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NY Bee Wellness Late Winter 2017 Newsletter

Fall 2016 Survey RESULTS!
Put NY Bee Wellness in the NYS Budget!
Lecture videos
Oxalic Use
Fight the Mite
YouTube Channel
U of Guelph Videos
First Lego League
New Bacterial Pathogen

The Fall 2016 NY Bee Wellness survey
results are now available!
Overview: The average respondent started with 6 hives at the end of winter and increased their number of hives mostly by making splits, and entering winter with 10 hives. Some hives were combined before winter. Fewer packages and nucleus hives were purchased in 2016 likely because the winter of 2015-2016 had only a 24% loss. 21% of beekeepers intend to overwinter nucs. 72% of respondents were pleased to some extent, with the 2016 honey crop, 23% were definitely not, due to the widespread drought conditions in the mid to late summer. There was an unsettling trend of Fall dwindling and absconding, perhaps an omen for 2016-2017 winter survival/loss.
Please watch for the NY Bee Wellness Spring Survey in April 2017. To subscribe to the survey: email.
Results of previous surveys can be found on the site or here.


Put NY Bee Wellness in the NYS Budget!

As you know, NY Bee Wellness as a 501c3 provides educational opportunities for the beginning and small scale beekeeper in NYS. The 2018 NYS Budget is currently under consideration. Now is the time to let Governor Cuomo, Agriculture Commissioner Ball, your Assembly person and State Senator know to allocate funds for NY Bee Wellness, Inc. We are asking for a modest amount ($27,000).
Please contact them this week at the latest. Call and/or write,
if you have contacted them already, please remind them;
(calling and/or writing is best), to tell them to Put NY Bee Wellness in the NYS Budget!

Contact info:
1) Governor Cuomo:
(518) 474-8390;
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224

2) Commissioner Richard Ball:
518-457-8876; [email protected]
10 B Airline Drive
Albany, New York 12235

3) Our state legislature is divided into two separate bodies: the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. We are each represented by one State Senator and one State Assembly member, each determined by your address.

To find your NYS Senator:
To find your NYS Assembly member:

These elected officials like to be contacted by mail or telephone. Or, you can contact their local office and ask for a meeting with the elected official or relevant staff member.

When you call or write, do the following:
Introduce yourself and tell them that you are a constituent and benefit from NY Bee Wellness.
Briefly mention your relationship to NY Bee Wellness (i.e.: If you have attended a workshop or training session connected with NY Bee Wellness, take the surveys etc.)

Pictured is a frame from a hive that had a high mite/virus load.
Deadouts, what to do about them

Preliminary reports from New York beekeepers reveal many dead colonies, some with few or no bees. They may be no easy answer as to the cause to colony loss, but there are some things you may do to understand and prevent future loss.

  1. Read "Why did my Honey Bees Die?" by Megan Milbrath PhD Michigan State
  2. Check the Penn State Field Guide (1.86 MG PDF), and the Spring Checklist
  3. Close the hive to prevent robbing on warmer days, this is important if on rare occasion there is American Foul Brood (AFB) present.
  4. send a comb and/or bee sample to the Bee Lab in Beltsville MD, it is a free service, and will give you an idea of what pathogens the bees may have had
  5. Clean out the dead bees as much as possible before decay and mold form on the combs
  6. Replace some old comb with new foundation or buy new frames to reduce spores and pathogens
  7. use a 1:10 bleach solution to spray used comb
  8. refill the hive using package bees (if buying packages), and treat with oxalic or Hopguard II within 10 days of hiving, before brood is capped, to remove the varroa mites on the bees.
  9. monitor your varroa levels at least every other month
  10. during the year, create brood breaks by making splits or by confining the queen; this is a good time to use oxalic or hopguard II or other miticide, when the hive has uncapped brood

Lecture videos from last summer's NY Bee Wellness workshop
are now available on the NY Bee Wellness Youtube channel.

Taken during the hot days of August, they are both educational and at times entertaining

Check out our new YouTube channel!
1) Tips on Working Bees Randy OliverReally great for beginners, and can be used for classes/teaching

2) Healthy Bees, Meghan Milbrath (MSU)good for beginning to intermediate beekeepers

3) Nosema & Varroa Mites Randy Oliver

4) The Times They are a Changin', Randy Oliver

5) Mite resistant queen stock , Meghan Milbrath (MSU)

New Project to
Fight the Mite!:
Treating Packages
This Spring many beekeepers will be replenishing dead hives with packages. As all bees have some level of varroa mites, controlling mites in newly installed hives during a brood less period is key to ensure colony growth in the spring and summer. NY Bee Wellness , partnering with Beta-tec, maker of HopGuard II, will be conducting a program where beekeepers will treat their newly hived packages with either HopGuard II or oxalic acid and monitored for efficacy of treatments. This monitored trial is a first for the the Northeast region. Similar trials have been done in the Southwest.
Beekeepers who are not directly involved in this program are also encouraged to treat their package bees, too. For more info, contact Pat : [email protected]

Donate to support beekeeper education!

New bacterial pathogen?
Possible link to wintertime colony failure; Sepsis and Hemocyte Loss in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) Infected with Serratia marcescens Strain Sicaria

DEC's Tree Nursery Offers Variety of Seedlings to Create Effective Windbreaks and Snow Fences
Nursery stock available. Increase nectar and pollen sources for bees! Orders MUST be placed by March 31

UPDATE : the First Lego League, Hippie Pandas have gone onto nationals; here is information on their PASSIVE HIVE project

Hive irradiation program in NJ,
March 13, organized by the Montgomery County Beekeepers

Report from NYS Ag & MKTS/ Cornell/ Bee Informed
-Varroa mites were very common in honey bee colonies in NYS;
Nosema spores were present in 185 out of 309 colonies
For 2016: nosema down, mites numbers up

Scaffolds Fruit Journal, February 2017
Special Edition: NY farmers' perspectives on last season's drought

Crop Insurance Program (ELAP)

Info from Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics; Apiary Fact Sheet
Agent locator

Late Winter, Early Spring Management: MAAREC info sheet

Fight the Mite!
Treat your packages!
Broodless period in the hive is the best time to treat with oxalic acid for the varroa mites. See instructions and videos, and other info here.
Oxalic is also available through NY Bee Wellness

Great How-to videos from the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre
to provide new and advanced beekeepers with demonstrations by our staff on a variety of topics ranging from how to open a hive to queen rearing.

*;Master Beekeeping online course

* COLOSS- International Honeybee Research Association, a good resource

* Randy Oliver's latest update to his website,, click HERE

*OSU recorded Webinars (Ohio State University)

*Be sure to check the Bee Health eXtension website, which includes the "Ask an Expert" option.

*Subscribe to Bee-L, a list serve for Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology

* Northeast Regional Climate Center Quarterly reports, OUTLOOKS

***If you have an article, photos, or other info to share, please send to:
[email protected]
* Northeast Pollinator Partnership- a citizen science project creating a deeper understanding of the value of wild bees

* Northeastern IPM Center link to IPM Insights: Invasive species

* Northern Bee Network - (anyone from any state can sign up and join for free!)

* Varroa resources - ,includes the Sugar ROLL technique

* A Beekeeper's Diary, ongoing journal of an Alberta beekeeper

* Journey North!- Follow and help plot the the mapped signs of SPRING!/ or The National Phenology Program

* Bee Health app- Alberta Agriculture, focuses on honey bee diseases
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