Beekeepers breed resistant honeybees, hold conference
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Breeding honeybees resistant to disease and pests will be the focus of discussion by beekeepers from around the country at the annual Heartland Apicultural Society conference July 7-9 in Vincennes.
Purdue Extension honeybee specialist Greg Hunt is organizing the conference, "Helping bees to help themselves: Breeding for healthy bees," at Vincennes University, 1002 N. First St.
In the past 20 years, winter colony losses have been about 30 percent. While beekeepers can replace the honeybees each year, Hunt said it takes time for the honeybees to rebuild their population in time for crop pollination and increases the cost to beekeepers.
One of the most serious problems facing the industry is the varroa mite, a small, red-brown parasite that feeds on both the adult and immature honeybees. Researchers nationwide have been studying the mite since it was first found in the United States in the 1980s.
Recently, there has been increased awareness among beekeepers about raising bees that are resistant to varroa and are more viable in Indiana, Hunt said. The Indiana State Beekeepers Association received a grant to encourage rearing queen bees within the state.
"There is a growing interest in becoming more self-sufficient as to where we get our queen bees from," Hunt said. "We can breed bees that are adapted to northern winters rather than getting them from southern queen breeders."
There will be classes and workshops about queen rearing and honeybee biology. But the conference is not only for advanced beekeepers, Hunt said. There will be a separate track of classes and workshops for beginner beekeepers and those interested in starting.
"I strongly recommend that anyone considering beekeeping attend," Hunt said. "The conference is all about having a good time with other beekeepers, and participants can expect many different workshops."
The three-day conference costs $40 per person, or $15 per person per day. More information is available at http://www.heartlandbees.com
Writer: Lisa Schluttenhofer, 765-496-2384, email@example.com
Source: Greg Hunt, 765-494-4605, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, email@example.com
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