(continued from Page 8)
Many beekeepers in Minnesota winter their colonies
in three standard brood chambers. Our finding is that it is possible
to have too much honey in stores as the colonies enter winter.
A beekeeper friend of mine in Minnesota has wintered numerous
colonies in a single brood chamber. That requires some colony
management plus feeding practices with which I am not acquainted.
If you would attempt such a practice then you should contact Dennis
Lind, of Rochester, MN for details.
To sum it all up as to preparedness, if you
did not get all colonies fully prepared for winter then maybe
you have too many colonies. As a professor at Iowa State once
said, “you are not keeping bees to the best of your ability”.
As of about 15 years ago the Iowa Inspection
Service turned their attention to mites and overlooked the possibilities
of incidence of American Foul Brood that just might be waiting
to be spread. That is just what has happened and the amount of
disease among bees is on the rise. Over the 40 years that I was
with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, I found it amazing that
so many beekeepers throughout the country did not recognize the
various stages of AFB, and there are different stages of the disease.
At that time less than 10% of the beekeepers could detect American
Foul Brood and European Foul Brood. There has been too little
instruction and attention paid to bee disease among beginning
beekeepers and long time beekeepers as well. To be successful
in beekeeping knowing bee diseases is a necessity. There are some
slides available that show the diseases very well and everyone
should make use of them. Some stages of American Foul Brood are
quite difficult to detect. When it gets to the stage where the
pupae has dried to a scale (which lays on the bottom side of the
cell) it is difficult to see. When AFB develops into that stage
it has generally weakened the colony to the point where other
colonies have robbed the honey so all colonies in the area will
likely be infected. To prevent such a tragedy all beekeepers should
inspect their colonies for disease two or three times in the Spring
before the surplus honey supers are added and certainly before,
or, as the surplus honey is removed. This little extra work could
save the spread of disease and great losses.
For many years the control for the disease was
burning of all the equipment. Then, along came the use of Terramysin.
It worked well. I have worked with other beekeepers in eradicating
the disease and eliminated it in a few colonies of my own. In
1960, out of 25 colonies within one of our apiaries we found five
colonies with the first stages of Foul Brood. Terramycin was just
becoming into being so we gave it a try. After four treatments
that Spring there was no more sign of the disease. Those colonies
were inspected five times during the summer but no signs of the
AFB was found present. So for two years following that, the colonies
were not treated, but the disease never returned. Following that
we treated all colonies, spring and fall with a proper treatment
of Terramycin and the following more than 35 years we had not
one cell of American Foul Brood among our 250 to 300 colonies.
Later Dr. Bill Wilson prescribed the Extender
Patty with TM, which many used, we found in some cases the bees
didn’t clean out the disease, but built up an immunity to
If two sheets of foundation are palced in every
brood chamber every Spring it would keep the combs in better shape
to control all disease and even the mites. Give it a try. At least
it helps to eliminate Nosema disease.
I am celebrating my 80th year among the honeybees!
Submitted by Glenn Stanley
The Iowa Honey Producers Beekeeping
class held at Kirkwood School in Washington, Iowa had
6 students. At our last session we were lucky to have
Tim Wilbanks (back row left) speak to us about his family’s
business, Wilbanks Apiaries Inc. in Claxton, Georgia.
He told us about growing up with honeybees and raising
and packaging bees in Georgia.
Submitted by Ron Wehr