Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

Son of a Beekeeper Blog on Ontario Agriculture Network

Hello from Rob Campbell the original Son of a Beekeeper in Ontario Canada.

 

I hope to keep a blog presence here on the Ontario Agricultural network to keep readers updated on the latest challenges facing Canadian beekeepers. Because I have the good fortune of living near and helping out my family's apiary which is just east of Toronto, the city in which I live and work

 

I write about The business of Beekeeping, Harvesting Honey in Ontario and most recently Feeding Antibiotics to Honeybees on Wondercafe blog.

 

People sometimes stop and ask me what is killing the bees? And I shrug and look away, for I have no concrete evidence that any one big new thing is killing bees beyond all the dozens of little things that are already know to be hurting honeybees. We know that certain viruses and fungi, and things like chalk brood hurts bees, and mites hurt, and American Foulbrood is devastating. That's why we feed antibiotics.

 

Here is a master beekeeper in Ontario mixing up Oxysol 62.5 antibiotic powder with white cane sugar before going to unpack his beehives from the winter cold storage boxes. This medication is applied first thing in the spring, four times each hive.


In this first visit, the beekeeper takes away the protective insulation around the wooden boxes, and reconnects the solar panels on the capacitor device for charging the two strand electric fence that surrounds the beeyard of 25 individual hives. Not all the colonies will have survived the Canadian winter and those 'dead' boxes wherein the bees probably froze to death will be scraped out and recycled.

If there is honey in the black frames of the brood chamber it will be soon be robbed out by stronger hives nearby. On his next visit, the beekeeper will split these strong hives into the empty equipment.

checking the beehives, spring, dead bees, diseases, Ontario

.feeding antibiotics to honeybees   bees collecting yellow pollen from spring

There are many threats to modern apiculture but today the worst seems to be American Foulbrood, followed by Veroa mites. One is a relatively quick death, while the other is blood suckingly slow. We feed antibiotics to honeybees three times in the spring. We mix Oxytetracycline HCI soluble powder with powdered sugar to help prevent American Foul Brood. * I will detail our precautions against mites in another post.

American foulbrood (AFB) is caused by the spore- forming Paenibacillus larvae ssp. larvae (formerly classified as Bacillus larvae), and is the most widespread and destructive of the bee brood diseases. Paenibacillus larvae is a rod-shaped bacterium, visible only under a high power microscope. Larvae up to 3 days old become infected by ingesting spores that are present in their food. Young larvae less than 24 hours old are most susceptible to infection. Spores germinate in the gut of the larva and the vegetative form of the bacteria begins to grow, taking its nourishment from the larva. Spores will not germinate in larvae over 3 days old. Infected larvae normally die after their cell is sealed. The vegetative form of the bacterium will die but not before it produces many millions of spores. Each dead larva may contain as many as 100 million spores. This disease only affects the bee larvae but is highly infectious and deadly to bee brood. Infected larvae darken and die.

feeding antibiotics, inoculating honeybees, spoon of sugar, beehivesOxysol 62.5 is used for inoculating honeybees against AFB American foulbood

Like many commercial beekeepers in Ontario, we adhere to a regular  antibiotics program to keep our honeybees healthy, and our business more profitable.

The Trouble in Niagara Falls

Years ago myself and my father and uncle  were part of a program to destroy infected beehives from fruit crop owners in Niagara Falls because the orchard owners and agricultural producers had unknowingly allowed their beehives, which exist almost exclusively for the purposes of pollinating fruit tree blossoms, to become infected with American foulbrood.  We burnt hundreds of beehives in a gravel pit near Pinbrook Ontario.  Please understand, destroying their hives was a 'final solution, and not something that should ever be repeated.

Today we apply Oxytetracycline HCI powder, mixed with sugar directly to the tops of the wooden frames inside the beehive.  In an vacuum sealed food container, we mix 4 g of Oxysol powder into 35 g of white cane sugar (or 400 g (1 pouch) of powder to 3.5 kg (total of 3.9 kg)) together to apply, as you can see in the picture below, we dust the mixture directly onto the ends of the frames inside the open beehive at the rate of approx 32 g per colony, which is spread out over three visits to each hive. We begin the drug treatment as early as possible in the springtime for two reasons. 1) the strong hives are raiding and robbing out the dead hives, which may have died over the winter because they were diseased.  2) The antibiotics program must be completed at least four weeks before the honey flow begins in July, or we could risk contaminating the harvested honey product with antibiotics.

Commercial beekeeping relies the Agricultural Science programs of Canadian Universities, esp University of Guelph for the products they can apply to solve the problem of parasites and predators. In general, the same rules apply here as they do in every sector of industry.  Business management consultants will always advocate to test different solutions to the same problem.

The cold Canadian winter is the ultimate acid test for a colony of honeybees.

Views: 1461

Comment

You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Comment by Joe Dales on April 22, 2012 at 1:03pm

Hi Rob,

Thanks for sharing your blog.

When I was young, my father had some bee colonies on our farm and I was amazed at how the bees behaved.

Take care,

Joe

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Charges laid in cattle theft investigation

With the assistance of Livestock Services of Saskatchewan (LSS), RCMP have laid several charges against a Whitewood, Sask. man for cattle rustling. On June 28, a Saskatchewan RCMP Livestock Investigator received a report from LSS about a suspicious livestock transaction. Moosomin RCMP determined 14 calves had been stolen from a farm in the RM of Silverwood in three different incidents. Further investigation determined a man stole the calves and attempted to sell them. 34-year-old Ryan Bennett from the Whitewood, Sask. area is charged with three counts of theft of cattle over $5,000, three counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, and three counts of trafficking property obtained by crime over $5,000. Bennett is scheduled to appear in court in Moosomin on Aug. 20. Seven calves have since been recovered and returned to the farm.

Manitoba Ag Hall of Fame adds four individuals

Four names have been added to the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame. Hugh Drake, Dr. Don Flaten, Dr. Allan Preston, and Fred Tait were recognized for their contributions to Manitoba’s agriculture industry at a ceremony this week at Winnipeg’s Red River Exhibition Park. The nominees for 2024 are: Hugh Drake of Elkhorn, Man. dedicated most of his life to service on various boards within the agriculture industry in Manitoba. For 14 years Drake served as a director with three different grain companies. During this time, he also sat on the Heartland Livestock board, an amalgamation of Manitoba Pool Elevators and Saskatchewan Wheat Pool livestock markets. While Drake was on the board of Heartland Livestock, they built a new auction barn at Virden, Man. which is still in operation. In the late 80’s Drake participated in the provincial debt review board and played an active role assisting farmers in financial crisis. Drake dedicated his life and time away from his own businesses and fam

Québec names 2024 Outstanding Young Farmers

Due to an important transition for Québec Outstanding Young Farmers, the winners for 2024 were revealed during summer activities held at La Grange de l'île, Île d'Orléans, on July 3.

Ontario is investing in innovative agri-food research

The Ontario government is investing $7.2 million in The Ontario government is investing $7.2 million in 44 Ontario-led research and innovation projects. This investment is being made through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the province, the University of Guelph and Agricultural Research and Innovation Ontario (ARIO).

Ontario Hazelnut Association organizes three farm tours

The Ontario Hazelnut Association has announced three farm tours at different locations around the province to showcase the broad growing range of the tree nuts.

© 2024   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service