YADKINVILLE — Following a pot luck meal that included hearty vegetable and potato soups, plus an array of desserts, members of the Yadkin County Beekeepers Association learned all about one of the most devastating pests affecting the bee population.
The group, which meets monthly, listened attentively to their special guest speaker on Monday, Greg Fariss, apiary inspector from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Fariss gave a detailed presentation on the Varroa mite and told attendees that these mites were extremely common and mostly likely present in their hives. He also shared information on a process he referred to as the “sugar shake” that would allow beekeepers to determine the number of mites present in their hives.
The presentation concluded with three treatment options to eliminate the mites, which can pass 24 different deadly viruses to the bees. The viruses, Fariss said, were what would eventually kill the bees, not the mites themselves.
Patrick Long has been a beekeeper for two years. His grandfather was a beekeeper and he decided to become one in order to “revive a dying hobby.” Long joined the Yadkin Beekeepers Association in October and has been working on new ways to get information out about beekeeping.
The group now has a Facebook page and a Twitter account where they share information about bees and beekeeping with the public.
Long said their goal is to get more folks involved in the group and he said that their social media activity has already created a buzz. Monday’s meeting was one of the most attended events Long had seen. At least 35 guests were present to enjoy the meal and learn what they could from Fariss to keep their bees healthy and the honey flowing.
Guests are always welcome at the monthly meetings, held at the Yadkin Senior Center on the second Monday of each month. For more information about the Yadkin Beekeepers Association, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yadkinbees or follow @YadkinBees on Twitter.
Kitsey E. Burns can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.