Join us this month on a special field trip with Rassol Bahreini , an Apiculture Research Scientist from the Crop Diversification Centre North! He will be testing some hives for mites and demonstrating the recommended ways to treat for mites eg. apivar strips, formic acid and oxalic acid vaporization.
The amount of swarms to catch this year has been very high! During its peak as many as 10 swarms reported a day. There has been so much rain that it’s even been hard for beekeepers to get to their beeyards on muddy roads. That and the strong honey flows have made for a very different year.
Our Swarm Catchers List is up to date and these brave volunteers will do their best to help find homes for all the swarms. A straight-forward swarm catch, by putting them in a box from a low spot on a tree, can take an hour. Be warned that catching a swarm from very high locations or inside of a wall can take many days and might cost money.
Our very own President, Craig Toth got some media attention with his work helping northern Alberta scientists.
Why are the bees dying? Northern Alberta scientists are helping find the answer
The experiment in progress:
If anyone has been to Craig’s beeyard, this should bring back memories:
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.
They are among the few birds that feed regularly on wax—beeswax in most species.
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
– 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
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
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
EDBA Board Member’s signatures.
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 – email@example.com
Try not to bring things from BC – buy Alberta Bees. Reduce Risk by Reducing Exposure.