tablets, per year may be made. 5. Remove Apilife VAR tablets from hive at least 30 days prior to harvesting the honey. 6. Do not use during honey flow. 7. Do not harvest honey from brood chamber or colony feed supers. 8. Thymol treatments to beehives can be made until December 1, 2005. It will take a little time for Brushy Mtn. to notify companies selling Apilife VAR about Virginia's status to use the product. You should wait at least a few days to place any
BANV Newsletter September 2005

orders. Contact me if you have any problems in obtaining this product under the Section 18 exemption.

BANV Minutes of the May 24, 2005 Meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Pat Haskell. Winter Loss Forms were handed out and beekeepers were asked to fill them out. Members could report anonymously, if desired. The numbers are important for statewide statistics. The recent beekeeping class graduates were introduced and received certificates: James Gilroth and Frank Linton. New member Dan Sperling was also greeted. New business included 1. The Langstroth Achievement Award will be given at the Virginia State Association meeting this July. Pat wanted to nominate Dane Hannum and passed around a sign-up to support the nomination. VSB is scheduled for July 8+9, 2005, in Newport News, VA. Paul Diehl announced that he had reserved a double room and if anyone from the club wanted to go and did not have a room yet, let Paul know if they wanted the room he reserved. 2. EAS is coming and a general invitation to carpool to Ohio was discussed. 3. American Bee Federation convention will be held Jan. 10-14, 2006, in Louisville, KY. 4. The upcoming US Farm Bill was discussed. The club had sample letters for members to use to send to Congress to support keeping money in the farm bill for research on honeybee pests and diseases and funding our bee labs more fully. 5. Alan Fiala announced that he had the current VSBA membership cards from Ann Harmon. Also that the Maryland State Beekeepers Meeting would be held June 25 at the Howard County Fairground. On June 10, 2005, there would be an Advanced Beekeeping Workshop at the Beltsville Bee Lab. 6. Danny Jackson, member of our club and of Prince William, has had a stroke and was recovering at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredricksburg, VA. 7. Sylvia Barnes offered to look into the feasibility of the club becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 8. The upcoming Arlington County Fair was discussed. The dates are August 18 through the 21st. The club always has information for the public as well as sells members products. If you are selling, you must work a shift at the booth. Non-selling members are also needed to work the booth. Bennie announced that the application had been made for our booth. Members were reminded to enter a jar of honey in the exhibit. Arlington County allows our club members to submit entries for judging, even if you do not live in the county. The presentation tonight by Tom and Terry Mertz will help honey sellers to improve marketing. Those intending to sell at the fair will meet right after tonights program to set the prices for the fair. Only those selling can vote on the price structure. 9. Special presentations by members included: o The Fairfax County Fair will be held in Frying Pan park on Aug. 6 + 7, 2005. Brendas 4H club, To Be a Bee, will be there at a booth. The event is free.
BANV Newsletter September 2005 6

o o

o o o

Michael Chick and his daughter Theresa along with Brenda Kiessling did a demo with handouts at River Farm on May 15 for the Friends of River Farm. Dane Hannum did a honey harvest demo at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park which the kids loved. Paul Diehl did an environmental education program at Potomac Overlook Park and also did an open house where he did a display of honey and sold honey. John Ferree did a couple of elementary school classes on beekeeping. Alan Fiala set up a beginners chat room at Novaclass@yahoogroups.com Pat Haskell did an e-vite for a splitting party. 15 people came and split her colonies. (They learn and she got help with the heavy lifting.)

10.Larry Kelly reports that the rules on operating a honey house are finalized. We can expect a lot of inspections this summer. The best sets of standards now are those of the American Bee Federation (ABF). No matter what size operation you are, if you sell, you have to be inspected. Larry asked for help in readying his operation for inspection. In return, he will extract your honey for you for free. Thereafter, a 10-minute break was taken and then Tom and Terry Mertz presented a detailed program on setting up and marketing at local farmers markets. The 50:50 was won by Paul Diehl. Undersigned secretary then moved to adjourn the meeting. Eli seconded and the meeting was adjourned. Members then met to discuss pricing at the Fair. Respectfully submitted, Kathy Heslep

BANV Newsletter September 2005

Virginia Beekeeper Questionnaire

1. Please indicate colony numbers and location(s) where bees are kept. Number of hives_______ Location (county)______________ Closest town_______________ Number of hives_______ Location (county)______________ Closest town_______________ 2. Please estimate your average honey production per hive (what your removed/extracted) Honey amount per hive in pounds________________________ 3. How serious a problem do you consider each of the following to the health/survival of your bees (please circle your answer): Varroa mites: Tracheal mites: Winter loss: Diseases (AFB): Pesticides: 4. very serious serious very serious serious very serious serious very serious serious very serious serious some concern not a problem some concern not a problem some concern not a problem some concern not a problem some concern not a problem

What percentage of your colonies did you loose (died) last year during the win-

ter? ______________________ 5. Do you treat your colonies for Varroa mites? If yes, when: other____________ 6. The following questions pertain to the management and treatment of colonies for Varroa mites: a. Do you monitor your hives for Varroa levels? tored________ b. If you monitor hives, which of the following methods do you use? Sticky boards scratcher Other _____________________________________ ether (sugar) roll brood sampling with capping No Yes % monispring Yes No winter

early fall

BANV Newsletter September 2005

c. I treat my hives using: Apistan Check-mite Apilife Var Amitraz Sucracide

Other (explain) ____________________________________ d. I use the following management practices to reduce Varroa populations in my hives: screen bottom boards ________________ e. I use the following resistant bee stock to help reduce Varroa mite problems: None Russian queens Hygienic Bees SMR queens New World drone brood trapping other


7. Please estimate your average yearly per hive cost for controlling Varroa mites: Cost of chemicals/per hive __________ Monitoring costs ____________ Equipment costs ___________

Cost of queens ___________

Time spent per hive in terms of labor ______________ minutes 8. Do you treat your colonies for Tracheal mites? Yes No

9. The following questions pertain to the management and treatment of colonies for tracheal mites: a. I monitor my hives for tracheal mite levels Yes No Yes No

b. I use grease patties in my hives to help reduce tracheal mites c. I use the following chemical miticides for tracheal mite control: Menthol amitraz

other __________________________

d. I use tracheal mite resistant bee stock Buckfast bees other_________________________

e. I estimate my average yearly cost for controlling Tracheal mites $_________/hive Please return to Rick Fell, Entomology Dept., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA 24061

BANV Newsletter September 2005