Below is a recent email I wrote to the Santa Fe based Sangre de Cristo Beekeeping Club entitled: REAL FEAR OF VIRUS IMPORTATION
Sent: Tue, September 28, 2010 11:56:46 AM
Subject: [SDCBeekeepers] Real fear of virus importation
Not trying to disrupt the free-economy process; but I feel a professional and personal obligation to share some pertinent info about packages and bees in general from out of area. This is not a plug for our own business as we do not even begin to take reservations until late January to ensure that our bees are on track and that we will be able to fill requests. We are a smaller outfit, as many others in NM, and so it is this reason alone that makes it pertinent and beneficial for backyard beekeepers to work together to build off their own hives and if possible- to offer extra bees to those in need/want of bees.
***There is rampant virus right now in California. Several colleagues of ours, including Randy Oliver are “horrified” (their words) at the presence of virus loads in bee hives throughout CA. Due to the nature of the beekeeping industry in that state, no one area is excluded from the threat of virus and other pests/pathogens.***
I would really like to encourage all area beekeepers- backyard/hobbyist and those with larger numbers of hives, to really consider offering swarm splits to neighbor beekeepers. This is more sustainable than ordering from out of region, not to mention that it will help to curb importation of pathogens and pests.
I will admit that I am very frightened of the prospect of importing negative threats to our local and regional honeybees- not to mention the threats it poses to honeybee stewards. Please do your research into the health of the bees. Request an apiary health and inspection certificate with your order. NM has open borders right now- only because lack of funds, foresight and manpower are available to help educate and assist with disease assessment and non-chemical control.
For those interested in learning more about what is happening in the “broader” circles of beekeeping nationally and internationally, you can sign up for BEE-L web listserve. It is free and is very enlightening.
Other than that- this has been a really good honey flow year. It should also be noted that if this year is bumper, next year may not be. This being stated, it is suggested that stewards look to save some honey for their bees-should next spring and summer prove marginal.
P.S. We have offered our Abeja Elixir to our “problem” hives this season- which is a protein patty made of brewer’s yeast, honey, essential oils of lemongrass, spearmint, grapefruit, garlic and pure cane sugar. We have seen immediate turn-around on these hives.
While it is evident that real sustainable food forage for bees should be naturally available in the form of wildflowers and hedge rows, until our society can assist in the rebalance of Mother Earth, supplementation of beneficial herbs and nutrients should not be discredited. Of course, this is only recommended for those hives and locations that are exhibiting issues (though it can be offered prophylactically to avoid illness).