Recent Vermont Beekeepers Association (VBA)

Initiatives and Accomplishment

April 2, 2022

Over the past few years, the VBA has taken on an ever-increasing activist role for all of us involved in apiculture in Vermont.

The VBA has continued to develop and strengthen training and information for members and other beekeepers.

We sincerely appreciate the help from VBA members across the state who stepped up to help on Working Groups and Committees dealing with specific efforts.

It is important for Vermont beekeepers to support the kinds of efforts outlined below through membership in the association.

Since the September 2021 Summer meeting, the VBA has:

  • Served a facilitation role to help resolve specific issues such as those caused by past errors in the apiary location database and map.

  • In conjunction with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VT AAFM), has expanded honey purity and adulteration testing.

We intend to expand testing during the summer of 2022 to look for pesticide residues in both pollen and honey.

This pesticide testing is partially a response to the most recent version of H.626 that places a priority on reducing the use of pesticides including neonicotinoids as well as reducing the waste stream from farms and encouraging transformative agricultural practices.

  • The VBA has testified in person to the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry twice and our Advisory Board folks have also testified in person. We have also provided written testimony to the Committee and have shared that testimony with the Vermont Farm Bureau.

In sync with this effort, the VBA will remain in touch with the new Vermont Agriculture Innovation Board that will deal with such issues.

  • Has spent a considerable amount of time to prepare (and submit) a Federally funded Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) proposal that would create a very noticeable public Vermont honey campaign. The plan is to make Vermont honey more visible to Vermonters and hopefully improve the sales of honey produced here in Vermont.

  • Conducted educational workshops – via Zoom.

In addition to our usual beekeeping workshops, a number of new workshops are planned to include:

    • Queen rearing (part 2 in person)

    • Apiary electric fencing

    • Detecting and dealing with AFB

    • State laws regarding apiary location

    • Deadout diagnosis

    • Seasonal management, and;

    • General “Ask Me Anything” sessions.

  • Finished working with UVM student, Brianna Borch, whose research on honey bee forage production was partially funded by the VBA. She plans to publish her results this Spring.

  • Engaged with the Vermont Bee Lab to help determine the future direction of the lab.

  • Enhanced the information on our web page – excellent resources for beekeepers:

    • Beekeeper training program

    • Updated mentoring program (a good training delivery option)

    • Joint Beekeeper Certification in conjunction with VT AAFM – major update completed thanks to help from non-Board VBA volunteers across the state

We have begun work to enhance information useful to homeowners, landowners, land managers (Federal, State, and local), land management consultants, farmers, orchardists, and others on ways to promote a healthy and productive environment for honey bees.

  • Maintained transparency with policies and meeting Minutes posted promptly on the VBA website.

  • Started updating the VBA Long Range Plan to guide our efforts over the next 2-3 years.

Among other new topics, the updated Long Range Plan will address ways to integrate VBA activism on behalf of commercial and migratory beekeeping businesses as well as those of hobbyists and small apiculture businesses.

All of this is an all-volunteer effort by your beekeeping peers on behalf of apiculture in all of Vermont.