Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Apis Newsletter, July 6, 2010

Dear Subscribers,

It's going to be a hot summer it seems in Gainesville, Florida and elsewhere on the Eastern coast according to AccuWeather.com reports: "Average summer temperatures will rival some of the hottest summers ever recorded across the eastern half of the nation. It's possible for record-breaking warmth in the first half of July for much of the nation." Between I-80 and I-20 from the Rockies eastward, temperatures will hold between the mid-80s and low 90s F through mid-July.  The first tropical storm of the season came and went. Fortunately, it didn't seem to affect the oil spill as much as folks thought it might, at least on the eastern Gulf Coast, and it does seem to have brought some cooler breezes and afternoon thundershowers. 

The bees are shutting down for the hot part of the summer here just like my tomatoes in the back yard. As the colonies reduce brood rearing, a critical situation may occur. The Varroa population will continue to grow, fueled by all that brood produced in the Spring. This could be bad news. How bad will depend on the condition of each colony, but it is possible to lose hives if the beekeeper does not actively keep up with actual Varroa levels.  Two strategies to employ should the mite population appear to be above its economic threshold is chemical intervention and/or active brood nest management. As part of the latter, sometimes making splits, producing a break in the brood cycle, and introducing a new queen can be a good way to keep the Varroa population to tolerable levels.  This could also provide the wherewithal for a colony to produce the critical winter bees so important to survive the followi ng winter.

This concept is also in part written about by Mel Disselkoen in this July issue  of Bee Culture in his column entitled: "Artificial Supersedure."

There's been a kerfufful over discovery of bees in the Sahara desert that have remained isolated from all other bees for at least 5,000 years.  It seems they arrived at Kufra in Libya when the Sahara was still a green savannah, and have survived ever since around an oasis in the desert, over 1,000km from their nearest neighbouring bees.  So concludes a new study which has analysed the bees' genetics.The Kufra honeybees are so isolated they remain free of a parasitic mite that threatens bees around the world. Details of the discovery are published in the journal Conservation Genetics. What confounds some is how  such a  relatively small population was able to have conserved enough genetic diversity to survive, even flourish, so long.

Apitrack continues to send out its jam-packed newsletter, mostly dealing with Latin America . There's a new digital Chilean beekeeping publication entitled Actualidad Apícola  and a time-honored journal in Argentina, Espacio Apícola, reports that the small hive beetle has shown up in Zacatecas, Mexico.

There's a new player of growing importance in the beekeeping world. It is Project Apis m, an offshoot of the Almond Board,and a non-profit organization focused on finding realistic solutions to beekeepers' challenges by supporting practical, results-oriented in-field research. The latest initiatives are  listed by Editor Kim Flottum in a recent Catch The Buzz. These include a the three-year Best Management Practices project to produce educational and outreach materials 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.

The ELAP program includes mergency Assistance for Honey bee Operations, including but not limited to, colony collapse disorder (CCD), earthquake, floods, hurricane, tidal surges, tornado, excessive winds, volcanic eruption and wildfires. Editor Flottum says it's a long-winded program with strings attached, but worth a read.

A new honey bee health survey is in the works   Also see the Colony Loss Project mounted mostly by Europeans, but also including others around the world.

Remember that each month a check of the bee health site is in order: .  Read about the CAP project, coordinated by Dr. Keith Delaplane, a new in-depth discussion on American and European foulbrood, The Video Guide to Beekeeping from the University of Floria  and a growing number of videos found at the Bee Health section on Youtube.com.

Check out the accounting software on the web designed for beekeepers .  Let me know how it works for you.

A number of honey marketers have come together to form the honest honey initiative.  Finally, Check out the relevant links  at Publish2.com;  These include: a possible project for a bee club, several concerning urban beekeeping, and a 1911 Maryland Beekeeping Book.

Gleanings from the July 2010 edition of Bee Culture:

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

John Lunsford, Anacortes, WA writes to Ross Conrad concerning Varroa traps. He kindly responds, providing some good ideas about where to get the "bait" he recommends in the book Natural Beekeeping.  A letter describing the latest on reinstating he Boy Scout Merit Badge from Dave, provides some insight into the challenges many are facing.

Lesley Chesson, IsoForensics, Inc. writes that he will share data about a research project looking at origin of honey in the next issue of Bee Culture.  Steve Sweet, Boise, ID writes about beekeeping in S.W. Idaho.  Jim Cowan, Aberdeed, WA has had some furher insight about scouts searching for new nest sites.  Wyatt Mangum, Fredericksburg, VA offers his experiences on top bar hives in response to the April 2010 article by Jim Tew about the same topic.  Dale Wolf, Baldwin, WI wonders what the motive might be for stealing hives.  Matt Redman, Chestertown, MD enjoyed Tammy Horn's article on women beekeepers.  David Kelton, Gadsden, AL finds more evidence that nosema treatments save bees.  Burce Guilliani says a photo  in  the June edition, Page 49 should have shown "acceptable" behavior when measured by OSHA standards.

Editor Flottum reflects on the retirement of two very different individuals, Dave Cowen, equipment designer and manufacturer, and Dr. Clarence Collison, current head of Entomology at Mississippi State University and long-time columnist in Bee Culture, currently writing the "A Closer Look" series.  He also says that the concept of "enough food" is something that needs solving for both humans and bees.  Finally read why he's not kidding when it comes to sharpening the hive tool.

Two new books for summer reading include Beekeeping in Coastal California , a different approach as it provides information about a specific place, proving that all beekeeping is "local."  A british book, Keeping Healthy Honey Bees, by David Aston and Sally Bucknail is published by Northern Bee Books, and concentrates on diseases and pests

Christi Heintz and Gabriele Ludwig write about pesticides and honey bees from a larger perspective. Read how this issue might provide an issue for strategic planning that might better unify beekeepers. 

Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at queen recognition and retinue formation. Read how tergal glands are involved, along with the other glands in the head and elsewhere producing the necessary components of so-called queen substance.

Matt Redman explores L.L. Langstroth's Maryland Roots. Read how these show Scottish and Swedish origins and some evidence of French.  Finally, L.L. appears to have been at least partially related to England's Plantagenet lineage.

J. lloyd Harris describes the development of a spreadsheet that calculates growth and measures bee population. Read the article to get tips on using the spreadsheet, an .xls file.

Greg Hunt writing for the Managed Pollinator CAP Coordinated Agricultural Project, describes the events and developments concerning breeding honey bees for resistance to parasites and diseases.  Read why we can expect more emphasis on this  in the future.

Yael Grauer concludes that plant diversity is necessary if we are to increase bee diversity.  Read why imported foods may become a greater part of the U.S. diet.

Mel Disselkoen maintains that artificial supersedure is a  good way to get around using chemicals in a beekeeping operation.  Read about on-the-spot queen rearing (OTS)

Jim Tew provides a discussion of sowing honey plants for bees.  Read about planting in both small and larger areas.  See the full list at his web site.

Peter Seiling engineers a coup d'état and becomes President of a local bee association.  Read what he plans to do next.

Walt Wright provides a personal perspective on small hive beetle.  Read what he found out about this adaptable creature.

Larry Connor gives a description of biology and behavior of queens in his article Queen Bee 101.  Read what he says about development timing, mating, egg laying and storing sperm.  This is the first part of a series.

Gwen Rosenberg uses a John Wayne saying to bring into focus that honey bees are worth saving.  Read about her use of apples and bees in the classroom.

Brian McDermott provides the background for the legalization of beekeeping in New York City.  Read his account of how this happened and what it portends for urban beekeeping.

Peter Smith describes one of the biggest beekeeping events in the United Kingdom. Read about this three-day event and see why it's unlike anything else you've seen.

Ann Harman reflects on gardening in the summer, encouraging folks to leave flowers and some plants for bees and other pollinators.  Read what to do about all that zucchini and other prolific crops.  Finally, can you guess what she says to do beyond employing an insecticide-free pest control strategy?

Connie Krochmal defines honeydew and lists a number of surprising plants that will give yields of this unique substance.  Surprisingly, some are also nectar producers.

Tom Theobald asks if we have a pesticide blowout with neonicotinoids, similar to the crude oil one in the Gulf of Mexico.  Read his disturbing analysis, which indeed has many parallels to the oil spill,  and he says, involves both corporations (pesticide companies) and the governmental agency (EPA) that is charged with regulating them.

In All The News That Fits, read the obituaries of Willy Baumgartner (founderof Medivet Pharmaceuticals) and Ted Hooper (author of Guide to Bees and Honey), Nosema as the possible cause  of CCD, USDA Apis bee survey, Pesicide/Pollinator Simulcast Symposium (July 22), Pittsburg as the home of the first community apiary, and a Florida bee theft.

Read poems entitled: I Am a Queen, Honey For Breakfast, and Joy.

Ed Colby recounts a day in the life of ski patrol employee who only wanted to replace his honey cache on the top of a nearby mountain.  Read this highly entertaining account of what went wrong.


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.  .