Saturday, 5 June 2010

Apis Newsletter June 6, 2010

Dear Subscribers,

Hurricane season has begun in our neck of the woods.  Now we have to worry in the Sunshine state not only about high winds and rain, but the potential that storm surges  might bring the oil now found in the Gulf of Mexico ashore.  If the oil  makes it into the so-called  "loop current," then even the east coast might be affected. 

Meanwhile it's becoming pretty hot here, with projected  temperatures into the mid nineties this weekend.  The major spring honey flows are ending, the swarming season is abating and the dog days of summer will be upon us.  The major thing beekeepers need to be concerned with now is to ensure their colonies have access to water. 

And it's the time when complaints about honey bees gathering water at swimming pools begin in earnest. Now's  the time to begin planning your attendance at one of the  regional events, HAS in July, EAS in August and WAS end of August

I received the following in response to my comments last month about queens entering Canada from Hawaii from Medhat Nasr, Alberta Provincial Apiculturist, CAPA Bee  Import Committee Chair: "Queens were inspected. Attendant workers in battery boxes were removed and replaced with attendants from canadian bees. Then, queens were released. In some cases queens w/o attendants were released for beekeepers to bank them. Future shipments are hand picked queens and attendants in 3 hole cages. Now shipments are in transit  to Canada. Business is back as usual.  Thanks to efficient communications and quick responses from all authorities at Provincial, Canada Federal, and USA Federal and Hawaii State government and CAPA. Queen suppliers and beekeepers get also credits for giving us time and for their cooperation with us through the process."

New insurance offering: Joe Price writes the fastest way to get coverage is to contact him directly (407) 456-0030 and he will then email or fax over the applications. A competitive proposal of coverage is generally completed within one business day. The agency website is  He is product manager and main contact for the bee program. Lester Kalmanson Agency, Maitland, FL, USA, 407-456-0030,

There's a lot going on in Latin American beekeeping as the run up to Apimondia in Buenos Aires Argentina for September 2011 begins.  Those who speak Spanish can also see more at

Male Varroa Targetted:  The male Varroa mite is an intriguing creature, living only in the cell and never emerging.  An article in the May 2010 American Bee Journal focuses on using formic acid to get to these individuals underneath the cappings: Mite-Away Quick Strip™  Mid Honey Flow Efficacy Trial.  "Determining the overall efficacy is a challenge in this model of varroa control. The traditional methods of determining efficacy (positive control comparison of phoretic female varroa kill) will not give a fully accurate efficacy picture. Mite-Away Quick Strips™ are designed for kill under the cap, so looking under the cap was on option. An alternative is an extended trial that monitors the trend of phoretic varroa mites using alcohol wash or a similar method." Research is continuing.

New Honey Board Referendum scheduled to end June 4:  The referendum is for eligible producers of U.S. honey to decide whether a new national U.S Honey Producer Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Order should be established. If the referendum passes, what has been called the U.S Honey Producer Board will be established. It would be similar to the National Honey Board (NHB), except where the NHB is funded by assessments paid by importers and honey packers, the new board would be funded totally by assessments on U.S.-produced honey. Additional information regarding the program, the proposed order and referendum procedures can be found on the American Beekeeping  Federation web site . Producers who feel they are eligible, but did not receive a ballot, should contact Kimberly Coy, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-024 4; by calling 888.720.9917; faxing 202.205.2800; or e-mailing

More on CCD: New research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifies a new potential cause for “Colony Collapse Disorder” in honeybees.  A group of pathogens including a fungus and family of viruses may be working together to cause the decline.  Scientists report their results today at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego. “There might be a synergism between two very different pathogens,” says Jay Evans of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, a researcher on the study.  “When they show up together there is a significant correlation with colony decline.”

Remember that each month a check of the bee health site is in order: .  Read about European foulbrood and its treatment, including the "Shook Swarm"  method.

Check out the relevant links I selected this month;  These include: GPS to track stolen hives, changes in beekeeping in Uruguay, all about beekeeping in Ontario, Canada, a no-nonsense article on  CCD by Joe Traynor, first community apiary in Pittsburg, hives on the Toronto Opera House, how British bees are recovering and Hawaii is being closely studied as a queen source across the pond.

Gleanings from the June 2010 edition of Bee Culture:

Remember that Bee Culture is now available in a digital edition:

Stephen Homewood, Gainesville, Florida writes that he was overrun with beetles until he began using opaque plastic covers that let light in.  He requests more beekeepers experiment with this and report their results. Harold  Cooper, Wilkesboro, NC is a fan  of Walt Wright's offerings and urges him to  continue to experiment. John McKelvey, Richfield Springs, NY gives kudos to Ross Contrad about his column, "The Road to Treatment Free Bees." Jim Cowan, Aberdeen,  WA urges bee managers to  "Let bees be bees."  Virginia and Carl  Webb, Clarkesville, GA sent in a picture of what they call the biggest hive in Georgia (their honey stand).  Gunder Thompson, Oconto,  WI provides his ideas about  helping the bees remove moisture from  the hive.  Ned and Jenni Glysson, Ann Arbor, MI ask  Glen Stanley for clarification on the "middle opening technique."  Finally, Loren Sadler, Elizabethtown, PA provides information on mouse guards and a nifty apparatus for collecting bees for apitherapy use.

The latest research out on cell phones and colonies shows an effect when comparing those colonies with cell phones and those that don't , but this research remains controversial.  Now comes Cameo Wood of San Francisco who is using smart cell phones to keep records about hives via  Read the explanation in this month's Bee Culture and also visit another web site run by the author.

Editor Flottum waxes on the AIA's  recent survey of winter losses  It looks like  33% of U.S. colonies perished  during the winter.  He's more  interested in queens, however, and is planning to do his own survey via the Internet,  using  various tools, including his Catch the Buzz Newsletter

New things for the beekeeper include  JZs BZs' queen cell shipping protector and new books including A Ton of Honey by Grant Gilliard, who also wrote beekeeping with  25  hives  and Managing Alternative  Pollinators, published by SARE

Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at grooming and tracheal mite resistance.  Read why auto-grooming may be effective,  while allo-grooming is not.

Tammy Horn lists a number of influential women beekeepers during Langstroth's time.  Read about their struggles to become recognized beekeepers in their own right.

Heather Clay says that the the revolution in canola (CANadian Oil Low Acid) growing in Canada is analagous to that of almonds in California.  Read her analysis of this important crop, its history and potential in the future.

Cindy Hodges describes a cut out made by the "bee whisperer," Cindy Bee in the environs  of Atlanta, Georgia.  The elegance of the act is surprising in its telling and  makes every future "bee  remover" ready to rumble.  Fortunately, there is a book on the subject coming out later this summer on how to ensure the experience is  a good one for beekeeper and customer alike.

Larry Connor discusses the joy of drones. He urges beekeepers  not to curse these  male bees, but put them to work as part of Varroa control.  Read how he does it in his  own operation.

Jim Tew writes that he will still buy package bees as they are still a relative bargain, but he is concerned about the survival rate, which seems to be inexorably rising.  The  problem  is he can't find the "smoking gun" to say what's going on.  He is beginning to wonder more and more about queen quality. Read more  about his package bee experiences and how his queen introduction practices have changed.

Kathy Kellison has developed a new concept via her non-profit startup Partners for Sustainable Pollination, the Bee Friendly Farming program , complete with logo and guidelines.  Read how anyone can now help honey bees and other pollinators through  this unique program.  Go to the  Bee Culture home page and click on the logo to certify your operation.

Jennifer Berry curses this year's "abnormal" conditions in Georgia, bringing out the  swarms.  Read how she dealt or not dealt with some; now that the swarming season is over, it's nice to read what one should have done.  Maybe next year.

Ann Harman sings "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."  The source can be many things, she says, but each possibility  should be considered carefully.  Remember all that second-hand smoke many of us suffered from when everyone lit up a generation or two ago.  Ann does.

In all the news that fits, there's an obituary for legendary Canadian Provincial Apiarist John Corner, the Australians continue hunting for far-flung nest of Apis  cerana and the newest invasive pest, electric ants (sounds like a horror movie!), the L.L. Langstroth historical marker has been approved (donate) and mite thefts in Japan exacerbated by discovery of tracheal mites for the first time.  In addition, Bees for Development's Cameroon project is off and running and England reports 50% more bee loss than the rest or Europe.

On the Bottom Board Ed Colby discusses his relationships.  They include Wolf Girl and her friend, not amused when he offered the latter propolis.  The others are with his pollination customers and reveals why small-scale commercial pollination is full of risks and demands a written contract.


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.  .