Jason Rubin's Bee-minder archive

April 10, 2019

In late March, Mark Dykes, who spoke at one of our fall meetings, requested that we support the University of Maryland Bee Lab and Bee Informed Partnership's grant proposal to the Maryland State Department of Agriculture. The Lab, run by Dr. vanEnglesdorp, is asking for money "to examine the field efficacy of the major products currently available to beekeepers for reducing honey bee colony infestation by Varroa destructor." One of our by-law objectives is "to encourage scientific and practical beekeeping, and the improvement of bee culture." Thus, the Board of Directors approved SBA encouragement of the grant, and I wrote a letter as president in support, using Mark's form letter as a template. Here is a quotation from the letter:

The Susquehanna Beekeepers Association is trying to be vigilant about treatment and we keep track of its members' treatments and losses, hoping to find the most effective treatment plans for our members. Despite a variety of different products and management techniques marketed as Varroa control treatments, honey bee colonies in Maryland continue to suffer from high Varroa levels and the damage they cause. Using many varroacides that were once effective, however, doesn't seem to work as well today. Mites, it seems, may have developed resistance to several chemicals beekeepers use to treat Varroa.
The grant and the Bee Lab's project will be valuable to myself and other Maryland beekeepers because it will compare the efficacy of the most common Varroa treatments currently available to the survival rates the state's beekeepers have experienced when using the various treatment options.


Please do your bit as well. We sent you a survey that you can take online. As of this writing, 20 members responded, and the information is important for us to help formulate SBA mite treatment subsidies. The survey is equally important for us as it is to the Maryland Bee Lab and Bee Informed Partnership.


March 12, 2019
You, too, Can be a Volunteer.

When we speak of a community of beekeepers, what exactly are we discussing? Are we a group brought together because of a common undertaking? Yes, but we usually do it by ourselves. Do we share the same interests or outcomes? You bet, but sometimes we achieve the same goals in different ways. Are we a group that is defined by place? Sort of. Although our members primarily live in Cecil and Harford Counties, some live in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Pennsylvania. I found the following information at www.feverbee.com. Characteristics of different kinds of communities (of action, practice, place, interest, and circumstance) include, but are not limited to, updating on progress; facilitating group commitment and sharing best practices; searching for credible expertise. There are a lot more characteristics at the website. My point is that the SBA community is defined in part by our Mission Statement: "To educate the public about the importance of the honeybee to agriculture and life in general, to promote the benefits of eating locally produced honey, and to provide current information necessary to manage a colony of honeybees on a continuing basis." Therefore, remember that we are all a part of a special community, and that through our collective sense of power, urgency, and agency we can help promote our mission by volunteering for SBA events.

February 13, 2019

Many of you might not know how or what we discuss at a typical Board of Directors meeting. At the last one on February 6, we had 12 items on the agenda, and they covered topics that promote SBA activities in the community or help you, our members. Among the items were all the community events that we volunteer for during the year, discussions about possible guest speakers, and renewing a CD. Many times, one item leads to a discussion of something else, and inevitably we raise issues about our own bees. These non-agenda discussions can be so informative that we use them as topics at the general meetings. For instance, we had to plan an alternative if our guest speaker, John Turpin, could not show up. We planned a panel discussion, in part, based on our conversations and Charlie's calendar. Unfortunately, we sometimes talk too much. I, however, enjoy my role and you might, too; therefore, I urge you to attend meetings or become a Board member.

In five weeks, winter officially ends in the northern hemisphere and spring arrives. As Charlie Thomas has urged us, prepare for the warmer weather and the birth of new bees. I'll bet most of enjoyed the pleasant warm weather, using the time to look inside your hives. In fact, we open fed pollen powder that the bees devoured. Do not, however, become complacent. We must still be diligent about the welfare of our hives in the cold weather.

January 9, 2019
What Will 2019 Bring?

Happy new year. I think we ended 2018 on a high note, with the success of the party at MaGerk's Pub and Grill. The Board of Directors recommends we meet there in 2019. Speaking of the Board, let’s give a hearty thanks to Charles Filburn for being secretary for two years, while we welcome the new secretary, Doug Shuman. Who could possibly replace Doug as treasurer? Jason Rosenzwieg, because you elected him. You know, members may attend Board meetings, which are held on the first Wednesday of the month. Occasionally, we share what’s happening to our bees with each other, which is very informative and one way we choose topics for general meetings.

In 2019, SBA will try to maintain the positive things we have done, such as being responsible fiscally, spreading our name by giving out "Save the Bees" stickers and balloons at events; giving new members our distinctive bumper stickers; and teaching eventgoers about SBA and beekeeping; and making candles from beeswax. Dennis Hertzog presents at schools and community groups, as does Rita Kryglik. For a members-only event coming up at Steppingstone, we are going to try something new: A small group of members who would take short turns presenting a topic about bees, beekeeping, pollination, gardens—anything related to and topical about bees.

Finally, our mite control fund is growing. One result of our diligence in fighting Varroa should be more networking among the membership to help each other with mite control, winter-related problems with our hives, or any aspect of beekeeping. Several members write questions to our email account, while others speak to each other. I encourage more communications among the membership. Having group sessions at meetings is another way for us to share our beekeeping experiences.