Vermont Beekeepers Association News Feed

Since 1886 the VBA has promoted the general welfare of Vermont's Honey Industry, while sustaining a friendly body of unity among the state's beekeepers.
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    2024 Summer Meeting News

    Congratulations to the people elected to the VBA Board of Directors at the July 13, 2024, VBA summer meeting. We look forward to another very productive year.
    • President, Jeff Battaglini (incumbent)
    • Vice President – Bianca Braman (incumbent)
    • Treasurer – Richard Roy (incumbent)
    • Membership Secretary – Mary Stoddard (new to the Board but no stranger to the VBA!)
    • Recording Secretary – Fred Putnam, Jr. (incumbent)
    • Director at Large – James Key (incumbent) 
    • Andrew Munkres remains as the Immediate Past President

    Our thanks to the Franklin County Beekeepers Club for their help with this meeting!

  • The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is offering an award for up to $2,000 to a beekeeper with a practical beekeeping idea that is relevant to other beekeepers. The $2,000 will be split in the case more than one awardee is chosen. We are looking to fund one or more individuals that have developed a practical beekeeping practice OR have a practical beekeeping idea that needs funding to be developed.

    Please download the attached document for all the details and feel free to pass on to others.  For questions, you may also reach out to Garett Slater.

    Garett Slater
    Assistant Professor and Honey Bee Extension Entomologist
    Department of Entomology
    Texas A&M 

  • H.706 to Become Law

    Late this afternoon the Vermont House and Senate overrode Governor Phil Scott's veto of H.706 - a law the Vermont Beekeepers Association supported to protect Vermont pollinators. The senate overrode the veto on roll call: Yeas = 21, Nays = 8 while the house roll call results showed Yeas = 102, Nays = 43 (97 of 145 to Pass). Details

    The Vermont Beekeepers Association thanks the legislators who voted for this important legislation and the VBA members and others in the community who helped make this happen. 


  • Vermont State House in MontpelierContact Your Legislators Today

    After passing overwhelmingly in the VT house and senate, the pollinator protection bill, H706 was vetoed by the governor on World Bee Day.

    He shared the same misleading information about bee populations that we have heard from the Agency of Agriculture, and declared the bill "anti-farmer".

    The VT legislature is holding an override session on June 17th and 18th to consider overriding the governor's veto.

    We need VBA members to reach out to their senators and representatives one last time this week to support this override effort.

    Legislators have been hearing more and more from those against the bill, so it is incredibly important to express the importance of this legislation and our strong support for it. (Previously available background information is available here and here.)

    Contact Your Legislators

  • Queen Cells

    This week there were two online workshops presented by VBA experts. Wednesday evening's "Ask Me Anything" program presented by Jeff Battaglini, Tony Antonucci and Fred Putnam covered tasks designed to help you perform early summer management on your colonies. Then on Thursday night, Andrew Munkres and Bianca Braman hosted a program on Queen Rearing highlighting different ways to propagate queens and focusing on queen rearing for small-scale beekeepers.

    VBA members can watch the recorded workshops by logging into the VBA website and looking under the Calendar menu for Past Workshop & Events Recordings.

  • From the Pollinatoir Working Group:

    Montpelier, VT – Today, on World Bee Day, Gov. Phil Scott today vetoed legislation meant to protect bees and other pollinators from a widely-used neuorotoxic pesticide. The bill (H.706) would  eliminate most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) in Vermont, which have been associated with alarming losses of managed and wild bee populations.

    Neonic insecticides are used on almost all corn grown and much of the soybean grown in Vermont. They’re also sprayed on apple trees, other fruits and vegetables, and ornamental plants. 

    A comprehensive 2020 study from Cornell University found that neonic-treated seeds were more costly and yielded no substantial benefit to farmers in terms of crop yields for corn and soybeans. In Quebec, where neonics have been banned on field crops since 2019, farmers have adjusted well to using other alternative seed treatments, and many are using no pesticide treatment on seeds at all and finding no loss in yield.

    While neonics provide little benefit to most farmers, they can cause substantial harm. Since their introduction in the mid-1990s, neonics have made U.S. agriculture48-times more harmfulto insects and been linked with massive losses of bees. Over the most recent five-year period for which data are available, Vermont beekeepers lost an average 53% of their hives every year. These losses of managed bees provide insight into the losses occurring each year in Vermont’s 300+ species of wild bees, which undergird ecosystems and are also important crop pollinators. 

    Read More …

  • UBeeO Workshop

    Join the Vermont Bee Lab to learn about UBeeO, a novel way to measure hygienic behavior in bees! In this workshop, we will demonstrate how to perform UBeeO assays and witness high-scoring colonies in the field. We will discuss guidelines for reliable testing in the Northeast and hear from Vermont queen producers about their experience using UBeeO in their selection programs.

    Two workshop dates are available, June 8 at Hundred Acre Wood Apiaries with Jack Rath and June 15 at French Hill Apiaries with Mike Palmer. Registration for either workshop is free and is required.

  • Mid-spring is the time of year when many new beekeepers in Vermont pick up their first nucleus colonies or packages of bees.  If you are one of those just starting out, hopefully you did your homework over the winter and have a pretty good idea of what to do next. You may have read some reference materials, attended a class, and participated in VBA webinars.  Maybe you purchased a book that you can refer to from time to time.  (By the way, the VBA has an excellent list of references designed specifically for new beekeepers under the “Resources” tab on this website.)  But uncertainty or just a lack of confidence may arise about the next task in your bee yard. It’s not uncommon.  Beekeeping may not be rocket science, but it isn’t simple either.  There’s much to learn in the first few years and the VBA is here to help!

    Read More …

  • Vermont State House in MontpelierAs many of you know, the Pollinator Protection Act, H706 has passed the Vermont House 112-29. It was taken up by the Senate Agriculture committee, and UVM Bee Lab director Samantha Alger and VBA past president Andrew Munkres both testified in support of the bill among others.  Last week the bill passed out of the Senate Agriculture committee 4-1 with a couple of changes from the House version.  Today the bill went to Senate appropriations and passed out of that committee this afternoon 6-0.

    Read More …

  • Dear VBA members,

    The VBA Board has heard from a number of beekeepers asking about how to best hold conversations with farmer friends and neighbors about neonicotinoids. As a result, the VT Pollinator Working Group compiled this digital educational resource curated for crop producer audiences. Each resource listed has a summary and link where you can view the resource. We hope that you, VBA beekeepers, will have some conversations with your farmer neighbors in the coming weeks. Please feel free to share this resource and let it aid your discussions. This is a great opportunity to connect with your community around something that can help us all and make a better future for generations to come.

    In addition, VPIRG has provided us with talking points for speaking with local farmers and neighbors (Login required.) about neonicotinoids and H.706 (a bill to phase out the use of neonicotinoids). We will include that as well if you'd like help on how to hold these conversations.

    If you have any conversations with folks in your community, please keep a record of the conversations and report back to VBA Vice President Bianca Braman If you connect with a farmer who is willing to sign a letter in support of the bees and H.706, please let us know! This will allow us to connect with the farmer to get signatures. Please note the time for these conversations is now, as the legislative session is waning and the senate will be voting soon. 

    Thank you for all of your effort on behalf of the bees. Your hard work will have an effect for decades to come!