Loss of Ann Harman

It is with great sadness that we report that Ann Harman died Friday May 1, 2020. She was a key member of NPBA, our newsletter editor, held key officer positions in NPBA throughout the decades, and was generally NPBA’s “Queen Bee.” She taught our annual beginning beekeeping class for many years, and worked closely with her dear friend Billy Davis (the creator of the bee class teaching curriculum) editing and improving the class teaching materials from its inception and throughout the years.

She was highly regarded both nationally and internationally as a honey bee expert. Her resume is incredibly extensive and spans many decades. She kept herself informed of current bee research, knew many of the top scientists personally, and passed research along to NPBA in the newsletters she produced. She wrote prolifically - for bee publications, edited many highly regarded beekeeping books and educational materials, and is cited in credits by many other well known and respected authors. She was highly sought after as a lecturer, presenting at local, national and international events. She was a recipient of many distinguished beekeeping awards throughout the years. One of her most notable achievements was her extensive travel internationally as a volunteer teaching beekeeping in 29 countries (54 assignments) around the world, for which she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2004, 2005 and 2008, and the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

She will be missed beyond words - the loss to NPBA, her friends and the beekeeping community is incalculable.

In accordance with her wishes, there will be no formal service. Her family will let the beekeeping community know in the near future what non-profits she supported, where those who wish to do so may make a contribution in honor of her memory.

Written condolences can be sent to the Harman Family at 1214 North Poes Road, Flint Hill, VA 22627.

Plans for a gathering to celebrate her life are being made, and will be held at a future date when social gathering restrictions have been lifted.

Bloom Date Prediction Tool

At our March meeting, Brian Beres presented our bloom date prediction tool, which will continue to be available from the resources page. We hope it’s useful!

Regional Inspector Change

Bob Wellemeyer, our regional apiary inspector, retires effective March 1st. VDACS has yet to hire an inspector for the region Bob has covered, which includes the NPBA area.

Keith Tignor, the state apiarist with the Office of Plant Industry Services at the VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), indicated that the position will change from a dedicated full-time inspector (as it was under Bob) to a part-time seasonal position.

Until the inspector position for our area is filled, NPBA members that need inspections should call the Richmond office at (804) 786-3515, or email the state apiarist to make appointment requests.

Good News About Bees

Dr. Dewey Caron was kind enough to visit our club to talk about the good news in beekeeping. What a treat!

Update: New Meeting Location

NPBA has found a new meeting site! The November meeting will be:

Thursday Nov. 17, 2016 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Little Fork Church
16461 Oak Shade Road
Rixeyville, VA 22727

This is an important meeting. We really need our members to attend so that we can reach a quorum for the election. Then, Ann Harman will analyze your honey, so bring your samples!


From points South – Take Route 229 North towards Route 211 (approximately 8.6 miles past the round-a-bout at the north end of town). Just after crossing the Hazel River concrete bridge, you will see a brown “historical” road sign for Little Fork Church. Make a RIGHT onto Little Fork Church Road (Route 726). Go about 0.4 miles and you will see the historic church, but make a LEFT onto Oak Shade Road. Go to the larger brick building behind the historic church, make a RIGHT into parking area. Meeting area is in the parish hall basement.

From points North – Take Route 211 West towards Sperryville and Shenandoah Nat’l Park. Make a LEFT at the traffic light onto Route 229 South (approximately 6 miles). You will see a brown “historical” road sign for Little Fork Church. Make a LEFT onto Little Fork Church Road (Route 726). Go about 0.4 miles and you will see the historic church, but make a LEFT onto Oak Shade Road. Go to the larger brick building behind the historic church, make a RIGHT into parking area. Meeting area is in the parish hall basement.

Club-Based Nuc Program Talk

Pam Fisher of the Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Virginia gave a really helpful talk about their club-based nucleus colony program and provided some additional tips on making splits.

National Loss and Management Survey

It’s time again for the annual National Honey Bee Colony Loss and Management Survey. The survey, administered by Bee Informed Partnership, is in its 10th year. It has expanded from its initial Winter colony loss survey to include honey bee management information and most recently summer colony losses. Last year, for the first time, summer losses exceeded winter losses nationally. Virginia losses in 2014/15 amounted to 36.3% of the hives that went into winter. 15.0% of managed colonies in the state were lost during the summer of 2014. Through the years interesting trends have emerged from the survey results that proved helpful to beekeepers. Varroa mites continue to be a major factor in colony losses. The higher colony losses correlate strongly with untreated colonies.

The Commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania have lead the nation in responding to the survey the last 4 years. The 2015-2016 Colony Loss and Management Survey ends on April 30th. Take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

Growing Degree Days

Keith Tignor’s presentation Anticipating Success: Predicting Dates for Important Hive Events from February provides some great information on temperatures and bloom dates.

Managed Pollinator Protection Plan

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has announced the meeting schedule for the Agency’s State Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. VDACS will hold seven meetings around the Commonwealth to provide stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on the development of the plan. A list of dates and locations for these meetings is contained in a letter from Commissioner Sandra Adams. VDACS invites all interested stakeholders to participate in these listening sessions and provide comments related to the Virginia State Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. Written comments may also be emailed to PollinatorProtection@vdacs.virginia.gov or mailed to VDACS at VDACS – Office of Pesticide Services, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond VA 23218. For additional information, please contact Liza Fleeson Trossbach, Program Manager, Office of Pesticide Services, at liza.fleeson@vdacs.virginia.gov or 804.371.6559 or contact Keith Tignor, State Apiarist, Office of Plant Industry Services, at keith.tignor@vdacs.virginia.gov or 804.786.3515.

“Beepocalypse” Not

Anne mentioned a very interesting article at our October meeting. The full article covers a lot of ground, but at least check out the summary if you’re at all interested in CCD and healthy hives.

June Picnic

The June picnic was great fun as always. Thanks to everyone who brought food and donated to the auction. And, after seven long years, we have a new set of pictures!

Extractor Raffle Winner

Vanessa Mabin won the stainless steel four-frame tangential club extractor. Congratulations!

Our Other Pollinators

Diana Graves, beekeeper and master gardener, gave an interesting presentation on our other pollinators at the April meeting. Takeaway: plant something for pollinators.

Winter Loss and Management Survey

A note from VDACS:

The annual National Colony Loss and Management Survey is underway at BeeInformed.org continuing to April 30th. Beekeepers are encouraged to participate in this survey for tracking colony losses and management styles. The results that are received from this survey provide invaluable information on honey bee health throughout the country. To participate in the online survey go to the Bee Informed Partnership website and select the “Take the Survey Now!” box.

The survey has two parts, Colony Loss survey (takes 10 minutes) and Management survey (takes 20 minutes). When completing the colony loss survey participants are given the option to continue on to the management survey. If you complete the whole survey, you will have the opportunity to print your responses or have them sent to you by email.

Participation in this research is confidential. Participants should be 18 years or older. Providing an email address is completely voluntary. The address is removed from any survey responses and stored securely in a separate, encrypted password protected file. The dataset will also be stored and secured in an encrypted, password protected file. In any publication or presentation resulting from this research, no personally identifiable information will be disclosed.

Honey Extractor Raffle

The club recently purchased a replacement extractor. It’s a radial! The older stainless steel four-frame tangential extractor will be raffled off to a new home. Raffle tickets are $5 each and may be purchased at the monthly meetings starting in September. We will let you know when the drawing for the winner will be. Stay tuned. Wow! What a deal!

Home and Honey House Inspections and Exemptions

Vy Goddard covered a lot of material related to inspected and exempt home and honey operations at the September meeting. The presentation slides cover these topics in brief. The GMP provisions, home kitchen exemptions, Virginia food laws, and Virginia egg laws cover these areas in detail.

Amazon Presentation

German Perilla of George Mason University gave a beautiful presentation on stingless bees in the Peruvian Amazon at our June meeting. He graciously provided his presentation slides, which are filled with incredible pictures.

Beekeepers for University of Delaware Field Project

Katy Ciola Evans, Dr. Deborah Delaney’s Master’s student at the University of Delaware, is conducting a citizen field project this spring/summer and looking for volunteers.

The project aims to develop and test the efficacy of a non-chemical “Integrated pest management” (IPM) program to manage Varroa destructor and associated mite-vectored viruses, and is based upon splitting colonies and how that effects varroa mite populations throughout the season and into the following year.

Katy is currently organizing a field study this summer in which beekeepers will be asked to implement the IPM program. The study will begin late May and end in October. Beekeeper recruitment and registration is being accomplished through the Bugonia webpage, where there is also a summary of the project. Participating beekeepers will also be able to track and compare their results to other results in the area.

Please visit the Bugonia webpage for more info.

Plants-for-Bees List

Take a look at the plants-for-bees list on the resources page, from our own Ann Harman.

Old News

See past announcements on the “old news” page.