April 2013

The Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers Club

The Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers club convened at 7:00 pm on 8 April 2013 at the University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension office.

President: Tom Nichols

Vice President : Mark Eaton

Treasurer: Nancy Kahanak

Secretary: Victor Mathis

The queens that were ordered with this year's bee order has been delayed until Saturday 9 April 2013.

The guest Speaker Tonight is Ed Levi, prior State Bee inspector, for the Arkansas State plant Board. His topic for the night is "How I don't medicate my bees"

Ed outlined the three generations of Bee Keeping identifying first (1) Pre-Mites (2) Mite Infection period and (3) finally a "New Awakening" period from 2006 forward.

The Evolution has gone from "No Chemicals" to "Chemical Dependent" to "A New Understanding of the sub-lethal effects of chemicals ....with Naysayers and Addicts. He encouraged all members to take a yearly survey at "Beeinformed.org" which will give participants a realistic information about how bees all over North West Arkansas have fared throughout the winter.

Ed identified most all of the things which are attacking bees today. The basic decision of all Bee keepers is whether to TREAT or NOT TO TREAT attackers to Bees. Ed identified that he has stopped using HARD Chemicals some time ago. He identified the Do Nothing process as the "James Bond" method with the partial use of chemicals the "Jimmy Bond" process.

Ed discussed at length how chemical compounds such a "Formic Acid", "Check-Mite" , "Tylosin" effect the total process of keeping bees for honey production. When "Soft" Chemicals arrived available for use Ed used some, but his statement is that for 10 years he has not used miteacides and no fumigants for 20 years. Ed said that he lost some bees but NOT as much as he thought would perish.

For "Foul-Brood" Ed identified that he burned any with this problem, and through out the entire process he identified his Bees built up their resistance to attackers without chemical assistance. Ed reported that he is using Russian Queens who have VSH (Varroa mite Sensitive Hive Traits), but he concluded that he did not believe anyone could raise bees successfully using "ORGANIC" METHODS.

Ed Identified that overuse of Chemicals has caused:

(1) Confusion with Pheromones (Communication)

(2) Sub-lethal doses for Queens, Drones, and Workers have caused shortened lives.

(3) Residues in the wax

(4) Resistance to the target problem(s)

Ed said in general it messes up the entire balance of the Ecosystem in the individual and in the colony.

(5) The slowing of natural defenses

(6) Risks to the health of the applicator and pollution

Ed concluded the presentation with the logical approach of raising Bees to help than get strong to take care of themselves---to fight their own battles.

Ed identified that he has started using screened bottom boards, beetle traps, drone traps, with the only non-salvageable attacker being AFB which can only be stopped with burning the hives.

In discussing thresholds Ed identified many current theories. Ed Identified "Dumb Methods for Smart Beekeepers" among which includes screen bottom boards , drone brood trapping, powdered sugar dusting. For equipment storage Ed recommended Moth Crystals, and a walk-in cold room which should kill all stages of beetles and moths in the supers. Ed identified Apigard and Mite-away as the only two chemicals that he uses.

For small hive beetles Ed uses Traps in the hive, and for was moths queen excluders on top of brood chamber.

Ed concluded with several good reasons for moving away from chemicals, including sustainability in the hive with the Bees learning to take care of themselves.

There were five new visitors to the meeting.

The club is scheduled to meet on the second Monday in May (May 13th) weather permitting we will have a Field Day hands-on exercise at Steve Aust's Apiary. Instructions will be forwarded via the club's internet connection.