August Apiary Inspector Notes

August 13, 2019

Jaime Garza, County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector

Dear Beekeeper, 

I hope your bee colonies were able to produce some surplus honey this year. I spoke to many beekeepers whose colonies produced a good amount of honey this year. 

As the season progresses into late summer/early fall you should consider the following for maintaining healthy bee colonies: 

  • Monitoring/managing Varroa mites: many beekeepers are beginning to monitor for Varroa mites at this time of year. Two sampling methods are the sugar shake or alcohol wash method. You do not want to have more than 3 mites per 100 bees sampled. You can see the Honey Bee Health videos on Varroa sampling methods - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPfT9FQxLc. There is also a helpful Tool Guide on Varroa Management that you can reference for Varroa mite management techniques - https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_7thEdition_June2018.pdf.

  • Monitoring for American foulbrood – if a colony appears weak or has died you will want to check for the highly contagious bacterial disease called American foulbrood – see link for more information https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/HBHC__AFB-EFB-Final-061119.pdf.

  • Provide water with landing sites for your bees – a bee colony is like other livestock or pet and needs water to drink and to cool off the hive. On very hot days one established bee colony can go through 1 gallon of water per day.

  • Provide adequate ventilation during hot days so bees can cool off.

  • Ant control – weed control, ant bait stations and moats surrounding hive stand legs are some ways beekeepers keep ants from invading their bee colonies.

  • Over-defensive honey bee colonies – honey bees displaying over-defensive characteristics should be requeened or euthanized. The longer an over-defensive colony remains in the environment allows the queen to spread their unwanted “mean” genetics through the drones that are produced in the colony which will go on to mate with other honey bee virgin queens in the environment which dilutes the gentle tempered honey bees. 

As always, feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns or if you would like to request a Hive health and Beekeeping Best Management Practices review at your apiary. 

Thank you,
Jaime Garza | County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures | Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector | Phone: 858-614-7738 | Email: jaime.garza@sdcounty.ca.gov | Website: www.sdcountybees.org

2019 North American Mite-A-Thon

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2019 North American Mite-A-Thon

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 TO SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2019

Mite-A-Thon is a tri-national effort to collect mite infestation data and to visualize Varroa infestations in honey bee colonies across North America within a one week window. All beekeepers can participate, creating a rich distribution of sampling sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Their Varroa monitoring data will be uploaded to www.mitecheck.com

The parasitic mite, Varroa destructor (Varroa), and the viruses it vectors is a significant driver of this honey bee colony mortality. Yet, indicators suggest that many beekeepers are not monitoring honey bee colony Varroa infestations and therefore not able to connect infestation to colony loss. 

OBJECTIVE: 1) To raise awareness about honey bee colony Varroa infestations in North America through effective monitoring methods. 2) Management strategies will be made available for discussion within bee organizations utilizing Mite-A-Thon partner developed information and outreach materials.

DATE: The week of September 7, 2019, with a practice test during summer 2019

PARTICIPANTS: All beekeepers in North America are encouraged to participate

COST: There is no cost. You can create your own test materials or kits can be purchased online and at your local bee supply store.

OUTREACH: Promotion of Mite-A-Thon will be through local bee clubs, state beekeeping organizations, and national associations (see partners for examples)

DATA COLLECTION: Participants will monitor the level of mites (number of mites per 100 bees) using a standardized protocol utilizing two common methods of assessment (alcohol wash or powdered sugar roll) and then enter data, including location, total number of hives, number of hives tested, local habitat, and the number of Varroa mites counted from each hive. The published information will not identify individual participants.

SPONSORS: Sponsorships are being solicited to underwrite costs and grants, as necessary.

CONTACT: Miteathon@pollinator.org or 415-362-1137

TO DO: Determine your preferred method of testing for mites and commit to a day for testing, either individually or through beekeeping organizations, and report your data (see above).

SUBMIT YOUR DATA

https://www.pollinator.org/miteathon

CLICK HERE for the 2017 and 2018 Mite-A-Thon Analysis Report.

Email miteathon@pollinator.org with any questions.