Saturday, January 30, 2010
PRESS RELEASE, January 26, 2010
A New Formic Acid Tool in the Varroa Mite Battle NOD Apiary Products Ltd., Frankford, Ontario, has developed a new, versatile form of treatment for the varroa mite in honey bee colonies. This treatment is called Mite-Away Quick-Strips™ (MAQS) and uses Formic Acid as the active ingredient. Formic acid is found naturally in honey and in the environment, so is considered an organic treatment. There are no residue issues in the honey or in the wax.
Easy to use and versatile, MAQS is only a 7 day treatment and requires no extra equipment.
MAQS is placed in the brood area of the hive, between the brood chambers. It uses the heat from within the hive to fumigate rather than the outside daytime temperature. This gives the treatment more direct action in the brood, therefore resulting in 95% mite kill both of the adult mites and the mites under the capped brood. The spent MAQS strips are biodegradable, the bees will remove them from the hive, or the strips can be removed and composted or thrown away. This is a definite step forward in varroa mite treatment. This product was tested in 2009 in Ontario, Hawaii, France, Texas and Florida with positive results.
The beekeepers of Hawaii obtained a Special Local Needs pesticide registration. Varroa have arrived only recently in Hawaii and due to the large number of queen breeders, soft chemical treatments, like formic acid are the preferred method of varroa control. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture purchased the product for their beekeepers and distributed it in late 2009. MAQS is proving to be a success and beekeepers are happy with the results. It is hopeful that most of Canada and the US will be able to use MAQS in time for spring treatment this year.
David VanderDussen, NOD’s CEO will give a Power Point presentation about the Mite-Away Quick Strips™ on Monday, February 8, 2010, 7:00 p.m. at the Fairfield Marriott Hotel, 407 N. Front St., Belleville, located directly off Hwy 401. Take the Highway 62 South exit. This meeting is hosted by the Quinte Beekeepers’ Association. For more information please call 613-398-8422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is welcome.
Read more about the release of this product on NOD's website at: Miteaway.com
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The article on the BBC News, UK web site talks about how scientists are discovering that bees' immune systems don't do well when they forage from just a single pollen source. They need diversity.
It makes sense. We know that our health is usually better when we consume a variety of foods - it's part of good nutrition.
Anyway, here's the article.
What are your impressions? In North America especially we've gone monoculture crazy.... Can you imagine what it would take for us to switch and diversify?
In my area, southwestern Ontario, most farmers are sowing corn to make ethanol and bees don't forage that corn - so all those fields that used to have other types of pollen plants are now put to corn.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
½ cup Warmed unpasteurized Ontario Honey
¼ cup Cream or Half and Half
1 raw egg
4 Vitamin E Caplets
20 drops Vanilla Extract (Optional)
20 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil (Optional
The honey, cream and eggs in this recipe are rich in vitamins, protein and minerals. The Vanilla and Sweet Orange provide an exquisite rich aroma to this body mask
Warm the honey by placing it in a heat proof glass in a pot of boiled water or heat for a few seconds in the microwave. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Snip the vitamin E caplets and squeeze out the oil. Mix well. Apply to your whole body with a paint brush. Use a sheet (which can be washed later) to cover yourself and relax 30 minutes while the body mask dries. Shower to remove the mask and pat dry with a towel.
(Confession: This one is so good, I drank half of it before I used it. Mmmm delicious!).
Saturday, January 23, 2010
He was born two hundred years ago in Pennsylvania, P.A., USA. He is recognized for designing and creating the hive boxes that we use today all over the world. That's why the deep and medium hive boxes are referred to as Langstroth hives.
He took up beekeeping mostly to distract himself from the dog days of depression that he suffered from time to time.
Mr. Langstroth is often also credited with the discovery of the bee space, that precise 1 cm measurement (3/8 of an inch) that bees like to have around the edges of their combs and the top of the hive.
Keeping bees in boxes or containers was not new. At that time bees were kept in skeps, bee gum trees and various types of boxes.
The top opening hive that honoured the bee space may not seem such a big deal, but it was. With the top cover leaving the bee space above the frames, the cover was no longer glued down by the bees and could be easily lifted off. Langstroth also used removable frames.
In time the new hive design was accepted and bee skeps were used less and less. Eventually it became law that all hives must have removable frames in order to conduct inspections. The Langstroth hive became the standard bee hive that is used all over the world and Rev. Langstroth became known as the Father of American Beekeeping.
He also shared his knowledge, publishing a book called The Hive and the Honey Bee. The photos on this page were taken from the book which was first published in 1878, and is still in print today.
His epitaph reads as follows:
Inscribed to the memory of Rev. L. L. Langstroth, "Father of American Beekeeping", by his affectionate beneficiaries who, in the remembrance of the services rendered by his persistent and painstaking observations and experiments with the honey bee, his improvements in the hive, and the literary ability shown in the first scientific and popular book on the subject of beekeeping in the United States, gratefully erect this monument.
Friday, January 22, 2010
When I did my Lazarus routine and a handful of bees came back to life, I had time to look them over. Their bodies looked to be in perfect health and I didn't see any signs of mites on them. I also didn't see any deformed bodies or deformed wings so that's a relief too.
All these things should benefit the hive in retaining warmth and preventing drafts.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I didn't mean to but I couldn't help myself.
It was that I'd just come from a death and I needed to see some life.
I'd been at the vet that morning. One of our foster cats had to be put to sleep. It was difficult but the right decision. Nevertheless, it was sad.
The plan was to visit the bee yard after. I knew just seeing the hives would be a pick-me-up.
As I expected, there were dead bees in the snow. I'd certainly read enough about it in my research. They say it's normal in winter to have dead bees out front. What they forget to point out is how it tugs at a beekeeper's heart to see bees that have perished in the cold.
From the photos you'll see how many of them look very freshly dead, posed on the cold snow as if they were flash-frozen. That was what surprised me. They didn't look like mushed up frozen (truly) dead bodies.
It was interesting to see how much melted snow surrounded their bodies. They must certainly have been generating a fair bit of heat to melt that much snow away.
I did what any obsessive beekeeper would do. I picked them up and warmed them up in my hands just to see what would happen. After all, I had nothing to lose.
At first they felt cold. Then after about 5 minutes the heat in my hand began to increase exponentially. I could tell that it was warming their bodies and in turn generating more heat. I knew we had life coming back at that point because surely, dead bees can't do that can they?---generate heat.
Shortly after that I could feel little movements, twitches of life as they stirred and came to life.
After about 2o minutes almost all the bees were moving and active. A few still looked dead but if I watched I'd see a twitch of a leg or an antennae moving slightly, showing that given more time they'd all resurrect, just like the biblical Lazarus.
It was an overcast day with temperatures around -1 but the snow certainly helped to give a feeling of brightness to the area.
Our colder temperatures have dropped off the last few days and our last dump of snow is slowly melting.
I wanted to check the bottom entrances to see if they were blocked by snow and I was surprised to find them clear of it.
There's also a top entrance that they could use if the bottom was blocked but I'm not sure if they're aware it's there. It's there more for ventilation or an emergency exit than anything else.
Watch how the dead bees in the center of my hand start to move and twitch as their cold bodies are warmed up and they come back to life.
Beekeepers out there have you ever tried this??? What happened?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I've been planning to have this blog all along but first needed to finish my children's novel about honey bees--I'm working on finding a literary agent who will help me to get published. Hopefully in the near future I'll have info to share on that front.
I also have a web site which you can view at Bee-Magic.com. The focus of this site is to provide information to children, educators, beekeepers, enthusiasts and future beekeepers about honey bees, pollinators and beekeeping.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Airing tonight is CBC-TV's documentary, narrated by David Suzuki, called To Bee or Not To Bee.
You can view an article on-line about the program at: CBC-TV.
The program will air again on 14 Jan 2010 on CTV-News or you can watch it online. On the link above, look to the right menu for "watch online" or click this link.
They cover beekeeping, focusing first on transport pollination done by commercial beekeepers in California for the almond crops. Also discussed is beekeeping in Europe (France) and neonicitinoids and various bans on this insecticide.
What's really cool is that many people I know were also interviewed for this program, one of them being Dr. Eugene Guzman who taught the introduction to beekeeping course that I took at Guelph University, Ontario. He discusses the research being done here on controlling varroa mites and other diseases. (I blogged previously on how they have created a new delivery system for a Thymol Treatment using the essential oil to kill Voarroa without killing the bees. They hope to have this available in future for commercial use).
The documentary is global, talking to beekeepers and researchers in the USA, Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Wow. All I can say is that you will totally understand 90 year old "Bill" when he shows you his hives in the spring. Beekeepers sure love their bees. No question about it.
Don't miss this program bee lovers!