Apr 11

West Virginia Passes Beekeeper Immunity Law

West Virginia has become the first state in the nation to pass a law giving beekeepers immunity from liability for ordinary negligence. This law came about as a result of strong support by the leadership of both the House and Senate. We are fortunate to have a State Senate President, Earl Ray Tomblin, whose father is a beekeeper. Additionally, House Speaker Richard Thompson was raised by a grandfather who was a beekeeper. Finally, it helped that the honeybee is the state insect!

The law requires that beekeepers register their hives. It also mandates the WV Department of Agriculture to promulgate Best Management Practices for beekeepers. All beekeepers who abide by these two provisions will have absolute civil immunity from ordinary negligence. The Department is working on a set of emergency rules they hope will be in effect soon. Governor Joe Manchin signed the bill into law the first of April making this the first state to protect its beekeeping industry

Come on Ohio!  West Virginia is getting their act together.  Why can't the Ohio legislature get something done?  The best they have come up with is to form a Task Force to study what they may want to plan.  (Basically they planning to plan.  Which means nothing will be done for quite some time, if ever.)  -Tim

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/west-virginia-passes-beekeeper-immunity-law/

Apr 08

Time to Graft…The Season has Begun

With the unseasonably warm weather in the 70's the bees are building up quickly and flowers are well ahead of schedule.  Based on pictures from last year (Specifically the picture from the blog post Buzzing Trees with it's picture of a pear tree taken last year) the blooms are about 2 weeks 3 days ahead of last year.  This all means it's time to begin grafting, just in time to be perfectly on schedule for this years queens  (the first graft was actually this past Sunday). 

I've talked to a number of beekeepers over the past weeks and the results of the winter are quite mixed. Some did quite well and have mostly strong hives and few losses.  Others did poorly with 50-75% losses.  Unlike past bad years where almost everyone did poorly, there doesn't seem to be a pattern by area, size of the beekeeper or experience.   Fortunately most of our bee yards fall into the mostly strong with few losses category.  I chalk it up to good stock and the extra effort in winter preparations we made last year.  Still, if our winter had been a few weeks longer some hives may have run out of stores and would likely have starved out without assistance as some of the strong hives were getting light.

A good start to the season so far but we aren't out of the woods yet.  The last time I recall such a great start to April ended with snow the last week of April.  So keep your fingers crossed.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/time-to-graft-the-season-has-begun/

Apr 07

Help Reinstate the Boyscout Beekeeping Merit Badge

Note: This is a quote of an email I recently received.  I'm posting it for our readers because I believe in it's goat to encourage young people to learn about beekeeping and hope you will too.   -Tim
 
Beekeeping Merit BadgeI want you to consider helping Christopher Stowell, a young Boy Scout and beekeeper, in his efforts to persuade Boy Scouts of America to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge. There is not enough youth involvement in beekeeping.  Both the involved scouts and the beekeeping community would benefit greatly if BSA will reinstate the merit badge.
 
BSA discontinued that merit badge about 15 years ago. I don’t think it is a coincidence that, around that time, many beekeepers quit due to difficulties caused by varroa mites.  With the development of the internet, we now have a way to pair up scouts with mentors.  Beekeepers support for this effort will be critical to its success.
 
Here is what I ask you to do:
 
1.  Please go to this website and sign Christopher Stowell’s online Petition:  http://www.experienceproject.com/beepetition
 
2.  Please spread the word about the online Petition by asking your friends and contacts to sign it.  For example, you can send an email to your contacts or send a message to your friends on Facebook giving them a link to the Petition and asking for support.  You will find that most people, even non-beekeepers, are happy to support a 13 year old who is on a mission to accomplish something positive. 
 
3.  If you are actually willing to be a mentor, please pledge to BSA that you would be willing to act as a beekeeping mentor for scouts in your area.  There are two ways that you can make this known.  The easiest way is to go to the “Pledge To Be A BSA Beekeeping Mentor” thread on BeeSource, which is located here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?p=521453#post521453
 
If you do not want to do a public post, you can print, sign and mail this form letter to Christopher Stowell: http://www.beesource.com/files/bsabeekeepingletter.bsa.pdf .
 
4.  Finally, if you are a member of a beekeeping club, please ask your club to pass this resolution:  http://www.beesource.com/files/bsaclubresolution.bsa.pdf
Christopher's goal is to present to the BSA on July 15, 2010. So please keep this in mind and make sure you take action as soon as possible. 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/uncategorized/help-reinstate-the-boyscout-beekeeping-merit-badge/

Mar 30

2010 Bee Census (Winter Loss Survey)

The Apiary Inspectors of America and the USDA-ARS Beltsville Bee Research Laboratory are seeking your help in tabulating the winter losses that occurred over the winter of 2009-2010. This continues the AIA/USDA survey efforts from the past 3 years which has been important in quantifying the losses of honey bees for government, media, and researchers.

 

This year’s survey is faster, easier and does not require your time on the phone. It is all web based and automatic, just fill and click.

Please take a few moments to fill out our winter loss survey at:   http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/beeloss0910

This survey will be conducted until April 16th, 2010.   If you have any questions or concerns please email beeloss@gmail.com., or Honeybee.Survey@aphis.usda.gov

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/2010-bee-census-winter-loss-survey/

Mar 29

New Toy

Yale ForkliftOk, so it’s not exactly new, but it’s new to me.  I’ve been on the fence about getting a forklift for awhile, but I must say I’m happy I have it now.  It makes moving around piles of equipment so much easier.  It’s main purpose was to enable us to buy wood by the truckload (or partial truckload) for building more wooden ware than we could competitively before.  So, we’ll soon be adding deep hive bodies and other new equipment as we’re able to keep up with the orders.

Of course I think my wife is beginning to wonder where it will stop… seems I can always justify something new by ‘It’s for the bees!’

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/other-stuff/new-toy/

May 20

ELAP is a Joke (2008 Farm Bill)

The 2008 Farm Bill (June 18, 2008) created a new Emergency Assistance program for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Rased Fish (ELAP).   According the the limited documentation on www.fsa.usda.gov you would need to buy in by September 16, 2008.  Most of us would not be requried to pay any "buy-in" fees as we would fall in the "Limited Resource Producer" classification (Less than $100,000 in gross farm sales), though it’s unclear what needs to be done if you fall in such classification…

However…..  there is no additional information at all on what the program covers, what documentation is required nor what the benifits may be.

So I wrote the USDA…. their official response after 3 months….

Until the regulations are published in the Federal Register for ELAP, all types of losses for which honey bee producers may be compensated for under ELAP will not be known.  However, some of the possible losses that may be compensated for under ELAP are:

1.  purchased or harvested feed that was intended as feed for honey bees that was destroyed or lost because of an eligible adverse weather event;

2.  physical losses of honey bees/honey bee hives because of colony collapse disorder or eligible adverse weather events.

Remember, these are just examples of losses that may or may not be compensated under ELAP.  A forthcoming regulation in the Federal Register will provide final determinaitons.

So, in short.. nearly a year after the program was created, and long after any losses and required paperwork should have been submitted….  The USDA still does not know what the program covers, what is required to obtain coverage or make a claim, nor when they might actually have this information.  I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise coming from a government agency.

The sad thing is, any producer who really needed the money to stay in business due to losses over the 2008-2009 winter will be out of business by the time they receive any money that could have helped them rebuild their apiaries this spring.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/elap-is-a-joke-2008-farm-bill/

May 08

Bees on a Plane

 Snakes on a Plane?  Nope, just bees.  Most beekeepers just picked up their bees by car or truck, but this Michigan beekeeper saved some time by air.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/bees-on-a-plane/

May 06

Package Bees

The package bees arrived this past Friday and most beekeepers who had ordered a packaged picked them up on Saturday with the remainder picked up on Sunday.  I must say I was impressed with the quality of the packages so far.  The bees were in very good shape with fewer dead bees than I’ve ever seen in packages, plus the packages weighed a full 2.5-2.6 pounds of bees in the couple I checked.  Very good for 2lb packages.  I only got a few for myself as I really have enough bees.  It’s too soon to see if the queens are as good, but it’s a very promising start.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/package-bees/

May 04

2009 Queen Rearing Classes

The Maumee Valley Region will be holding it’s class on June 5th and 6th.   It is a hands on class where you will learn both the theory of queen rearing and practical methods with a slant on rearing queens in Ohio.  Cost of the class is $50 to members of the Ohio Beekeeping Association, otherwise the cost is $70 and includes a 1 year membership to the association.

Full details and a map to the location can be downloaded in this PDF – 2009 Queen Classes

If you have any questions or to reserve a spot call me at 419-371-1742 or email tarheit@honeyrunapiaires.com

Classes will be held this year in 8 regions of Ohio.  Should our class not fit your schedule or location, check out out the OSBA webpage for other queen rearing classes held in Ohio this year.

Note: Unlike last year, there is a fee to all individuals taking the class this year.  This fee was set by the Ohio Queen Project and all of the money will be used to further the project and its goal of both teaching beekeepers to raise queens and to develop a breeding program in Ohio.  All the regional coordinators are unpaid volunteers and donate their time, money and often supplies to teach and further the program.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/2009-queen-rearing-classes/

Apr 30

For Sale – One Old Barn

I hate to see old barns like this go, but there really is no salvaging it as a barn.  I was already too far gone when we purchased the property nearly 12 years ago and would cost far more to fix the foundation, siding and roof than a new building.   The foundation shift seems to have accelerated over the past couple years with the help of a groundhog.    It’s ok for storing beekeeping equipment out of the weather but I can see the day coming soon when it will need to come down.

I’ve seen others sell similar barn for the siding, shingles and heavy beams.   I certainly could use some of them in a new building and some great furnature for the house, but for the right price it would be worth parting with and just building with new material.  Any takers?  I know it won’t bring anywhere near the price of a new pole barn, but covering a down payment would be a start.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/completely-off-topic/for-sale-one-old-barn/

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