Beekeeper to offer tips on keeping honey bees healthy

MIDDLEBURY — Noted Vermont beekeeper Ross Conrad will offer a free talk titled “Honey Bee Health: How You Can Help in Your Garden” on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. The talk is sponsored by the Middlebury Garden Club and will take place at the Residence at Otter Creek in the Founders’ Room. 
Topics discussed will include the current state of honey bees and beekeeping; managing farms, yards and gardens to provide adequate bee forage and habitat; and ways that homeowners can help pollinators. Conrad will share ideas and techniques to help keep bees alive despite the many stresses on their health. Copies of his book, “Natural Beekeeping,” and products from his business, Dancing Bee Gardens, will be available for sale as well.
The honey bee faces many survival challenges due to Varroa mites and pesticide overload. For the past few decades, the various chemicals used in beekeeping have held parasitic mites and other major pests at bay. But chemical resistance is building, and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer.
In fact, there is evidence that such treatments are only making the bees’ problems worse. The so-called “colony collapse disorder” now facing beekeepers makes it all the more imperative that local beekeepers, farmers and gardeners learn healthy ways to assist the honey bee.
Conrad is a former president of the Vermont Beekeeper’s Association, a regular contributor to Bee Culture magazine,and the author of “Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture.” His business, Dancing Bee Gardens, provides bees to beekeepers, honey, candles, and other bee-related products and also makes bees available for the Vermont apple pollination in the spring.

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