Callander Animal Hospital has gone to the bees! Dr. Neil and his wife have been avid beekeepers for about 8 years. Board’s Honey Farm was instrumental in introducing Neil and Meghan to the joys of beekeeping! After taking an introductory beekeeper course at Board’s, Dr. Neil has been actively keeping up with regulations that affect beekeepers (both hobbyists and commercial). He has completed a course on honey bee health for veterinarians and attended CE lectures on bee management and antibiotics.
As you may be aware, federal legislation effective Dec 1, 2018, has tightened regulations around accessing antibiotics. The legislation is designed to ensure judicious and appropriate use of antibiotics. Food producers (beef, dairy, swine, poultry, and now honey) require a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VPCR) in order to purchase antibiotics. Honey producers, commercial or hobbyists, need to be applying oxytet preventatively twice a year in order to prevent American Foulbrood in their hives.
In order to purchase Oxytet from us you will need a prescription. To get a prescription you will need:
- To be registered as a Client of the Callander Animal Hospital (with your hives as our Patients!)
- Have a current Beekeeper Registration Certificate (from OMAFRA when you register/renew your beeyard)
- Establish a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship. This can be established over the phone (approx 10 min) in a brief discussion with Dr Neil about your operation and how Oxytet will be used in conjunction with other pest management strategies. The simplest way to satisfy this requirement is to attend the Powassan Beekeepers meeting on April 2 at 6:30pm at 250 Clark Street.
American Foulbrood (AFB) is a serious bacterial infection of honey bees. There is no cure for AFB, only preventative antibiotics have any merit. If the disease is found, it must be reported to the local bee inspector and the infected hives will be burned.
Varroa destructor is a huge problem right now, requiring diligence and cunning on the part of the human beekeepers to stay ahead of it. Varroa mites hitch a ride on the nurse bees and jump off to crawl inside the egg chamber to lay eggs on the baby bees (larvae). The Varroa mites feed on the developing bee and weaken it. The population spike of Varroa mites tends to happen near the end of the summer, right when the hive is preparing for our Canadian winter. What can look like a thriving hive in the fall will be a dead-out in the spring. We use formic acid treatments inside the hive to strategically kill the Varroa mites. We purchase specially bred queen bees who have improved resistance to the Varroa mites. We’ve had great success using drone frames to capture a whole generation of Varroa mites before they emerge to spread. If Varroa mites aren’t addressed in a vigilant and on-going manner, the dead hives don’t simply whimper and die…. they explode (although not literally!). The sick hive evacuates, sending sick bees carrying the Varroa hitchhikers near and far, affecting your neighbours’ hives and wild bee populations.
Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby that definitely keeps you on your toes and well-stocked with honey! There are some great resources around, including the Powassan beekeeping group that gets together at 250 Clark St in Powassan. Come out and meet me and other beekeepers Thursday, April 2nd, at 6:30pm.