Monday, April 18, 2016

Intermediate Beekeepers Class
Honeybee Pest and Pathogen Workshop
with Samantha Alger and Alex Burnham, University of Vermont

When? June 16, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where?           Crispe Room in the Vermont Veterans Home  
Cost?   $6 (payable in cash or check)  Fees will support Samantha and Alex’s research on honeybee and bumblebee health.

This program will focus on identifying honeybee pests and pathogens using microscopes.  We will be looking at samples of nosema, wax worms, small hive beetles, and hopefully foulbrood.  There will be a presentation, as well as hands-on activities looking at pest and pathogen samples.  We will also discuss and practice a technique for standardized mite counts.  If you have samples of bee diseases from your own apiary, please contact club president Jeanne Davis, so that we can plan on including them in the day’s program.  

To sign up, please contact Julie Cassiday at or 802/447-1194 or Jeanne Davis at or 802/823-7955 by June 9th.  Class size will be limited to 30.  Those with at least a few years beekeeping experience are most likely to benefit from this workshop.

Our presenters will be:
  • Samantha Alger (PhD candidate) is researching bee viral diseases in Vermont, the role of plants in virus transmission, and the effects of pesticides on bee health and behavior.  She leads Vermont’s involvement in the U.S. National Honey Bee Survey, gathering baseline data on diseases and pathogens, and she works closely with Vermont beekeepers, providing educational workshops on bee health and disease management practices. 
  • Alex Burnham, a junior in the University of Vermont’s Graduate College’s Accelerated Masters program, studies bee viruses and parasites with Samantha Alger and serves as hive inspector and sample collector for the National Honey Bee Survey. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club
April Meeting
Thursday 4/14/2016
   We will begin with a pot-luck dinner, followed by a brief business meeting, and will end with questions and answers after Bill Mares'presentation.  You are welcome to join us for any or all parts of the meeting that interest you. 

7:00 pm              Pot-Luck Dinner:  Please bring a dish to share.

7:35 pm              Business Meeting:  The meeting agenda will include:
  • Election of club officers:  The current slate of officers is happy to continue for another year, but if you are interested in serving the club as an officer, please speak with president Jeanne Davis at the meeting. 
  •  “All Species Day” on Saturday 4/23, 1-5 pm in the Harte lot (520 Main St. Bennington):  Our club will man a table at this event, and we need members to sign up for 2-hour slots, during which they will provide information about bees and beekeeping.
  • Caps for sale:  Baseball caps with the club’s new logo, which was voted on at our last meeting, will be available for sale for $15 (cash or check payable to “Bennington County Beekeepers Club”).
8:00 pm              PresentationRoss Rounds Comb Honey-  Bill Mares, author of the book Bees Besieged:  One Beekeeper’s Bittersweet Journey to Understanding, will speak about Ross Rounds comb honey.

Location:           The Crispe Room in the Vermont Veterans Home

                           325 North Street, Bennington VT 05201

We hope to see you this Thursday!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Spring Management for Backyard Beekeepers" class offered free at Berkshire Botanical Gardens

Berkshire Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge, MA is offering a free workshop on "Spring Management for Backyard Beekeepers."  For more information, go to:

You may also call Elisabeth Cary at 413/298-3926, ex. 15 to register.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club
April Meeting
Thursday 4/14/2016

Our April meeting will feature Bill Mares, author of the book Bees Besieged:  One Beekeeper’s Bittersweet Journey to Understanding, who will speak about Ross Rounds comb honey.  We will begin with a pot-luck dinner, followed by a brief business meeting, and will end with questions and answers after Bill’s presentation.  You are welcome to join us for any or all parts of the meeting that interest you.  

7:00 pm           Pot-Luck Dinner:  Please bring a dish to share.

7:35 pm           Business Meeting

8:00 pm           Presentation:  Ross Rounds Comb Honey

Location:          The Crispe Room in the Vermont Veterans Home, 
                            325 North Street, Bennington VT 05201

For more information, please contact Julie Cassiday at or 802/447-1194 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Government Review of the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid

If you would like to learn more about or take part in the U.S. Government's review of the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid, for which the public comment period is still open, please go to:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Interesting information in Bee Culture regarding Queen losses
submitted by Tony Pisano

Temperature extremes during shipping and elevated pathogen levels may be contributing to honey bee queens failing faster today than in the past, according to a study just published by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in the scientific journal PLOS One.
“Either stress individually or in combination could be part of the reason beekeepers have reported having to replace queens about every six months in recent years when queens have generally lasted one to two years,” explained entomologist Jeff Pettis with the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, who led the study. The Bee Research Laboratory is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
Queens only mate in the first few weeks of life. Then they use the stored semen to fertilize eggs laid throughout their life. Queen failure occurs when the queen dies or when the queen does not produce enough viable eggs to maintain the adult worker population in the colony. Replacing queens cost about $15 each, a significant cost per colony for beekeepers.
Commercial beekeepers usually order their replacement queens already mated, and the queens are shipped to apiaries from March through October. Researchers questioned whether temperature extremes during shipping could damage the sperm a queen has stored in her body. During simulated shipping in the lab, inseminated queens exposed to 104° F (40° C) for 1-2 hours or to 41° F (5° C) for 1-4 hours had sperm viability drop to 20 percent from about 90 percent.
In real-world testing, queens, along with thermometers that recorded the temperature every 10 minutes, were shipped from California, Georgia and Hawaii to the Beltsville lab by either U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail or United Parcel Service Next Day Delivery in July and September. Researchers found that as many as 20 percent of the shipments experienced temperature spikes that approached extremes of 105.8° F and 46.4° F for more than 2 hours at a time. Those exposed to extreme high or low temperatures during shipping had sperm viability reduced by 50 percent.
“The good news is with fairly simple improvements in packaging and shipping conditions, we could have a significant impact on improving queens and, in turn, improving colony survival,” Pettis said.
Assessments of the queens sent in by beekeepers for this study found that almost all of them had a high incidence of deformed wing virus; Nosema ceranae was the next most commonly found pathogen.
Beekeepers had also been asked to rate the performance of each colony from which a queen came as either in good or poor health. A clear link was found between colonies rated as better performing and queens with higher sperm viability. Poorer performing colonies strongly correlated to queens with lower sperm viability.
“We saw wide variation in both pathogen levels and sperm viability in the queens that were sent in to us, and sometimes between queens from the same apiary in July and September, so there is still more research to do. But getting queens back to lasting two years may well be one of the links in getting our beekeeping industry back to a sustainable level,” Pettis said.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. The Agency’s job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to ensure high-quality, safe food, and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agricultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Attention VT Beekeepers: Herbicide Use Notification

If you own or occupy land within 1,000 feet of a utility right-of-way in the state of Vermont, you may request in writing that your utility company notify you prior to treatment of the line with herbicides.  To do so, you must fill out and return by February 15th the following form to your utility company: