The guide, free to distribute, is a "manual for supplemental feeding in bee hives, giving beekeepers a simple approach to the complex and nuanced world of honey bee nutrition."
VBA's statement calling the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) to task for misleading the public received quite a bit of attention. In addition to coverage by a number of local papers throughout the state and WCAX, Bee Culture featured our statement in their daily news summary -- Catch the Buzz.
VBA Past-president Ross Conrad penned a Letter to the Editor in the Addison Independent that succinctly describes the issue.
From VT Digger: "Vermont has not, in fact, saved the bees, according to Jeff Battaglini, president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association. Rather, he said the industry is struggling with significant losses that are becoming harder and harder to recover from."
This issue will be discussed at the Winter Meeting and will be the focus of much of VBA's work during this legislative session. We encourage you to discuss this with your legislators, especially if they are in the Senate or House Ag Committees.
In keeping with its strong commitment to educating Vermont beekeepers, the Vermont Beekeepers Association (VBA) announces a new series of Zoom webinars designed speciﬁcally for people considering becoming beekeepers as well as those who are just starting out on their beekeeping journey. These webinars will be hosted by experienced VBA members who faced the same questions and challenges that all beekeepers have in their ﬁrst two years. All presenters will be Vermont beekeepers who have their own apiaries and stay informed of the latest beekeeping best practices. With years of knowledge and experience under their belts, they are eager to share the lessons learned and make the new Vermont beekeeper’s journey a smoother one.
The Vermont Beekeepers Association Board of Directors today released the following:
With decades of effort toward raising public awareness on the plight of pollinators, we the beekeepers of Vermont are deeply concerned about recent communications from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (VAAFM), and we would like to set the record straight.
The VAAFM’s claim of record honey bee numbers in Vermont as evidence of a “healthy and robust beekeeping industry” is not only misleading but serves to undermine our industry and ongoing efforts in Vermont to protect managed and native bees, both of whom are in great peril. Contrary to VAAFM’s recent communications, the beekeeping and scientific community agree that the total number of honey bee colonies cannot be used to measure bee health (a honey bee colony is a single family of bees housed in a hive.)
A more accurate estimate of our state honey bee health is annual colony loss. According to VAAFM’s own statistics, Vermont beekeepers have lost at least 25% of their bees during the winter months for the last three years. The Bee Informed Partnership, a national organization that tracks U.S. honey bee colony losses, reports combined summer and winter colony losses for Vermonters much higher at 35-85% each year for the last four years. Vermont beekeepers have maintained colony numbers by becoming bee-replacers instead of beekeepers. When VAAFM takes their tally of Vermont hives each July, beekeepers have already created new colonies to replace their losses. However, this is a very costly and laborious process – one that is not indicative of a “healthy and robust” beekeeping industry.
This year's Vermont Beekeepers Association Winter meeting will be in person for the first time since the pandemic affected us. It will be held at the Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) in Hinesburg, VT.
Registration is now open to anyone interested in attending but you must register. Current VBA members may register for free while others can register for $15. Details along with the preliminary agenda and speaker information are available on the registration form. Watch for meeting updates and additional details in coming days.
It’s about you!
Nominations are due by January 10, 2024
The VBA Recognition Program recognizes the efforts of individuals and entities who provide significant support to honeybees, Vermont beekeepers, and the VBA mission. Read about the program and submit your nomination today! Winners will be announced at the VBA Winter Meeting on January 27, 2024.
Please note that on February 24th, 2023, an updated ruling on the control of pesticides by the State of Vermont was put into effect. The rule includes ‘Section 5.04 Protection of Bees’. Enforcement of the rule is by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM). The Protection of Bees rule is relevant to honey beekeepers who have active apiaries on properties where pesticides are applied. Compliance with the rule applies to any pesticide applicator, individual using a pesticide, or person hiring an applicator. An applicator may be certified as a commercial, non-commercial, or private applicator or may be a non-certified applicator. Please familiarize yourself with the rule below, which can also be found on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) Pesticide Program page by following the link to the document “Vermont Rule for the Control of Pesticides”.
Simply login to the VBA site and look for Winter Wrapping under the Calendar | Past Workshop & Events Recording menu. (Login required.)
Other recorded sessions are also available for review.