August 31, 2015

2010 Apiary Program Summary

State Apiarist Tony Jadczak shares his report of Maine apiaries for 2 010.

In 2010, 621 Maine beekeepers registered 6,975 hives. The registration numbers reflect an increase of approximately 150 hobby beekeepers since 2008. There are more than 1,000 beekeepers with 8,000+ hives estimated in Maine. The estimate is based upon the number of beekeepers who attend beekeeping workshops, the number of individuals enrolled in beekeeping short courses and the current membership … [Read more...]

Spring Management

State Apiarist Tony Jadczak shares his report of Maine apiaries for 2 010.

Wintered honey bee colonies should be checked by early or mid-March for the amount and position of honey stores. Remove the outer cover and note the position of the cluster. In moderate temperatures, strong hives will often have bees present on the inner  cover, chewing and/or drinking the water from the insulation material that was placed above the inner cover the previous fall.  In cold … [Read more...]

Queen Introduction

Queen Bee

Reasons to Requeen: Failing queen – poor brood pattern (skips), drone layer, queenless colony,Poor performance/behavior- low production, susceptible to disease and mites, excessive swarming, aggressive behavior, nervous festooning behavior. Stock Improvement- hygienic and mite resistant strains, Making Increase- nucs, splits Ordering Queens: Source- Order from reputable bee … [Read more...]

Reflections on 2010

A honeybee found with deformed wing virus and Varroa mites.

The past year presented several valuable lessons to beekeepers. For example: bees should be managed according to weather conditions and plant phenology, not calendar date; monitoring Varroa is crucial since mite populations can explode under certain circumstances; and the timing and choice of Varroa treatment can have variable outcomes. Also, reading pesticide labels is imperative!   In … [Read more...]

Propolis, Propolis Everywhere

image of propolis from:

The 2010 honey harvest is complete and many beekeepers report a good summer crop and a disappointing fall harvest. In many areas of the state the honey flow shut off like a spigot during the early part of August due to the drought conditions during the summer. Plants resumed nectar production after some late summer rain, but it was too little, too late. In general the goldenrod honey flow didn’t … [Read more...]

Normal Allergic Reactions to Insect Stings

NORMAL AND ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO INSECT STINGS I.    Normal, non-allergic reactions at the time of the sting Pain, sometimes sharp and piercing b. Burning, or itching burn c. Redness (erythema) around sting site A white area (wheal) immediately surrounding the sting site Swelling (edema) Tenderness to touch II.    Normal, non-allergic reactions hours or days after itching … [Read more...]

Honey Bee Etiquette

Sagadahoc Beekeepers Open Hive

by Tony Jadczak, Maine Department of Agriculture 1. Situate hives away from lot (property) lines and occupied buildings. 2. Locate hives away from roads and areas frequented by pedestrian and animal traffic. 3. In populated areas, uses fences and hedges as screens to conceal hives and to elevate the bees’ flight path.  Vegetation and fences also serve as windbreaks. 4. Do not situate … [Read more...]

The Bee Hive in Winter – 2009-2010

A bee call November 29,2009 [40°F] brought Christy Hemenway to Alna to try and help this exposed wild hive. What’s going on here? Picture this:a queen leads a swarm away from the parent hive in June and clusters on a pine tree branch. All of the bees have just gorged themselves on honey and nectar in preparation. This consumption leads to the workers’wax glands going into production.Combine this with days and days of rain which make further scouting for a safe,protected hollow impossible. Workers start building a few cells to store resources.Thequeenstartslaying.Allofasudden,brood is present. The impulse to care for the brood outweighs a genuine need to find better living quarters.They keep building. NOT a promising way to winter in Maine.

by Tony Jadczak, Maine Apiarist Unlike the majority of northern insects, honey bees cannot survive freezing and do not hibernate. In fact, the reason honey bees gather and store surplus honey is for con- sumption during the winter months when flowers are absent and temperatures are too cold for flight. The bees store honey above and around their cluster and move up into the honey reserves … [Read more...]

Swarming Reviewed

Snelgrove Board (from

During the last two years, there have been “swarming issues” among many new and seasoned beekeepers. In both 2006 and 2007, beekeepers reported swarms from hives established with packages and nucs during late May-June even though there was room for colony expansion. A number of beekeepers reported that the new hives issued swarms before the bees had moved into the second hive body. In both 2006 … [Read more...]

2006 Inspection Report

State Apiarist Tony Jadczak shares his report of Maine apiaries for 2 010.

Apiary Inspection- In 2006, 479 Maine beekeepers registered 7,476 hives. 52,107 hives managed by migratory commercial beekeepers entered Maine primarily for blueberry and apple pollination. Hives were also used to pollinate canola, cranberry, small fruits, squash and buckwheat. Honey bee colonies entered Maine under certification from AR, FL, GA, KS, LA, MS, SC and TX. In 2006, 5,672 hives were … [Read more...]