Category Archives: Pests and Disease

Northern Alberta Scientists Looking at Bees dying.

Our very own President, Craig Toth got some media attention with his work helping northern Alberta scientists.

CraigToth BK

Why are the bees dying? Northern Alberta scientists are helping find the answer

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/08/26/why-are-the-bees-dying-northern-alberta-scientists-are-helping-find-the-answer

CarlosCastillo NBDC

The experiment in progress:

Experiment     CraigsYardofBees

If anyone has been to Craig’s beeyard, this should bring back memories:

CraigDrivingQuad

Honey Birds

Ever heard of a honey bird?  Nasty pieces of work if you ask me because they are all brood parasites that lay one egg in a nest of another species.  Honeyguide nestlings have been known to physically eject their host’s chicks from the nest and they have hooks on their beaks with which they puncture the hosts’ eggs or kill the nestlings.

Honeyguides are named for a remarkable habit seen in one or two species: they guide humans to bee colonies. Once the hive is open and the honey is taken, the bird feeds on the remaining wax and larvae.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeyguide

They are among the few birds that feed regularly on wax—beeswax in most species.

HoneyBird

 

Bee swarm? Is it Honey Bees?

Bee swarm? Is it Honey Bees?

A swarm of honey bees numbers at least 10,000 bees and usually arrives on a 25C day with no warning ( late May to mid August ) and for apparently no reason to a tree branch, a fence post, the side of a house/ shed etc. and just sits there for a few days and then disappears ( like you staying in a motel overnight on a long trip ). Sometimes they like the temporary place so they stay or the queen has been injured or dies and they don’t know where to go as they mourn her loss.

But most people don’t call about a honey bee swarm ; they call an exterminator about wasps or if there is a noticeable group ( 10-20 golden/black furry bees ) in the backyard, under the steps, or they have overtaken a bird house. These are usually bumble bees. Check photos about them on the internet and get a dead sample to compare or take to a pest exterminator. They only sting if their nest is removed.

They take over bird houses because the birds are annoyed by the buildup of lice and mites and abandon it. Clean up the bird house with bleach every year ? If you want birds back next year.

Choices with bumble bees

1 coexist

– just put a barrier, eg. board, between where you walk and their entrance.

In August their population will peak at about 80. Their nest is about as big as a baseball. They have no
excess honey. In October there is only one left, a queen. This is a good time to remove the nest.

Bumble bees love to nest in old insulation, old clothing left in garages, or the basement level electrical
sockets or sometimes in piles of wood left around. Tidy up. Bumble bees keep wasps away.

2 removal choices

At 10:30 pm dress up carefully to minimize stinging, or at 7am when almost all are inside.
Put duct tape over bird house entrance, take down birdhouse, and take nest to park or near a river.
Remove duct tape, shake them out or just leave them, or put birdhouse in part of yard away from people areas until October.

Or put the nest in a garbage bag and take it away.

3 kill them?

Study up methods on the internet and or put duct tap over holes they go in.

Malcolm Connell ( 780-239- 9649c )

PS – Remember beekeepers are very busy in spring and summer and will charge at least $60 to remove a nest which you could learn to do yourself. If a nest is removed, some bees will still be buzzing around there for a week after until they relocate.

For additional help, call John Jansen Nature Centre 780-442- 1443

Inspection Requirements for Moving Honey Bees

Edmonton District Beekeepers Association

April 14, 2016

Honourable Oneil Carlier

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Office of the Minister

Agriculture and Forestry

229 Legislature Building

10800 – 97 Avenue

Edmonton, AB

T5K 2B6

 

To: The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Re: Inspection Requirements for Moving Honey Bees into Alberta and Hybrid Canola Pollination in Southern Alberta in Spring 2016.

The Edmonton District Beekeepers Association  (EDBA) would like to voice its support for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s protocol on the movement of hives between BC and Alberta and within Alberta. This protocol was drafted due to the discovery of small hive beetle in BC.  

EDBA is composed of over 100 small-scale beekeepers who generally live within two hours of Edmonton. We have operated as a club since ???. Our members sell at many of the farmers markets within and around Edmonton and are supplying many residents of the area with honey via farm gate sales. Although we do not produce as much honey as commercial beekeepers, 100% of our honey is sold locally. We contribute significantly to the local economy and our direct-to-consumer sales means it is really us, the small-scale beekeepers, who are the public face of Alberta’s beekeepers.

EDBA is concerned about preventing the spread of SHB to Alberta for two main reasons:

  1. While larger operations may have the capacity to extract their honey immediately and render their wax daily, this is often more difficult for smaller operations to do, due to their lack of expensive processing equipment. Because of our limited capacity to quickly process honey and wax, SHB may impact the small-scale operations in Alberta more significantly than large operations.
  1. In the last two years the number of beekeepers in our region has exploded. Our club is being inundated with new beekeepers, almost all of whom are ill-equipped to identify or control the small hive beetle. Were the SHB to make it to Alberta, this surge in beginner beekeeper numbers poses a risk to all operations, large or small, who share the same area as them.

As hobbyists, we support the proposed protocol because we agree it will help protect our hives from the small hive beetle. As we see it, there are two potential ways SHB could enter the hives in this area:

  1. Via migratory beekeeping operations. There are beekeepers in our region who move their hives south for pollination contracts. While in the South, their bees may be mixing with bees that were overwintered in SHB-infected areas of BC. When they move their hives back here at the end of the pollination season it is possible they may bring SHB to our region. Having a north-south control zone will give us additional assurance that our hives will remain SHB-free because the bees that overwintered in BC will be checked twice for SHB.
  2. Via BC nucs purchased by hobbyists. Hobbyists who purchase BC nucs are generally beginner beekeepers. They are not well-equipped to identify or control SHB. EDBA hopes the current protocol does enough to mitigate the risk of SHB entering our hives via this route. We would be in support of additional measures for nucs.

 

With bees already very much in the media, we think it is prudent for the Alberta government to take precautionary steps to limit the spread of SHB. It seems every Albertan who watches the news or reads the paper is concerned about the plight of the honeybee. Given the current attention being paid to honeybees, it is our hope that SHB does not reach Albertan beekeepers due to inaction by our government.

Sincerely,

EDBA Board Member’s signatures.

Small Hive Beetle Discussion

March Meeting

Thank you to Dr. Nasr for discussing the small hive beetle and its spread!

– 1/3 of Canada’s honey bees live in Alberta.

– Small hive beetle has been found in BC’s Fraser Valley and Southern Ontario, they are from South Africa.

– The Small Hive Beetle is solid black or dark brown, about as big as a bees thorax, and doesn’t like the light.  It feeds on honey and Pupae, and leaves a yeast which ferments honey, making it smell like rotting oranges.

– A single brood frame = 6000 Larvae, the beetles move with bees.

– Beetles will live with a cluster for up to 18 months, and will trick bees into feeding them over winter.

– Strong colonies can isolate the beetle, and ensure it doesn’t spread.

– Look under pollen patties for grubs – they love it.

–  Cappings left in a bucket are free beetle food – they love it!  Try to extract in 2 days.  Melt wax, and clean it another time.

– Alberta is trying to slow the spread of Small Hive Beetle, Medhat soon hopes to have beetle traps – please send beetles you find to Medhat – bee@gov.ab.ca

Try not to bring things from BC – buy Alberta Bees.  Reduce Risk by Reducing Exposure.

Our Club’s Microscope

EDBA Club Microscope News:
I hope this mild winter was healthy for your hives and your families.
First of all I would like Crystal Samborski – your new treasurer – for donating a huge box of microscope “goodies” which will be used by the club for many years to come- slides and sample bottles and cover slips to name just a few. Thank-you Crystal for your generous donation!
I hope this mild winter was healthy for your hives and your families. I will be bringing the club microscope to the March EDBA Meeting at Beemaid if anyone would like to look at hive samples of bees.
This is a good time to examine bees from a deadout hive or from the normal dead bee die out in front of the hive.
To view nosema spores it is not necessary to put the bees in alcohol if the bees were frozen before bringing the sample to the meeting. However if the bees have to be kept for a short time at room temperature ,add isopropyl alcohol to your sample.  Bring a sample of 5 bees to get an idea if your hives were infected with nosema.
Bring your bees in a sealable baggie or bottle labelled with your name and email address and hive identification. If time runs out I will add alcohol to the bees and examine them later and send you a photo.
Looking forward to seeing you at Beemaid,
Sara Willans