October-November 2004

George Imirie’s PINK PAGES

Will your bees make it into Spring

Today is October 21st, and would be my 61st wedding anniversary if Valerie had not died of cancer two years ago. I am VERY lonely. Nectar flows are long since OVER. Winter is just around the corner. Most members are concerned about the Redskins or the Ravens. Wives are planning Thanksgiving festivities. Kids are thinking about Christmas gifts. After 5 strokes during these past 14 years and losing my ability to walk or talk very well, now in my 80+ years of life and thinking of a new marriage to my “young” 72 year old Las Vegas “best friend”, my thoughts are “Will I be alive in Spring 05?” Have I properly sought PROFESSIONAL knowledge about diseases and health, or ignored possible death?

This makes me think of wintering bees. UNLIKE the last 397 years, since 1607, in the United States when there were no MITES, no small hive- beetles, no resistant foul brood, and thousands of wild, feral bees in every woods in the 48 states, honey bees easily survived without much help fr m man; but since the arrival of mites in 1984, bees NEED the HELP of man to survive! If you doubt me, show me some live wild bees that have been in place more than a year. Basically, they are nonexistent anywhere in the U.S. HONEY BEES NEED YOUR CARE IF THEY ARE TO EXIST! What you CAN do, SHOULD do, or SHOULD HAVE DONE?

Back on August 15th, during the Montgomery County Fair, you SHOULD have treated your bees with MENTHOL to kill all TRACHEAL mites! Since the tracheal mite is micro-scopic and NOT visible to the human eye, most beekeepers ASSUME that there are no tracheal mites, and hence DON’T BOTHER TO TREAT. If you OPEN a colony on a warm day in January or early February and find LOTS of honey, a queen, and just a handful of bees your bees were killed by TRACHEAL mites. Don’t give us all that B.S. about a COLD WINTER! To a knowledgeable beekeeper, such a statement about a COLD WINTER just tells everybody how UNKNOWLEDGEABLE you are about bees. Shortly before Dr. Southwick’s death about 10 years ago, he subjected many colonies to temperatures of 00, -200, and -400 for periods of 10 days, 20 Hays, and even 30 consecutive days, and NONE died. COLD does not kill healthy bees!

Have you got at least 12 deep frames, or 18 Illinois 6 518″ frames, FULLY CAPPED frames of honey in your colony TODAY? Why not? Why did you NOT spend $10-$15 per colony for sugar and feed your bees back in September and October? Are you going to try and feed them in cold December and January or just let them starve t death? What a NASTY way to die, and YOU could have prevented it. If you are wintering in 2 DEEP bodies, the colony should weigh about 120 lbs now, or wintering in 3 ILLINOIS bodies, the colony should weigh about 130 lbs now.

Hopefully, you remember seeing a 3 lb package of bees (10,500 bees). At this time, late October and queen laying is almost stopped, your colony should have a minimum of 6 lbs. of bees (20-21,000) present if it to get though the winter. Bees have t cluster and eat honey to raise the temperature to 91°-96° for the queen to lay eggs in January and February and the bees MUST keep this brood warm for 21 days, so that requires MANY winter bees to get that colony successfully through the winter. Why didn’t you COMBINE two weak hives back in September? It is easy to get a strong colony through the winter, but very difficult (maybe impossible) to get two weak colonies through the winter; and even if you do, how strong are they going to be in April and May for our ONLY nectar flow?

Did you put Varroa miticide strips, Apistan or CheckMite, in your colonies BEFORE October 1st? WHY? I have written and talked ad infinitum about waiting until at least 10/1 or 1 0/1 5 so that there is NO bee larvae present for the female mite to lay new mite eggs. I have steadfastly informed you to install micide strips between 10/1 and 10/15 and ABSOLUTELY remove them on some warm day between 11/15 and 11/30. If you find lots of varroa mites in April, it just shows that you put strips in the colony TOO EARLY to get a good kill of varroa.

Lastly, how well do you work when you are suffering diarrhea? Bees don’t do any better than you when they have the “runs”. Why didn’t you spend $2.00 for a dose of Fumadil-B and feed it to your bees beginning October 15th- November 15th, so your bees will be healthy in the spring?

Ending, FORGET all those writings and stories of the “natural” keeping of bees prior to 1984, which was the mite arrival in the U.S. Now 24 years later, bees CAN’T MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN (or Naturally), but MUST HAVE YOUR HELP! If you are UNwilling to give help to your bees, GIVE UP AND GET OUT! If you think that I am wrong or too conservative, I BEG you to consult authorities like Dewey Caron, Jerry Fischer, Bart Smith, Bee Inspectors Bill Troup or Greg Gochnour, or ANY of the STATE APIARISTS in the surrounding states of Virginia or Pennsylvania. Show them this PINK PAGE and ask them if I am right or wrong – I dare you!

I have enjoyed these past 20 years of converting beeHAVERS-into beeKEEPERS, and particularly enjoyed watching some of my “students” become fine beekeepers or even MASTER BEEKEEPERS. However, I admit that so often I feel like a preacher or priest who delivers a sermon each Sunday and then observes his parishioners IGNORING every thing that was said for the next 6 days. I am no longer mentally strong enough to handle this type of refusal to LEARN. For 20 years, I have TAUGHT good beekeeping practices and techniques FREE of charge, and never wanting any reward except to witness the perfection of someone to really learn the secrets of successful beekeeping and its JOYS.

As long as I am able, I will continue my PINK PAGES still FREE of charge, but also I will no longer be “quiet” when I see or hear of something totally wrong, particularly in the Honey Pot. As an ultra conservative, the lies and negative remarks almost hourly in our presidential election are downright frightening. Are all politicians so interested in self greed, that our system of democracy could be destroyed.. Did George Washington, Tom Jefferson, Hamilton, etc. ever draw a salary from 1776-1789? I remember so well the number of experts that left their jobs during World War II and came to work in Washington for a salary of $1 /year. When I worked at Las Alamos in 1945 designing and constructing our first atomic bombs, I know that some of the scientists worked FREE and “Head Honshu” Dr. Robert Oppenheimer was paid less than $10,000.

Final thought: GOOD queen breeders are overwhelmed by demand and just can’t supply you a queen in April when you wait until March to place an order; and then you BITCH and malign the queen breeder. Why don’t you order a queen or queens NOW in November to be delivered by April 15th, and send $10/queen “good faith” money? ADVANCE money TALKS very loudly. AND ONLY GET A 14ARKED QUEEN which is BLUE for 2005. Blue is hard to see, so demand a BRIGHT BLUE. I have TOLD you what to do, so I don’t want to hear any crying or bitching next April, but trust my knowledge. If you really want to be a perfectionist, requeen in late August when you can buy far better bred queens, delivered on the exact date you requested, and allow your new queen and old queen to lay during September to provide your colony with a “ton” of wintering bees that gives your colony super extra strength for the April-May nectar flow. See “Imirie’s Almost Foolproof Requeening Method” published many years ago.

‘nough Said

George imirie, Certified Master Beekeeper

Shucks, being a 100% SCOT, I am not going to leave all this empty page space without words, so I will tell you of my excitement and good fortune DUE TO BEES of the past two years. Watch how BEES played such a vital part.

Upon the death of my wife after 59 years of marriage, I was VERY lonely in my 5 bedroom home, disabled in walking, semi-disabled in voice due to strokes, and totally impotent from my high blood pressure pills, suicide was a constant thought. During the early 90’s, I tested and certified a MORMON named Tom Muncey of Sparks, Nevada as a Master Beekeeper. Later, Tom was elected to the National Honey Board where I had been for several years, and he wanted to know how I knew so much about the Mormon church since I am a strong Presbyterian. I related to him my story of when I was a lead scientist testing atomic bombs in Nevada in 1955, a young, ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED Mormon girl was assigned to me as my telephone operator. During those next 4 months, she went to the Presbyterian church with me, and I went the Mormon church services with her. When I left the Nevada Test Site in May of 1955, I never expected to ever see MarJeanne McMullin again, who would be married to Bobby G. Laub shortly after I left. Four months after my wife’s death in 2002, beekeeper Tom Muncey e-mailed me that the MORMON NEWS reported the death of a B. G. Laub in Las Vegas. I telephoned the Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah told them my story of 48 years ago, and they gave me the address and phone number of MarJeanne, my Mormon telephone operator of 48 years ago. I telephoned her, and she too is VERY LONELY in her huge new home with a huge swimming pool in a upscale part of Las Vegas. She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren, none of which live close by. In May of 2003, she flew here to visit with me for 6 weeks. I have stayed in her Las Vegas home for over a month; and she and I have spent about 5 of the past 10 months touring every state from New York south east of the Mississippi, including being heavily involved with the week long American Beekeeping Federation meeting near Jacksonville, FL. She even made friends with the new President’s wife from Minnesota, but MarJeanne has never really seen a honey bee, but she is now learning FAST. Now, we are seriously hunting for a home in my favorite place of Williamsburg, Virginia with no steps, but room for bees in a big GRASS yard (Nevada has no grass – only desert and rock). We will be there during the entire month of November. We intend to marry, be active in both the Presbyterian Church and the Church of Latter Day Saints, become authorities concerning the founding of our GREAT nation by researching all the facilities of Colonial Williamsburg, and mutually take care of each other in those few short years that we might live. Both of us intend to leave our huge homes to our children, while we purchase a smaller home just for we two old people.

I wrote above how bees would play such a vital part in this “almost fairy tale” story. In the early 90’s, I was detailed by EAS to TEST Tom Muncey, a MORMON commercial Nevada beekeeper, for his Master Beekeeper certification Later, both he and I were elected to the National Honey Board. Much later, he e-mailed me about the death of MarJeanne’s husband; and I had no knowledge of any kind about MarJeanne for 48 years. Does not the LORD work in mysterious ways!

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