Beekeeping in Vermont

Beekeeping in Vermont

VBA Queen Rearing Workshop

Recorded February 24, 2022

This introduction to queen rearing was presented online by Jack Rath and Andrew Munkres. The workshop was recorded and the video is available for members at the link below. (This is the classroom component of a two-part program.) The in-person workshop, to be announced at a future date, will be limited to a small number of attendees based on current COVID protocols.

Watch the Workshop Video (Login Required)

VBA Testimony in Support of H.626

 The Vermont Beekeepers Association provided testimony today in support of H.626 - "An act relating to the sale, use, or application of neonicotinoid pesticides." In a letter to the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (listed below) the organization provided arguments based on established research and believes this legislation "could be a game changer."

Although the act has not passed out of the committee, VBA suggests contacting your representative, especially if they are a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and express your support for the VBA's position as outlined. Committee members are listed below.

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Your Action Needed to Verify Your Apiary Data

As many of you are aware, there have been discrepancies and errors in the Vermont apiary registration database since the apiary map went online in 2017. A 2019 VBA survey indicated that a significant number of members did find errors in their apiary location and other data.

The VBA has worked with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VT AAFM) and other Vermont commercial beekeepers to help resolve this situation. The VBA had recommended a number of measures as noted in the January VBA BOD meeting Minutes (login required). VT AAFM is following some of our proposals. It is important that your apiary data and location be accurate so you can be notified if bee health or other issues arise in your area that might affect your colonies.

This will require action from you.

If you only keep colonies on your own property, simply check that your address and the GPS coordinates of your bee yard(s) are correct as registered with the state. If you do not have a copy of your current registration papers, contact the bee inspector (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to request your current registration information.

If you have 10 or more colonies, the two-mile radius law applies to you on property that you do not own: Section “3034. Establishing an apiary location” describes the “two-mile” law if you have 10 or more colonies and have some of them on property other than your own. It is very important that you confirm the GPS coordinates of these yards or you can potentially lose the location(s.)

If you have fewer than 10 colonies, you are entitled to keep bees where you wish, so you will not lose a location if the registration is in error. However, it is important to confirm your information anyway for the reasons stated previously.

Here’s the message from the VT AAFM. They have set a deadline of January 31, 2022. Make sure to follow the process and correct any discrepancies before the Jan 31st deadline especially as noted in item #2. The VBA had hoped to establish a longer deadline but the agency is trying to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

  1. Online Map: An online version of the 2022 Apiary Map will be publicly available on or around 02/15/22.  This map will be accessible through the Agency’s website, and will depict the outside boundary of registered commercial apiaries in order to show where new locations can be ascertained.  Identifying information associated with the apiaries will be withheld from the public map.   
  1. 2021 Registration Permission Forms and Location Correction Deadline: Please submit all registration materials to Brooke no later than 01/31/22.  If the Agency does not receive accurate and signed permission forms for a disputed location, then the apiary that needs permission will be denied that location, removed from the map, and deemed not properly registered.  If you reach out to Brooke, then she will send you what the Agency has on file in order to verify what you need to do to adequately register your location. 
  1. Two-Mile Radius:  Beekeepers wanting to establish or relocate apiaries within two miles of a commercial apiary registered to another entity need to obtain signed permission forms from the entity with the registered commercial apiary that will be infringed upon. Any establishment or relocation of an apiary requires notification to the Agency prior to movement of the apiary to ensure that the establishment or relocation does not infringe on another commercial apiary.

In order for the Apiary Program to work, then the Agency needs accurate and timely updates to the map.  GPS coordinates will only be deemed adequate by the Agency if they are presented in decimal format (not degrees) with 5 numbers following the decimal.  Once the GPS coordinate is received by the Agency, then the Agency will let you know if permission forms are needed and from whom.

The VBA would like to know if you find errors on your registration and if you are able to correct them. Please complete this brief, anonymous survey so we can track the number of affected beekeepers and locations.

Complete the Survey


Vandals Destroy Hives at Intervale

By now you've likely heard how vandals destroyed beehives and greenhouses at the Burlington Intervale. Bill Mares sent the following note which we'd like to pass on to you.

Dear VBA members,   We are so gratified by the offers of support after our hives were vandalized this week.  We trust that the culprits will be caught and punished appropriately.

If you still wish to help, may we suggest that your contributions would go toward restoring a couple of those hives to be used for VBA classes there at the Intervale, where they have been held for 20 years.  This will also serve as encouragement for establishing a Chittenden County Bee Club right there in the Intervale.  (The Intervale Center has offered to let us use one of their meeting rooms for VBA gatherings.)

The BTV Honey team,  Ron Hernandez, Bill Mares, Deborah Rubin

Hives Destroyed in BurlingtonMore to come...

Beginning Beekeeping: Selecting a Home for Your Bees

Presented by Jack Rath, VBA past-president.

Thursday, January 20, 2022, 7:00 P.M. via Zoom

There are a bewildering number of choices to be made in selecting the equipment needed to keep bees. We will explore choices in hive construction and size and will consider the many available frame and foundation options. We'll also discuss what tools are essential for successful honeybee management. The goal is to allow you to make informed decisions so that you will be ready and prepared when your bees arrive. Registration is limited to 100 participants and is free for VBA members.

Register Today

(Login Required)

Vermont Farm Show Cancelled

Due to growing concerns regarding the extended impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vermont Farm Show Executive Committee has decided to cancel the 2022 show.  "The safety of our vendors and attendees is of utmost concern and we believe it is the best decision for everyone. This decision was not an easy one and we are hopeful that we will be back in full force, better than ever in 2023."

American Foul Brood Announcement

Brooke Decker
Pollinator Health Specialist
State Apiculturist
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM)

American Foul Brood Announcement

November 30, 2021

American Foul Brood (AFB) Paenibacillus larva has been confirmed at an apiary located within a 5-mile radius of Newbury, Vermont.

The origin of this highly contagious honey bee disease is currently unknown. Traceback investigation is under way.

Beekeepers should remain diligent in their hive inspections, especially in the spring. Learning to identify the clinical symptoms of AFB is crucial. Hives should be closely examined for scale and other symptoms. Rope tests, field test kits or laboratory diagnosis should be performed on any suspect brood cells. Equipment should only be reused if clinical symptoms are absent.

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Tunbridge World’s Fair

- by Richard Roy, Vermont Beekeepers Association Treasurer

FD271526 DAFD 4AD9 B702 2FC6D1D90B9EMary Stoddard & Bill Mares setting up...The Tunbridge World’s Fair was held for the 149th time this year after Covid forced its cancelation in 2020. The Fair, which began in 1867, has had its yearly occurrence interrupted only by the two World Wars and the Covid pandemic.

Although the VBA’s presence at the Fair doesn’t date back to the 19th century, it does go back a while. So we were happy when, earlier this year, we learned the 2021 Fair was on. The Fair’s 4 days started as it always does on a Thursday, ten days after Labor Day, this year on September 16th. And at 9 am on the Thursday, the16th, the VBA’s booth was ready for fairgoers.

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