We (Andrea, Heather and Claire) had the honor of going to the CRAAQ’s annual conference on apiculture (http://www.craaq.qc.ca/Calendrier/1147?d=2011-05 ). The day began early, with a two hour ride to Portneuf to make it at 8:30. The day was organized in two parts, presentation on various topics until 11:30 and workshops after lunch. It was a beautiful sunny day, on a water front farm (Centre de recherche en sciences animales de Deschambault) filled with stimulating information.
A major focus was placed on Varroa and the open door to pathogens and viruses it can create. The little hive beetle was also covered extensively- although there is currently no known presence in Quebec, it is very common in the southern states, and due to human activity, it is now firmly established in parts of Ontario as well. It’s therefore pretty important for us all to be aware of what it looks like and report any suspicions we may have.
Pesticides were mentioned as an additional stress, but it was emphasized that researchers are missing much data on the subject. Beekeepers are strongly encouraged to report any suspicion of pesticide poisoning that they may have, as every report with strengthen the argument that pesticides are indeed a problem.
It was repeatedly suggested that treatment be done against nosema as well as against varroa on a regular basis to keep levels in check. Also, there is a whole lot of prevention happening around the petite coleoptere de la ruche- quarentined zones, destruction of suspicious colonies, educating beekeepers... Despite strong recommendation to treat regularly, it was also mentioned that one of the major strengths of Quebec’s beekeeping industry is that most producers use an integrated management approach.
Also, we met Melissa Girard (firstname.lastname@example.org) who samples honey for free and will tell us exactly the type of pollen our bees are foraging.
Here is a list of the presentation and work shop topics:
Another interesting part of the event was being able to listen and take part of the multiple conversations going on between new and old, small time and big time, organic and industrial beekeepers, each expressing different concerns and opinions on the methods and treatments.