March 24, 2019

MSBA Annual Meeting

MSBA Annual Meeting Speakers (L to R) Jennifer Lund, Dr John Skinner, and Eric Venturini

Sagadahoc County Beekeepers Association hosted the MSBA’s Annual Meeting on October 13th at the SKY HI Conference Center in Topsham. Close to 200 beekeepers from across the state attended the daylong event.

The keynote speaker was Dr John Skinner, a professor and Extension Bee Specialist in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee. In his presentation “Understanding the Varroa Mite, Biology and Vectoring Viruses”, Dr. Skinner encouraged members to be beekeepers and not simply bee “havers”, underscoring the importance of monitoring mite levels and treating bees with one of the many options available.

Eric Venturini, a partner biologist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Xerces Society, spoke on Pollinator Conservation in Maine. Highlights of his talk included the status of bumble bees and the synergy that exists between native bees and honey bees.

State Apiarist Jennifer Lund presented the 2018 “State of the State” report based on the annual survey responses.  There are currently 1169 registered beekeepers in Maine with 10,000 hives. Autopsies performed in winter/spring 2018 revealed that 78% of dead outs were a result of varroa mites and associated viruses. Greater than 36% of survey respondents indicated they were not monitoring for varroa.

SCBA member Douglas Calhoun gave a video presentation about the Georgetown Central Elementary School’s Bee Project, in which a school apiary was set up. He was accompanied by several of the young beekeepers involved and their teacher.

The Beekeeper of the Year Award was presented to Kenny Record who learned beekeeping from his father and has kept bees for over 70 years. Leroy Cronkhite, Sr was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his recently deceased wife Patricia. Attendees voted for new MSBA executive officers and board members.

Several vendors brought equipment and other goods to the meeting, so that beekeepers were able to purchase items without paying shipping fees. Many lucky people went home as raffle winners. The blind honey tasting contest awards were awarded to: first place – Jim Simone of Thomaston; second place – Lindy Allen of Freeport, and third place – Lesly Perry of Skowhegan.

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