Beekeeping Basics Meetings Members Only Pests and Disease

August Meeting Notes

Bee Nosema

Nosema Apis

  • a serious disease in northern temperate climates that is caused by a fungal microsporidia
  • Its one of the top 4 reasons for hive death
  • wikipedia can be inaccurate
  • it affects the bees in the Fecal-Oral route
  • Its stronger in the spring/fall
  • It affects the bee’s salivary glands so they have a hard time dissolving crystallized honey (especially during winter)
  • high prevalence of Nosema in Alberta
  • Nosema Serana is another version but it can move through cell walls so it can affect royal jelly production and can reduce honey production

Treat with Fumagilin

  • to help with reduced spring build up
  • A spot treatment can help it turn around in a week
  • No fumigilan is used in Australia, New Zealand and Europe but it works well in Alberta and is necessary
  • Antibiotic resistance concerns if used inappropriately
  • Be careful with it – it contains a known mutagen that causes tumors in humans, the chemical in it called DCH is the worst part, the DCH is a salt used to percipitate fumigilan into a powder form
  • Location is a big factor, air movement and sunny place can make a big difference in the infection rates


Fumagilin Dosage

– the Drench method is reported to be more effective for heavy infections but adding it to the feed is also know to work

Check the labelling but it commonly used as:

1 tsp fumigilan per litre
– 250 ml for each hive
– 4 treatments, one week apart

First pail in the spring is treated with fumagilin

Other Questions/Answers/Topics:

How much sugar water to feed the bees?

70/30 honey/sugar of the 120lb hive going into winter…means 40 lbs of sugar water

When to start feeding?

Sept 10 or 12 for fall feeding – right after first hard frost
– don’t feed too late to avoid moisture issues in the hive going into winter

First pail in the spring is treated with fumagilin

– when using a shaker to test for mites, 300 bees = an inch of bees in the shaker
– anything over 3 mites and it is time to treat!


Suggested process for Apivar strips?

Apivar – 2 strips on center frame (top box)
3-4 days of treatment with sticky board
– count 15 black dots?
Another 4 days with sticky board
– count 7 dots?
Another 4 days
– count 2 dots
If the count is zero after three weeks then stop treating, wrap and freeze the strips and use them for 3 weeks in spring.

Wrap after testing for varroa – late Sept (Before first snow)


How to help prevent mold in the hive?

Extra strip of space for air to be moved for winter to prevent mold.  1/4 inch of space


Cor’s spring unwrap suggested method:

Unwrap, put top box on the bottom,  check size of brood, one fist size = replace queen,  two fists of brood = good queen!

Equipment Honey Meetings Members Only Modifications & Building Bee Hives

June Meeting Notes

The June 23rd, 2016 EDBA meeting was held at the SE Seniors Centre 9350 82 St.

About 30 people were present.  One person came from as far as Entwistle.

Craig Toth, our president, lead a discussion on the tasks needed to be done in the next 6 weeks. The focus was on seeing processes/tasks from the perspectives of new beekeepers.

Listed below is a fragmented summary of comments made:

  • Someone made the comment that bees need to create 6lb of honey in order to create one lb. of wax which the Coop is buying at $4 a pound.
  • People expressed surprise that the Coop was buying wax again.
  • Cor mentioned 2015 was the driest year he had ever seen and probably the strangest winter as beekeepers in some yards lost almost no hives but in other yards not far away (10-20 km. ? ) lost almost every hive. He reported that areas which were very dry last August didn’t have queens laying enough brood by late August and hence there was a large winter kill in those areas. Also in 2015 the dry conditions caused the moisture content of honey to be lower at 15%, not the usual 18%  ( 19% risk of fermentation starts ).
  • Honey with a moisture content of 15% crystalizes faster. The Coop and pet stores ( reptile section?) sell cheap ( $10 gauges ) to measure honey moisture content.
  • The wasps were also terrible last October, killing hives.
  • Eventually conversation drifted to the topic of the night.
  • When uncapping honey, it was suggested that a heat gun as an uncapper is better as it takes off little wax. A paint stripper put on low has a similar effect. Cor mentioned he had a Dakota uncapper.
  • Sara mentioned more honey can be gained by under-supering. Put the new box under the top box. This means the top third box has brood for a few weeks, which will eventually be replaced by honey. The new second box provides space for the queen. It takes bees 12-35 days to make wax.
  • After an August frost the bees start robbing.
  • Keen (?) in Vancouver sells cheap extractors. It’s also possible to buy food safe plastic extractors.
  • Toby suggested that using a food warmer and adding water can cause honey to warm up within 24 hours.
  • There is also a candle maker on 170St. who buys wax from beekeepers.
  • Cor reminded us of the technique of over lapping the third box slightly so bees can fly straight in faster than going through the bottom entrance.
  • It was mentioned that having a top entrance in spring/summer is not recommended as it brings in more daylight and causes the hive to be less warm =  more bees staying inside and fewer going out for honey.
  • submitted by Malcolm Connell
  • Edmonton Bee Forum currently has 172 members.
  • Edmonton Bee Meet Up currently has 92 members but is just used for meeting announcements.
Honey Meetings Members Only Pests and Disease Pollination

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 ( [email protected] )

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