Monday, 16 March 2009

Apis Newsletter March 16, 2009

Dear Subscribers,

It continues dry in Gainesville, Florida.  Campers let a fire lose to the south of us in the Ocala National Forest that quickly got out of hand, and now has consumed 1,300 acres. 

The last flush of pollen dots drive ways and car windshields here and the azaleas this year are spectacular, perhaps because of a cold spell over two weeks ago that hit the plants hard in this region. 

The Apis Newsletter in conjunction with Bee Culture magazine continues the Global Beekeeping Calendar initiative at  This ambitious project is an attempt to collect all the events in the beekeeping world at one place.  I would be interested in your reflections on this effort.

I am off to the next edition of Florida’s Bee College to be held in St. Augustine next weekend, in conjunction with the Florida Master Beekeeper Program  This program continues to get good reviews from beekeepers and this year’s speaker is Dr. Keith Delaplane from the University of Georgia.  Note too that the Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab is looking for a post doctoral association to concentrate on Varroa destructor.  The vision is for this person to also collaborate with research at both the Division of Plant Industry Apiary program and that of the Center for Medical and Veterinary Entomology, the USDA’s Gainesville laboratory.

And congratulations to Ryan Cutts, son of Larry and Kelley Cutts of Chipley, FL who won first place in the University of Florida 4-H Honey Bee Essay Contest. Ryan's family is now in its fifth generation of beekeeping.  He is the recipient of full tuition to the University of Florida Bee College being held in St. Augustine later this month, as well as the book "Honey Bees and Beekeeping: A Year in the Life of an Apiary" by Dr. Keith Deleplane, University of Georgia professor and entomologist.  His entry now goes forward to the national contest, sponsored by the American Beekeeping Federation,

The new Packer Importer Board (PIB) is off and running at  It is abandoning Bee Buzz, it’s monthly electronic information organ as an economizing effort, but will continue its baseball promotion, “Due to the success of last year's program, the 2009 promotion will be expanded to five teams.  At three of the ballparks we will introduce spokesperson Mitzi Dulan to aspiring major leaguers and their parents. Mitzi Dulan, also known as America's Nutrition Expert®, is the nutritionist for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals, and consults with professional and top-ranked amateur athletes throughout the United States.  Mitzi will be on hand at the ballparks to give kids sound nutrition tips and wonderful, natural, energy boosti ng recipes that she has developed for the National Honey Board.”  In addition, the Board will continue its annual “freebie” to beekeepers and honey industry members for promotional purposes.  Check out other resources at  This year the Board will put approximately $245,000 into honey bee research.  A review of its research programs over the last few years is also available on the web site at the above URL:

A South African URL  caught my attention and is my site of the month:.   Based on Google satellite map technology.  Includes a 3km honey bee foraging zone, displayed around each apiary site.  Only you can see the forage zone around your apiary. Plot your apiary in realtime. Use this tool to plot your apiary locations and discovery their potential foraging zones. 

I continue my project on collecting URLs through  This month’s collection includes descriptions of The West Virginia Queen Project, Iowa’s upated law to protect honey bees, honey laundering, nutritional and medicinal value of honey in Greece and elsewhere, art and honey bees, the climate crisis sours honey prices, Meteorologist Sam Champion is hosted by Dr. Jamie Ellis, Varroa control in Denmark, bee laws changing in Canada and New York, a beekeeping course for Spanish speakers, Texas grants a section 18 for Hivastan, teens making money from bees and an agreement between Cuba and Venezuela in several areas, including beekeeping.

A couple of reports also suggest that the term CCD is misleading and there is no proof of this bee killer.  “For five years, increasing numbers of unexplained bee deaths have been reported worldwide, with US commercial beekeepers suffering the most.  The term Colony Collapse Disorder was coined to describe the illness.  But many experts now believe that the term is misleading and there is no single, new ailment killing the bees.”  The Economist in its March 7, 2009 issue takes up the theme and concludes: “Despite the importance of the honeybee, none of this is evidence of a wide-scale pollination crisis or a threat that is specific to pollinators. No one has shown that colonies of wild bees are collapsing any more frequently than they used to. And while it is true that many spe cies of butterflies, moths, birds, bats and other pollinators are in retreat, their problems are far more likely to mirror broader declines in biodiversity that are the result of well-known phenomena such as habitat loss and the intensification of agriculture.

“Troubling though this loss of diversity is, it does not necessarily translate into a decline in the amount of pollination going on.  Jaboury Ghazoul of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution in 2005, points out that the decline of bumblebees in Europe that has been observed recently mostly affects rare and specialised species—an altogether different problem. “Though the idea that there is a broader and costly pollination crisis under way is entrenched (the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation is spending $28m on a report investigating it), the true picture is cloudier.  In 2006 America’s National Academy of Sciences released a report on the status of pollinators in North America that concluded “for most North American pollinator species, long-term population data are lacking and knowledge of their basic ecology is incomplete.”  Simply put, nobody knows.  As for the managed bees of America, Dr Ratnieks says that “the imminent death of the honeybee has been reported so many times, but it has not happened and is not likely to do so.”


Gleanings from the March 2009 Bee Culture:

Alan Coble, Douglassville, PA writes that he would like more information on the pictures for Bee Culture’s yearly calendar.  Wendy Booth, Nottingham, NH describes how she got her shot that graced the cover of the calendar and January’s magazine as well.  Joe Loucek, Windham, OH  asks for more information about Jim Tew’s January article on locating outyards and putting up a building without windows.  He gets a response from the editor given Dr. Tew was recovering from his recent surgery as reported this month in his column.  Norris Childs, Philadelphia, PA reveals his experiences with small hive beetle populations being controlled by propolis.  This has been detailed nicely by Dr. Jamie Ellis who did work on this insect in South Africa “African subspecies of honey bees employ a complicated scheme of confinement (aggressive behavior toward and guarding of beetles) to limit beetle reproduction in a colony. Despite being confined away from food, adult beetles are able to solicit food and feed from the mouths of their honey bee guards. Remarkably, beetle-naïve European honey bees also confine beetles and this behavior is quantitatively similar to that in African bees.”

Alice Wiemers, Hondo, TX describes her adventures being on the Martha Stewart show and other publicity generated from her photo in a book recommended recently, American Farmer.  Josh Sommers, CincinnatiOH says Ross Conrad ought to be careful speaking to an “informed” audience.  It seems Mr. Conrad’s description of dairy farming as being not sustainable missed the mark.  Gib Geiger, Waitsfield, VT describes a colleague putting a hive in an old light house for bear protection.  Matthew Smith, Fauquier, VA asks if ther e is any information on putting hives on various crops for pollination; yep see:  McGregor’s Book online at  Michael Franklin, Ruston, LA announces a new online urban beekeeping community at

Editor Flottum ruminates on pollination contracts, and pens an in-depth look at this important business tool.  He also analyses Nosema ceranae infestations, and provides an idea of the track record of Australian queens vs the U.S. variety.  Surprise Australian queens appear to have less tolerance to Varroa.

Denise Feiber writes about what the Florida Department of Agriculture is doing to educate beekeepers and others about Africanized honey bees.  Centerpieces of this are the Florida Beekeeper Compliance Agreement and the motto for the general public, Bee Aware…Look, Listen, and Run.  For more, see:

Steve Sheppard reveals that there is evidence that the neonicotinoid imidacloprid in sublethal dosages can be bad news for bees.  He also reports that his column will no longer be published monthly due to research demands, but readers will continue to see it every two months.

This author reports on experiences at the Pine Honey Congress in Turkey.  Turkish beekeeping is taking the world stage and will put in a bid to host Apimondia in 2013, two years after the Argentinian congress.  Read about the history of the craft in the Turkish Republic, and its development into a solid enterprise based on both honey production and pollination.

Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at American foulbrood.  Read about the difference between the spores and vegetative rods and how new technology might lead to novel treatments of this virulent disease.

Larry Connor looks at colony contamination due to beekeeper pesticide use and concludes, the only way to win the war against Varroa is not to play.  Read his analysis of the South African situation and his visit to John Kefuss in France who uses  what is called the “live or let die” approach to queen breeding.

Jennifer Berry provides a laundry list of queens available today, including , Italian, Carniolan, Caucasian, and Russian.  Read how she introduces a queen and her analysis of the costs of queens when compared  to the 1860s.  The results are surprising and say a lot about the economics of the craft.

Jim Tew relates about how his persona as a beekeeper came through even when confronted with major surgery of the digestive tract.  Read how he navigated the health care system and also used honey in his convalescence.

Ross Contrad conducts a colony autopsy.  Look at his chart of symptoms and read about the probable causes.

Bob Brachman says the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association is up and running with remarkable results.  Read about the philosophy behind this group and its activities.  See more at:

Alphonse Avitable revels in the benefits of Spring requeening.  Read how he approaches the requeening process and some of his ideas about what to do with aging queens.

Ann Harman also discusses swarming.  Read how she judges the bees are about to take off and what having “too many bees” might mean.

Abbas Edun lists herbal remedies.  Read how anise hyssop, apples and borage can affect one’s health.  The fact that they are nectar plants gives them an added edge.

Connie Krochmal says maples are especially attractive to honey bees for both nectar and pollen.  Read her list of maples, only a limited number of species it seems could be included.  Fortunately, she includes Acer rubrum, one of the honey bee’s most valued friends in the Eastern U.S.

Dick Marron in the Bottom Board says he’s an “apiholic.”  Read why this is so and what he plans to do about it.  He also bemoans the passing of a “weed,” purple loosestrife, the victim of biological control using a specific beetle.  See more at  Beekeepers can expect more of this kind of thing in the future.

Malcolm T. Sanford

Bee sure to Catch The Buzz, Bee Culture's latest releases important to beekeepers at <>.  Also access the Apis Information Resource Center <>, which contains Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford's archived Bee Culture articles at <> and check out his blog < >.  Finally, take a look at the Global Bee Breeders Association’s efforts to increase honey bee diversity with minimal risk <>


Central Beekeepers Alliance

Central Beekeepers Alliance

Different Types of Hives

Posted: 15 Mar 2009 07:24 AM PDT

The hive that is most common in our area seems to be the 10 frame Langstroth hive or commercial hive that uses brood boxes and honey supers.

Langstroth Hive, brood box

Langstroth brood box

Which is the type of hive I will use to raise bees. As a beginner, I will use the standard equipment and practices available in my area, which allow me to expand my beekeeping education beyond books and the internet to include local beekeepers and supply stores. In the event that something breaks or is lost, I can easily replace it locally too. But I am sure I will start to experiment as many beekeepers do, with equipment and styles as my experience level grows.

photo: Different types of hives include traditional skeps, top–bar hives, William Braughton Carr (WBC) hives and the National hive used in the UK. 

The WBC shown in the thumbnail at left is similar to a pagoda style of architecture. Although, the exterior of this hive structure is different, the inside resembles the standard frame and foundations found in National hives.

An interesting style of bee hive can be found at the following link:

The Warre Hive resembles a WBC hive but uses a top–bar frame internal structure to encourage a natural formation of wax cells from the top–bar down. As the bees construct the comb, it grows in a downward direction. Boxes are added to the bottom with new top–bars in each. The bees will stop the comb just above the next set of bars. This style of natural beekeeping is further explained by following the link. It also includes plans for building your own hive.

Thank you Dan Richards for the link and information about Warre Hives!

Post from: Central Beekeepers Alliance