Tuesday, 29 June 2010

CATCH THE BUZZ - Project Apis m Update


Latest News from Project Apis m.

Visit us on the Web at www.ProjectApism.org

June 29, 2010

Welcome to the latest edition of the Project Apis m. Newsletter

What is Project Apis m (PAm)?  A non-profit organization focused on finding realistic solutions to beekeepers' challenges by supporting practical, results-oriented in-field research.

  • PAm forging ahead on beekeeper BMPs - -  PAm received a Specialty Crop Block Grant to develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) for beekeepers pollinating California’s specialty crops.  The BMPs focus on having strong colonies for almond pollination.  Once there is enough healthy honey bee colonies in California for almonds, then the other crops will no doubt have their pollinating needs met.  PAm representatives are currently conducting phone and in-person interviews with migratory and California beekeepers to develop a set of guidelines for successful nutrition, pest and disease control, and colony management.  These guidelines will be a work-in-progress over the next three years.  Video clips, fact sheets and brochures are being developed for distribution at upcoming meetings and conferences and can be accessed on PAm’s website (click here)

  • Introducing “The Cummings Report” - - The name for the Almond Pricing Update on PAm’s website has been changed to The Cummings Report.  The Almond Pricing Update is a frequently accessed site on PAm’s Home Page that reviews the current status of the almond market.  Most commercial beekeepers are keenly interested in the almond market because it is so important to their businesses.  Dan Cummings, chairman of PAm, has been writing the almond update since August, 2009.  In acknowledgment of Dan’s credibility and knowledge of both the almond and bee industries, PAm’s board members suggested and unanimously approved the name change.  In addition to the almond status, The Cummings Report will soon also include a honey bee status report.  

  • UCD’s Sue Cobey is off to WSU part-time   - - UCD’s loss is WSU’s gain.  Sue Cobey has reduced her association with UC Davis to a half-time position, while accepting a half-time position at Washington State University.  Sue will be stationed at WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center in the Skagit Valley of northwestern Washington.  The exemplary work Sue conducts in honey bee genetics will not be adversely affected.  On the contrary, this new association will allow her to move bees and research projects not unlike commercial beekeepers – taking advantage of the earlier California spring, and then on to more diversified forage sources.  Sue will now be able to work more closely with the experts at WSU who are known for their advances in cryopreservation and properties of honey bee semen.  Click here for more information on WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center. 

  • Self-fertile almonds?  - - Beekeepers need not worry that self-fertile almonds will be taking over the almond industry any time soon.  Scientists have been working on self-fertile almonds for years and there are no varieties available that come close to the yield and popularity of the old standby’s like Nonpareil, Mission, Monterey, Butte, Padre, Carmel, the California varieties, etc.  Besides, even self-fertile almonds will set a better crop with some rented bees in the neighborhood. 

  • Speaking of almond pollination, how about more bees in 2011?  -- With an estimated 20,000 more bearing acres needing pollination this next season, almond growers will need 40,000 – 50,000 more honey bee colonies more than the 2010 pollination season requirements.    

  • PAm’s workload expanding  -- Project Apis m. has just over $200,000 in research projects currently underway.  In addition to managing this research, PAm has the three-year Best Management Practices project to produce educational and outreach materials on BMPs for beekeepers.  PAm is working with the California State Beekeepers Association to pursue much-needed funding for evaluation of forage crops in an effort to improve bee nutrition, bee health and bee strength.  Now working for PAm on a part-time contract basis, is a former school teacher, Meg Ribotto.  Meg is assisting in keeping PAm’s website current, conducting interviews, developing outreach materials, and managing exhibitor booths for dissemination of information.

  • Upcoming July Bee Culture article on pesticides is a beekeeping industry call to action - - In an effort to “raise the bar” in our discussion of pesticides and fungicides as they relate to honey bee exposure, July’s issue of Bee Culture will feature an article co-authored by PAm’s Christi Heintz and the Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig, both of whom have been involved in pesticide issues for many years.  The article is a balanced approach considering the synergistic relationship between beekeepers and growers and the need to define and discuss important factors involved in pesticide dialogues.  Here’s the bottom line – honey bees need better pest and disease control products and need better protection from grower-applied pesticides.  This article presents the facts and provides a bluepr int for successfully dealing with pesticide issues.

  • PAm to be visible at upcoming conferences - - Look for Project Apis m representation at upcoming bee meetings in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Oregon.  Penn State is hosting the First International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy from July 24-28, 2010 in State College, PA. Click here for more information on the PSU conference.  The Eastern Apicultural Society meets Aug 2-6 in Boone, NC.  Click here for more information on EAS.  And the Western Apicultural Society meets Aug 30 – Sept 2 in Salem, OR (click here for WAS conference information).  For more meetings, conferences and dates go to the Events section of Project Apis m’s website (click her e).

  • Donate now to PAm -- Why PAm?  Because PAm funds bee research that is selected and guided by beekeepers.  We are suggesting $1 per colony to support PAm's research efforts that seek to find practical solutions for managed colonies.  Click here to donate. 

If you sent hives to Paramount Farming Co. orchards during the 2009 pollination season, Paramount will generously match your contribution to PAm, dollar-for-dollar. Write your check to PAm, send it our address below, and include a note that you were a Paramount beekeeper.  “A buck a hive” becomes two bucks and will go a long way to help resolve our many bee challenges. Do your part, and Paramount will help!  

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Donations. Suggested contribution: A buck a hive - beekeeper and grower. Write this contribution for research into your pollination contracts. Send your tax deductible contribution to:

Project Apis m.
1750 Dayton Rd.
Chico, CA 95928

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