Saturday, 9 January 2010

Apis Newsletter January 9, 2010

Dear Subscribers,

It has been chilly here in Gainesville, Florida.  So much so that there was actually ice on a local retention pond and the hooded mergansers that were there were forced  to find open water elsewhere.  I am writing this just before the opening of the big megameeting in Orlano, consisting of a number of organizations from both the USA and Canada (Canadian Honey Council and CAPA). The American Bee Research Conference is also going to be on tap   This is a must meeting for beekeepers who want to remain fully informed about beekeeping issues in 2010.

Florida's beekeeping history is rich in many ways.  Few probably know that Roger Morse spent time in the Sunshine state.  We are reminded by Peter Borst <peterloringborst@GMAIL.COM>, who wrote the following on the Bee-L discussion list:

This May 12 will mark ten years since the passing of Roger A, Morse, "a Cornell University entomology professor who brought the science of apiculture to the practice of beekeeping." I thought it fitting to present some of his early prescient writings. I hope he will be remembered by all who gather this January in Orlando.

ROGER A. MORSE State Plant Board of Florida, Gainesville

According to J. J. Wilder (1928) one of the first apiaries of any size in Florida was established in 1872 where the city of Daytona now stands. A company from New York City settled in the Daytona area and attracted considerable attention by coming to Florida in the fall and returning to New York in the spring with a cargo of oranges and honey. 


Florida beekeepers produced their first million pounds of honey in the late 1920's, and during the 1930's consistently produced over a million pounds each year. Honey production in Florida has gradually increased and in 1954 Florida ranked third among the states. In 1955 Florida dropped to fifth place. While honey production has increased appreciably, the number of colonies of honey bees in Florida has only a little more than doubled during the past twenty years. The increased honey production can be traced in part to the increased citrus plantings. At the same time a part of this gain is proof of the value of improved methods and equipment used in the industry today. A few decades ago many colonies were kept in skeps, hollow logs and boxes without movable combs. Today only a few hundred colonies are maintained under such conditions.    Modern beekeepers are moving their colonies in and around the State, taking ad- vantages of several honeyflows. An exam ple of this mass movement of colonies is found in the over twenty thousand colonies which are moveds to Florida each year, largely from other southern states, mostly for the orange honeyflow. 


The State Plant Board of Florida began American foulbrood inspection in 1920. Until the fiscal year of 1954 the State Plant Board checked, on an average, about fifty per cent of the colonies in the State. By concentrating their efforts in the heavy honey-producing areas, State Plant Board inspectors were able to keep the incidence of the disease below levels of one per cent. As migratory operations have increased, disease control has become more difficult, and during the past few years the incidence of American foulbrood has increased. Approximately 57 per cent of the colonies in Florida were inspected during the fiscal year of 1954, while in 1955 approximately 66 per cent were inspected. The incidence of disease dropped from 1.597 per cent in 1954 to 0.903 per cent in 1955.  Migratory operations will continue to increase, especially as more citrus trees come into bearing and more colonies are attracted into the State each year. Increased inspection will be necess ary to keep the disease level below one per cent.    

Florida still has an extremely strong inspection service and active beekeeping extension program, mostly due to an influential state association

Florida is also home to several other meetings besides this year's convention in Orlando.  Check out the second S.E. organic beekeeping convention in Palm Beach in early February, with the provocative theme, "riding the wave of change."

Bee Health: The January Newsletter for the Bee Health Community of Practice is now available online at

Included in this issue:

    * New Feature: Managed Pollinator CAP Updates
    * Social Media Strategy Developed
    * YouTube Channel Launched
    * New Feature: University of Florida Bee Disease Videos
    * FAQ's Organized by Category
    * Google Analytics: Bee Health Homepage in Top 10 at
    * On the Calender

Survey of Beekeepers:  A team of students from Bradley University (Peoria, IL, USA), is conducting research about beekeepers and their characteristics. The results of this research will be used to identify  characteristics of those who choose to become beekeepers, to compare various subgroups of beekeepers with each other, and to compare other groups with beekeepers.

If you are 18 years or older and keep bees you are invited to be a part of this research by completing short anonymous survey about beekeepers. We are interested in new beekeeper as well as those who are experienced. Hobbyist, sideliners and commercial beekeepers are all invited to participate. The survey can be found at  The survey will be available online until February 14, 2010.

If you have any questions about this research please feel free to contact me, Dr. Wendy Schweigert at:

Plans for L.L. Langstroth Bicentennial and Stamp:

 Fri, 25 Dec 2009 14:02:23 -0600
From:    MRH <wildwoodflower@GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Today begins the Langstroth Bicentennial

Merry Christmas!  Today, Dec. 25 2009,  is the 199th birthday of
Lorenzo Langstroth (1810-1895), inventor of the modern beehive.  This
begins the beginning of his Bicentennial Celebration.  Many of us are
planning events during the next year to commemorate his life and work.
Please join in by organizing celebrations in your area.  Your local
beekeeping, gardening, farming, scientific, academic, and
environmental communities all have a reason to celebrate.

Marc Hoffman

Send your ideas and plans to For more information and inspiration here are a few sites to visit:

Announcement of organizing meeting on January 21 in Philadelphia.!.html

Google Group devoted to the Bicentennial Celebration

“Bee Man,” a one-man play about LLL’s life and works.

Kim Flottum’s Catch the Buzz about the Langstroth stamp initiative.

Hive and the Honeybee Collection, Mann Library, Cornell University.
Online version of Langstroth on the Hive and the Honeybee, 1853
edition.  19th century journal articles, searchable, by and about LLL.

Patent 9300 available from the US Patent and Trademark Office, also on
Google Patents.  The movable frame beehive.

Call to action by Carl Flatow:

Short Biography of Langstroth by Ophia Smith in the Ohio Historical
Society Journal:

Gleanings from the January 2010 edition of Bee Culture

Matt Haas, Hiddeford, ME describes every beekeeper's nightmare, when hungry bees find unprotected honey.  Dick Largen, Bethalto, IL is ready to try a top bar hive.  Colin Taylor, Bury, Manchester, UK describes another winter storage technique.  Michael Salnicky, Cresco, PA suggests a way to repopulate the landscape with feral swarms, increasing genetic diversity.  Racheal  Kinkennon, Edwards, MO asks a lot of questions about the potential effects imidacloprid and derivatives in her neighborhood.

Editor Flottum spent Thanksgiving talking about new ways to care for aging pets (dogs).  Read how this has parallels to beekeeping.  Bee Culture also embarks on a year-long series celebrating the life and work of L.L. Langstroth.

Of the many things new for 2010, check out the 53-minute DVD entitled Nicotine Bees, developed by EAS Chairman Jim Bobb and the double jar invention just right for checking mites using the powdered sugar method.

The demographics of beekeepers and reporters for Bee Culture are inexorably shifting to a more urban focus.  Read how this is described by the  regional honey price report.

Beeyard stories in only six words continues.  Read creative entries like "Knocked over hive, had on sandals."

Clarence Collison takes a closer look at both the old and new nosema. Read about the difference in virulence and why they are both considered bad news for bees and beekeepers.

Steve Sheppard reviews a recent study of genetic diversity in both southeastern and western bee populations. Read about the differences, and how a new influx of genes from Africanized bees as well as Australian and Russian stock is providing some needed genetic variation.

Marc Hoffman starts off his series on Appreciating Lorenzo Langstroth.  Read about his family history and influences.  See some current photos of places where he and his family lived.

Larry Connor says we should reexamen the beekeeper-provided nest within the context of new populations of honey bees found in the U.S. Have beekeepers been forcing bees into improper nests over the years?  What has been the impact of Varroa on nest size?  He urges beekeepers to start tinkering in the woodshop again and researchers to get on with this  kind of study.

Melanie Kirby is doing just that with top bar hives vs. Langstroths or a combination of both.  Read her musings. She recommends a still-classic publication by Curtis Gentry, The Small Scale Beekeeping Manual

Editor Flottum visits north Georgia producer/packer Blue Ridge Honey.  Read about this big outfit and why it's usually better to do something small well than the reverse.

Erik Osterlund reports on the northeast treatment-free conference held last August in Massachusetts. Read about cell size and use of top bar hives.  In the same vein visit the Southeastern organic conference in Palm Beach in February
Jim Tew also discusses hive design.  Read how even after a century and a half L.L.'s hive "continues to be genius."

Ross Conrad provides the skinny on high fructose Corn syrup (HFCS) and hydroxymethlyfurfural (HMF). Read how both human and bee health are affected by these substances. See my analysis written five years ago June and July 2003.

Jennifer Berry went to the National Honey Show at St. George's College in Weybridge, near London.  Read about her experiences and what it takes to both show and judge at this event.

Ann Harman provides warning signals about drops in membership of the East Cupcake Beekeepers Association.  She provides tips on staying relevant and why state associations are important to even the smallest beekeeper.  Finally, check out the  games she suggests that are both educational and fun.

Connie Krochmal looks at some perennials for the bee garden.  Read about Bergenia, candytuft, lambs-ears, phlox and pinks among others.

In all the news that fits read about Brushy Mountain being named North Carolina's Small Business of the Year, the retirement of John Gruszka (Saskatchewan's  Provincial Apiarist) and the changing of the guard at the International Bee Research Association .

Finally Mac Overmyer in the bottom board urges everyone to stop knocking the government.  He gives a sensible  answer to the question often raised, "Name one government program that works."  There are so many of value that Mr. Overmyer's rant goes on for ten more  paragraphs. This adds fuel to the Bill Moyers Journal I saw tonight, where the discussion was focused on the fact that many in this country think big government is the problem.  It's  really big business buying off the government that is most troubling and problematic.

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.  Finally, don't forget to access the Global Beekeeping Calendar for events  of interest.