Sunday, May 6, 2007

Bear damage to hives

Subject: Bear damage to hives

I had a bear visit two nights in a row at our place off Jersey Mountain Road. The first night two hives were knocked apart but the bees didn't seem to be too devastated. There were scratch marks on some frames and scoops out of others; there was a bear paw print on honeycomb of one frame. The second morning I found one hive knocked apart and scattered again. The only bees left with that hive are dead. We are looking into serious fencing.

I'd be happy to have suggestions from anyone who has dealt with this type of problem before.

Maurine Mazzeo

Thursday, May 3, 2007

WVU Progressive Action on Colony Collapse Disorder

The April 30th Orchard Monitor newsletter put out by the WVU Extension Service addresses Honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder which is getting attention just about everywhere these days. WVU is participating in the Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group. WVU seems to be focusing on chemical contamination of beehives as a contributing factor. The neonicotinoid class of insecticides has come under suspicion. Trade names are Actara, Assail, Calypso, Clutch, and Provado. This is now the most widely used class of insecticides in the US and they are used in agriculture, lawn care, golf courses, and buildings. These are highly effective insecticides, almost too effective. WV is the first state to recommend that growers refrain from using neonicitinoids until honey bees are removed from the orchard in order to protect these pollinators. Continue to monitor for emerging Colony Collapse Disorder info. Increasing the understanding of honey bee issues by fruit growers is critically important. Hampshire County is also progressive in this area by opening up the March, April, May, and June Fruit Grower meetings to local beekeepers. We do not and will not used any of these toxic insecticides on our own farm. We use horticultural oils, dormant and all season, and we will be using Surround, which is a clay particle spray film . We also do not use chemical fertilizers which can also be harmful but instead use foliar sprays such as Neptune's Harvest. Herbicides, such as Round up are OK to use as they break down/decompose almost immediately and do not remain concentrated in either soil or plants.