May 12, 2011


Meeting called to order at 7:08pm.
42 members present.

Next month’s meeting will be on Thursday, June 9 at 7:00 pm

Reports and Announcements:

The Treasurer reported a current balance of $4624.52. It was remarked that the balance seemed unusually high. We now have 220 paying members, Jack explained, and yearly dues have just been collected. There were additional remarks from the floor that perhaps we should be finding ways of spending this “excess” in keeping with the aims of the Club.

An email communication from Brian Kreowski announced that European Foulbrood has been found in hives in Floyd, Franklin and Giles Counties.

In another communication from Clem von C. regarding his “swarm hotline” advertising project, he informed us that while sightings of swarms are being sent to him, so far these are from people known to him, not folks who might have learned of the “hotline” through our flyers.

Members who would like a hard-copy of the monthly minutes should contact the President (Elizabeth McCormick) or the Corresponding Secretary (Richard Reid).

Among recent topics discussed on TheHive, abnormal or unusual behavior of bees from the recently-purchased packages has been rife. Absconding has been reported by several members. Dr. Rick Fell (tonight’s guest speaker) was of the opinion that this more frequently happens with unsuccessfully-mated queens.

New Business:
Members were asked if the current/traditional schedule of monthly meetings, i.e. ten per year with no meeting in July and December, was still preferred. The sense of the floor was that the current schedule is preferred.

Dr. Fell presented highlights of the current and projected bee research efforts at VT. Here is a brief summary with no attempt to be comprehensive:

1979 – 80,000 managed colonies in Virginia, with another 80,000 feral colonies estimated.

1996 – Feral colonies are hard to find, and the number of managed colonies has dropped 50%.

Today, on average, 30% of VA colonies are lost each year. But only 10% of over-winter loss is due to CCD-like symptoms.

To date no causative agent of CCD has been identified; it is probably a combination of known pathogens and chemicals in the environment impacting stressed bees.

The average pollen sample (from hives) contains 7 residues (of fungicides, miticides) while the average wax sample contains 8 residues.

The 2 most common residues found are the miticides fluvalinate (Apistan) and coumaphos (CheckMite) applied by beekeepers.

The unanticipated effects of these miticides include decreased drone production, shorter period of viability for drone sperm, inhibition of queen-rearing and mating.

Those of us who sense an increase in queen failure in recent years may be seeing the effects of failing sperm in the queen’s spermatheca.

Lastly, it was Dr. Fell’s considered opinion that we beekeepers should be eliminating our use of miticides, catching swarms, and raising our own queens from the most successful local stock – all in addition to the good hygienic practice of rotating out old comb.

Submitted by Chris Robinson – Recording Sec’y