The commonwealth buzz

Fall Meeting Highlights
FDA approves Tylan Soluble® for honey bees Notes from VSBA meeting in Weyers Cave American beekeepers will soon have a new antibiotic with About 125 beekeepers from Virginia and neighboring states which to protect their colonies from American foulbrood attended the winter meeting on November 5 at Blue Ridge disease, thanks to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Community College in Weyers Cave. The general theme of studies that paved the way for the compound's regulatory the meeting was "Wintering Productive Hives." Rick Fell, Virginia Tech, described the stresses in a colony TYLAN Soluble (tylosin tartrate), produced by Elanco Animal over the winter, their biological sources, and ways to manage Health of Greenfield, Ind., was approved for use October 20 them. Gordon Wardell, SAFE R&D and the USDA Tucson by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, following the Bee Lab, spoke of the search for a better honey bee agency's review of research data compiled by scientists with supplement, a liquid diet that would contain all the essential the ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. nutrients, be easy to prepare and use, highly palatable to bees, and not subject to spoilage. He also spoke on experiments on American foulbrood is among the most widespread and the effects of essential oils. Tom Webster, Kentucky State devastating diseases of honey bees. Caused by the bacterium University, spoke on the biology and control of nosema, and Paenibacillus larvae, the disease kills young bee larvae and on experiments to test the effects of screened bottom boards, transforms their remains into dark, shriveled ropes or "scales." and recommended that they be used. Wyatt Mangum, U. of These contain billions of spores that are easily spread by nurse Mary Washington, described his research to study the bees. Although American foulbrood poses no human danger, evolution of resistance of varroa to miticides. A short video severe outbreaks can weaken or kill entire bee colonies, on the application of formic acid was shown. according to Mark Feldlaufer, who leads the ARS Beltsville bee lab. Keith Tignor, state apiarist, reported that the number of classes for beginning beekeepers is increasing. He also reported that Before tylosin tartrate, only one other antibiotic, loss of colonies in Virginia the previous year was 40-60%, oxytetracycline hydrochloride (Terramycin), was available for also true nationwide, and combined with the high demand for use against American foulbrood. However, reliance on this bees to pollinate almonds, was creating a shortage of bees for one compound has prompted the emergence of resistant strains pollination in Virginia. Record drought in late summer followed by record rainfall has created a shortage of non- Tylosin tartrate is already approved for therapeutic use in winter bees. ApiLife VAR has been approved for use in chickens and swine, and as a feed-efficiency aid in turkeys. Its Virginia through December, 2005. New challenges lie ahead, approval for honey bees marks a first for a so-called minor as varroa is increasingly resistance to miticide, small hive animal species. Feldlaufer's team made this approval possible beetle is spreading in the state, and Africanized honey bees are by furnishing the FDA with a wealth of information on tylosin expected to start appearing within 2-3 years. tartrate's field efficacy and safety, both for honey bees and humans. For example, the team determined the necessary dosage, application methods and timing of treatment in honey bee hives. Upcoming Events
Although the drug approval labels honey bees as a "minor animal species," the bee's importance to U.S. agriculture is hardly minor. By one estimate, honey bee pollination of apples, almonds, blueberries and many other agricultural crops results in yield and quality improvements valued at more than Taken from Jan Suszkiw in News & Events, December 19, 2005 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ARS Editor’s Note: Like Terramycin, tylosin controls the vegetative stage of AFB. Tylosin It does not kill or eliminate the spores. These antibiotics provide “control", but not "prevention", of AFB. Therefore, they should not be used as a Virginia State Beekeepers Association 1 Legislative Update
And the Winners Are
General Assembly looks at beekeeping problems Senator Harry B. Blevins of Chesapeake, VA, has introduced The Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers Association (SVBA) sold two pieces of bee related legislation to the 2006 General 915 tickets for there annual Christmas baskets fund drive. Assembly. The first bill is SB101 which would exempt There were forty items in each basket running from gift beekeepers with 50 hives or less from the food inspection certificates, wines, canned meat, honey and a country ham. process. This would give the beekeeper relief from the need Again this year, Sam and Betty Hollandsworth sold the most to have a honey house or food processing area inspected tickets. Dodge Rader came in second. Gary Ziegler and Lannie before he/she could process and sell honey. The Senate Ballard each came in third. The ticket winners for the two Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee Christmas baskets were Ina Lam of Shenandoah, VA, and was scheduled to hear public comments on Monday, January Kenneth Scott of Lexington, VA. Sam and Betty 23rd. At the Committee meeting Senator Blevins asked for Hollandsworth will receive a year’s free membership in SB101 to be carried over until the other beekeeping bill could SVBA for selling the most tickets. We would like to thank all be discussed in the Senate Rules Committee. those that helped SVBA in our Christmas basket fund drive. The second piece of legislation is SJ38 which is a Senate Joint Resolution. SJ38 is requesting that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services study the problems encountered by beekeepers and assess possible solutions to Beekeeping for Beginners
assist beekeepers. The report from this study is to be completed and sent back to the General Assembly for their 2007 Regular Session. This report is to show the problems, Classes for “Practical Beekeeping for Beginners” will be held needs, solutions, and funding needed to help fix the problems in the Northern Virginia Area this Spring (2006). The classes facing the Virginia beekeepers now and in the future. will be held once a week in the evening scheduled for the 2nd week of February to the 1st week of April, with two field days on Saturdays. The classes are for adults and children ages 9 and over. Class size is limited so register early. Tentative cost Apiguard® Approved
is $75.00 which includes: “Beekeepers Handbook” by Sammatero and Avitable, MAAREC “Honey Bee Parasites New Varroa control soon to be available Pests and Predators & Diseases” field book, class PowerPoint handouts and one year membership in one of the below As 2005 ended the Environmental Protection Agency beekeepers associations. The classes will be taught or approved Apiguard® for use against Varroa mites. Apiguard®, supervised by Master Beekeeper Billy Davis, Master manufactured by Vita (Europe) Ltd., is a thymol based gel. A 50 gram sealed packets will be available in 2006. These packets are ideal for reducing handling and accidental For more information and to register call telephone (703) 932- exposure to beekeepers. The manufacturer is developing a 25 4108, or e-mail Mentors are encouraged to gram gel sachet and 3 and 1 kilogram tub of the gel formulation for larger, less expensive applications. Research in the United States indicates 90 to 95 percent Page County ------------ VA Cooperative Extension Office, control of Varroa mites with Apiguard®. The product is certified as organic. No adverse effects on honey bee brood Culpeper County -------- VA Cooperative Extension office were noted in U.S. and European trials. However, exposure to Apiguard® sometimes causes a queen to stop egg laying for a short period. The gel works through inhalation and contact. Spotsylvania County---- VA Cooperative Extension office, Therefore, it must be warm enough to volatilize and be accessible to the bees for distribution throughout the hive. Prince William County- Coles Dist Fire Station, Manassas Like Apilife VAR®, application is temperature dependant with best results at temperatures above 75° F. Northern Virginia ------ Falls Church High School, Falls Dadant & Sons, Inc., is the U.S. distributor for Apiguard®. A company spokesman has stated that registration applications Clarke County ----------- Blandy Experimental Station have been mailed to individual states. They expect supplies for distribution to U.S. beekeepers by the middle of summer 2006. Loudoun County -------- Loudoun County Coop. Extension More information on Apiguard® is available from the Vita (Europe), Ltd., website at apiguard.htm. As with any pesticide, all label instructions All evening classes will commence at 7 PM sharp and conclude around 9 PM. Open discussion is from 9 PM to 9:30 Virginia State Beekeepers Association 2 Asking the Right Questions
7. What are the mite levels? This relates to question 1 above. The pest levels should be low. A producer who can give you numbers is someone who monitors What you need to know from your package producer their hives. They are more likely to be more It did not originate with late-night television. But, over the interested in producing quality queens not just past decade or two, the “Top Ten List” has certainly become a mainstay of the “Late Show with David Letterman”. The list 8. Do they have a list of reference? Bees respond takes a humorous and biting look at the topic of the day from differently to various climates. A queen raised in natural disasters to Presidential gaffes. Some would argue that Hawaii, Texas, or even Georgia may not respond Letterman has made a career out of stupid pet tricks and even well in Virginia. Ask other beekeepers in your area, lists. It may be the only thing worth watching on his show for or at least within the state, about their satisfaction some viewers, illustrated by a drop in viewers after the list. with the queens they received from a producer. At this time of year beekeepers should have their own list 9. What is the demand for queens and packages? In the handy when ordering packages and queens. A particular spring everyone is looking for packages and queens. question may not be important to every beekeeper. But, the list Producers churn them out in the hundreds, even should be pertinent to the task at hand. The questions should thousands, each day. If the producer is overworked to reflect past and potential problems in keeping life enjoyable meet demand how do the think the drones feel? whether dealing with a producer in Australia or next door. Being willing to accept a short delay in your Here are a few questions to consider when making your order. shipment might improve queen productivity. 1. How much do they cost? Beekeepers face high 10. Are hives tested for Africanized honey bees? This is overhead and low return on investments. Low prices not a new requirement for queens and packages from are attractive but, you get what you pay for. Cheap states with AHB. Virginia’s Bee Law prohibits prices may indicate an inattentive or inexperienced shipment of honey bee diseases and pests into the producer with poor queens. Don’t be surprised if state. AHB is considered a pest of our European those cheap queens don’t live up to your honey bees. As with disease and pest inspections, any queens or packages from states with AHB must 2. When can I expect delivery? Time can be an issue, provide proof that they are from European stock. especially during the early spring. You want to make Don’t be afraid to ask these or other questions that you may splits. You need to replace dead hives. Whatever the choose. Queen and package producers provide a service and reason the quicker you get your queen or package the product that should meet the needs and standards of their better. Delivery dates are an estimate based on clients. You will be living with their product for months or weather and demand. Actual deliver may vary years. Be sure to get what you really want in your queens. 3. How are the packages being delivered? A lot of changes have occurred in the past few years. The Postal Service is not as receptive to or State Apiarist Report
knowledgeable about bee shipments. Contact your local USPS or UPS office about an upcoming Africanized bees found too close for comfort shipment. Provide them with a refresher course on handling queens and packages. They should also The past year brought us a record number of hurricanes, high have appropriate phone numbers to contact you as gas prices, increased sugar costs, excessive winter hive losses, soon as a shipment arrives or if problems arise. and Africanized honey bees (AHB) in New York. That’s right New York, along with Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and 4. What guarantees are provided on the shipment? One Florida, is dealing with AHB in their state. And, most of the or two queens may not be a big deal. A shipment of Eastern United States is preparing for the same event. one or several hundred queens is a large chunk of change. You may have to pay through the shipping Over 15 years ago AHB entered the U.S. from Mexico. Confining itself to southwestern states, most of the U.S. has been spared contact with AHB. Intra- and international trade 5. Are hives regularly inspected for diseases and pests? and unprecedented east-west movement of commercial bee Producers, in or out of Virginia, must have their operations may have changed this situation. There are hives inspected and certified disease and pest free confirmed finding of AHB hives in mid-west, southeast and before shipping queens and packages. Proof of northeast states. As expected this is raising concern and inspection should be provided with each shipment. having a negative impact within the beekeeping community. 6. What treatments are being used for diseases and In response, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and pests? This may affect your own treatment options. Consumer Services is reviewing its AHB Action Plan and Bee Mite resistance to Apistan® and Checkmite® is Spill Response Program. Both were drafted in 1994, with increasing, especially among producer hives. These periodic revision. The Bee Spill program utilizes local treatments may not be effective in your new hives. Virginia State Beekeepers Association 3 Telling the Bees
attended each meeting of the Central Virginia Beekeepers Association with Mr. McCallister, until his health started failing about a year ago. Please, remember him and his family. For 76 years, the born-and-bred Appomattox man was an Central Virginia Beekeepers Association - East expert beekeeper, creating hives, taking honey and teaching others about the importance of the honeybee. It all started On December 12th, the Tidewater Beekeepers lost their first when he was 6 and his grandmother asked him to find the Honorary Life member: Calvin Sims, at age 85. Mr. Sims was 1,000-plus bee swarms and bring them to the hive. “I saw him active with the club's beginnings in the late 1970's and 80's. go out in a bee yard, which are (multiple) bee hives, with no He is best remembered as a Col.Sanders look-a-like. shirt. If he got stung, he would just pinch the bee and throw them off whereas most people wouldn’t go out in a full Always ready to contribute to the meeting programs, he had an protective suit,” son Monte Mays recalled. Gilbert Mays inquiring mind. When there was the discovery of mites, first passed suddenly, but quickly, at age 82 on Oct. 30. He was a on the scene in Florida, he packed up his pickup truck, man who didn’t just go through life; he enjoyed every day of traveled to Florida, and sought out the affected beekeepers to it, Monte Mays said. A large portion of that time was spent get the story first hand. His love of travel took him to see, with his wife teaching others about bees. Mays also helped first hand, the pyramids of Egypt, the Andes of Peru, and adults with their hives, ordering queen bees for some people and offering advice when problems arose, such as bad weather or predators like mites and yellow jackets. He was so well A native of Bedford County, VA, he began his work career as respected for his beekeeping skills that the Piedmont a boy of 12, delivering prescriptions on his bicycle for Peoples Beekeepers Association named him president and Gov. Gerald Drug store. Years later, he retired from Peoples Drug as a Baliles appointed him to the Commonwealth of Virginia Plant regional manager. Mr. Sims, as we called him out of respect, Pollination Advisory Board in 1988. The World War II Navy not only because of his years, but also because of his wealth of veteran was also active with the American Legion Post 104, knowledge, operated the Tea House at the Norfolk Botanical where he was instrumental in starting the American Legion Gardens. This sideline proved to be a quite convenient of a Baseball locally. “He was real nice fellow. He would take the location to sell the honey products from his growing numbers time, any time you wanted to talk about something, he would stop and talk, be it baseball or beekeeping,” friend Jimmy Mr. Sims acted as swarm coordinator for the Tidewater Bee Hayes said. But Mays is best remembered by his son as a good Club. While most calls were for removal of fresh swarms, father to him and his three siblings. “I never saw him drink, some calls were concerning bees that had established smoke or cuss,” Mays said. “That’s a rare breed. He set the themselves within buildings. His answer was to enlist other example and he lived the example. I couldn’t get a better beekeepers to "learn" them the business of extracting bees His sense of humor was evident when he showed up at the April fool’s Do-Da parade in his honey truck and a huge hornet's nest. He believed in frugality; use that equipment as Tidewater Beekeepers Association member, Phyllis Black, long as possible. His favorite saying concerning honey sales: departed this life on November 10, 2005. Phyllis was a you have a Cadillac product, requiring Cadillac prices. He beloved member of our club and the devoted wife of our believed in doing the job properly, and treating people fairly. President, Steve Black. Phyllis is survived by her husband, Folk with that credo are getting rare indeed. her sister, her three daughters, and her two grandchildren. Phyllis is remembered for her sunny disposition and her willingness to help anyone. In addition to beekeeping, Phyllis was an avid gardener known for her beautiful flowers and productive vegetable garden. One of her favorite pastimes VSBA Summer Meeting
was preserving the harvest, which she did for others as well as herself. Hunting was another activity that she enjoyed, having shot a 12-point buck on her last hunting trip this fall. On June 9-10, VSBA will return to the 4-H Conference Center Club members, family and friends in many states will sorely at Smith Mountain Lake (, near Roanoke. miss Phyllis; she brightened the lives of all who knew her. The Conference Center offers convenient dormitory style Our thoughts, prayers and good wishes are with Steve and her lodging. A meal package will include dinner Friday evening and breakfast and lunch Saturday in their cafeteria. The deadline for pre-registration will be in early May. We will not be able to include lodging and meals at the Conference Center Clinton Tate of Glen Allen passed away on November 29, Initial planning for the meeting includes the latest information 2005, at age 81. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, on combating varroa mites and small hive beetles. So far, children, grandchildren, and brothers and sisters. Mr. Tate Virginia State Beekeepers Association 4 speakers will include Zach Huang, Michigan State, on the beekeepers to assist emergency services personnel in mechanisms of division of labor among honey bees in a responding to incidents involving stinging insects. A list of colony and the disruption caused by pests; exocrine glands and volunteers has not been revised in a several years. Some of the pheromones, including the newly discovered one that volunteers are no longer able to respond to a major bee spill regulates development of foragers. He is noted for photography of honey bees and will speak on that Friday History tells us that initial AHB infestations will adversely evening. Marion Ellis, U. of Nebraska, will describe his affect beekeeping in Virginia. Public relations and public research on oxalic acid to combat varroa. Jamie Ellis, U. of safety will be challenging. Public reaction is expected to be Georgia, foremost expert on small hive beetles, will speak on negative. Similar introductions of other honey bee pest biology, behavior, and control of them. There will also be a species, beekeepers will be required to change their report from the state apiarist, and news from our efforts to get management procedures, purchasing activities, and equipment assistance through the state legislature. We are investigating needs. The numbers of hives and beekeepers is expected to the possibility of presentations on formic acid and on the decline. However, this has only been a temporary setback. threat of Africanized honey bees moving into the state. AHB occurrence in regions of the United States, Mexico, and Ron Hanawalt will handle registration for the meeting and other countries throughout the Americas indicate that they rooms for overnight lodging at the 4-H Conference Center. may be safely and profitably managed. Through education and Additional information and registration forms will be adjustments in management, beekeeping rapidly rebounded distributed with the Spring issue of the Commonwealth Buzz. and emerged stronger in infested areas. For example, Information will also be posted on the VSBA website, Argentina was not considered a major producer before AHB., as it becomes available. In 2000 Argentina produced 98,000 tons of honey, nearly equaling the United States. Honey production in Texas in the 1980’s, prior to AHB, fluctuated between 7 and 11.5 million pounds. In 2004, production in Texas was 8.8 million pounds. Russian Nucs for Sale
Buying queens, packages, and nucs produced locally, or at least from states without an AHB population, will reduce the Three and four frame nucs available in late April. Small number potential for spread of this pest. Beekeepers in other states are of overwintered nucs available end of March. Pick up in Nelson calling for restriction of queen and bee sources to within their County. Contact Bob Brachmann of Cold Country Queens at state. Virginia beekeepers were encouraged to do the same when faced with the introduction of mites and small hive Nominations needed
beetles. Unfortunately, our beekeepers are still planning on shipments of bees from Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Nominations for Langstroth award being sought The Plant Pollination Advisory Board and other groups have When you think of fellow beekeepers, does one person been asked to review Virginia’s action plans. Their standout as exceptional? Has someone been especially helpful recommendations will be circulated for comment among local in mentoring you as a beekeeper? Do you know someone and state associations both within and outside the beekeeping deserving of statewide recognition? If you answered yes to community. Your participation in the AHB and Bee Spill any of these question you should consider submitting a plans will help to ensure their success. nomination for the L.L. Langstroth Achievement Award from the Virginia State Beekeepers Association. The Langstroth Award is given annually at the VSBA Summer Funding Requests
meeting to an outstanding beekeeper in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Past recipients have been active in initiating and VSBA policy on grant proposals and funding requests running local associations, providing beekeeping programs to The VSBA Executive Committee does not solicit grant schools and clubs, and mentoring new beekeepers. Through proposals from individuals or institutions for the funding of their efforts beekeeping continues to be recognized as an research or outreach activities. Funding requests have previously been received by the association and monies have Nominations should include a brief summary of the reason for been provided for work related to mite control, extension, and nominating the individual, along with a listing of their other activities of benefit to beekeepers. In order to adequately beekeeping experience, service to fellow beekeepers, and evaluate a proposal the Executive Committee requires that a community outreach activities. Nominations should be request is presented to them at least 2 months before a general submitted in a résumé format. Written and electronic meeting. Presentation of the request to the membership with nominations will be accepted. For a complete listing of criteria recommendations from the Executive Committee will occur or to submit nominations to the Awards Committee contact during business discussions at an appropriate general meeting. Keith Tignor, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA, 23218 A proposal should include the amount requested, recipient’s ( The deadline for name and address, how the monies are to be used, and Virginia State Beekeepers Association 5 Pollination Opportunities
Beekeeping Classes Starting
Virginia Pollinator continues to grow Soon
Last year in response to concern for the availability of bee New and prospective beekeeper class offered hives for pollination purposes the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services started a web-based listing The Central Virginia Beekeepers Association (West) will hold for beekeepers and farmers. Through this service beekeepers a beekeeping class in Charlottesville again this year. This are able to submit contact information, number of hives year’s class is being held at the Albemarle County Parks and available, and rental costs for their pollination services. Recreation (ACPR) Office each Wednesday night through Farmers may submit similar information regarding needed February. The class will conclude with a field day, including hive inspection and package installation, at Ivy Creek Nature Area on April 8th. Cost for the class is $25.00. Since its inception two dozen beekeepers have taken advantage of this opportunity. The two listings are free to the Due to past interest in the class enrollment has been expanded participants. Both are organized by regions across the state in to 35 participants. Non-residents of Albemarle County are order to match up nearby beekeepers and farmers. To welcome to take the class. To enroll contact ACPR at 434- participate go to the Virginia Pollinator website at 296-5844 or obtain a registration form at www.albemarle. org/department.asp?department=parks&relpage=2558. VSBA Spring/Summer Meeting
June 9-10, 2006
Details contained inside this newsletter and on the VSBA website,
1214 North Poes Rd. Flint Hill, VA 22627 Virginia State Beekeepers Association 6



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