Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013


How are the local bees doing?

Friday, April 19, 2013 6:00pm
Our annual Potluck dinner begins at 6pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 183 North Main St., Canandaigua. We will meet downstairs in the Parish Hall; use the rear entrance on St. John’s Court, off of Howell Street.

Bring a dish to pass and your own place setting and a guest, if you wish. Bring cash or check to pay your annual dues ($7 individual/$10 family) and receive the 2013-14 Botanical Society program.

Our program will begin at 7:00pm. Following the program, we will have a brief business meeting and all are welcome.

Our speaker will be Gene Voss who teaches beekeeping classes at the Cornell Cooperative in Canandaigua. He is a member of the Ontario/Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association. This group addressed the Botanical Society at an indoor meeting at FLCC in 2007 when predictions were dire and that many, if not all beehives might crash. Happily, Gene and his associates can report on some thriving hives.

Feel free to contact us at canandaiguabotanical@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

Minutes from our April 19, 2013 potluck dinner, presentation, and annual meeting

Attending: Judi Cermak, Bruce Gilman, Sharon Horton, Peter & Peggy Kane, Carmen Kuenen, Leona Lauster, Maureen Lynch, Lauralee & John Maas, Laura, Ron, Jeffery, Bethan & Thomas Ouimette, Dave Poteet, John & Mary Purdy, Gene Voss

Peggy introduced Gene Voss who spoke to us about the local honeybees.  Back in 2007 Sam Hall had shared predictions of possible beehive crashes. Gene Voss had encouraging news.

Gene grew up in Peoria, Illinois.  His grandfather was a botanist who taught Gene about  peat bogs and wildflowers.  He was involved with the 4H in poultry and took a class from Sam Hall about beekeeping.  Now Gene teaches beekeeping classes through the Cornel Cooperative Extension. 

Gene reassured us that the colony collapse is not occurring among local beekeepers (hobbyists or sideliners) but explained that commercial beekeepers who transport bee colonies are experiencing problems resulting from stress, poorly fed bees, and spread of disease.  Gene attributed many of these problems to pesticides used on seeds and accessibility to spread cross country due to the mass transport of bees.

Gene supported his view that this area has not been hit hard with the number of “nukes” (mini hives – half box with 5 frames and a queen) being 193.  Gene was also happy to report that interest in Beekeeping is rising as they had 80 people attend class this year.

Gene explained the evolution of the honeybees and flowering plants.  125 million years ago flowering plants evolved – and so did bees.  The oldest known bee fossil is 100 million years.

Honeybees gather nectar and pollen from flowers for food.  Cross pollination is incidental to the search for food.  Honeybees are vegetarian – interested in only pollen and nectar.

Gene discussed the lifecycle of a honeybee: 

WINTER: Large population of bees to consume stored honey and pollen to maintain heat in the hive and provide food to raise the brood.  Forgers are the oldest bees in the hive.  They are not fuzzy.  New bees are fuzzy bees.  Always leave enough honey to winter through (about 70-85 pounds).  If there is not 70 pounds, you’ll need to combine hives.  If there is too much moisture the honey will ferment.  Cold is okay for bees but not cold and wet.

SPRING and FALL: The population of honeybees is heaviest in spring and fall when nectar flows. Honeybees gather pollen in hairs and use them to pack into pouches.  HONEYBEES ARE FLOWER SPECIFIC.  A honeybee will go into the hive and do a waggle dance to communicate where and how far to go to the good source of pollen.  Pollen, in the form of bee bread, is the honey bee's main source of protein and it also vital to brood production.  Nectar, which bees convert to honey,  is bees' energy source and is extremely important for growth.

Lots of pollen and nectar comes from trees (walnut, black locust).  Different types of honey (dark buckwheat or yellow locust) can be obtained by different hive placements.

Last year there was not a lot of honey made due to the dry spell in July which harmed the nectar.

Honeybees come out of hive during warm-ups (50’) for “cleansing flights” (bee poop).

In the “wild” honeybees nest 30 to 40 feet up in a tree.  Pollination yields increases by 30%.
A queen can live 5 years and gets fed by other bees (although a keeper may replace her after 2 years).

Lifecycle of a honeybee:
Gene mentioned 21 days for BROOD – HIVE – FIELD BEE

I found the following information on the internet:
The above diagram was borrowed from: http://howsrobb.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html
The next information was borrowed from: http://www.backyardbeekeepers.com/facts.html

Queen Bee
There is only one queen per hive. The queen is the only bee with fully developed ovaries. A queen bee can live for 3-5 years. The queen mates only once with several male (drone) bees, and will remain fertile for life. She lays up to 2000 eggs per day. Fertilized eggs become female (worker bees) and unfertilized eggs become male (drone bees). When she dies or becomes unproductive, the other bees will "make" a new queen by selecting a young larva and feeding it a diet of "royal jelly". For queen bees, it takes 16 days from egg to emergence.
Worker Bee
All worker bees are female, but they are not able to reproduce. Worker bees live for 4-9 months during the winter season, but only 6 weeks during the busy summer months (they literally work themselves to death). Nearly all of the bees in a hive are worker bees. A hive consists of 20,000 - 30,000 bees in the winter, and over 60,000 - 80,000 bees in the summer. The worker bees sequentially take on a series of specific chores during their lifetime: housekeeper; nursemaid; construction worker; grocer; undertaker; guard; and finally, after 21 days they become a forager collecting pollen and nectar. For worker bees, it takes 21 days from egg to emergence. The worker bee has a barbed stinger that results in her death following stinging, therefore, she can only sting once.
Drone Bee
These male bees are kept on standby during the summer for mating with a virgin queen. Because the drone has a barbed sex organ, mating is followed by death of the drone. There are only 300-3000 drones in a hive. The drone does not have a stinger. Because they are of no use in the winter, drones are expelled from the hive in the autumn.

Gene shared examples of propolis – bee glue that has medicinal purposes.

To help honeybees –     plant a variety of flowers
                                    if you use insecticides – do so only at night
                                    if you have unwanted bees – call a honey beekeeper
                                                (usually they swarm the first weeks of May)
                   Gene and his son Christopher call these FREE BEES!

Bee troubles:

Gene talked about the Wax Moth which can damage hives and make grooves in wood.  The wax moth is helpful as a clean up crew when a hive dies and will eat up wax to help keep hives clean.

Varroa Mites are the number one enemy to bees.  They are red mites that stick to bees at any state of development.  Beekeepers may see 7% to 50% loss with these mites.  Some good news is that bees are learning to get rid of the mites on their own.

Hive beetles – black and yucky enough that I didn’t take notes.

Nosema – a disease causing diarrhea for bees defecating inside or in front of a hive; nosema can be cured with sugar water

American Foulbrood (AFB) and European foulbrood is a spore bacteria which can be identified by using a toothpick which will come out stringy.

Chalkbrood is a disease that can kill honeybee larvae, it is caused by a fungus

Small hive beetle larvae probably came from Africa.  The beetles defecate into honey causing the honey to ferment. 

Insecticides – poison to bees.

The Canandaigua Botanical Society visits the Nazareth College Greenhouse

Saturday, March 16, 2013
 Attending:  Bev Brown, Michael Hannen, Judy Ferman; Bill Bross, Victoria Harris, Sharon Horton, Peggy Kane, Laura Ouimette, Kathy Picula, Norm Sacks

Bev, Mike, and Judy welcomed us to the new Peckham Hall in room 101.  We enjoyed warm beverages and treats while Bev told us about the new greenhouse and some entertaining adventures of Peckham Hall.  She told us about the new Horticultural Therapy Minor which is available all online. 

Peckham Hall was financed by the Peckham Family and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified with two green roofs.  The Integrated Center for Math and Science at Peckham Hall features state-of-the-art labs for instruction and research, classrooms, and spaces designed to support collaboration between students and faculty.

The Ecology/Plant Biology Lab has adjacent areas for Ecology Plant Biology Research, Prep, greenhouse storage, potting, and the greenhouse with three separate zones (temperate, hot and humid, and hot and arid).
The greenhouse which has been open since August 2012 is computer run with lighting (sunrise and sunset), weather station, swamp coolers, and an automatic water system. 

 Bev demonstrates one of the adaptive gardening tools.

Outside of the greenhouse are areas with future plans for a waterfall of raised beds, hay bail garden, and permaculture gardening. 

This is an aeroponic unit which arrived the previous day is awaiting a few parts to be completely assembled.  Bev told us about phytoremediation – using plants to remove toxins from soil and water.

Michael did a demonstration on cultivating plants from seed using his tried and true mixture for drainage, moisture control, and hot/dry conditions.

                        3 parts each
                                    Pro-mix without fertilizer
                        ½ part sand
                        1 part chicken grit

After seeds are added they should be watered three times – draining between each watering.
Michael retrieved seeds from a Cardoon milk thistle flower head and planted them in a small plastic container with drain holes.

Two small pots were then labeled and placed in a zip lock bag.  Michael used old screen slats and sticks from his yard to form a frame for the pots in the bag – acting as a mini-greenhouse.