March Meeting Notes

About 60 people came to the March 24th  meeting at Bee Maid in Spruce Grove

  • probably the highest number for an EDBA meeting in the 21st century
  • In the 1990s during the pre-internet(lol), pre-varroa days at the Atco Hall downtown on 105Av. we used to have similar numbers.
  • Dr. Medhat Nasr spoke about the African small hive beetle threat from BC and touched on several other topics.

A stream of conscious chronology follows.

  • With 75,000 hives being brought down to the Brooks area each May to pollinate GM canola ( $174 fee paid per hive), research needs to be done to find out why the bees are weak after they are removed four weeks later.
  • 150 people came to the Calgary beekeepers meeting last week.
  • The small hive beetle is not in NZ so don’t be worried about receiving it in a package. Packages from Australia will be from Tasmania. Australia on the main land has the beetle.
  • Varroa treatments using apivar ( off beetle topic ) plastic chemical strips are effective if using a strip per 5 frames of bees.  A strong 2 box hive with bees on all frames ( 20 ) needs 4 strips.
  • For those who think bees in Alberta are disappearing, we had 147,000 hives in 1987 when the border was closed with USA. Now we have 295,000 hives. Alberta has a third of Canada’s 700,000 hives.
  • Last year the average honey yield per hive was 146lb. in Alberta, 50lb. per hive for hives pollinating and then taken north, 180lb. for hives in the Edmonton area and 220lb av. in Peace River as they have more daylight.
  • The canola near Edmonton is self pollinating; however, the presence of honey bees can improve local yields by 25%.
  • In contrast S. Alberta has GM canola which requires bees to move pollination from male to female plants.
  • 40,000 bee hives are moved to BC each winter from Northern Alberta. 25,000 of those Alberta hives are currently pollinating blueberries ( $100 a hive payment ) in the Fraser valley of BC where the African small hive beetle was found last year. 3 guys, 2 from BC, do pollination in S. Alberta which puts Alberta bee hives at risk.
  • Also an Alberta beekeeper last year took 800 hives to pollinate blueberries in New Brunswick. Ontario hives also go to NB for pollination. The African small hive beetle is also in S. Ont. and S. Que.


  • The African small hive beetle is as big as a honey bee thorax. It tries to avoid light. A female beetle can lay a 1000 larvae. It can overwinter in Canada. It feeds on honey bee larvae and eggs.  It is supposedly easy to control. The best policy is to manage it, rather than trying to eradicate it. 600 hives in Montana and Peace River were checked last year. No beetles were found.
  • Prevention: Look under pollen patties for beetles. Don’t leave wax lying around. Extract honey in your garage within 2 days and put boxes back on hives on the third day.Don’t buy nucs from BC. keep your hives strong and don’t use chemical treatments in the soil around or in the hives.Catch samples of possible African small hive beetles, photograph them and sent the photos to Medhat ( )

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