Saturday, November 21, 2009

2009 Annual Beekeepers' Convention Niagara Falls Ontario

This year I only attended day one of the two day conference and it was a really worthwhile. In fact, I regret that I didn't stay over night and attend both days because there was some really great information shared. This year it was held at the Hilton Falls View Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. (It's a great hotel by the way).

Also, the chance just to chat and network with other experienced beekeepers proved to make the trip worthwhile. Two other people, and myself found just the chance to network with others to be worth the trip alone.

One person was able to make a great business deal by chatting another beekeeper, another learned a unique way to make a mouse guard that stays attached to the hive and then just slides up and down. And me, I was able to get questions answered on approaches for winterizing my hives which I was considering and I found out I was on the right track with my ideas which is always a relief. Of course I learned some new things (I'll blog on those soon).

A report from the meeting which I must share is on a new Formic Acid Flash Gel treatment that will be available soon. This Varroa Mite treatment was tested by our Ontario Bee Association Tech Team with great results.

The formic acid gel was put into hives this fall and their reports are that kill rates of Varroa Mites was 98%. But here's the great part - it did it in 3 days! This treatment is so effective it only needs to be on the hives for a very short time.

Just think how easy it will be to do a summer treatment between nectar flows to knock down mite counts if they're getting high.

I asked what the difference was between, for example, the Mite Away II pads of formic acid (see my blog of 30 Oct 2009 for details) and this new Formic Acid Gel.

The Mite Away II Formic Pads are designed to rely on ambient temperature in order to fumigate the hive whereas the Formic gel uses heat from the cluster as its Method of Delivery.

Apiguard gel was discussed - in the USA they were able to get 91% control but in Canada with our cooler climate we were only able to obtain a 70% control so it has not been as effective as a treatment here.

This new gel treatment called a Formic Acid Flash treatment will be available soon from NOD Apiaries in Ontario.

Dr. Ernesto Guzman and his team at the University of Guelph have been busy working on an improved method of delivery for Thymol treatments. Apparently, treating with Thymol is not new (I think the brand name was Apistan - but I'm not certain) and it has also been used previously as a powdered sugar. These other treatments were not as effective with their kill rates in Canada and testing at that time only produced 70% kill rates.

With a change in the method of delivery (which patent could be pending --this has yet to be worked out by the University of Guelph) they were able to get between 90 to 98% control over Varroa. It is hoped we'll see this Thymol treatment on the market in the future.

I noticed a theme for the day was very much on improving existing systems by simply changing the method of delivery.

I'll blog more on the conference when I dig into my notes. I have info to share on the use of ozone to kill spores and bacteria as well.
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