Notes from the 2017 Spring VSBA Conference
At Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia

About the venue

Ferrum, Virginia is located approximately 45 minutes north of Martinsville, Virginia. The town is located in a mountain valley. The conference utilized one of the lecture halls on the campus, which conveniently housed a campus cafeteria, where breakfast lunch and dinner was available and a social area which was where the vendors were set up.

The first speaker was Dr. Lis Horth, from Old Dominion University. She discussed the optical receptors of the honey bee. Like birds and butterflies, honey bees have Ultra violet receptors. In addition to the ultra violet, they have green and blue rectors. Humans on the other hand have red, green and blue rectors.

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Before beginning mowing season

Beekeeper Bob Schwartz asks homeowners to consider the following before starting up the lawn mower.   Honeybees, in particular, use the early blossoms to start spring buildup. The better the buildup, the better the garden pollination. Few gardeners realize just how many visits to the various blossoms it takes to make fully developed vegetables. If you have ever seen an improperly shaped strawberry, cucumber or an undersized watermelon, think about this. It can take as many as 15 visits to each watermelon blossom to optimize complete pollination, about nine visits to a cucumber blossom, and six visits for a strawberry.

- - Smithfield Times, Vol 98 Num 12, Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Highlights from North Carolina State Spring Meeting, March 6 – 8, 2014

(Notes and comments by Bob and Betty Schwartz)

Thursday - March 6, 2014

Keynote speaker was Honorable Dan O'Hanlon, a retired judge, spoke on how to raise queens and save the world. He was WV Beekeeper of the Year for 2011.

Christie Hemingway, of Gold Star Honey Bees, Author of The Thinking Beekeeper, about top bar hives. Her hives have glass windows behind closable doors.  One of the pros that she promoted was the new foundation created in the top bar hive eliminating the use of potentially contaminated foundation due to recycling of wax. I was personally somewhat skeptical of this logic since contaminated comb has even been found in feral colonies. Another point that she stressed was the importance of the bees regulating cell sizes for their needs. 

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Pesticides blamed for bee losses

At the end of the 2014 growing season, a series of articles appeared in The Smithfield Times concerning the issue of honey bee health and the agricultural use of pesticides.

Articles listed here.

Bee Informed Partnership - 2015 Survey

The Bee Informed Partnership is an extension project that endeavors to decrease the number of honey bee colonies that die over the winter. The project proposes to help beekeepers keep colonies alive by initiating several levels of surveys. These surveys will document which management practices beekeepers use and the degree of loss suffered by those beekeepers. Using methods developed by human epidemiologists, they will compare the effectiveness of different management practices by calculating and comparing the losses suffered by those that did or did not use a

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