Saturday, 13 March 2010

Apis Newsletter March 13, 2010

Dear Subscribers,

I find myself way behind this February of 2010.  A perfect storm of things has conspired to kDear Subscribers,

Do we dare say that "Spring in sprung" in Gainesville, Florida.  It sure looks like it, but we have been fooled before.  Pity the poor maples; they are forced to flush their pollen once again and so too perhaps the pines.  Some think the cold will produce an even greater pollen production from a wide variety of plants;  those with allergies are reporting increased suffering.  Our azaleas for which this part of the country is known have been set back, but there a few tentative blooms testing the waters.  The bees too are no doubt being affected.  The proverbial Ides of March is the date citrus is due to bloom in the Sunshine state is only a week away; cold weather sometimes causes a bumper crop of "orange" honey.   We all wait in anticipation. 

The cold weather seems to have also brought out the novice beekeeper in all of us.  Witness my friend Jim Tew's utterance, when 900 eager beekeepers, most of them  new, showed up on his doorstep : " 'Oh, my stars!' Tew said seeing the huge outpouring at the 32nd annual edition of the workshop -- which last year attracted about 675 people -- was "exhilarating; remarkable and exciting.

"Tew asked for a show of hands of how many in the audience had been involved in keeping bees for two years or less, and got a response from nearly half the crowd. He remarked that a once languishing pastime seems to have arisen from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix."

2009 a Bad Honey year:  Actually the worst years on record according to Editor Flottum in his "Catch the Buzz" Newsletter:  I looks like we will need all those neophytes coming to the Wooster meeting mentioned above.

I was taken to task by one reader who was upset that I had been coopted by the limate change lobby for my remarks in the last issue when I stated: " is the preponderance of extreme weather events that are on the climate change scientists'minds, rather than 'global warming.'"  Apparently simply mentioning this highly-charged issue puts me in a particular cubby hole.

Another issue on the minds of beekeepers is legislation regarding beekeeping, thus House Bill 4527 from West Virginia, a state that is apicultural friendly "

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §19-13-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§19-13-4. Registration of bees; identification of apiaries.

(a) All persons keeping bees in this state shall apply for a certificate of registration for bee keeping from the commissioner, within ten days of the
date that bees are acquired, by notifying the commissioner, in writing, of the number and location of colonies they own or rent, or which they
keep for someone else, whether the bees are located on their own property or someone else's property. All apiary certificates of registration
expire on December 31, of each year and must be renewed annually.

(b) All persons owning or operating an apiary which is not located on their own property must post the name and address of the owner or
operator in a conspicuous place in the apiary.

(c) A person who:

    (1) owns and operates an apiary;
    (2) is registered with the Commissioner; and
    (3)operates the apiary in good faith, in a reasonable manner and in conformance with best management practices, is not liable for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with the keeping and maintaining of bees, bee equipment, queen breeding equipment, apiaries and appliances.

In connection with this, although not necessarily a liability issue, Florida House Bill 1339 is currently under consideration.

"An act relating to honeybees; amending s. 586.10, F.S.;  revising the powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for purposes of the Florida Honey Certification and Honeybee Law; specifying that the department has exclusive authority over regulations, inquiries, and complaints relating to beekeeping, apiaries, and apiary locations."

If others have legislation like this in their states passed or pending, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Legalizing beekeeping and reinstated the beekeeping merit badge for the Boy Scouts of America are two initiatives supported by the Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees™ (HD loves HB) campaign. For the former,  and for the latter:

Nematodes and Small Hive Beetle: Dr. Keith Delaplane is featured in the winter 2009 issue of Southern Explsure, publkished by the Southern IPM Center for his work on using nematodes to control small hive beetle.

The Cost of CCD:  In his daily green blog Editor Flottum tots up the costs of CCD with a picture that is more meaningful than most.  A large assortment of empty pallats stacked on a barren piece of land.  He reckons it takes about $200 to  manage a colony througout the year while the rental cost in the almonds is about $150.

Disney Corporation is inspiring one million people to volunteer a day of service.  Volunteer opportunities include gardening, trail clean-up, painting, cleaning, boardwalk repairs, and much more. So sign up to make a difference today! Just follow the directions below, complete the registration form and confirm a specific date and time to volunteer. Each person who participates in this program will receive a
1-day, 1-theme park ticket to Disneyland® Resort or Walt Disney World® Resort, FREE.   Click on "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." in the upper right corner.

Links of interest found on  this month include Texas' A & M's new research and extension facility, bees in Modesto, CA for the almond bloom, King Tut's relationship to beekeeping, Hawaiian bees blocked at the Canadian border, Britian's response to bee losses, Varroa mites and bee losses in Ontario Canada, honey bees in Detroit's new urban scene, the Twin cities challenges in controlling a borer with neonicotinoids, and the incredible journey of John Smith's and everybody's manuka bee hive.

Gleanings from the March 2010 edition of Bee Culture:

See the current digital copy of Bee Culture at  and the Global Calendar at
Colin Taylor, Bury, Lancashire, England sends kudos about the digial edition. Bruce Sabuda, Pinckney, MI sends a picture of a bee hive in the walls of a farm house. Adrian Susa, Brookflield, WI writes that the bottom board article in the January 2010 was right on the mark.  Bob Martin, Superior, WI asks if jumbo hives are better  in some cases.  He uses them with success. April Hay, Mission Viejo, CA takes exception to the electronic edition, not the content but the idea that the printing industry creates jobs and she likes relaxing with the paper edition.  Glen Stanley, 92 years young, Ames, IA sends a long missive about his beekeeping experience from the 1930s  onward.  Read how he and his brother perfected winter beekeeping in the Midwest their way.  Tom O'Brien,  Mattawa, Ontario enjoyed Melanie Kirby's article on top bar beekeeping and is considering taking it up.  Jim Cowan, Aberdeen, WA discus ses his experience with bees swarming and how they build comb. Stanford Brantley, Jefferson, TX says the USPS Stamp Committee wrote back to him on the L.L. Langstroth potential stamp that it might take two to three years to approve.  All should start writing today for this objective.

In the Inner Cover, Editor Flottum contrasts what he sees as a differentiating what he sees as “suits” versus “beesuits” and how money to help beekeepers should be funneled to the latter, not the former.

New for beekeepers this year are plastic support pins, flexible impeller pumps, and the newest, coolest smoker.  Also listed is the Journal of Apicultural Research's newest volume on international colony losses.

Clarence Collison takes a closer look at the VSH trait, previously called SMR. Read what constitutes the  trait and what that means to bee breeders and beekeepers.

Bruce Thompkin responds to Ross Conrad's article in the September issue of Bee Culture concerning honey and infant botulism.  Read his analysis that results in the same conclusions that Dr.  Arnon published way back in 1980.  See the response to this by Mr. Conrad.

Roger Hoopingarner discusses some of the gadgets that are credited to Langstroth.  Read how they continue to be used today in modified versions.

William Butler shares an address by George Loganof the Germantown (Pennsylvania) Society for Promoting Domestic Manufactures, also a beekeeper.  Read this most "literary" and "philosophical" of all his considerable writings on matters of agriculture.

Mike Hood publishes his second article on IPM techniques to control small hive beetle.  Read his do's and dont's especially when it comes to unregistered products.

A new product, Honey Delights, will be coming your way soon.  Read about the genesis of this product and its various uses.  It is due to revolutionize honey use.

Jim Tew says there are a few perfect beeyards.  See what he thinks is involved and why even perfect yards are often not permanent.

Volume 2 of the Science of Bee Culture features articles on Russian honey bees and N. ceranae, using Ms Paint for bee research, trapping small hive beetles above the brood chamber and hygienic responses of bees produced on the the big island of Hawaii.

Michael Palmer says nucs are not just for increase anymore.  Read about his practice of "bee bombing" to make productive colonies.

Steve Sheppard provides details  on the Journal of Apicultural Research's special issue on global colony losses.  Read where the problems are more severe and why.
Dan Stiles has spotted European hornets in West Virginia.  Read about their potential spread and how they also become targets for his shooting practice.

Kim Flottum describes the mountain honey and Russian bees one can find in the Northeast Georgia Mountains.  Read about Carl Webb as Russian breeder extraordinaire and how Virginia Webb produces the world's  best honey.

Larry Connor gives a short list of questions a beginner should ask.  Read why if one doesn't he worries their future success.

Ross Conrad writes that there's not a lot of scientific data that essential  oils are useful in treating bee disesases and pests, including CCD, but there is much anedotal evidence.  Read about his research into who is employing this treatment and why.

Ann Harman issues and invitation to come to her garden.  Read her tips  on this most ancient of human activities.

Connie Krochmal takes on the hawthorns.  These plants are hard to beat when it comes to bee garden plants.  Read why.

In All The News That Fits read about the AAPA  student research scholarship recipient and how 70 tons of manuka honey were lost in a New Zealand fire. Articles on Manuka honey issues, genetically modified canola pollen found in Australia
 and a review of how bees land (Journal of Experimental Biology) round out the issue.

Finally in the Bottom Board, Ed Colby sees a "dead man walking."  Or does he?


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.  .

CATCH THE BUZZ - Bayer Gets Banned!


Judge Upholds Ban of Spriotetramat….

This JUST IN From The Pittsburgh Tirbune-Review

Saturday, March 13, 2010


A federal appeals court refused to delay a ban on the sale of a pesticide that some environmental groups claim is killing honeybees.

The decision prevents Bayer CropScience, from selling its pesticide, Spirotetramat, while the company appeals a lower court ruling that halted sales.

"Bayer has demonstrated neither that it will suffer irreparable injury absent a stay, nor that it has a substantial possibility of success on the merits of its appeal," U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood and U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph McLaughlin said in the ruling this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering what to do with existing stock of Spirotetramat, known by the trade names Movento and Ultor, said spokesman Dale Kemery.

Sales of the pesticide remain legal in Europe, Canada and Mexico, according to Bayer CropScience, which is based in North Carolina. Bayer's North American headquarters is in Robinson.

The decision was handed down three years after scientists identified Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious breakdown of bee immune systems that each winter roughly halved the number of bee colonies the nation's large, commercial beekeepers own. The cause of the breakdown largely has eluded researchers.

In December, Manhattan U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote banned the sale of Spirotetramat on grounds the EPA skipped steps required in any pesticide approval process, including not taking public comment. Cote's decision did not explicitly address the impact the pesticide might have on honeybees.

"Bayer has been touting this as a greener pesticide. It is designed to stop insect reproduction, and it seems to do the same thing to bees," said Aaron Colangelo, an attorney for the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, which, along with the Portland, Ore.-based wildlife conservation group Xerces Society, sued the EPA.

Jack Boyne, an entomologist for Bayer CropScience, said the company is confident the EPA will reapprove Spirotetramat's registration.

"It is unprecedented for a lower court to vacate an approval. We believe the decision was not correct. We have been injured improperly and believe that science is on our side," he said. "As the manufacturer, we are not allowed to sell our inventory of product to our distributors."

The EPA approved Spirotetramat in 2008 for use on hundreds of crops, including apples, pears, peaches, oranges, tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, almonds and spinach. Bayer CropScience developed the pesticide after scientists identified Colony Collapse Disorder in late 2006.

"This is one of the safest insecticides for bees," Boyne said.

According to the Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops in the United States.

An estimated 29 percent of all U.S. honeybee colonies died last winter, about 11 percentage points higher than what beekeepers consider normal, but lower than losses during the previous two winters.

Colony Collapse Disorder is linked to viruses, mites, poor bee treatment and poor nutrition, said Dennis van Engelsdorp, a honeybee expert and researcher at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Yet the cause of the die-off remains elusive.

"Will we ever have one cause for cancer? That's what this is like," van Engelsdorp said.

Dave Hackenberg of Lewisburg in Union County is Pennsylvania's largest commercial beekeeper. Because of his concerns about the effect of pesticides on his bees, for the first time in 42 years, Hackenberg will not take his bees to Florida to pollinate oranges.

"I am not going to put my bees in orange groves. The chemicals they are using are doing something that is breaking down bees' immune systems," he said.

This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping