Eastern Ontario Beekeepers Association - September 2013 Newsletter

Fall Meeting - September 23, 2013 - 7pm

The fall meeting will be held on September 23, 2013 starting at 7:00 at St Richards Church House 8 Withrow Avenue, Nepean, ON.  K2G 2H6. The church is on a corner of Merivale and Withrow. There is a lot of parking on Rossland Ave.

Bus Information:

  • OC Transpo route 176 passes the church on Merivale Road.
  • OC Transpo routes 86, 111, 116 pass nearby on Meadowlands Drive East at Merivale Road.
  • OC Transpo route 118 passes nearby on Baseline Road at Clyde Avenue.
  • OC Transpo route 151 passes nearby on Merivale at Clyde Avenue.


  • 7:00 - Open the meeting – Pegi Holtz
  • 7:15 - Presentations
    • Top-Bar Hive - Gordon Kubanek
    • Beekeepers Survey
    • Wintering bees – Deb Hutchings
  • 8:30 - Break
  • 8:45 - Beekeepers Dialogue – Bring your questions and interesting experiences to share – Ron St Louis, facilitator
  • 9:00 - Fall Auction – Victor Boyko, facilitator

Fall Auction – Please bring something to be sold at the Auction. Proceeds will go to the Tech Transfer Team for research on bees and beekeeping.

Fall Round-Up - Please be prepared to introduce yourself and brief us on your beekeeping year/experience. This helps us to get to know you a little better.


David Gray, Secretary Treasurer of the Eastern Ontario Beekeepers Association will be on site to collect membership dues in cash or cheques. Please make the cheque payable to Eastern Ontario Beekeepers Association.


The 2013 Summer Field Day was a great success. Thank you Paul Lacelle and approximately 100 beekeepers from Lanark, United Counties, Renfrew and Eastern Beekeepers Associations for your contribution.


Beekeeping:  Home Business a Fun and Profitable Enterprise

If one doesn't mind the occasional stings, beekeeping as a home business could become a pleasurable and profitable enterprise. With the growing popularity of honey and declining bee populations, at least one won't get stung in the marketplace.
"You're going to get stung," said Ray Morris of Lakeland, who's had a home beekeeping operation for 20 years. "It's an adventure hobby. There is some level of expertise. It's not simple; there's a lot to learn. It's a challenge." 
With a single hive and some equipment for an initial investment of about $300, a home beekeeper could harvest about 100 pounds of honey, or 36 quarts, said Morris, who works as a professor of engineering at Florida Polytechnic University in his "day job."  If somebody want to run it as a home business, they could make a little profit," said Morris, who added he gives away most of the honey from his three hives.
Tracy Buttermore echoed Morris' enthusiasm after running a beekeeping business with six hives from her Fort Meade home for little more than a year. "Beekeeping a good way for someone to get some money out a hobby," said Buttermore, who has already recouped her initial $500 investment, including her own honey extractor, by selling at local farmer's markets and festivals.
Buttermore was one of 10 instructors who spoke to about 50 potential and experienced beekeepers, including Morris, at an April 13 seminar sponsored by the Polk County Cooperative Extension Service and the Ridge Beekeepers Association. Buttermore demonstrated how to harvest honey from hives using an extractor, which spins out the golden liquid from the honey-laded wooden frames.
Home and commercial hives consist of wooden boxes, each containing 10 wooden frames around a plastic sheet with hundreds of small hexagonal cells, similar to the wax cells in a natural hive. The cells become breeding chambers for the next generation of bees and to store honey for food.
About 80 people attended last year's first one-day seminar aimed at introducing people to the craft, said Mary Beth Henry, an extension agent who works with small farmers. The Extension Service and Beekeepers Association also sponsored in-depth classes that ran Tuesday nights in April.
Even if, like Morris, you don't intend to keep beehives as a business, it can become an educational hobby. That's what Sherri Nicely of Davenport, who attended the Saturday seminar after starting two hives a couple months ago as part of the home-schooling curriculum for her son, Parker, 13.
"We wanted to do something for science and just for the experience of doing something together — and for the honey."
Besides honey, beekeeping has more worldly pleasures, including the fascination of observing the organization and behavior of a hive, according to seminar participants and instructors alike.
Honey isn't the only commercial product from a commercial beehive, said Carly Floyd of the Ridge Beekeepers, a seminar instructor on wax rendering.  "It's the most valuable product to come out of the hive. It's worth at least twice more than the honey," Floyd said.
Extracting wax, which bees create to cover the honey and brood cells, is a laborious process, he said, but beeswax is a highly prized ingredient in candles because it burns without smoke.
The seminar drew at least one participant into home beekeeping. David Dodson, 52, of Lakeland, a retired military officer, said he is planning to start some hives later this year.

Already a master gardener through the Polk Extension Service, Dodson sees beekeeping as an extension of that hobby, he said. He's planting fruit trees on his parents' land in Citrus County, and he plans to take his new hives there next spring so the bees can feast on that nectar for citrus and peach honey. "It showed me a lot of aspects about beekeeping. It definitely sparked my interest," Dodson said of the seminar. "I enjoyed learning about the makeup of a hive and its different parts, their society and how they interact with each other." And, he added, the stings can't be worse than all the fire ant bites he's experienced in his garden.

By Kevin Bouffard Published in the Lakeland Leger USA: Sunday, April 28, 2013


Ontario calls in experts in bid to prevent bee deaths

All the buzz about dead bees is prompting Ontario to seek help from a group of experts.
A bee health working group is being formed to make recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk of a certain pesticide to honey bees, the governing Liberals said Tuesday.
The pesticide — neonicotinoid — is used for corn and soybeans.
The group will comprise beekeepers, farmers, people in agri-business and scientists as well as staff from federal and provincial agencies. It will meet this month and provide recommendations by next spring, the government said.
Neonicotinoid pesticides have be banned by the European Union, which has been experiencing the same bee mortality problem, Sierra Club Canada said in a release.
"This working group is the first real recognition of the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees," executive director John Bennett said in the release.
According to the Canadian Honey Council, the bee population in Canada has dropped by an estimated 35 per cent in the past three years.
Many fear that the decline will have a severe impact on the pollination of many plants and the global food supply.
Pollination is responsible for 70 per cent of cultivated plants, and for 35 per cent of humans' overall food consumption. Fewer bees means lower yields — notably apples, strawberries and cucumbers — and could ultimately mean a drop in the food supply.
But Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency has failed to act, Bennett said.
Sierra Club Canada asked federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in April to ban the use of neonicotinoids in Canada, Bennett said. But she hasn't responded.
The regulatory agency, which authorized neonicotinoid insecticides for commercialization in 2004, looked into the matter after bees' increased mortality was reported in 2012.
"The information evaluated suggests that planting of corn seeds treated with the nitro guanidine insecticides clothianidin and/or thiamethoxam contributed to the majority of the bee mortalities that occurred in corn growing regions of Ontario and Quebec in spring 2012," the report stated.
"The likely route of exposure was insecticide contaminated dust generated during the planting of treated corn seed."
Unusual weather conditions in the spring of 2012 were likely also a contributing factor, it said. It was warmer and drier than normal, as well as windy in April. Corn planting began early in Ontario and bees began to forage and increase hive populations.
"As well, dry windy conditions could have facilitated exposure to bees if dust travelled further afield than would normally be the case," it said.
A spokesman for the ministry said Health Canada is monitoring the situation closely and doesn't feel a broad suspension is warranted.
The Ontario Beekeepers' Association said the province has experienced heavy losses of bee colonies this spring, which appear to be worse than last year.
"We must enact a ban before the next planting season," association president Dan Davidson said in a statement. "Our industry simply cannot sustain these losses."

The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 9, 2013


Ontario announces task force on bee health

BY Food in Canada magazine staff ON July 16, 2013

Who will do the pollinating if bees are dying? Bees contribute billions of dollars to the agriculture industry, but are dying in huge numbers.

Guelph, Ont. – Bees have not had an easy time recently. Nor have apiarists.

In Ontario, huge numbers of bees have been dying and many suspect it’s due to a pesticide, called neonicotinoid, used in the province for corn, soy and canola seeds.

In fact, around the world bees are dying due to several suspected causes, prompting scientists and agriculture experts to investigate.

The danger in losing our bees can be gleaned from recent headlines: “Food supply threatened by pesticides that kill bees: Honey and almonds are at risk.” “Loss of wild pollinators hurting food security.”

Put another way, the humble bee contributes $2.5 billion to Canada’s agriculture industry and $15 billion to the agriculture industry in the U.S. In fact, many experts say bees are responsible for every third bite on your plate.

It’s no wonder experts and industry are concerned.

Working group

In response to the losses in Ontario, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is bringing together a group of experts to provide advice on how to prevent bee mortalities.

The Bee Health Working Group will be comprised of beekeepers, farmers, agri-business representatives, scientists, and staff from both federal and provincial government agencies.

Drawing on a broad range of expertise, the working group will provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honey bees from exposure to neonicotinoids.

The working group will meet for the first time in July and provide its recommendations by spring 2014.

Bees continue to struggle worldwide

In May, NationalGeographic.com reported that the European Union is banning for two years the use of neonicotinoids.

The article goes onto explain that the world’s bee colonies continue to struggle. The pollinator crisis has hit North America, Europe and now parts of Asia.

And it’s a complicated situation.

Pesticides themselves don’t necessarily kill the bees, the article explains, but exposure to them seems to weaken their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to other stressors or chemicals.

For example, bees exposed to sublethal doses of neonicotinoids – the type the EU is banning – become more easily infected by the gut parasite Nosema.

Another study, reports NationalGeographic.com, found that the “inert” ingredients (adjuvants) used regularly to boost the effectiveness of pesticides do as much or more harm than the active “toxic” ingredients present.

Other factors may also be contributing to the situation.

The world’s changing climate and bizarre local weather systems. Bees are threatened by chemical exposure in untested and unregulated combinations. There’s also the issue of the insects’ disappearing foraging habitat with increasing monoculture that requires trucking bees from place to place. And the bees also face fungal and viral intruders, plus the dreaded Varroa mite.


Upcoming Event:

2013 OBA Annual General Meeting

Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 9:00am to Friday, November 22, 2013 - 5:00pm

2013 Ontario Beekeepers' Association Annual General Meeting will be held at Marriott, Gateway on the Falls, Niagara Falls, ON

Guest speaker biograpies and meeting agenda will be posted soon! on the Ontario Beekeepers Association website http://www.ontariobee.com/

Contact OBA Admin Office: (905) 636-0661 for further information.


Beekeepers Information:

Eastern Ontario Beekeepers Association www.eoba.com

Queens, Queen cells, Nucs and Bees: