Tag Archives: Canada

Honey Bee Disease and Mite Control – Treatment Recommendations 2012

You’ll find a lot of conflicting information about “best practices” for treating your honey bees to prevent disease and control mites in the hives, so it can be hard to know what recommendations to follow as conditions change over time and new knowledge is acquired through apiculture research and testing.

One of the most reliable sources you’re likely to come across is the 2012 Ontario Treatment Recommendations for Honey Bee Disease and Mite Control from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Province of Ontario, Canada.

This information sheet is of course especially useful for Canadian beekeepers, but the treatment recommendations are often just as applicable in similar climates such as the northernmost United States.

Where to Buy Honey Bees in New Brunswick, Canada

If you’re a New Brunswick beekeeper – or planning to get into beekeeping this year – be advised that Country Fields Beekeeping Supplies Ltd. (Upper Coverdale) has just posted their 2012 prices for nucs and queens.

Nucs (nucleus colonies) are $150.00 each with a $5 discount for payment by cash or cheque. A deposit of $30 is required. A nuc includes 2 frames of bees and brood, a laying queen, a frame of honey and pollen, and an empty frame for the queen to build on.

Queen bees are priced according to where they come from. This year, the Wheatleys will be bringing in queens from Hawaii (Kona only, not Big Island), California, and Australia. Local queens from Nova Scotia are expected to be available in early June.

Supplies of honeybees are limited, of course, so you’ll want to get your order in right away. Find more information on their website at www.countryfields.ca.

Country Fields Beekeeping Supplies

New Commercial Beekeeping Course Unique in Canada

The first beekeeping vocational program in Canada for the education and training of commercial beekeepers will be offered at the Fairview campus of Grand Prairie Regional College (GPRC), Alberta, Canada. The college is now accepting applications for the program’s January 2012 launch.

Certificate in Commercial Beekeeping

This 45-week course of vocational training will provide its graduates with the substantive knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to work in commercial beekeeping.

Graduates will be prepared for employment in Canada, the US, and other parts of the world as:

  • Apiary assistants and field supervisors with commercial beekeepers;
  • Technicians with government agriculture departments;
  • Self-employed beekeepers; and/ or
  • Project coordinators for beekeeping/honey production projects
    in the developing world.

Continue reading New Commercial Beekeeping Course Unique in Canada

2012 Canadian Beekeeping Convention slated for Winnipeg, Manitoba

Held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Canadian Honey Council and Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, the 2012 CANADIAN BEEKEEPING ANNUAL CONVENTION will take place on January 26-28, 2012. The convention and symposium will be hosted by the Manitoba Beekeepers Association at the historic Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Convention Theme:
Healthy Environment – Healthy Bees – Healthy Honey

Keynote Speakers

  • Marion Ellis – Professor and Extension Apiculture Specialist, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
  • Jerry Hayes – Apiary Inspection Assistant Chief, Florida Department of Agriculture Services, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  • Danielle Downey – Apiculture Specialist, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Hilo, Hawaii, USA

All interested beekeepers and related industry people are invited to come out to hear what is happening in the Beekeeping Industry across Canada and USA. The 2012 Canadian Beekeeping Convention is held in conjunction with the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) and Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) Annual Meetings, and thus should provide an action packed week for all attendees. In addition, CHC will be hosting special meetings earlier in the week for their members and guests.

Agenda details, hotel information, registration form, convention costs, and other important information can be found on the Manitoba Beekeepers Association website (http://manitobabee.org).

Maritimers Learn About Backyard Beekeeping at Sackville Workshop

On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of July, participants from all around the Maritimes came to Sackville, New Brunswick, to take part in Community Forests International beekeeping workshop. Emphasizing natural management techniques and hands-on learning, this weekend learning event was led by Peter and Kathleen Hardie.

[Backyard Beekeeping 2011 photographs by Canadian Forests International on Flickr.com]

The beekeeping workshop was written up in a recent CanadaEast article by Molly Cormier, which emphasized the growing appeal of hobby or backyard beekeeping by Maritimers with an interest in a sustainable lifestyle:

Sackville-based Community Forests International hosted its second apiculture course last month and welcomed prospective beekeepers for a weekend of learning the ins and outs of the beekeeping world. You might say it was a hive of activity.

All bee jokes aside, CFI’s Nick Belanger organized the workshop with an emphasis on all-natural techniques and hands-on learning.

“Backyard beekeeping is a loose term for a small operation,” he says. The honey and wax produced by the bees doesn’t have to be used for profit, but it can be a nice way to supplement an income, he noted.

Read more:
Busy as a Backyard Beekeeper by Molly Cormier, 18 August 2011, CanadaEast.com.

Community Forests International (http://forestsinternational.org/):
“Community Forests International connects people to the forest, fostering sustainable environmental relationships while strengthening communities against climate change. Driven by farmers, foresters, and their rural communities, CFI’s programming spans the globe: planting trees with rural villages in Pemba, connecting environmentally-minded youth in India, Tanzania and Canada, and promoting ecological forestry in Atlantic Canada.”

Will Your Bees Have Food for Winter?

August is a tricky month for beginning beekeepers. With many fall flowers in bloom, the field bees are still out collecting nectar and pollen and winter seems a long way off. But the last few weeks of true summer are deceptive. The nights are starting to chill down here in New Brunswick. In a healthy colony with a good queen, drone brood production will be noticeably down. You may even start to see a few drones kicked out of the hive, as the season starts to wind down.

Starvation is a major cause of winter bee losses.

The past few years here in New Brunswick, Canada, we’ve been seeing an unusual thaw in mid-December, even getting heavy rain and spring-like flooding in much of the province in December 2010. When the weather acts up like that, it fools the bees. That’s when many colonies break their cluster and the bees become more active, moving about the hive and consuming more of the stored honey than they normally would.

The result is too often that the colony runs out of easily accessible food before spring, when snow melts and temperatures rise enough for beekeepers to get in to start spring feeding.

The answer is to make sure your bees go into winter with plenty of food — both honey and stored pollen — to see them through to spring.

How much food do bees need for winter?

Unless you are in the semi-tropical or tropical regions of the country your bees should have somewhere between 50 and 100 pounds of honey safely stored away when the first signs of autumn show. The colder and longer your winter and spring, the more they will need.

Kim Flottum, the editor of Bee Culture magazine who lives near Cleveland, Ohio, says that his bees typically use about 60 – 70 pounds of honey and 5 – 7 frames of pollen between the end of October and the beginning of April. Here in New Brunswick, beekeepers often prefer to have more like 85 to 100 pounds on a colony when it gets wrapped for wintering. Obviously, the further south you go, the sooner spring comes, and bees in don’t need as much in the way of winter food stores as they do here in Atlantic Canada.

New beekeepers: do not expect to take much if any honey off your newly established colonies in the first year. That honey belongs to the bees, to help build them up for next season.

If you figure about eight pounds of honey for a deep frame mostly filled on both sides you can estimate how much honey your bees really have. A medium frame like I use holds 4+ pounds if it’s filled completely on both sides. Either way, that’s a bunch of frames of honey that the bees need. And don’t forget the pollen.

There is some controversy in warmer climates, with a longer growing season, about whether or not to feed bees. Up north here, especially if the fall honey flow is weak or we get a dry spell during the late summer and early fall, beekeepers often have no choice about whether to feed. After all, if it’s a choice between bees starving and bees surviving…

One good reason to start feeding as soon as possible after the honey harvest is because bees need time and warm temperatures to convert the sugar syrup to “honey” — this is not the real honey bees make from flower nectar and you would never harvest it for human consumption, of course, but simply the bees converting the sugar-and-water syrup into a form they can use for food.

Pollen is needed for feeding brood in the spring, so it is just as essential as honey stores for the bees. If you don’t see lots of pollen stored in the frames, consider feeding a good quality pollen substitute. And unless you are absolutely sure your bees have enough stores to get them through the winter (and then some extra, in case of a late spring), you’ll want to feed 2:1 sugar syrup as well. This is a good time to medicate against nosema as well, as you can put the medication right into the syrup.

Read more:
Mother Earth News: Getting Your Bees Ready For Winter…Already by Kim Flottum