Sunday, 27 September 2009

Apis Newsletter September 27, 2009

Dear Subscribers,

This month's newsletter is delayed.  I have just returned from the 41st edition of Apimondia, held in Montpellier, France.  I posted some information on this meeting on my blog and there have  been a couple of press releases across the World Wide Web on the event.  I returned from a dry, Mediterranean fall to a humid, hot Florida, where we continue to  watch the tropics as the most active part of the hurricane season approaches.  So far the El Nino event appears to have kept these storms to a minimum; we wait with baited breath every year for the first of November. 

Story Project Update:  This project continues.  A  hearty thanks to those who have taken the time to fill out the “structured request for beekeeping stories” that I have requested from those subscribing to this newsletter.  I am still hoping to get others. 

Again, here is the request in a condensed form.  Just reply to this and open as much space that you need at the end of each question:
When did you begin beekeeping?  What specifically got you interested?  Is there a family history of beekeeping?  
What was your first experience manipulating a beehive like?  What did it teach you?  What is the size of your operation (number of hives)?  Do you plan to expand?  Contract in size? What are your major considerations for this?  
Do you produce honey for sale or just as a gift?  Do you market other bee products? 
Do you engage in commercial pollination? 
Are you a member of an association?  Local? State?  Which?  Do you attend meetings?  Do you have a leadership role? 
What short courses have you attended?  What memorable instructors have you had.  What is the most important thing you learned? 
What publications (printed and electronic) do you routinely read? 
Where do you live? What is the climate like? Temperate? Subtropical? What is the configuration of a hive in the region (all deeps) (a deep and a shallow) 
What are the major plants that bees use in your area?  Have you seen any shift in their nectar production? 
Where do you get replacement bees (packages? Nucs?) and queens (raise your own; purchase). What kind of bee do you use?  (Italian, Carniolan, Buckfast) Do you collect feral (wild) bees and swarms? 
What is your biggest beekeeping challenge now?  Has that changed since you began beekeeping? 
Other remarks about your experience that would encourage/entertain or educate the beginning beekeeper.
I give my permission to Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford to use the above in Electronic and printed media:  Your name here: ________________________

The latest edition of Apis UK is now available.  It has morphed into a printed document of some length and takes time to download, but is worth the effort.  See articles on aged bees and how they can become young again, as well  as the latest on  CCD and other articles.  David Cramp, the editor, is doing a good job with this publication, put out by the crew at

Climate change is a hot topic these days and affects both pollinators and  plants.  Check out David Inouye's presentation complete with a downloadable power point presentation. Also the paper by Yves LeConte and colleague at the French INRA station, Avignon, France.

Origin  clarification:  Martin Braunstein from Argentina writes:  "Until today I was convinced that within mitotype «O» was included the subspecies Apis m. caucasica. However, the researchers have included this race under mitotype «C», along with Ligustica and Carnica. There were several imports of Caucasian stock into the US directly from Tbilisi (Georgia). Dr. Everett Franklin Phillips (University of Cornell and Dept. of Agriculture) has written about these introductions until the early 1920`s in past issues of Gleanings in Bee Culture.  I do think mitotype «O» findings are indeed compatible with past Caucasian introductions. However, I doubt there is positive correlation with Apis m. syriaca bees as those you may have seen in the border of Israel. I would appreciate your cooperation to clarify this information."  This brings up an interesting point.  What importations in the past have occurred, from where, and what has been the likely influence on current stocks of honey bee?

Podcasting coming of age:  A relatively new way to broadcast information across the  World WideWeb is by podcasting.  For an  example, local wildlife professional Rob Russell has an active site at Wpn Beekeeping, which covers a beekeeping topic on  the second Thursday of each month.  This month's topic, the small hive beetle.  Check out the archive for more topics of interest

Editor Flottum continues to post information at his blog on the Daily  This is mentioned in his Inner Cover contribution in this month's Bee Culture.  As an example, he describes the situation surrounding Varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) mite-tolerance character being selected for in certain breeding programs.  Other posts include the international honey markets, livestock disaster assistance programs, Asian longhorn beetles, and others.  The latest concerns urban beekeeping. See the archive for posts from Editor Flottum's The Daily Green blog and Catch the Buzz.

Latin America news:  For those interested in beekeeping in Latin America, subscribe to the  Apitrack Newlsetter.  Most of this information you will find nowhere else.

Again, I have listed several links of interest at the site.  These include information on the new web site at the University of California, Davis, use of nanobees in disease, the latest on  CCD, and examples of urban beekeeping efforts.

Gleanings  from the  September, 2009  Bee Culture Magazine

Bruce  Sabuda, Pinckney, MI sheds a picture of his hive carrier made out of a golf bag cart.  Kawika Moke, Kehaha, HI says aloha Kauai, where he is not using chemicals on  bees and doing just fine.  Lou Dreon, Gower, MO provides more information about ticks as related in the last Bee Culture.  Charlie Meier, Colorado Springs, CO gives his advice on first aid in the bee yard when it comes to reactions from stings.  Julie Pierzina, Dexter, OR discusses the downside of the screened bottom board from her perspective. 

Editor Flottum provides a history of his relationship with The Daily Green and its "blog."  The push at the moment is for those with pictures of urban beekeeping to send them in for publishing.  Be part of the revolution.  UrbanBees Now!  Also read his CCD update. As always for full CCD information see the MAAREC web site.  In addition, there is the new extension community of practice site on bee health.

Clarence Collison takes a closer look at undertaker bees.  Read why this activity occupies  only a small number of bees and usually for only a day or two. 

Sean Clark and Oliver Pogue describe Berea College's efforts in organic beekeeping.  Read how the college  finally got to the point of submitting an organic management plan to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Jason Nelson describes the death of a drone at the hands of his kids.  Read more stories at his web site.

Ross Conrad takes on honey and infant botulism.  Read why he is at a loss that honey has been singled out with regard to carrying a warning statement and that the statement  still stands, that correlation does not mean causality.

Joe Traynor provides the 2010 almond pollination prediction.  It's all about water, honey and  nuts, he says.  Read why 2006 was a watershed year for almond  growers, but has gone downhill ever since.

Eugene Makovec discusses why reporters often get things wrong and why as a consequence the general public doesn't trust the press.  His examples of things written by reporters amuse, entertain and are concerning. 

Dick Marron, a retired psychologist living in a beeyard in Connecticut contrasts humans and pigeons.  He brings the observations of  B.F. Skinner into the equation and urges  beekeepers to  be careful about jumping to conclusions, especially when it comes to mite control.

Jim Tew weighs in on part two of his opus regarding wintering beehives.  Read about the cluster's  winter furnace and the colony's thermostat. What is a comfortable bee and do honey bees need a restroom break?

Dan Stiles provides a few entertaining bear stories.  Read why preventing wild animal damage is  tricky.  Those, like myself, interested in wildlife scat will appreciate a picture of a pile right next to what looks like a buck knife for scale. 

Jill Jonnes writes about the bees, les abeilles.  She spent some  time in Paris finding honey  in all kinds of places (the Paris Opera House) and brought as much honey, nougat candy and nonnettes home as she could.  For more on France and French beekeeping , see my letters I published from there in  1997

Larry Connor begins a series on teaching beekeeping. Read his observations on doing this in the current climate full of Varroa, CCD and other distractions.  He describes his philosophy in some detail, and also makes recommendations on how to start a site-based, season-long beekeeping essentials class.

Edwin Simon is the Cheapskate Beekeeper.  Read his list of alternative materials, some found in local dumpsters, made of wood, plastic and glass, aluminum, stainless steel. Cheap paint is always available along with a wide variety of possible smoker fuel (manure).

Gwen Rosenberg writes that Junk Day in her Ohio town is a highlight of the year.  Read how bees, pigeons, crinkled newspapers, stray kittens and dead tennis balls have value to anyone in a crowded city scape full of people finding a new  use for a found object.

Connie Krochmal says cacti and other succulents deserve a place in the bee garden.  These include Yucca, Aloe and Agave species.  Don't forget Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus spp.) and prickly pear (Opuntia spp.).

Ann Harman asks where can  you find the most important people when it comes to searching for a speaker for a beekeeper picnic or meeting.  Read why doing a  survey might be a good starting point.  Seasonal and nonseasonal topics abound and  don't forget to look "outside the box."

In all the news that fits, Florida announces the nation's first honey standard, the Southeastern Michigan Beekeepers report collecting 123 swarms in the region, an outbreak of EFB in Scotland  is wreaking havoc, New Zealanders are developing a honey map to protect their market, a British organic group urges neonicotinoids be banned, and manuka honey will soon have a world-wide standard in terms of antibiotic activity.

The Bottom Board features a letter from a beekeeper's wife to her sister concerning the family's bee business.  Read how the family used an observation hive, and specialty labels, and also developed  an educational plan to inform the public about the value of dark honey it produced.  This all seems like a contemporary plan for any budding bee business, which has stood the test of time.  The letter was published in 1917. 


Malcolm T. Sanford

Bee sure to subscribe to Catch the Buzz, Bee Culture's latest releases of importance to beekeepers.  Also access the Apis Information Resource Center , which contains archived articles, listing of  posts on blogs, web sites, and links to related materials.  .