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Giving Thanks

We just wanted you to know that we are so thankful for you!

 

This is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is also an important time to reflect on all the many things for which we should be grateful.

 

This week, as families across our Nation gather together to give thanks and count their blessings, I want to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. 

 

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest gratitude to all of you for the remarkable support and patronage. Walter’s Wholesome Goods experienced an increased demand for our honey bees this year. If we missed any of you, please accept our apologies, and rest assured that should you still be interested in giving us an opportunity to serve your beekeeping needs, we will do so in the coming 2014 season.

 

Maxine and I are thankful for the opportunity you’ve given us, we know you have options when it comes to our products and services, and once again we are grateful you’ve chosen us.

 

God bless, and happy Thanksgiving,

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles & Maxine Walter

304.616.9487

www.walterswholesomegoods.com 

info@walterswholesomegoods.com

2013 Russian Nucs and Honey Bee Queens Update

Greetings,

As I sat this morning, March 18, 2013, in my home office typing this message a light snow dusting is falling outside my window, although the weather man

Photo by C. Hewitt March 18, 2013, snow dusting.

Photo by C. Hewitt March 18, 2013, snow dusting.

called for three to four inches of snow for today, we are hoping he is wrong, nevertheless a dusting is still snow and requires low temperature, which brings me to my main focus point.

As promised, we are reaching out to you to provide you with an update and share with you the progress of our 2013 nuc and queen project.  I know that you, as I am, are ready to get this season started and get busy working with these wonderful creatures. Anxiety is setting in, and you would like to have your queen(s) and/or nuc(s) ready, and in your yard.  Trust me when I say this, I do understand the feeling and I can certainly relate to it.

Last week, on Sunday to be exact, we were blessed with such a wonderful spring like day, that enabled us to go through many of our hives, only to discover that our bees were alive and well, healthy, and brooding up magnificently.  On average the hives were on 6-7 frames of bees and brood, and the overwintered nucs were on 2-3 of the five frames as well, which is not bad for Russian bees and this variable weather.  I guess our early stimulation which we started in late February is paying off nicely.  We inspected closely and were not able to find any signs of drone brood being reared, this is crucial for our queen production, since only once we have drones in the pupal purple eye stage we can begin grafting to ensure that by the time the virgin queens reach

Late 2013 winter cluster

Late 2013 winter cluster of Russian bees

sexual maturity, enough mature Russian drones are available at the drone congregation areas (DCA) for mating.

With all that said, in order for you to plan accordingly, we must share with you that our projected “ready date” for our 2013 nucs and queens will have to be moved to mid to late May, due to the uncertainty of the season so far, remember nature is our calendar of which we have no control.  We pride ourselves in delivering a quality product and strive to the best of our abilities to ensure your satisfaction. Under our current weather conditions we are not able to do that. The extended forecast for our area (zip code 25443) is still showing nights in the 30s for the next 10 days, which means that the cluster at night will remain tight and the queen will not expand her laying beyond the cluster area, without risking having the brood chilled.  We do not take bees to the south, so we rely solely on our local weather conditions to mark the start of our season.

We understand that you have a choice in providers, and we thank you very much, and appreciate you

2013 Nuc boxes ready for tenants.

2013 Nuc boxes ready for tenants.

giving us the opportunity to serve you. We will continue to provide updates as necessary. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach us at your convenience.

Cordially,

Charles & Maxine Walter

 

Woodenware … Protecting Your Investment

One of the most expensive initial investments when venturing into beekeeping is the woodenware. Many beginner beekeepers are under the impression that acquiring the bees will be the most costly expenditure, but the bees are easier to get than most imagine, and often times they can be obtained even for free.

1A complete hive set up can cost more than a couple of hundred dollars depending on where it is acquired. For this reason I want to share with you some basic tips to prolong the life of your woodenware. Specifically, bottom boards, hive bodies, honey supers, and lids.

There are several options to choose from to preserve your woodenware. Some may choose to leave the woodenware as is., no paint or treatment whatsoever. While this option may maintain the wood look and feel of the equipment, it definitely ensures the shortest lifespan. This option completely exposes the equipment to the weather and elements. In a few years or less the equipment may be worthless.

Woodenware can be primed and painted, which is what most beekeepers do. This option will add to the life of your equipment, providing some sort of protection against the elements. Painting can also enhance the look/appeal of your old equipment, providing it with a facelift.

Another option available is a wood preservative that is applied to the equipment before any other treatment, including painting. This is the option used at our apiary. The treatment is called ECO WOOD TREATMENT. As stated on their web site, www.ecowoodtreatment.com, it is a unique wood treatment that 2preserves and beautifies wood for a very long time. Eco Wood Treatment gives all wood a high end aged look with just one application, no need to ever re-stain, and no maintenance needed.

It is highly effective and a 100% non-toxic, chemical free product. Eco Wood Treatment is a powder composed of natural substances from minerals. It contains no solvents and leaves no harmful residue in water or soil. It comes in two sizes, one that yields one gallon of the mixture and will cover approximately 150 square feet. or a pack that yields 5 gallons of mixture, and covers approximately 750 square feet. The treatment can be purchased from Walter T. Kelley or ordered online only from the Home Depot with free shipping.

Eco Wood Treatment is the best preservative I have ever used and is very cost effective … less than the price of paint per gallon. Why not give it a try. You will definitely be pleased with the results.

3 4

Propolis aka Bee Glue

The bee, from her industry in the summer, eats honey all the winter. Anon

The honey bee continues to amaze me … they pollinate our food crops and flowers, feed on nectar and pollen, make honey and beeswax … and now I find out they have structural engineering skills as well.

Beekeepers often open their hives using what is called a “hive tool.” This is because the honey bees produce a sticky material called propolis that they use to coat the inside of the hive. Propolis is made from tree bark and leaf resins the bees collect and carry in the pollen baskets on their back legs. They combine this resin with nectar, creating a mix of wax, pollen and bee bread. This material is then used to seal their hives, protecting it from outside dirt and filth. Propolis is also used at the entrance to the hive to sterilize the bees as they come and go.

Propolis has been aptly referred to as nature’s preventive cure.  Our immune systems are strengthened by the ingestion of propolis.  Modern studies show that regular use of propolis drastically reduces winter colds and sore throats and builds up a natural immunity to common viruses, including the flu.

For more information, check out the book Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Propolis, and Honey,” by Rita Elkins, M.A.

The book contains the following information about medicinal applications for propolis and its’ nutritional content.

Medicinal Applications Nutritional Content 
acne Vitamin A (carotene)
allergies Vitamin B1
bruises Vitamin B2
burns Vitamin B3
cancer albumin
colds biotin
coughs bioflavonoids
fatigue calcium
flu cobalt
herpes zoster copper
nasal congestion iron
respiratory ailments magnesium
respiratory infections manganese
skin disorders phosphorus
sore throats potassium
sunburn silica
shingles zincwounds
ulcers  

Following is an interesting article from the March 2012 edition of Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping.

Enjoy !!!

The Beekeeper’s Wife

from:  http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2012.03.30.14.45.archive.html

CATCH THE BUZZ – Take more Propolis and call me in the morning

EZezine

Increased resin collection after parasite challenge: a case of self-medication in honey bees?

Michael D. Simone-Finstrom, North Carolina State University; Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota

Research from North Carolina State University shows that honey bees “self-medicate” when their colony is infected with a harmful fungus, bringing in increased amounts of antifungal plant resins to ward off the pathogen.

“The colony is willing to expend the energy and effort of its worker bees to collect these resins,” says Dr. Michael Simone-Finstrom, a postdoctoral research scholar in NC State’s Department of Entomology and lead author of a paper describing the research. “So, clearly this behavior has evolved because the benefit to the colony exceeds the cost.”

Wild honey bees normally line their hives with propolis, a mixture of plant resins and wax that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Domesticated honey bees also use propolis, to fill in cracks in their hives. However, researchers found that, when faced with a fungal threat, bees bring in significantly more propolis – 45 percent more, on average. The bees also physically removed infected larvae that had been parasitized by the fungus and were being used to create fungal spores.

Researchers know propolis is an effective antifungal agent because they lined some hives with a propolis extract and found that the extract significantly reduced the rate of infection.

And apparently bees can sometimes distinguish harmful fungi from harmless ones, since colonies did not bring in increased amounts of propolis when infected with harmless fungal species. Instead, the colonies relied on physically removing the spores.

However, the self-medicating behavior does have limits. Honey bee colonies infected with pathogenic bacteria did not bring in significantly more propolis – despite the fact that the propolis also has antibacterial properties. “There was a slight increase, but it was not statistically significant,” Simone-Finstrom says. “That is something we plan to follow up on.”

There may be a lesson here for domestic beekeepers. “Historically, U.S. beekeepers preferred colonies that used less of this resin, because it is sticky and can be difficult to work with,” Simone-Finstrom says. “Now we know that this is a characteristic worth promoting, because it seems to offer the bees some natural defense.”

The paper, “Increased resin collection after parasite challenge: a case of self-medication in honey bees?,” was co-authored by Dr. Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota and published March 29 in PLoS ONE. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Abstract: The constant pressure posed by parasites has caused species throughout the animal kingdom to evolve suites of mechanisms to resist infection. Individual barriers and physiological defenses are considered the main barriers against parasites in invertebrate species. However, behavioral traits and other non-immunological defenses can also effectively reduce parasite transmission and infection intensity. In social insects, behaviors that reduce colony-level parasite loads are termed “social immunity.” One example of a behavioral defense is resin collection. Honey bees forage for plant-produced resins and incorporate them into their nest architecture. This use of resins can reduce chronic elevation of an individual bee’s immune response. Since high activation of individual immunity can impose colony-level fitness costs, collection of resins may benefit both the individual and colony fitness. However the use of resins as a more direct defense against pathogens is unclear. Here we present evidence that honey bee colonies may self medicate with plant resins in response to a fungal infection. Self-medication is generally defined as an individual responding to infection by ingesting or harvesting non-nutritive compounds or plant materials. Our results show that colonies increase resin foraging rates after a challenge with a fungal parasite (Ascophaera apis: chalkbrood or CB). Additionally, colonies experimentally enriched with resin had decreased infection intensities of this fungal parasite. If considered self-medication, this is a particularly unique example because it operates at the colony level. Most instances of self-medication involve pharmacophagy, whereby individuals change their diet in response to direct infection with a parasite. In this case with honey bees, resins are not ingested but used within the hive by adult bees exposed to fungal spores. Thus the colony, as the unit of selection, may be responding to infection through self-medication by increasing the number of individuals that forage for resin.

 

The Bees are Buzzing

Beautiful Winter Cluster

As you already know, this season has been very mild, one of the mildest winters we have experienced in this area, We are not sure if it is a good or bad thing when it comes to our bees and the natural resources we depend on for their survival. Some orchard owners have reported that their peaches are already in blossom, so if we get a late frost, it may be devastating for farming and beekeeping.

In our informal inspections we can see the bees expanding and consuming their stores, earlier and at a faster rate than previous years. Their appearance is great and so far losses are less than 5%. Our overwintered nucs are bursting at the seam, so to speak. We have been feeding pollen substitute for a while now, and just recently started feeding 1:1 syrup.

The way the bees are looking we anticipate that we will be on schedule for production and delivery of spring nuclei colonies, as well as our locally raised and adapted Russian queen honey bees. By the looks of the season so far, we will have our honey supers ready to go on at least 2-3 weeks earlier this year. Based on actual observation of nature and the early blooms and blossoms, we expect to have a great nectar flow if we get the rain in a timely manner.

Remember to take some time on a pleasant day and open your hive and perform an inspection to evaluate and know what your bees are doing, where they should be, and what can you do to help them get where they should be. Know how many frames of bees you have as well as brood. Know quantity and quality, and always keep an eye on the weather extended forecast, and plan accordingly.

Overwintered 5 frame nuc.

As soon as the state inspector pays us a visit, overwintered nucs will be available for pickup, keep an eye open for a notice on this shortly. There is still time to reserve your 2012 nucs and queens, give us a call at 304.616.9487 or visit us on the web www.walterswholesomegoods.com keep in mind that orders of 5 queens or more qualify for free shipping.
Until next time,

Charles & Maxine Walter

Africanized Honeybees … FYI

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle

With the rapid advancement of the Africanized Honeybee (AHB) into the southern territories of our nation, it has become very risky to continue importing packages and open mated queens to the northern states because these bees may possibly introduce some of this unwanted genetic material.

As my good friend Karla Eisen, a Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association (PWRBA) member states, “In case you have not jumped on the sustainable beekeeping wagon of making nucs with queens from non africanized bee locations and getting to know regional queen breeders, perhaps this note will be the jolt you need.”

Following is an article we thought would be of interest to you.

Enjoy & have a great day,
The Beekeeper

The Universe is one great kindergarten for man. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. Orison Swett Marden


Courtesy of Mr. Kim Flottum, Editor
Bee Culture Magazine

This ezine is also available online at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2010.10.20.15.45.archive.html

CATCH THE BUZZ

African Honey Bees Found In Georgia

Georgia Dept Of Ag Offers Good Advice For This Event….

Africanized honeybees (AHB) – sometimes called “killer bees” – became established in Texas in 1990 and have spread to other states, now including Georgia.

The Africanized honeybee is related to our state’s familiar honeybee (the European honeybee) that produces honey and pollinates our crops.  The two types of bees look the same and their behavior is similar in some respects.  Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee.  However, Africanized honeybees are less predictable and more aggressive than European honeybees.  They are more likely to defend a greater area around their nest, respond faster and in greater numbers than European honeybees.

In other words, you’re more likely to get stung around Africanized honeybees than European ones, but learning about AHB and taking certain precautions can lower your risk of being stung.

Tips to remember:

Africanized Honeybees

  • Are very defensive of their nest
  • Respond quickly and sting in large numbers
  • Can sense a threat from people or animals 50 feet or more from nest
  • Sense vibrations from power equipment 100 feet or more from nest
  • Will pursue an enemy ¼ mile or more
  • Swarm frequently to establish new nests
  • Nest in small cavities and sheltered areas

Nest sites include empty boxes, cans, buckets, or other containers; old tires; infrequently used vehicles; lumber piles; holes and cavities in fences, trees, or the ground; sheds, garages, and other outbuildings; and low decks or spaces under buildings.

General Precautions

  • Be careful wherever bees may be found.
  • Listen for buzzing indicating a nest or swarm of bees.
  • Use care when entering sheds or outbuildings where bees may nest.
  • Examine work area before using lawn mowers, weed cutters, and other power equipment.
  • Examine areas before tying up or penning pets or livestock.
  • Be alert when participating in all outdoor sports and activities.
  • Don’t disturb a nest or swarm – contact a pest control company or your local Cooperative Extension office.
  • Teach children to respect all bees.
  • Check with a doctor about bee sting kits and procedures if sensitive to bee stings.
  • Remove possible nest sites around home, and seal openings larger than 1/8” in walls and around chimneys and plumbing.

As a general rule, stay away from all honeybee swarms and colonies.  If you encounter bees, get away quickly.  If you get stung, try to protect your face and eyes as much as possible and run away from the area.  Take shelter in a car or building.  Hiding in water or thick brush does not offer enough protection.  Do not stand and swat at the bees; this will only cause them to sting.

What to Do if Stung

  • First, go quickly to a safe area.
  • Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible.  The stinger pumps out most of the venom during the first minute.  Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.
  • Wash sting area with soap and water like any other wound.
  • Apply ice pack for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Seek medical attention if breathing is troubled, if stung numerous times, or if allergic to bee stings.

Don’t Forget!

*Hives of European honeybees managed by beekeepers play an important part in our lives.  These bees are necessary for the pollination of many crops.  One-third of our diet relies on honeybee pollination.

*If European honeybees were eliminated in an area, Africanized honeybees would quickly fill the gap.

*Finally, people can coexist with the Africanized honeybee by learning about the bee and its habits, supporting beekeeping efforts, and taking a few precautions.

The Latest on Honey Bees Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV

New developments in the process of linking and finding a solution to colony collapse disorder have been released by a group of researchers. The journey for a cure may be a long one. Let’s not dismay … continue to look at all the options.

As stated by EAS Master Beekeeper Barry Thompson, “Confirmation of a cause-effect relationship remains the prime need. Until that happens, one has only the reported association. Unfortunately, confirmation likely is some time away, especially if the researcher is unwilling to share firm data so that others may replicate his findings or pursue causation.”

Following is an article we thought would be of interest to you.

Enjoy !!!
The Beekeeper

Courtesy of Kim Flottum, Editor
Bee Culture Magazine

This ezine is also available online at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2010.10.06.17.30.archive.html

CATCH THE BUZZ

New Demons Found. The CCD Trail Gets Much Warmer.

In 2007a team* was formed to search for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. Using mass spectrometry-based proteomics, a technique modified by the military for screening samples for pathogens, they found a fungus and an unusual virus associated with samples from colonies with CCD symptoms.

An insect iridescent virus (IIV) in bees from CCD colonies is new to the U.S. It shows similarities to an IIV first reported in India 20 years ago, as well as to an IIV found in moths. The method of its introduction to bees in North America remains a mystery but it probably arrived in infected bees, or it crossed over to bees from another insect.

All animals, ranging from lowly bacteria to humans have DNA as their genetic material. Viruses, however, have either DNA or RNA as their genetic material. RNA is a chemical variant of DNA.

The viruses thus far associated with honey bees in colonies with colony collapse disorder symptoms have been of the RNA type. The insect iridescent virus the research team correlated with CCD is a DNA virus, however.  That is a fundamental difference and takes CCD research in a whole new direction. This was when the team brought in RNA virus experts.

The DNA in these viruses is something to behold. Their size and shape, and the way they are stacked inside the cells they infect fundamentally alters light in such a way that it causes iridescence. Viruses and infected host tissue may have a bluish green or purplish hue. Insect iridescent viruses have also been shown to contain a protein that causes host cells to self destruct in a process called apoptosis, which can be a viral attack mechanism or a host defense strategy.

Additionally there is a significant statistical link between CCD, the iridescent virus and a fungal parasite of the genus Nosema. It remains unknown if these two pathogens in concert cause CCD, or, are CCD colonies more likely to succumb to these two pathogens?

Currently, the team is trying to isolate the specific strain of iridescent virus in U.S. bees so that they can characterize it alone and in combination with Nosema. The work is ongoing but it may be the most important advance in the previous three years.

There are more than two dozen known insect iridescent viruses. As a general rule, the impact of these viruses ranges from covert infections with relatively minor effects, to highly virulent and lethal infections. This lethality is one reason that this group of viruses has been scrutinized as a potential biopesticide, for applications such as mosquito control. This is not good news for beekeepers. In India, an iridescent virus, called IIV-24, has been implicated in high losses of honey bee colonies.

It is known that in an Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, a combination of parasites and pathogens co-exist, including: (1) a Nosema parasite called Nosema ceranae, (2) an iridescent virus, (3) parasitic and predacious mites, and (4) two other RNA-type viruses, Kashmir bee virus and a Sacbrood virus.

Both Kashmir bee virus and Nosema ceranae have been in North America for a decade or more. How similar is the CCD strain of iridescent virus to the IIV-24 from A. cerana? Is it possible that US bees acquired IIV from the Asian bee along with Nosema ceranae and Kashmir bee virus?

This IIV also seems to be closely related to an IIV virus called IIV-6 that occurs in other insect species. So this may be a variant of this virus that managed to transmit to a new host – bees.

Knowing exactly what IIV species is involved will be important so that it can be tracked and monitored to develop a control strategy. There is not a means of controlling the virus, although there are simple ways of monitoring Nosema, which can be seen under a microscope, and some options are available to beekeepers for reducing Nosema levels.

Once the strain of IIV in CCD colonies is identified, and assuming that the IIV link with CCD can be confirmed, the potential exists to use IIV presence as an indicator of CCD. It should be very easy to develop a PCR assay or even to use simple serological tests like ELISA to rapidly detect IIV. Until then, proteomics will be used to screen samples. Proteomics is an excellent screening method, but it takes more time and analysis costs are higher than for PCR or ELISA.

With an inexpensive and rapid assay, the ability to screen all colonies in an area for IIV exists. Until an effective treatment can be developed, eliminating infected colonies may be an option, as well as screening before new colonies are allowed to enter.

Standard quarantine practices such as testing imported bees before they are added to colonies, and disinfecting equipment would likely help. We can do a better job if we know the exact identity of the culprit(s).

In the short term, the possibility of developing treatments against the IIV seems remote. Some possible treatments include antiviral drugs or heat treatment of hives. Most IIVs replicate at about 21 degrees C and do not replicate above 30-32 degrees C. Higher temperature may suppress the virus by halting replication, whereas cool weather and damp conditions may speed up replication of both IIV and Nosema. Many instances of CCD have occurred following extended periods of cool, damp weather, with more problems with bees in areas with frequent fog or in hill areas where the weather is cooler bein g reported. Placing bees in warm, sunny locations appears to help.

Finally, in a bee collapse that occurred in the northeastern part of the U.S. some years ago, an IIV was seen in varroa mites that prey on bees. Varroa may act as a vector for the dispersal of the virus among bee colonies, just as mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus or malaria to humans. Varroa is known to increase damage caused by other viruses, and beekeepers who fail to control varroa levels are likely to sustain high colony losses.

In all cases, management practices that reduce Nosema and mite loads and try to reduce long term exposures to cool, damp environmental conditions are likely to reduce colony susceptibility to IIV.

The entire paper is published in the online Journal Plos One. Find it at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0013181

*The team includes bee specialists at The University of Montana in Missoula, fungal pathologists at Montana State University, and a group of virologists and chemists at the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC). Later, after they received the initial results, they added specialists in insect viruses from Texas Tech University and the Instituto de Ecologia AC in Mexico. Team members include Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, Univ. Mt, Colin Henderson, Univ. Mt., Charles H. Wick, U. S. Army, Robert A. Cramer, Univ. MT., Shan Bilimoria, Texas Tech, and Trevor Williams, Instituto de Ecologia AC in Mexico and several others listed on the research paper.

Beek Bio … Here Comes the Judge

Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The term beekeeper usually refers to a person who keeps honey bees in hives or boxes. Honey bees are not domesticated or controlled, the beekeeper’s job is to effectively manage the hive. Beekeepers are also referred to as honey farmers, apiarists or beeks.

The beekeeping community is a diverse one whose members come from a variety of backgrounds.

We would like to introduce you to the Hon. Judge Dan O’Hanlon, a Cabell County WV Circuit Court Judge since 1985. At that time, he was the youngest circuit court judge elected in West Virginia history.

Judge O’Hanlon, who recently announced his retirement, was voted Judge of the Year in 2007 by the West Virginia Association for Justice formerly known as the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. The professional association represents more than six hundred plaintiff’s attorneys throughout West Virginia and surrounding states.

O’Hanlon, who has been an avid beekeeper for many years, is the Treasurer of the Cabell Wayne Beekeepers Association and manages the Cabell Wayne Beekeepers blog. Along with his other duties, the judge is president of the WV Queen Producers Association (of which he was instrumental in forming) and also manages the group blog, Mountain State Queens.  He states “I got started in beekeeping 21 years ago because of John Marra, our new County Extension Agent whose office was near mine in the courthouse. John kept bees and  I helped him and got hooked on beekeeping. My current goal in beekeeping is to develop a local disease resistant bee for West Virginia”.

Judge O’Hanlon wrote an article in the Sept. 2010 issue of Bee Culture Magazine about WV’s new Beekeeper Immunity Law and serves as Legislative Chair of the WV Beekeepers Association (WVBA).

WVBA held its’ Fall Meeting last weekend at Jackson’s Mill 4-H Conference Center outside of Weston, WV. At the fall meeting each September, one of the organization’s members is selected as the Beekeeper of the Year. This year’s recipient of the award was none other than … Judge Dan O’Hanlon.

Judge O’Hanlon was nominated for Beekeeper of the Year 2011 by the members of the Cabell-Wayne Beekeepers Association. According to the letter written by Gary Strickland and submitted by club president Gabe Blatt, O’Hanlon worked hard this year to promote beekeeping by:

•  Assisting and advising new members
•  Worked fervently to organize workshops, speakers, vendors, and products to guarantee
successful programs
•  Has served several years as secretary/treasurer for his local club
•  Began the Jack Dick Annual Award to recognize a club member each year through the
memory of this outstanding beekeeper
•  Began writing the Cabell-Wayne Newsletter
•  Began Honey Harvest Day to help newcomers not yet set up to process their honey

As stated in the nomination letter “Dan’s energy and leadership have gone far beyond the local club.  On a state level he has gotten immunity for the beekeepers, founded and implemented the West Virginia Queen Producers Program, served as president from its conception, has written grants and acquired funding for its survival, invited the WVBA to have its Spring Meeting for the year 2010 at Heritage Village in the Huntington area, and in 2008 he was instrumental in bringing HAS (Heartland Apiary Society) for the first time ever to our great state”.

Please join us as we congratulate and thank Judge Dan O’Hanlon for all of his efforts and service to the beekeeping community as well as our community at large. 🙂

Thanks for visiting,
The Beekeeper’s Wife

P.S. West Virginia has become the first state in the nation to pass a law giving beekeepers immunity from liability for ordinary negligence. The law requires that beekeepers register their hives. It also mandates the WV Department of Agriculture to promote Best Management Practices for beekeepers. All beekeepers who abide by these two provisions will have absolute civil immunity from ordinary negligence.

Author’s copy:  West Virginia passes Immunity Law, Dan O’Hanlon
Bee Culture Magazine, September 2010

** Jackson’s Mill photos courtesy of Roger Silver, EPBA member (Eastern Panhandle Beekeepers Association)

How to Beegin … Join a Club

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” Seneca

Beekeeping is a very interesting and possibly profitable hobby. Maybe you’ve thought of owning a hive or two. Honey and pollination services are always in demand, maybe you’ve thought of beekeeping as a business venture.

How do you take the plunge into beekeeping?
Read and research … research and read.

I would highly recommend joining a local club. Attend meetings, which are open to the public, and ask as many questions as you see fit … that’s what they are there for. Beekeeping associations are great for learning and many clubs have beginner courses available. Members range from beginners to seasoned beekeepers and everyone learns from one another.

Currently Charles and I are members of the Eastern Panhandle Beekeepers Association. The meetings are held every second Monday of the month from 7pm-9pm and we’ve met a lot of very nice people.

As stated on the website, the association’s objectives include:

• Promotion of modern, scientific bee management throughout West Virginia
• Encouragement of youth and all others in the art of bee management
• Informing the public of the importance of the honeybee

There are also regional associations to join, some of which host annual conferences and classes. My first experience was attending the Heartland Apicultural Society 9th Annual Conference. The conference was held this past July at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN.

There were general sessions, various classes, vendors and a queen rearing mini-course. I attended the following sessions:

•  Honeybee biology for beginner beekeepers
•  Getting started in beekeeping Part 1
•  Getting started in beekeeping Part 2
•  What’s in the hive?
•  Swarm control
•  Setting up & maintaining queen banks, and battery queen shipments
•  Pollination services on mid-size scale
•  Comb Honey
•  Finding and marking queens
•  Punch cell queen rearing

We were outbid on the beautiful quilt that was up for auction, but we did win a case of Pepsi in the final door prize drawing … go figure 🙂

We are also life time members of the West Virginia Beekeepers Association and will be attending the Fall Conference later this month … I’ll have to tell you all about it.

Following are more links to get you started:

•  American Beekeepers Federation – www.abfnet.org
•  American Honey Producers Association – www.americanhoneyproducers.org
•  Beesource Beekeeping Forums –  www.beesource.com/forums
•  The Internet Apiculture and Beekeeping Archive – www.ibiblio.org/bees
• The Pollinator Partnership – www.pollinator.org

There is so much more to do such as buying equipment, getting the bees and placing the hives. We’ll go into more detail later, I’ll let you catch up on your reading first. In the meantime, contact different suppliers and browse through the online catalogs or you can request one:

•  Betterbee – www.betterbee.com
•  Brushy Mountain Bee Farm – www.brushymountainbeefarm.com
•  Dadant & Sons – www.dadant.com
•  Gamber Containers – www.gambercontainer.com
•  Mann Lake Ltd. – www.mannlakeltd.com
•  Walter T. Kelley Company – www.kelleybees.com

To be continued. Thanks for visiting.
The Beekeepers Wife

P.S. If interested, the following webinar is being held Tue 9/21/2010 6pm – 8pm:
Overwintering Bees and Panel Discussion, sponsored by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.
Click here to register.

Bees for Sale

Walter’s Wholesome Goods apiaries are comprised of 100% Russian honey bees released by the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge, LA. Our out-apiaries are located across the region, spanning from West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. Learn More

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