Hello all ! My name is Ken Davis (age 47, father/husband, family of 5; 3 kids, 9 cows, 17 bee hives and lots of hard work! LOL) Although I've never written you before, I do watch you EVERY day, online. This morning, Al Pel mentioned something about "sticky boards ATTRACTING Varroa mites". Well....not exactly correct. I felt that I needed to at least inform someone of such.
First off, let me say how much I enjoy your show! Awesome stuff! I love it. Being a Beekeeper in N.E. Oklahoma, I love the spots about Honey Bees. I'd actually prefer you DO MORE spots on Honey bees, as they are CRUCIAL to our Eco-system, etc. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in Honey Bees, for various reasons, ie. CCD, chemical useage, etc. Due to such "increased media attention" this has in turn increased the interest in backyard Honey Bee hobbiests. This is a good thing, for sure. Please consider providing more info about Beekeeping, and the various aspects of this wonderful craft.
I am a Beekeeper of 17 colonies of Honey Bees, and live in N.E. Oklahoma, 25 miles east of Tulsa, Ok, in a small town called Inola, Ok. In the past several years, we have harvested at least 60 gallons of honey, from our small little operation. We are usually sold out by Christmas time! Fresh honey sells very fast! Please feel free to contact me with questions, or tips, or subjects to preview. I can give you many, many suggestions.
About the sticky boards. Although Al is correct about the Varroa mite, he's not correct about the use of the sticky board. He had mentiioned that "they are set out to attract the Varroa mite"........not really. The "sticky board" is SLID under the bee colony, much like the bottom of a bird cage tray. When we give our honey bees "grease treatments" the Varroa mites can't hang onto the honey bee...and therefore fall off of the bee, ONTO THE STICKY BOARD, which is located BENEATH the colony. The bottom of the hive, is usually an open screen....and the mites fall down, through this screen and therefore STICK TO THE STICKY BOARD...unable to get themselves off...and then die. The Varroa mite is much like a Tick....it would be similar to a Basketball size tick on the back of a human. Imagine how irritating that would be? The Varroa breed in the bottom of the brood cells, where the Queen lays her eggs....and attach themselves to the bee before hatching. If the population of Varroa mite get to such high levels...they can certainly kill out the colony. There are various treatments Beekeepers use to prevent this from happening. The Sticky Board is not really a "treatment", as much as it is a "tool for counting". After a few days, the Beekeeper will REMOVE the sticky board, and then count the Varroa mites on the board. This overall count, will help the Beekeeper determine THE LEVEL of Varroa in the colony. From this overall mite count....the Beekeeper can then employ a medication method of their chosing. I personally avoid harsh chemcial treatments on my bees. I was taught to use various Essential Oil recipes, such as Wintergreen oil, Lemongrass oil, Spearmint oil, etc. Using various recipes, a Beekeeper can then apply them to their honey bees accordingly. The honey is still safe to consume, and the bees aren't harmed in anyway from Essential Oi l treatments.
I don't know who the contact would be in your AgDay department, but they are certainly free to call me any time, ask me detailed questions, etc. Lets learn! I am a member of the Northeast Oklahoma Beekeepers Association (N.E.O.B.A.). We have a large membership, as bee clubs go. I have been asked to speak, teach and talk at various Bee events. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me via cell phone at 918-798-2251.
You are free to contact the O.S.U. Extension office at the Tulsa State Fair grounds, where we meet each month, and inquire more info about the beekeepers in the club. I am only one of many. Every Beekeeper manages their colonies a bit differently. I am well known for my Essential Oils recipes and Solar Ventilator management techniques.
Heck! If you have a "roaming reporter" near my parts....send them my way, and I'd love to give them a great BEE-TOUR! ha! I've done it before. They're welcome to spend the night here, have a great meal and learn deeper things about the Honey Bee and how they're successfully managed. Give me a shout!
Thanks, Ken Davis
(owner; Little Creek Bee Ranch, Inola, Ok.)