Vermont Beekeepers Association


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Loss of Vermont hay fields limits food for bees

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A slow change in agricultural practices is having an unintended consequence: limiting food for bees.

Since the 1980s, Vermont has lost more than 100,000 acres of hay fields that used to be full of bee friendly blooming alfalfa and clover. That means bees today aren't finding as many flowering plants as they need to flourish. And while hay is still grown, it is often cut before it can bloom, making it more nutritious for cows but bad for bees.


"Everything with bees is a negative. They don't have anything going for them right now," said Chas Mraz, who operates Champlain Valley Apiaries, one of the oldest commercial beekeeping operations in Vermont. Mraz's family started their bee business in 1931, and he took over in 2004.

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New Varroa Control Approved for VT

New Varroa Control Approved for VT

Apivar, a new varroa control product, is now approved for general use in Vermont. At present, Mann Lake Ltd is selling and shipping it into Vermont, and soon, other bee supply companies should be doing the same. As with all mite control materials, read and follow all label directions.

UVM Extension Master Gardener Course

tower2010Burlington--Do you love gardening and want to learn how to grow fruits and vegetables more sustainably? Or perhaps your passion lies with landscape design or cultivating perennials.

The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Master Gardener Program is now accepting registrations for a comprehensive 13-week home horticulture course. It is designed to provide gardeners of all levels of expertise with intensive training in a number of areas including food production, flower gardening, rain gardens, sustainable landscaping and pest and disease control, among other topics.

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EAS 2012 in Vermont Concludes

Over 600 beekeepers from around the world met with honeybee researchers and experts as the Vermont Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Apicultural Society hosted EAS 2012 at the University of Vermont last week.

There was a good overview in while the Burlington Free Press had this to say about the conference.

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In Memory of Enoch Tompkins

Enoch Tompkins, 94, a longtime resident of Shelburne, died April 22 following a long illness. An avid beekeeper for much of his life, he was the past President of the Eastern Apicultural Society and A-4-Milestones-Tompkins sma secretary and president of the Vermont Beekeepers Assoc. Among other notable accomplishments in beekeeping, he authored a book on the subject for Garden Way Publishing.

Years ago, working with the help of Enoch, I installed my first two packages of bees. I was tense and unsure of what to do with this bundle of bees. Enoch in his calm and patient manner showed me how to install the bees and positioned the queen cage so she was released slowly. I remember how thoughtfully he moved amongst the bees and at a pace that I try to emulate to this day.

A gentle man, he will be missed by this beekeeper and many whose lives he touched.

To send online condolences, you can visit Donations may be made to Shelburne Rescue, PO Box 254, Shelburne, VT 05482.

Rick Stoner
Treasurer, VBA

New Publication in Members Only Area

maladiesVBA Members got a glimpse of an excellent pocket-guide for beekeeping at the Vermont Farm Show.

The Field Guide to Honeybees and their Maladies from Penn State University is available as an online "flip-book" - fully searchable and optimized for use on Smart Phones and PDA's as well as your computer - in the Members Only area of our site. Look in the ePublications menu.

Bee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides

A new study, published in the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology, has linked springtime die-offs of honeybees critical for pollinating food crops — part of the mysterious malady called colony collapse disorder — with technology for planting corn coated with insecticides. 

In the study, Andrea Tapparo and colleagues explain that seeds coated with so-called neonicotinoid insecticides went into wide use in Europe in the late 1990s. The insecticides are among the most widely used in the world, popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but have lower toxicity for other animals.

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News from the 2012 Vermont Farm Show

Vermont Beekeepers held their Winter Meeting at the new home of the Vermont Farm Show on Tuesday, January 24th.psal2

In addition to hosting a booth featuring pure Vermont Honey products (Pedro Salas is pictured here manning the booth), Vermont Beekeepers Association members chose Janice Girard as the organization's new Membership Secretary, replacing Valarie Wilson who has completed her term in office.

Dave Tarpy, Associate Professor of Entomology and Extension Apiculturist from North Carolina State University beat the weather gremlins and arrived in time to talk to the group about genetic diversity and the quality of commercially available queens.

VBA President Chas Mraz discussed the move to obtain 501(c) status and how that would help the organization find grant money to support such research topics as improving forage for bees.

Full reports from the day, along with meeting minutes, will be posted as we receive them.