The meeting began at 7:03pm with 28 people in attendance. The election of officers took place. Sarah Rath nominated Stewart Dittmeier as Vice President. All nominees and current officers were elected. 2015 Officers include Susan Marmer as President, Stewart Dittmeier as Vice President, Jack Rath as Treasurer, and Heather Thomas as Secretary.
The program commenced with Steve Parise's discussion. He has served different posts with VT State agriculture for 24 years - focusing much of his time on consumer protection (e.g. apple inspection) and bee safety (e.g. bee inspection). At one point, apples were Vermont's biggest export with 20-30 orchards exporting abroad. He also has served as a maple syrup judge. Into the future, his work will focus on third party food safety - focusing on audits for large scale producers. The FDA is set to make changes for food safety, announced October 2015 -- affecting state programs, the number of inspectors, and farmers markets.
This year June 1 - July 30 the new mandatory registration of hives will go into effect. Information will be sent out May 15. Registration paid in 2015 will be current through June 30, 2016. The fee will be $10 per location, with no cap on the number of hives in any location. This program will benefit beekeepers by integrating with the Managed Pollinator Protection Plan in the State of Vermont -- which will provide communication to beekeepers when crop producers intend to apply pesticides to nearby or adjacent properties. Human health concerns (e.g. location of disease carrying mosquitos) will continue to trump limitations placed on the use of chemicals.
Parise discussed products used for mite control and the differences between specific use exemptions (Section 18) and approval for use through a formal registration process. Opt guard 2 is Section 18 - works best if very little or no brood in hive. Oxalic acid is approved by EPA for use and the State is working on USDA approval in Vermont - this is typically used between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other mite control sprays/methods include apiguard, apistan, powdered sugar sprays & drone trapping.
Current beekeepers should check for starvation between now and April and should avoid the use of sugar syrup until warmer weather (40 degrees + sunshine) to avoid condensation in the hive. Feeding sugar or pollen might be necessary. A few tips for winter preparation - honey should always be above your bees and feeding should cease by October 15.
The program ended at 8:45pm. Thank you, Steve Parise!