Fact Sheets & Publications

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View plans for screened bottom boards and nosema sampling vacuums. Find information about oxalic acid and Honey Bee Pests and Diseases in Ontario.

Documents

In Ontario, several bee breeders have been selecting their stock for resistance traits since 1992. Being a part of a bee breeding program requires dedication, diligence, financial input, time and labour. Selecting bees for resistance traits within the ORHBS Program necessitates teamwork between the bee breeders of Ontario and the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association (OBA) Tech-Transfer Team.

The Homemade Protein Supplement Recipe was derived from a presentation by Dave Mendes at the 2012 OBA AGM. TTP has tested the attached recipe and found it to be desirable by the bees and helps to maintain honey bee health during times of stress and dearth. 

Will you be purchasing a nuc or nucs this coming spring?  

You should be aware of what a standard "nuc", or "nucleus colony" should look like and what they should contain. Check out this handy guide and be ready to ask the right questions when making your purchase.

Also, order early! Nuc orders fill up fast, so make sure you get your name on the list well before spring arrives.

Like all other insects, honey bees (Apis mellifera) are susceptible to pests and diseases, the majority of which are specific to honey bees. These disorders can impact the health of a honey bee colony with effects ranging from minor stress to the death of the colony. It is important for beekeepers to be aware of these disorders, learn to identify them and effectively manage disorders to maintain healthy colonies.

American foulbrood (AFB) is the most serious brood disease of honey bees. AFB is caused by a spore-forming bacteria, Paenibacillus larvae; that is specific to honey bees. This disease is highly contagious, will weaken and in most cases kill a honey bee colony. AFB will also contaminate beekeeping equipment which must then be destroyed to prevent the spread of AFB to additional colonies. There is no cure for AFB. Beekeepers can only take steps to prevent an infection from establishing itself in a beekeeping operation.

Prevention of a widespread AFB outbreak in an operation is the best strategy. Finding an AFB infection as early as possible, and taking immediate action, is critical to prevent its spread within an operation.

Varroa mites, Varroa destructor, are the most serious threat to honey bees. Varroa were previously known by the species name Varroa jacobsoni. Varroa are relatively large external parasites that feed on the body fluids of adult and developing honey bees. Varroa cause physical damage, weaken bees and transmit a variety of pathogens, particularly viruses.

It is crucial that beekeepers manage the health of their honey bee colonies by suppressing the population of varroa in all of them throughout the beekeeping season. This usually requires chemical treatments. It is also essential for beekeepers to monitor the severity of varroa infestations to ensure the levels of infestation are kept below damaging thresholds. It is also important to be able to quantify the level of varroa infestation in a colony.

Use this guide to control the level of varroa mite infestation in your colonies by removing drone brood. Drone brood removal is a cultural treatment for varroa mite control which uses drone comb to ‘trap’ mites.

The small hive beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida Murray, is an emerging and invasive pest of the European honey bee. The SHB can impact colony health and damage beekeeping equipment.

There are many practices that beekeepers can employ to limit the exposure of their honey bee colonies to SHB. Beekeepers in all regions of Ontario should be aware of how to identify SHB and should familiarize themselves with the biology of SHB.

When checking on colonies in the early spring, you may come accross a wide range of population levels, food stores, states of queens and varroa levels. This pamphlet can help you decide the best approach for what you might find in your bee yard in early spring.

Download this checklist and take it with you to the yards in the spring. Take notes and see if there are any consistencies that might tell you why your colonies died.

A guide for preparation and application instructions for the 250ml formic acid slow release pad.

Oxalic Acid Trickle Method Protocol
Safety sheet regarding the use of Oxalic Acid.
Nosema is more likely to infect older bees. Collect older bees from the front entrance of the colony witha handy vacuum. This document will show you how to make the sampling vacuum, how to collect the samples and where to get them analyzed. See the Nosema Assessment Protocol below if you have your own microscope and want to analyze the spore levels yourself.
If you are interested in checking for nosema spores with your own microscope, use this guide to show you the process.
Plans for building screened bottom boards.

This document from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is an excellent resource for building your own equipment.