Beekeeper Ashby Miller of Ashby Farms in Burlington, N.C., will speak to the Toe Cane Beekeepers Association about how he is developing what he calls “a better bee.” He defines that as a line of varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) bees that come out of winter strong, produce lots of honey, and have a low tendency to swarm. Many of the techniques he will discuss can be used by backyard beekeepers to improve their apiaries.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 15 Hemlock Avenue, Spruce Pine.
“We may never get a bee colony that is Varroa free, but if we can develop colonies that are consistently under a 1 percent threshold, it could greatly decrease our over-winter losses,” said Miller.
According to the Honey Bee Health Coalition, more than 30 percent of honey bee colonies die over the winter. VSH bees can minimize over-winter losses by reducing the mite load in hives.
In addition to 500 beehives, Ashby farms raises approximately 2,000 German Johnson Tomato plants per year. It also has a YouTube channel.