Some Takeaways from the NCSBA Summer Conference

The NCSBA Summer Conference was held in Winston-Salem from July 13-15. If I can come away with at least 3 good takeaways, I feel like it was worth my time and money. Here’s my list from this year.

I’m including the name of the speaker where the info originated, but please don’t hold them responsible for my interpretation of what they said!

12 Takeaways from the conference:

  1. 60 – 80% of the adult bees go with the queen when a hive swarms (I always thought it was about 50%) – Katy Evans
  2. European foul brood shows up when hives are under stress (like cold, warm, cold, warm weather). Signs to look for are change in brood pattern and larva that are not pearly white, plump, and glistening – NCDOA state bee inspectors
  3. The US has a smaller gene pool for honey bees than Europe and Asia because they are not native to U.S. – Jon Zawislak
  4. Artificial insemination actually reduces diversity – Jon Zawislak
  5. When bees start to cannibalize larva, they will eat the larva not related to them first – Jon Zawislak
  6. Mites peak in the fall and you will see more mites in your sugar shake because there is less brood to hide in (so more are in the phoretic phase) – Katy Evans
  7. Drone larva put off a scent that attracts varroa – Katy Evans
  8. If you have extra honey on small hives, it can attract small hive beetles and that could be a problem (I’ve had long time beekeepers tell me that they thought keeping too much honey on a hive could be a problem) – Katy Evans
  9. For good nutrition, bees need about 5 different kinds of plants to collect pollen from – Jon Zawislak
  10. More mites are groomed off of bees when a hive goes queenless or when a beekeeper has been in the hive – Jon Zawislak
  11. You need 2 brood cycles of unparasitized bees to get through winter with healthy bees – Jon Zawislak
  12. If you are baking with honey, add ¼ tsp. of baking soda – Patricia Weavil

1 Comment

  1. The NCSU Wolfpack Waggle summer edition was released today and the message from Dr. Tarpy on the back page was related to this post, so I’m including it here:

    During the recent summer convention of the NCSBA, I attended one of my favorite presentations every year—the summaries and synopses of the NCDA&CS Apiary Inspectors. The envy of all other state inspection programs, these hard-working men and women are the true boots on the ground when it comes to keeping tabs on the health of the state honey bee population.

    While the territories of the different inspectors range widely from the mountains to the coast, there were three persistent themes that pretty much each of them shared about what they’re seeing in 2017. First, the priority in management has been and continues to bee the varroa mite, particularly since these parasites help vector viral pathogens that really challenge the health of our bees. Second, there seems to be an increasing prevalence of European foulbrood (EFB). Usually an opportunistic disease brought on by other stressors, these instances seem unusually persistent and prevalent compared to years past. It is unclear if it is a different strain of EFB or just unusual stresses of this beekeeping season, but they warned beekeepers to be extra vigilant for this brood disease. Third, particularly this time of year, an emphasis was placed on Best Management Practices (BMPs). Many of the problems that befall bees, with a little knowledge and experience, can be preventable or at least mitigated. Reducing stress from lack of nutrition during the summer dearth, reducing mite loads, leaving sufficient honey, providing a good water source, and giving adequate but not surplus space in the hive can all make the bees’ lives a lot easier.

    The issues raised by the NCDA&CS inspectors reminded me just how complicated yet simple beekeeping can be, as in the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” We should be on the lookout for potential new problems, but we should always remember to keep our eye on the things we know to be most problematic.

    Read the entire edition of the Wolfpack Waggle here: Wolfpack Waggle July 2017

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