Beekeeping in Vermont

Beekeeping in Vermont

Bees Besieged by Our Changing Climate

boba jaglicic EmwhXkCiMiA unsplash1200x770All 20,000 species of bees worldwide are at risk as global climate change affects their forage, reproduction, and behavior. Based on his 50 years as a backyard beekeeper, author Bill Mares addresses the macro and micro effects of a rapidly warming planet on Vermont’s bees, particularly Apis mellifera, the common honeybee. The recording of this Zoom presentation is free and available online for viewing until the end of October. To view, please visit this link and use the password E&8BKdpd to access the recording.

About Bill Mares

Raised in Texas, educated at Harvard, Bill Mares is a former journalist, state representative and high school teacher. He has authored or co-authored eighteen books on subjects ranging from the U.S. Marines to desert travel, and from war memorials to brewing. Bill is also a past-president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association and most recently co-authored a book (with Ross Conrad) "The Land of Milk and Honey."

Winter Hive Prep Workshop Replay

VBA members: If you missed our online Fall Actions and Winter Hive Prep Workshop you can watch the recorded session online. Login to our website and choose Past Workshops & Events from the top Calendar menu chooice.

You'll see links to all our recorded sessions with the necessary passwords to view them. The Powerpoint presentation prepared by Fred Putnam is available separately for viewing.

VBA Summer Meeting Recap Online

If you missed the September 4th meeting of the Vermont Beekeepers Association at the Brandon Town Hall, you may view the all-day event since all the sessions were recorded.

We suggest you refer to the meeting minutes for the day as they provide a detailed summary of the event. (Login required.) In fact, we remind you the best way to stay abreast of everything the VBA is working on is to review the meetings minutes as they are published.

Videos for the day's five sessions are available after logging in to the VBA website by selecting Past Workshop & Events Recordings under the Calendar menu.

The Vermont Beekeepers Association welcomes new board member James T. Key who was elected to serve as the board's member at large.

Meet James Key

James Key is new to the VBA board of directors. He has been nominated to serve as the Director-at-large.

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Education: B.A. from Norwich University, Self-Designed Major, with focus on Ethno-Botanicals and their Healing Properties. I've been published with a couple of articles related to the subject. Before my present career, I was in the food industry, selling food to all of the Hannaford stores in Chittenden county. Also, supplying the now largest health food stores, Healthy Living and City Market.

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2021 VBA Summer Meeting Agenda

2021 VBA Summer Meeting Agenda
September 4, 2021 at the Brandon Town Hall, Brandon, VT

8:45am Check-in

9:00am Welcome from Bernie Carr, Executive Director of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and Unofficial Mayor of Brandon.

9:10am Opening remarks VBA President Andrew Munkres

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VBA 2021 Summer Meeting

Bee in Brandon smRegister Today

Saturday, September 4, 2021 - 8:45am - 4:30pm
Brandon Town Hall, Brandon, VT

The meeting agenda is available. Please register today for this important meeting - free for all VBA members.
Registration is required - No walk-ins. Attendance limited to 100 people.

Please note: Masks will be required of all attendees.

Important information about COVID precautions.

In addition to the business meeting, raffle, and awards presentations, we will be featuring two presentations on Varroa mite management from David T. Peck, Ph.D., the Director of Research and Education at Betterbee.


This year, you have several options for lunch. Either brown-bag it or take advantage of one of the eleven restaurants to be found in Brandon within a five minute walk of the meeting location. Brandon has recently completed a multi-year rennovation of the downtown and the results are a very walkable, beautiful venue. Plan to make a day of it. Before the meeting we will publish a guide to Brandon featuring local businesses and restaurants to help you plan your visit. Ample free parking is available in a municipal lot adjacent to the Brandon Town Hall.

Please register today as space is limited and be sure to read this article to the end for important information about how to register.

Our presentations:

Talk 1) Varroa destructor: History, Biology, Transmission, and Monitoring
Most beekeepers get into beekeeping because we're fascinated by the harmonious cooperation of a bee colony.  When we think about parasites like Varroa destructor, we often want to learn just enough to understand how to kill them, and then we want to push thoughts of them from our minds. In this talk, we'll deeply discuss the parasite mite Varroa destructor, taking to heart the axiom "Know thine enemy".  We'll discuss varroa as an organism in its own right, its evolutionary history, its fundamental biology, its transmission between colonies, and best practices to monitor mite levels in a bee colony or an apiary.  Each of these topics will help to make you a more effective manager of mites in your colonies, by giving you a new perspective on varroa as a wiley and dynamic enemy and not just a distasteful and passive problem to be dealt with.

Talk 2) Varroa Management: Treatments, Integrated Pest Management, and Naturally and Artificially Selected Bee Resistance to Mites
Dr. Peck will explore the various miticidal treatments that can be used to manage Varroa destructor in bee colonies, and will also discuss why previously-effective treatments are no longer used.  We will discuss both chemical and non-chemical methods to try to manage mite infestation, and will tie this to research on the way honey bees live in the wild and the idea of "Darwinian Beekeeping".  We will also examine the different mechanisms of mite resistance that bee breeders have pursued, as well as the mite-resistance traits of "survivor" colonies that have been able to persist without mite treatments (and sometimes without any beekeeper intervention at all.) 

David PeckOur speaker: David T. Peck, Ph.D.

Dr. Peck is the Director of Research and Education at Betterbee, in Greenwich NY.  His doctoral work at Cornell University's Department of Neurobiology and Behavior was supervised by Professor Tom Seeley.  His dissertation research focused on the transmission of mites between bee colonies, as well as the mite-resistance traits of the untreated honey bees living in Cornell's Arnot Forest.  After earning his degree he has continued to research varroa/bee interactions, including field work in Newfoundland Canada (where varroa still have not arrived) and Anosy Madagascar (where varroa arrived only in 2010 or 2011).  He has served as a teaching postdoctoral fellow in Cornell's Department of Entomology, and is still affiliated with Cornell through the Veterinary College's Honey Bee Health program.  Dr. Peck has kept bees for more than a decade, though his home apiary is usually full of mite-riddled research colonies so he doesn't usually produce much honey.

Space is limited!

Instructions: Please register for the VBA 2021 Summer Meeting by clicking the button below. Current members should login if they have not already done so. Registration is free for current VBA members. (Why not join the VBA now?)

This year, due to concerns about COVID, registration is required. You will receive an entry ticket in your confirmation email which you must present to be admitted. You may either present a printed copy or bring the ticket on your smartphone.

When you register you will have the option of registering as an individual or as a group. The Group Registration should be used if you have a Family membership. You may enter up to a total of four people in the group registration as long as those other family members are listed in your membership. To check, please review your membership profile:

COVID-19 considerations: VBA is following the state guidelines for COVID and is aware the situation may change at any time. To that end, we may need to limit the number of people in attendance in order to maintain social distancing. We also have made plans to stream the meeting online in the event it becomes necessary. Please watch your email inbox and this page for the latest updates. If you find you are unable to attend after registering, please return to the registration page and cancel your registration.


Register for the Meeting

If You Missed It...

If you missed tonight's free presentation - How to Recognize and Mitigate Honey Bee Pests and Disease, co-hosted by SABA and the VBA - the session recording is available to VBA members online. Presented by Brooke Decker, Vermont State Apiarist, and New York State Apiarist, Joan Mahoney, the program covers what you need to watch for when keeping healthy colonies.

Log in to the site and look under the Calendar menu for Past Workshop Recordings to find the link to the Zoom recording.

Requeening Honey Bee Colonies

If you missed Thursday evening's online workshop - Requeening Honey Bee Colonies - the video is available online under our Calendar menu. (Look for Past Workshop Recordings. Login required.)

VBA President Andrew Munkres presented one of the most interesting sessions we've hosted with practical information you can use to manage your colonies.