I've been debating whether I should post this or not and finally decided maybe you all could learn something from it.
I live in a house and on some property where there used to be a sawmill. Someone that knew the mill owners stopped by today looking for the old owners. I wasn't able to help them but they did notice my smoker, and beesuit I had left on the porch about an hour prior to their arrival. We started talking bees.
One fellow was probably in his upper 60's the other in his 50's I guess. The older fellow mentioned he was given a lot of old equipment.I told him that's great if you can get it checked or know for sure whether the previous owner medicated for American Foul Brood. They both asked me what that was. I casually asked how long this older man had been keeping bees. "20 years, off and on."
After I mentally picked my jaw up off the ground I explained to them what AFB was. The younger fellow mentioned that some of the boxes did smell while he was cleaning them up. Then I asked them where they were located, hoping it was far away. Thankfully, I think it is far enough.
We talked more and the younger man, who had been keeping bees for only a couple of years, continued with his questions. He has one hive that keeps swarming-issueing up to 6 or 7 swarms last year and at least 4 already this year. After much quizzing I'm guessing it's because they have never reversed the two brood boxes the bees are in.(he'd never heard of doing that either)
During the course of our 45 minute conversation I used humor and gently chided them and encouraged them to get a book about bees-suggesting "The Beekeepers Handbook."
("oh yeah, we've seen that at Kelley's.")
As they were leaving the younger fellow said he wished he lived closer so he could learn more-he did learn a lot today! I thought I'm glad you don't , especially if you have AFB hives!
They were aware of the varroa mite. But as they left I was wondering how many more of these types of beekeepers are out there and how can we educate them? I realize first they have to want to learn-and maybe that is the main problem there. Maybe they like just living in bliss.
Denise & others
You have just renforced the idea of belonging to a local club, a place to exchange ideas and talk about problems.
Within 3 miles of my hives I know of two places where there were BEEHAVERS and some of there equpt. is still siting around and who knows why they died and that is only two that I know of so we must keep our eyes open all the time.
Unfortunately lots of folks seem to have forgotten what AFB is or have recently learned bees and have never actually seen it. Its just my opinion that varroa has become the main area of attention and also the great excuse for why bees are dead.
Every spring for the last 5-6 years, I have had at least 1 or 2 people bring me dead equipment to put the nucs they are purchasing in. And the story always goes...."they died this winter.....I think the mites must have been bad." And then you can smell the AFB from 10 feet away. These are folks that belong to bee associations but simply shouldnt have bees.
One of my best bee yards is within 3/4 of a mile of a lady who has about 20 colonies that are is all forms of disarray. There is dead equipment sitting everywhere, laying on the ground.....it is not the trashiest bee yards I have seen but darn close. If 10 of the colonies are actually alive I would be impressed. Every spring I notice a few cells of AFB in some of my colonies and I can just about guarantee where it is coming from.
AFB has always been a big problem in this state.Over the years I have looked at a lot of hobby beekeepers stuff they had lying around,and the amount of foulbrood in the combs would scare you.A big operator friend with several thousand hives told me his AFB went from just a few up to around 20 last year(he burned them all)and said the TM resistant afb might be here .I hear rumors it is getting a big foothold in the midwest.It is supposed to have come in from Argentina and started from bees robbing drums at a packing plant in Florida.Thank you Honey Board for increasing the demand for imported honey!
BEEHAVER'S = BEEKEEPERS
I get very upset with beekeepers that think a person with one hive or two aren't in the same ball game as we are who have more. Its our fault most of the time because we sometimes overlook the fact that these"beekeepers need our help and guildience. when we see a hive of bees in our neighborhood we should stop and introduce ourselves and ask if there is anything we can do to help them. Sometimes we beekeepers become a select group that shuns anyone who is new. Just look around at your next bee meeting and i promise you will see alot of grey and silver hair . We are the ones who are killing our own hobby and business. We all have bee books and used equipment that is diease free hanging around the place , its time to give them away to someone who will use it. the 4H and BoysScouts in many areas have dropped the bee program because of the lack of leaders to help the young people get started. We must quit looking back and start looking to the future If each of us would just take one person who is just starting out, we would double our ranks and ensure our hobby for the next generation. There aren't any beehavers just beekeepers . So pick out your newbie and start helping them the future is "theirs"
There was a case not too far from here last year; someone had over 100 hives infected with AFB; I believe it was the worst case ever in the UK. It must have been building up in his apiaries for years before he noticed anything. Frightening.
Think its fair to say that this entire state has seen an increase in AFB over the last 5 years or so. We probably find 3-5 colonies a year that go to the burn pile.
Ive only run into what I would call TM resistant AFB on one occassion about 3 years ago but its not unheard of here.
I dont think I have ever used the word 'beehaver'.We are all beekeepers until something comes along and does in the bees.I am just pointing out the facts-some people just arent aware of the problems bees face in staying alive.Of course it is in our best interest to help them and I have always tried to do so.But it isnt possible to know everyone who has a hive or two in their backyard.
Even the most experienced beekeepers will have unexpected problems from time to time,so no one should get too smug about their skills.AFB is just another problem that must be dealt with when it shows up and sooner or later it will.
A lot of the people I have met who are just starting do not have enough knowledge to keep the bees alive .Whose fault is that?Not everyone is serious enough about it to go to the trouble of educating themselves.They just want some honey and havent heard about mites or AFB.When the bees die,then they will either give up or begin to learn.I like the ones who are full of questions right from the start.They have a pretty good chance of making it.
[This message has been edited by loggermike (edited July 16, 2003).]
Well put Walt. Just a few more words.I have foud it a bit tough at first getting help when needed.But then when you finaly find the right person it realy helps.I can see after 4 seasons of beekeeping the learning curve is long and sometimes crule.The most difficult thing for me is catching a problem early. Brovo to all who post problems and possible solutions.Many of you have been a big help to me.
Thank you , still trying and learning
>BEEHAVER'S = BEEKEEPERS I get very upset with beekeepers that think a person with one hive or two aren't in the same ball game as we are who have more.
I understand you don't want people using words that might insult people. George W. Imirie, Jr., I believe, coined the term Beehavers. It was not intended to distinguish between newbies and oldtimers nor between hobbyists and professionals, but rather to distinguish between those who are paying attention to the bees, learning about and from the bees and those who just have some bees living in a box in their yard. I think some professionals would meet his definition of Beehaver and some oldtimers would too. I think many hobbyists and new comers would meet his definition of beekeeper also.
I agree we need to encourage people and get people interested in bees. But I don't think beehaver was intended so much as an insult as it was to distinguish the difference in mindset. I don't think George has anything against beehavers. He just thinks there is a distinction that needs to be made.
I agree with Michael (and George). These men I met are beehavers. Come on-keeping bees off and on for 20 years and never having heard of AFB?!! And I know he goes into Kelley's and buys some of his equipment so it's not like he didn't have the opportunity to ask questions or buy books. When I encouraged them to get a book for some good winter reading their reply was-"oh, we spend the winter with our dogs and squirrel huntin'." It was obvious to me these were some guys that just wanted the bees cause they were neat but didn't want to take the responsibility of caring for them.
I will be the first person to jump in there and encourage a person to ask me questions if they need any help. I love mentoring new beekeeps--it keeps me on my toes and helps keep me motivated. I feel I have a knack for remembering what it was like to be a newbie. I DO remember asking one of the largest producers here in KY a question when I first got started with beekeeping and he literally looked down his nose at me when he gave me his reply.I wasn't impressed. Certainly, like all other professions, hobbies ,etc. it takes all kinds and you get the good, the bad and the ugly.
As a side note, I did tell the two to stop by again. And the younger fellow did have a lot of questions. He indicated he thought there was a lot more to beekeeping than he realized after our conversation. Maybe he will be motivated to get a book after all. I can only hope so.
ummm.. squirrel hunting with dogs is a blast,cant say I blame em for not havin time...(gotta spend more time with ole Jim huntin cats this winter)these bees ARE takin up a lotta my time.
>I explained to them what AFB was.
What is AFB?
BeeScared AKA BeeBrave
Here's a parial glossory of bee abbreviations:
AFB - American Foulbrood (nasty bacteria that makes spores that live forever)
EFB - Europeon Foulbrood (nasty bacteria but it is not spore forming and you can get rid of it)
AHB - Africanized Honey Bee (the ones from Brazil that have migrated their way to Texas)
FGMO- Food Grade Mineral Oil (used for Varroa and tracheal mites)
SBB - Screened Bottom Board (used for ventilation and to get rid of Varroa mites.)
TBH - Top Bar Hive (like your uncle has without the hoops.)
My foggy memory seems to recall that squirrel season starts on about the 1st of August in KY. But thats just an excuse for the boys to go to the woods and guard the summers' crop. Wonder if bees collect pollen from that.....LOL
Ummmm, Coyote, I don't think so!
Lets face it anyone who keeps bees is a beekeeper there are some that have bees and does nothing with them just have them around lets call them "keepers of bees" as my father called them. most hobbyist and sideline beekeepers keep there bee yards like a show places and then there are those who have boocoo hives and call themselves master beekeepers who know it all that keep their outyards like a pig pen. falling over frames and lids and hive stand bricks . I'd rather have the hobbyist next to me and than the so-call beekeeper par excellence. We are all in this together weather its one hive or a thousand , we need each other and this gentleman who coined the word "beehavers" should try to increase his volcabuary before he opens his mouth, he might have turned off many future beekeepers because of his lack of word power. Working together helping one another, thats what its all about or we will find out that its not the diease and the mites that will finish us off . Its us