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  1. #1
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    Default Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    I'm supposed to address folks interested in getting bees next Spring as part of an evening of Introductory Beekeeping. My part of the talk is on Bee Biology and another part on Diseases and Pests.

    The Biology part is relatively easy, compared to the Diseases and Pests part. My dilemma is that I know I can't simply spell out what the diseases are and how to recognize them and then what the pests are and how to recognize them and leave it at that. Someone is bound to ask "So what do I do to prevent "X" from being a problem? What should I do when such and such a pest shows up?"

    Any recommendations?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    I wouldn't expect diseases and pests to be part of an initial "introduction to beekeeping"...

    Although varroa mites would be worth mentioning.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    You can try describing diseases - but I find it easier for both me and students to describe what healthy bees look like, and encourage students to research, call an experienced beekeeper for help if what they are seeing doesn't look normal. Diseases/Pests are mentioned by name, so that the students have at least heard of them - but I don't think a new beekeeper should be worried about spotting AFB - they should know that AFB exists. In a similar vain I mention that if the hives are kept in an area known to be frequented by bears, appropriate precautions need to be taken.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,196

    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I know I can't simply spell out what the diseases are and how to recognize them and then what the pests are and how to recognize them and leave it at that. Someone is bound to ask "So what do I do to prevent "X" from being a problem? What should I do when such and such a pest shows up?"

    Any recommendations?
    I think you can leave it at that. In any talk, you have to set limits. If someone asks a question like that, mention that you don't have time, or want to get into unique problems like this and suggest the person talk to you in private afterwards. It's your talk and you can set whatever parameters you want.
    Regards, Barry

  5. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,044

    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    It's your "stage" Mark. You have an extensive résumé as both an inspector and commercial beekeeper, thats why they asked you to speak. Give them YOUR opinion.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
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    Nov 2012
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    Springfield, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    My two cents as a first year beek: It is good to know about the diseases and warning signs that a new colony might experience and how to identify them, but a discussion of these *and* their treatment is going to result in information overload for all but a very few. Just the terms used to describe the components of the hive and the biology of bees will be a lot to the novice to take in. Add to that the fact that many different treatments and 'non treatments' exist, and you're dealing with a quagmire.

    Think of a good beginner's class as being analogous a good driver's education class; it is good to learn how to drive and to do so carefully, and also to know how a car works along with basic maintenance. Teaching how to do car repair at the same time is unnecessary.

    I teach for a living, and have found that Barry's suggestion works like a charm.
    Pete. New 2013, 3 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    970

    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    I think Andrew Dewey is on the right track - show them what a healthy hive looks like and mention the usual suspects in passing, but don't get into details. If anybody asks for specifiecs, as Barry suggest, offer to discuss in private after.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    > address folks interested in getting bees next Spring ...

    What will you tell them when someone asks how many hives can fit on 1 acre?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
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    Jan 2011
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    Athens, OH
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Speaking as a recent newbee, information overload is a real concern. Dwelling on diseases and parasites and treatments can scare off people who could pick up the information after they already have bees. I'd go with just an overview and make sure they are aware of the tools they have to continue learning.
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

  10. #10
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Someone is bound to ask "So what do I do to prevent "X" from being a problem? What should I do when such and such a pest shows up?"

    Any recommendations?
    I think its important for new beekeepers to begin to define what kind of beekeeper they are. Share the sources of information that you find worthwhile and creditable and suggest that they find the answers that work best for them. The answers you have to my questions can't possible take into account my perspective or variblies unique to my situation. I have different skills and goals.
    So the answer is always, "That depends what kind of beekeeper are you?".

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Spanish Fort, AL
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    92

    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    There is a 5 part video series from the University of Florida on Youtube. They cover nosema, mites, foul brood and beetles along with symptoms and treatments. Would make your life easier to show those videos. Most treatments are NOT considered organic or medicine free, but you can add those treatments on your own to cover all of your bases. Along with the option to not treat at all.

  12. #12
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    May 2013
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    Laurel Hill, Fl
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    324

    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    First year BeeK suggestion, you've got to talk about Mites and SHB, they are a widespread problem. Keeping bees today is much more difficult than it was 20 years ago. Perspective Beeks need to know what they are getting into. This is far more time consuming than I thought. I love it, glad I did it, but others might not and the startup costs are expensive.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    . Perspective Beeks need to know what they are getting into. This is far more time consuming than I thought. I love it, glad I did it, but others might not and the startup costs are expensive.
    Your audience are perspective beeks...no bees yet. They will likely be folks that are wondering if they should get bees or not.
    If they get a feel for time and money commitment to be expected and a bit of insight into potential problems you will have helped them a lot. Balance that with the fun of observing and manipulating social colony and harvesting honey and you will have done well by them.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  14. #14
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    Jul 2012
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    lafargeville ny usa
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    Thumbs Up Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    mark you are a great speaker...for biology talk about how a hive is organized, worker, queen and drone, talk about a bees life cycle, mention the hives yearly cycle, mention swarming... for diseases you must talk about varroa and various strategies, all beekeepers have to deal with it one way or another, mention there are assorted other stuff out there and save the details for a more advanced class.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2012
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    Los Angeles, California, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Many introductory beekeeping courses have a diseases and pests module as part of their curricula, and I would agree that an in-depth examination of these and treatments would be an information overload. It may be better to address the concept of diseases and pests rather than go in deep with them, as a means of exploring the biology of bees and the internal ecology of the hive itself. I'm teaching a class for kids right now and thats how I'm going to approach that topic.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > address folks interested in getting bees next Spring ...

    What will you tell them when someone asks how many hives can fit on 1 acre?
    I can always refer them to beesource.com. lol In which my first answer to allan was something like "How many do you have? How many do you want to have? That's how many will fit."

    Had we been face to face I would have had the opportunity to see his reaction and a chance to ask more questions to better understand what allan was asking.

    What responsibility does someone asking a question have towards knowing what they are asking about before asking?
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 10-09-2013 at 12:47 PM.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  17. #17
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    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Some of the beginners (planning their frame and foundation purchases) may be interested in learning about the advantages of Large Cell Beekeeping (LC).
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Davie, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    I agree with stressing the appearance of a healthy hive...as far as pests & diseases though, a picture says 1,000 words... Can you find some images on the Web of diseases and pests just so they know what they look like? Even just a printed pic that they can pass among themselves? This is what a small hive beetle looks like and does to the hive...this is what wax moth damage looks like...this is what a varroa mite looks like...this is chilled brood....Foul Brood and a 'roping' pic, etc, etc... Have a beetle trap, etc... Keep their hands and eyes busy, and questions will be at a minimum... You'll do great!

    I took a Bee Anatomy class taught by Ashley Mortenson (sp?) at U of F, and WOW! It was truly fascinating!!! She covered everything, inside, and out! It was kind of like taking a sip of water from a fire hydrant, but it made me appreciate these little girls even more! She even covered how a bee 'sees' a flower, as opposed to how WE see a flower...fascinating stuff.

    ps...thanks for the message!

  19. #19
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    Mar 2012
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    Delhi, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    Mark, just remember what it was like for you when you were it interested in beekeeping; actually, all of us Beekeepers on this site...we wanted to learn everything we could, and still do!
    So, give 'em what they ask for!

  20. #20
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Talking Bees w/ Wannabees

    On the Diseases and Pests front I agree that there will be a fair amount of information overload, no matter how you approach it. I would suggest you spend most of your time focusing on what you consider to be the "most" important thing they can take away from the session related to pests and diseases.

    In my opinion, that would be Varroa Mites. Very few new beekeepers are going to run into AFB, EFB, Chalkbrood, etc. Those are things they can learn about as they go. But 99.9% of new beekeepers will have to deal with Varroa Mites in their first year. They really need to understand the basics of their life cycle, and the importance of monitoring and controlling mites in their hives. So many new beekeepers experience discouraging losses directly related to mites in their first couple of years and never saw it coming. So much pain could have been avoided with just a little more education on the subject.
    To everything there is a season....

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