President’s message (July 2020)

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Four Canadian flags with hearts on them are taped to the living room window; a reminder that we may have limited the spread of COVID but still have to be vigilant as we interact more, travel more and see more visitors in our midst. I feel somewhat like I am practicing a fire drill with masks and hand sanitizer and I don’t want to be lackadaisical because the risk seems somewhat removed. It’s not. A license plate from Georgia and one from Wyoming parked in town makes me check the thoroughness of my habits again.

It is mid-summer and according to Gerry Rozema we should be applying mite treatments if our bees are not collecting nectar. Mites are part of our beekeeping environment now and we cannot become lackadaisical when it comes to their management or as we know from Gerry’s presentation last month, the devastation to our hive numbers will be significant.

A strong hive with lots of bees and few mites will do well if you are one of the club members moving your hives to higher elevations for fireweed. The road has been trimmed, the wires checked and solar panels reinstalled in the club’s outyard. No fireweed blooms are present at any elevation so it will be a couple of weeks yet before there is nectar for the bees. In the meantime it looks like we will have to supplement local sources with sugar syrup.

Our on-line meeting will consist of five regional discussions hosted by different members of Club Executive. Each meeting will last approximately 45 minutes so join in the discussion early. Watch for an email invite from the host of your small group:

  • Victoria hosted by Carolyn H
  • Oak Bay/Gordon Head hosted by Bill F
  • Saanich and Saanich North hosted by Don L and Cindy P
  • Vic West hosted by Nicole S
  • Langford/Metchosin/Colwood hosted by Werner G

Special Note Regarding American Foulbrood from David MacDonald (originally posted on the VI Beekeepers Facebook page)

Hello South VI Beekeepers.

We’ve had a couple cases of AFB pop up on the South of Vancouver Island, and I want to be sure we catch any new cases before there’s a chance of spread.

To be safe, we’ll want to cast a wide net and be sure all beekeepers in the Greater Victoria, South Saanich, Langford & Metchosin are making regular inspections.

Please be sure to inspect your colonies; ideally, at least every 14 to 21 days.

If you’re not confident you’d be able to spot the signs of AFB, please be sure to look at the links I’ve included in this post, and ask for help from an experienced beekeeper.

If you do find symptoms of AFB, please contact me promptly at:

*Rest assured, your identity, and all of your information is confidential.*

When inspecting for AFB beekeepers should remove each brood frame from the colony, remove bees from the frame and examine the brood frame for symptoms such as an irregular brood pattern, with a mixture of capped and uncapped cells. Individual cells should also be carefully inspected for sunken, darkened and greasy looking cappings as well as perforated cappings (especially if perforations are irregular shaped or located on the edges of the cap).

As early AFB infections may only have one or two cells showing disease signs, it is critically important to inspect all brood combs for early detection of AFB. In the early stages of AFB infection, the adult bee population may still be quite considerable.” BeeAware

A couple of good links for learning to identify & manage AFB. Keep in mind, early detection is critical, and the signs can be subtle in the early stages:

* American Foulbrood
* AFB Management

All the best,

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