The commonwealth buzz
A PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BEEKEEPERS’ ASSOCIATION
New Foulbrood Treatment
Fall Meeting Highlights
FDA approves Tylan Soluble® for honey bees
Notes from VSBA meeting in Weyers Cave
American beekeepers will soon have a new antibiotic with
About 125 beekeepers from Virginia and neighboring states
which to protect their colonies from American foulbrood
attended the winter meeting on November 5 at Blue Ridge
disease, thanks to Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Community College in Weyers Cave. The general theme of
studies that paved the way for the compound's regulatory
the meeting was "Wintering Productive Hives."
Rick Fell, Virginia Tech, described the stresses in a colony
TYLAN Soluble (tylosin tartrate), produced by Elanco Animal
over the winter, their biological sources, and ways to manage
Health of Greenfield, Ind., was approved for use October 20
them. Gordon Wardell, SAFE R&D and the USDA Tucson
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, following the
Bee Lab, spoke of the search for a better honey bee
agency's review of research data compiled by scientists with
supplement, a liquid diet that would contain all the essential
the ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.
nutrients, be easy to prepare and use, highly palatable to bees, and not subject to spoilage. He also spoke on experiments on
American foulbrood is among the most widespread and
the effects of essential oils. Tom Webster, Kentucky State
devastating diseases of honey bees. Caused by the bacterium
University, spoke on the biology and control of nosema, and
, the disease kills young bee larvae and
on experiments to test the effects of screened bottom boards,
transforms their remains into dark, shriveled ropes or "scales."
and recommended that they be used. Wyatt Mangum, U. of
These contain billions of spores that are easily spread by nurse
Mary Washington, described his research to study the
bees. Although American foulbrood poses no human danger,
evolution of resistance of varroa to miticides. A short video
severe outbreaks can weaken or kill entire bee colonies,
on the application of formic acid was shown.
according to Mark Feldlaufer, who leads the ARS Beltsville bee lab.
Keith Tignor, state apiarist, reported that the number of classes for beginning beekeepers is increasing. He also reported that
Before tylosin tartrate, only one other antibiotic,
loss of colonies in Virginia the previous year was 40-60%,
oxytetracycline hydrochloride (Terramycin), was available for
also true nationwide, and combined with the high demand for
use against American foulbrood. However, reliance on this
bees to pollinate almonds, was creating a shortage of bees for
one compound has prompted the emergence of resistant strains
pollination in Virginia. Record drought in late summer
followed by record rainfall has created a shortage of non-
Tylosin tartrate is already approved for therapeutic use in
winter bees. ApiLife VAR has been approved for use in
chickens and swine, and as a feed-efficiency aid in turkeys. Its
Virginia through December, 2005. New challenges lie ahead,
approval for honey bees marks a first for a so-called minor
as varroa is increasingly resistance to miticide, small hive
animal species. Feldlaufer's team made this approval possible
beetle is spreading in the state, and Africanized honey bees are
by furnishing the FDA with a wealth of information on tylosin
expected to start appearing within 2-3 years.
tartrate's field efficacy and safety, both for honey bees and
humans. For example, the team determined the necessary
dosage, application methods and timing of treatment in honey bee hives.
Although the drug approval labels honey bees as a "minor animal species," the bee's importance to U.S. agriculture is
hardly minor. By one estimate, honey bee pollination of
apples, almonds, blueberries and many other agricultural crops
results in yield and quality improvements valued at more than
Taken from Jan Suszkiw in News & Events, December 19, 2005
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ARS
Like Terramycin, tylosin controls the
vegetative stage of AFB. Tylosin It does not kill or eliminate the spores. These antibiotics provide “control", but not
"prevention", of AFB. Therefore, they should not be used as a
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 1
And the Winners Are
General Assembly looks at beekeeping problems
Senator Harry B. Blevins of Chesapeake, VA, has introduced
The Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers Association (SVBA) sold
two pieces of bee related legislation to the 2006 General
915 tickets for there annual Christmas baskets fund drive.
Assembly. The first bill is SB101 which would exempt
There were forty items in each basket running from gift
beekeepers with 50 hives or less from the food inspection
certificates, wines, canned meat, honey and a country ham.
process. This would give the beekeeper relief from the need
Again this year, Sam and Betty Hollandsworth sold the most
to have a honey house or food processing area inspected
tickets. Dodge Rader came in second. Gary Ziegler and Lannie
before he/she could process and sell honey. The Senate
Ballard each came in third. The ticket winners for the two
Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee
Christmas baskets were Ina Lam of Shenandoah, VA, and
was scheduled to hear public comments on Monday, January
Kenneth Scott of Lexington, VA. Sam and Betty
23rd. At the Committee meeting Senator Blevins asked for
Hollandsworth will receive a year’s free membership in
SB101 to be carried over until the other beekeeping bill could
SVBA for selling the most tickets. We would like to thank all
be discussed in the Senate Rules Committee.
those that helped SVBA in our Christmas basket fund drive.
The second piece of legislation is SJ38 which is a Senate Joint
Resolution. SJ38 is requesting that the Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services study the problems encountered by beekeepers and assess possible solutions to
Beekeeping for Beginners
assist beekeepers. The report from this study is to be completed and sent back to the General Assembly for their
2007 Regular Session. This report is to show the problems,
Classes for “Practical Beekeeping for Beginners” will be held
needs, solutions, and funding needed to help fix the problems
in the Northern Virginia Area this Spring (2006). The classes
facing the Virginia beekeepers now and in the future.
will be held once a week in the evening scheduled for the 2nd
week of February to the 1st week of April, with two field days
on Saturdays. The classes are for adults and children ages 9 and over. Class size is limited so register early. Tentative cost
is $75.00 which includes: “Beekeepers Handbook
” by Sammatero and Avitable, MAAREC “Honey Bee Parasites
New Varroa control soon to be available
Pests and Predators & Diseases
” field book, class PowerPoint handouts and one year membership in one of the below
As 2005 ended the Environmental Protection Agency
beekeepers associations. The classes will be taught or
approved Apiguard® for use against Varroa mites. Apiguard®,
supervised by Master Beekeeper Billy Davis, Master
manufactured by Vita (Europe) Ltd., is a thymol based gel. A
50 gram sealed packets will be available in 2006. These packets are ideal for reducing handling and accidental
For more information and to register call telephone (703) 932-
exposure to beekeepers. The manufacturer is developing a 25
4108, or e-mail [email protected]
Mentors are encouraged to
gram gel sachet and 3 and 1 kilogram tub of the gel
formulation for larger, less expensive applications.
Research in the United States indicates 90 to 95 percent
Page County ------------ VA Cooperative Extension Office,
control of Varroa mites with Apiguard®. The product is
certified as organic. No adverse effects on honey bee brood
Culpeper County -------- VA Cooperative Extension office
were noted in U.S. and European trials. However, exposure to
Apiguard® sometimes causes a queen to stop egg laying for a short period. The gel works through inhalation and contact.
Spotsylvania County---- VA Cooperative Extension office,
Therefore, it must be warm enough to volatilize and be
accessible to the bees for distribution throughout the hive.
Prince William County- Coles Dist Fire Station, Manassas
Like Apilife VAR®, application is temperature dependant with
best results at temperatures above 75° F.
Northern Virginia ------ Falls Church High School, Falls
Dadant & Sons, Inc., is the U.S. distributor for Apiguard®. A
company spokesman has stated that registration applications
Clarke County ----------- Blandy Experimental Station
have been mailed to individual states. They expect supplies for
distribution to U.S. beekeepers by the middle of summer 2006.
Loudoun County -------- Loudoun County Coop. Extension
More information on Apiguard® is available from the Vita
(Europe), Ltd., website at www.vita-europe.com/products/ apiguard.htm. As with any pesticide, all label instructions
All evening classes will commence at 7 PM sharp and
conclude around 9 PM. Open discussion is from 9 PM to 9:30
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 2
Asking the Right Questions
7. What are the mite levels? This relates to question 1
above. The pest levels should be low. A producer who can give you numbers is someone who monitors
What you need to know from your package producer
their hives. They are more likely to be more
It did not originate with late-night television. But, over the
interested in producing quality queens not just
past decade or two, the “Top Ten List” has certainly become a
mainstay of the “Late Show with David Letterman”. The list
8. Do they have a list of reference? Bees respond
takes a humorous and biting look at the topic of the day from
differently to various climates. A queen raised in
natural disasters to Presidential gaffes. Some would argue that
Hawaii, Texas, or even Georgia may not respond
Letterman has made a career out of stupid pet tricks and even
well in Virginia. Ask other beekeepers in your area,
lists. It may be the only thing worth watching on his show for
or at least within the state, about their satisfaction
some viewers, illustrated by a drop in viewers after the list.
with the queens they received from a producer.
At this time of year beekeepers should have their own list
9. What is the demand for queens and packages? In the
handy when ordering packages and queens. A particular
spring everyone is looking for packages and queens.
question may not be important to every beekeeper. But, the list
Producers churn them out in the hundreds, even
should be pertinent to the task at hand. The questions should
thousands, each day. If the producer is overworked to
reflect past and potential problems in keeping life enjoyable
meet demand how do the think the drones feel?
whether dealing with a producer in Australia or next door.
Being willing to accept a short delay in your
Here are a few questions to consider when making your order.
shipment might improve queen productivity.
1. How much do they cost? Beekeepers face high
10. Are hives tested for Africanized honey bees? This is
overhead and low return on investments. Low prices
not a new requirement for queens and packages from
are attractive but, you get what you pay for. Cheap
states with AHB. Virginia’s Bee Law prohibits
prices may indicate an inattentive or inexperienced
shipment of honey bee diseases and pests into the
producer with poor queens. Don’t be surprised if
state. AHB is considered a pest of our European
those cheap queens don’t live up to your
honey bees. As with disease and pest inspections, any
queens or packages from states with AHB must
2. When can I expect delivery? Time can be an issue,
provide proof that they are from European stock.
especially during the early spring. You want to make
Don’t be afraid to ask these or other questions that you may
splits. You need to replace dead hives. Whatever the
choose. Queen and package producers provide a service and
reason the quicker you get your queen or package the
product that should meet the needs and standards of their
better. Delivery dates are an estimate based on
clients. You will be living with their product for months or
weather and demand. Actual deliver may vary
years. Be sure to get what you really want in your queens.
3. How are the packages being delivered? A lot of
changes have occurred in the past few years. The Postal Service is not as receptive to or
State Apiarist Report
knowledgeable about bee shipments. Contact your local USPS or UPS office about an upcoming
Africanized bees found too close for comfort
shipment. Provide them with a refresher course on handling queens and packages. They should also
The past year brought us a record number of hurricanes, high
have appropriate phone numbers to contact you as
gas prices, increased sugar costs, excessive winter hive losses,
soon as a shipment arrives or if problems arise.
and Africanized honey bees (AHB) in New York. That’s right New York, along with Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and
4. What guarantees are provided on the shipment? One
Florida, is dealing with AHB in their state. And, most of the
or two queens may not be a big deal. A shipment of
Eastern United States is preparing for the same event.
one or several hundred queens is a large chunk of change. You may have to pay through the shipping
Over 15 years ago AHB entered the U.S. from Mexico.
Confining itself to southwestern states, most of the U.S. has been spared contact with AHB. Intra- and international trade
5. Are hives regularly inspected for diseases and pests?
and unprecedented east-west movement of commercial bee
Producers, in or out of Virginia, must have their
operations may have changed this situation. There are
hives inspected and certified disease and pest free
confirmed finding of AHB hives in mid-west, southeast and
before shipping queens and packages. Proof of
northeast states. As expected this is raising concern and
inspection should be provided with each shipment.
having a negative impact within the beekeeping community.
6. What treatments are being used for diseases and
In response, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and
pests? This may affect your own treatment options.
Consumer Services is reviewing its AHB Action Plan and Bee
Mite resistance to Apistan® and Checkmite® is
Spill Response Program. Both were drafted in 1994, with
increasing, especially among producer hives. These
periodic revision. The Bee Spill program utilizes local
treatments may not be effective in your new hives.
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 3
Telling the Bees
attended each meeting of the Central Virginia Beekeepers Association with Mr. McCallister, until his health started failing about a year ago. Please, remember him and his family.
For 76 years, the born-and-bred Appomattox man was an
Central Virginia Beekeepers Association - East
expert beekeeper, creating hives, taking honey and teaching
others about the importance of the honeybee. It all started
On December 12th, the Tidewater Beekeepers lost their first
when he was 6 and his grandmother asked him to find the
Honorary Life member: Calvin Sims, at age 85. Mr. Sims was
1,000-plus bee swarms and bring them to the hive. “I saw him
active with the club's beginnings in the late 1970's and 80's.
go out in a bee yard, which are (multiple) bee hives, with no
He is best remembered as a Col.Sanders look-a-like.
shirt. If he got stung, he would just pinch the bee and throw them off whereas most people wouldn’t go out in a full
Always ready to contribute to the meeting programs, he had an
protective suit,” son Monte Mays recalled. Gilbert Mays
inquiring mind. When there was the discovery of mites, first
passed suddenly, but quickly, at age 82 on Oct. 30. He was a
on the scene in Florida, he packed up his pickup truck,
man who didn’t just go through life; he enjoyed every day of
traveled to Florida, and sought out the affected beekeepers to
it, Monte Mays said. A large portion of that time was spent
get the story first hand. His love of travel took him to see,
with his wife teaching others about bees. Mays also helped
first hand, the pyramids of Egypt, the Andes of Peru, and
adults with their hives, ordering queen bees for some people
and offering advice when problems arose, such as bad weather or predators like mites and yellow jackets. He was so well
A native of Bedford County, VA, he began his work career as
respected for his beekeeping skills that the Piedmont
a boy of 12, delivering prescriptions on his bicycle for Peoples
Beekeepers Association named him president and Gov. Gerald
Drug store. Years later, he retired from Peoples Drug as a
Baliles appointed him to the Commonwealth of Virginia Plant
regional manager. Mr. Sims, as we called him out of respect,
Pollination Advisory Board in 1988. The World War II Navy
not only because of his years, but also because of his wealth of
veteran was also active with the American Legion Post 104,
knowledge, operated the Tea House at the Norfolk Botanical
where he was instrumental in starting the American Legion
Gardens. This sideline proved to be a quite convenient of a
Baseball locally. “He was real nice fellow. He would take the
location to sell the honey products from his growing numbers
time, any time you wanted to talk about something, he would
stop and talk, be it baseball or beekeeping,” friend Jimmy
Mr. Sims acted as swarm coordinator for the Tidewater Bee
Hayes said. But Mays is best remembered by his son as a good
Club. While most calls were for removal of fresh swarms,
father to him and his three siblings. “I never saw him drink,
some calls were concerning bees that had established
smoke or cuss,” Mays said. “That’s a rare breed. He set the
themselves within buildings. His answer was to enlist other
example and he lived the example. I couldn’t get a better
beekeepers to "learn" them the business of extracting bees
His sense of humor was evident when he showed up at the April fool’s Do-Da parade in his honey truck and a huge
hornet's nest. He believed in frugality; use that equipment as
Tidewater Beekeepers Association member, Phyllis Black,
long as possible. His favorite saying concerning honey sales:
departed this life on November 10, 2005. Phyllis was a
you have a Cadillac product, requiring Cadillac prices. He
beloved member of our club and the devoted wife of our
believed in doing the job properly, and treating people fairly.
President, Steve Black. Phyllis is survived by her husband,
Folk with that credo are getting rare indeed.
her sister, her three daughters, and her two grandchildren.
Phyllis is remembered for her sunny disposition and her
willingness to help anyone. In addition to beekeeping, Phyllis
was an avid gardener known for her beautiful flowers and productive vegetable garden. One of her favorite pastimes
VSBA Summer Meeting
was preserving the harvest, which she did for others as well as herself. Hunting was another activity that she enjoyed,
having shot a 12-point buck on her last hunting trip this fall.
On June 9-10, VSBA will return to the 4-H Conference Center
Club members, family and friends in many states will sorely
at Smith Mountain Lake (www.skelton4h.org), near Roanoke.
miss Phyllis; she brightened the lives of all who knew her.
The Conference Center offers convenient dormitory style
Our thoughts, prayers and good wishes are with Steve and her
lodging. A meal package will include dinner Friday evening
and breakfast and lunch Saturday in their cafeteria. The
deadline for pre-registration will be in early May. We will not
be able to include lodging and meals at the Conference Center
Clinton Tate of Glen Allen passed away on November 29,
Initial planning for the meeting includes the latest information
2005, at age 81. He is survived by his wife of 58 years,
on combating varroa mites and small hive beetles. So far,
children, grandchildren, and brothers and sisters. Mr. Tate
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 4
speakers will include Zach Huang, Michigan State, on the
beekeepers to assist emergency services personnel in
mechanisms of division of labor among honey bees in a
responding to incidents involving stinging insects. A list of
colony and the disruption caused by pests; exocrine glands and
volunteers has not been revised in a several years. Some of the
pheromones, including the newly discovered one that
volunteers are no longer able to respond to a major bee spill
regulates development of foragers. He is noted for
photography of honey bees and will speak on that Friday
History tells us that initial AHB infestations will adversely
evening. Marion Ellis, U. of Nebraska, will describe his
affect beekeeping in Virginia. Public relations and public
research on oxalic acid to combat varroa. Jamie Ellis, U. of
safety will be challenging. Public reaction is expected to be
Georgia, foremost expert on small hive beetles, will speak on
negative. Similar introductions of other honey bee pest
biology, behavior, and control of them. There will also be a
species, beekeepers will be required to change their
report from the state apiarist, and news from our efforts to get
management procedures, purchasing activities, and equipment
assistance through the state legislature. We are investigating
needs. The numbers of hives and beekeepers is expected to
the possibility of presentations on formic acid and on the
decline. However, this has only been a temporary setback.
threat of Africanized honey bees moving into the state.
AHB occurrence in regions of the United States, Mexico, and
Ron Hanawalt will handle registration for the meeting and
other countries throughout the Americas indicate that they
rooms for overnight lodging at the 4-H Conference Center.
may be safely and profitably managed. Through education and
Additional information and registration forms will be
adjustments in management, beekeeping rapidly rebounded
distributed with the Spring issue of the Commonwealth Buzz.
and emerged stronger in infested areas. For example,
Information will also be posted on the VSBA website,
Argentina was not considered a major producer before AHB.
www.virginiabeekeepers.org, as it becomes available.
In 2000 Argentina produced 98,000 tons of honey, nearly
equaling the United States. Honey production in Texas in the
1980’s, prior to AHB, fluctuated between 7 and 11.5 million pounds. In 2004, production in Texas was 8.8 million pounds.
Russian Nucs for Sale
Buying queens, packages, and nucs produced locally, or at least from states without an AHB population, will reduce the
Three and four frame nucs available in late April. Small number
potential for spread of this pest. Beekeepers in other states are
of overwintered nucs available end of March. Pick up in Nelson
calling for restriction of queen and bee sources to within their
County. Contact Bob Brachmann of Cold Country Queens at
state. Virginia beekeepers were encouraged to do the same
when faced with the introduction of mites and small hive
beetles. Unfortunately, our beekeepers are still planning on shipments of bees from Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
Nominations for Langstroth award being sought
The Plant Pollination Advisory Board and other groups have
When you think of fellow beekeepers, does one person
been asked to review Virginia’s action plans. Their
standout as exceptional? Has someone been especially helpful
recommendations will be circulated for comment among local
in mentoring you as a beekeeper? Do you know someone
and state associations both within and outside the beekeeping
deserving of statewide recognition? If you answered yes to
community. Your participation in the AHB and Bee Spill
any of these question you should consider submitting a
plans will help to ensure their success.
nomination for the L.L. Langstroth Achievement Award from
the Virginia State Beekeepers Association.
The Langstroth Award is given annually at the VSBA Summer
meeting to an outstanding beekeeper in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Past recipients have been active in initiating and
VSBA policy on grant proposals and funding requests
running local associations, providing beekeeping programs to
The VSBA Executive Committee does not solicit grant
schools and clubs, and mentoring new beekeepers. Through
proposals from individuals or institutions for the funding of
their efforts beekeeping continues to be recognized as an
research or outreach activities. Funding requests have
previously been received by the association and monies have
Nominations should include a brief summary of the reason for
been provided for work related to mite control, extension, and
nominating the individual, along with a listing of their
other activities of benefit to beekeepers. In order to adequately
beekeeping experience, service to fellow beekeepers, and
evaluate a proposal the Executive Committee requires that a
community outreach activities. Nominations should be
request is presented to them at least 2 months before a general
submitted in a résumé format. Written and electronic
meeting. Presentation of the request to the membership with
nominations will be accepted. For a complete listing of criteria
recommendations from the Executive Committee will occur
or to submit nominations to the Awards Committee contact
during business discussions at an appropriate general meeting.
Keith Tignor, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA, 23218
A proposal should include the amount requested, recipient’s
). The deadline for
name and address, how the monies are to be used, and
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 5
Beekeeping Classes Starting
Virginia Pollinator continues to grow
Last year in response to concern for the availability of bee
New and prospective beekeeper class offered
hives for pollination purposes the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services started a web-based listing
The Central Virginia Beekeepers Association (West) will hold
for beekeepers and farmers. Through this service beekeepers
a beekeeping class in Charlottesville again this year. This
are able to submit contact information, number of hives
year’s class is being held at the Albemarle County Parks and
available, and rental costs for their pollination services.
Recreation (ACPR) Office each Wednesday night through
Farmers may submit similar information regarding needed
February. The class will conclude with a field day, including
hive inspection and package installation, at Ivy Creek Nature Area on April 8th. Cost for the class is $25.00.
Since its inception two dozen beekeepers have taken advantage of this opportunity. The two listings are free to the
Due to past interest in the class enrollment has been expanded
participants. Both are organized by regions across the state in
to 35 participants. Non-residents of Albemarle County are
order to match up nearby beekeepers and farmers. To
welcome to take the class. To enroll contact ACPR at 434-
participate go to the Virginia Pollinator website at
296-5844 or obtain a registration form at www.albemarle.
VSBA Spring/Summer Meeting
June 9-10, 2006
Details contained inside this newsletter and on the VSBA website,
1214 North Poes Rd. Flint Hill, VA 22627
Virginia State Beekeepers Association 6
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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pregnancy: epidemiology, clinical syndromes, management, prevention, and infection control in the peripartum and post-partum periods. Susan M. Kellie, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases University of New Mexico School of Medicine Hospital Epidemiologist, University of New Mexico Health Scien