Like Bee Culture magazine itself, the Apis newsletter is delayed this month. Instead of visiting Philadelphia to help dedicate the L.L. Langstroth birthplace memorial (see the great pictures that Editor Flottum took) I visited Turkey for a week, returned to the Orlando International airport for a day and then flew off to Brazil for another six days. I am still trying to recover a 7-time change differential for the Turkey trip, prior to leaving next weekend for the Michigan State Beekeepers Association meeting in Grand Rapids. The week after that is the Florida Association meeting in Estero Fortunately, although Brazil is just as far away in miles as Turkey, it's only one hour later than Eastern Standard Time and easier on one's circadian rhythm.
The second Pine Honey Congress http://muglacongress.org/index.html again took place at the University of Mugla in Turkey's prime honeydew-producing region. Presenters flew in from all parts of the world, including North and South America, Arabia, Africa, Asia and Europe. Dr. Muhsin Dogaroglu and his crew, especially Ali Ihsan Ozturk who edited the proceedings, put on a good show. The event included dedication of a brand new beekeeping museum in the town of Mugla. Visitors were put up this year much closer to the venue in the small town of Akaya. Highlights of the meeting included a presentation by Apimondia's new president, Gilles Ratia, who also runs one of the oldest web sites on beekeeping.
Mr. Ratia's presentations included a new vision for Apimondia, including restructuring the organization and moving from making resolutions to acting on them. Mr. Ratia promises a new Apimondia web site as part of this vision on the runup to Apimondia 41 in Buenos Aires. In addition, he provided an excellent rundown on world bee losses and the reasons for them being on the increase including, pesticides, Varroa, nutrition, management stress, pollution and climate change. His overridng message, the losses are probably not due to a single factor but are synergistic and different depending on location. In this sense he mentioned the Coloss Project.
Other presentations of note concerned bee breeding efforts and IPM for Varroa control in Canada (Ontario and Quebec), the current situation in Argentina and italy with reference to shifts in beekeeping management, a multiple-queen system for royal jelly production in China, and of course contributions about producing pine honeydew in both Turkey and Greece. It is interesting to note that many of the same stresses put on colonies in Turkey for honeydew production are similar to those found in the almond pollination scene in California. Both are characterized by great concentrations of colonies with beekeepers attempting to get the most production while conditions for colony health, especially nutritional resources, are at best marginal.
The beekeeping revolution continues in Brazil, which unlike Turkey seems to have minimally been affected by the global economic crisis. Natal, the jumping off place for U.S. aviators during W.W. II for Africa, is literally booming as is the rest of the country. High rises tower above the legendary beaches of Ponta Negra, Buzios, Tapatinga and Pipa. The Convention Center there hosted the 10th edition of the Ibero-Latin American Beekeeping Congress. You can read my reports on previous congresses of this nature via squidoo.com authored for The Speedy Bee, American Bee Journal and Bee Culture . Not as large as the Brazilian Congress I attended in 2004 in the same city, this one featured an attempt to reinvigorate a new organization called FILAPI (Federation of Ibero-Latin American Beekeeping Associations). The next will meeting in Venezuela in 2012.
The Theme of the Brazilian conference mirrored somewhat that of Apimondia in Montpellier, France last year, environment and agribusiness. The innovative web site features a blog that shows off the Brazilian campaign to increase domestic honey consumption, "Every Day Ask For Honey". Although similar to the Turkish congress in terms of presentations, there was one big difference, the emphasis on stingless beekeeping that is really becoming an important force in the country. The great pioneer of this kind of beekeeping Dr. Paulo Nogeira Neto, was present; it was truly an historic event to see him seated in front of a colony of his beloved Urucu (Melipona scutellaris) at the Meliponiario de Santa Luzia. He is clearly in failing health, but still sharpin mind. Sadly, I was inform ed that the other great Brazilian beekeeping pioneer, Dr. Warwick Kerr, is suffering from Altzeimer's disease and was not present at the congress.
The Congress featured a presentation by Dr. David Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who has spent the last 30 years looking at bees in the tropics and has numerous publications to his credit. His presentation on Africanized honey bee (AHB) competition with native bees was an eye-opener. He concluded that despite much discussion to the contrary the presence of AHB actually appears to have increased resources for many bees in places they have been introduced. He said the Tropics is a "sloppy system" of pollinators like beetles, bats, kinkajous, bees, and other organisms that has great flexibility and can incorporate to its advantage even a successful invasive insect like the Africanized honey bee. He also thinks the AHB invasion has been drastically affected in may areas by predators tha t have "learned" to prey on AHB in nesting sites such as termite mounds. These include ant eaters (tamandua) and weasel-like tayras. Although AHB in the tropics may not be as competitive as once thought, Dr. Roubik believes that introducing them to ecosystems that are not as complex (natural areas in Australia and the U.S. for example) could amount to a "kiss of death."
Dr. Roubik provides some words of further explanation: "The AHB is a special kind of competitor. It either takes it all and then goes away when there is nothing (leaving the local area depleted of bees, and pollinators, eventually), or it keeps maintaining populations at a low level, but can nonetheless unaggressively monopolize the best resources, by recruitment and colony size advantages. In the long-term, although it may pollinate a lot of plants, it may also gradually change landscapes to have more and more of the flowers it uses and pollinates most. The caveat I have to mention is that it does least well where there are rain forests with a lot of competitors, predators, and natural enemies (like the army ants, robber bees, tayras and tamanduas). It can, however, live on their edges and forage or opportunistically nest far within them, from time to time. As rainforests shrink and become fragmented, it will probably go everywhere in a more or less large, per sistent population. When I recently took a plane ride 200 km into the itnerior of Suriname, the first bee I saw when off the plane in a tiny landing strip was an AHB.
"It also has evolved and changed since coming to the Americas. I suspect this means it can still cut and run, after defending like crazy, but it can also forage at the right times and places to have its way, so to speak.
"It migrates. None of the other bees can do that.
"It also lives off the fat of the land (sloppy pollination systems designed to feed large vertebrates), as do Apis throughout the tropics (Apis dorsata is the closest thing to A. mellifera, in its tropical behavior and strategies for picking up the leftovers- and the grasses)."
For more on AHB in the Americas, see the series on this insect at squidoo.com.
Another featured presentation was on the impact of electronic media on beekeepers, and included discussion of "Sweet Message," (Mensagem Doce), the newsletter of Apacame celebrating 30 years of publication (Constantino Zara Filho - Executive President) and the prolific Argentina beekeeping radio producer, Federico Petrera. This author discussed his experiences with the Apis newsletter and using electronic databases such as one he developed for Chilean beekeeping some time ago.
The two biggest stories that broke while I was away as the awarding of the "Genus Award" to Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota and publication of a new iridescent virus found to be correlated with Nosema cerana. The latter duo have been found in colonies of CCD and provide another twist on this intriguing story.
As always, check out what's new at the Extension Bee Health site.
Finally, look at links I have selected for the omnt at Publish2.com. These include a picture of a diseased comb that is making the rounds, more on the CCD study, climate change and bees, evolution and others.
Gleanings from the October 2010 edition of Bee Culture:
Remember that Bee Culture is now available in a digital edition:
Matt Powell, Hanover, VA writes that chainsaw produced smoker fuel often contains bar oil residues and so may not be the best for bees. Kavid Kvinikadze, Georgia, Europe has established a discussion group looking for partners in the U.S. firstname.lastname@example.org. Deborah Cochran, Shelby, OH describes her overwintering management. Herbert Iseler asks if robbing might be an inherited trait?
Editor Flottum and Dewey Caron are revising their book on observation hives and are asking for input from others concerning their experiences. Send to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor Flottum turns customer service on its head. He writes that it's time for growers to consider providing quality service to beekeepers. Read why. Also note that the term "raffle" has unintended consequences, being highly regulated. Rather use another term like a "fund raiser."
Books to read include The Hive Detectives, Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrohe by Loree Griffin Burns, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. This recounts the CCD situation and is oriented to non beekeeper kids and adults. Also noted is Bees, Ants and Wasps looking at the importance of hymenoptera in the environment. I looked in vain for a review of my new book, Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees. You'll have to read it elsewhere. Maybe next month?
Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan continue their closer look series by examining pheromone distribution. Read how queen pheromone is produced and spread around the nest.
Mike Hood looks at IPM and wax moth, the "ugly side" of things. Read about biological control possibilities including BT (B401) and using the imported red fire ant to clean up infestations. Two chemicals are registered for wax moth (paradicholorobenzene - PDB and aluminum phosphide - Phostoxin, but they are both problematic and should only be used as a last resort.
Jeremy Barnes writes that The Centre Cannot Hold When Things Fall Apart. Read why we need both the periphery and Centre in agricultural systems and how even Walmart has seen the light.
Larry Connor compares package bees and nuclei management. Read why he recommends every beekeeper have at least one nucleus per three managed colonies.
Jim Tew examines the two basic things beekeepers do, start beekeeping and stop beekeeping. Read why getting into beekeeping and staying there has a natural cycle, including getting out.
Roger Hoopingarer asks Did Langstroth have it right when it comes to winter management. Apparently so. Read his eternal philosophy on this and why Dr. Hoopingarner wrote his annotated edition of The Hive and the Honey Bee.
Ross Conrad contends there is "no contest" when it comes to comparing top bar and Langstroth hives. Read why he likes both depending on circumstances.
Duane Waid takes a busman's holiday visiting beekeepers in New York and Florida. Read what he learned and why he urges others to embark on the same journey.
Jennifer Berry relates some Post Office history. Read how shipping live insects is becoming more and more difficult and why she moved to UPS.
Sophia Sparks believes her father Greg has fixed the winter kill factor where they live. Read about the hive modifications, including a "condensation board," that is part of the recipe for this Illinois beekeeper.
Ann Harman says don't take no for an answer when finding a likely officer of an association. Read the duties she suggests for President on down and why a "newbee" might be a great choice over someone with many years of beekeeping experience. For guidance read what I posted at the Florida State Beekeepers Association site on the subject with reference to the Eastern Apicultural Society's search for leadership.
Tom Theobald bemoans the lack of honesty in food labelling. Read why he says the "nuts are in the board room" when it comes to Honey Nut Cheerios. Read why on trace amounts of honey and and no nuts is problematic in this breakfast cereal.
Again, skim the pictures that editor Flottum published of Langstroth's birthplace celebration in Philadelphia.
Matt Redman relates the surreal tale of P.J. Mahan, another Philadelphia resident, credited with importing the first Italian honey bees to the U.S. Read how Mr. Mahan survived the Texas revolution to latter bring this prolific insect to the New World.
In all the news that fits Pennsylvania State University received $100,000 for CCD research, publicity is released for the North American Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow in Galveston (January 4-8, 2011), Australia steps up search for invading Asian honey bees and prepares beekeepers for a coming locust control process, a con-man sells 11 tons of fake honey in Israel, better nectar sources are in store of Isreal, Haagen-Dazs is thinking outside the box http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/haven/havenopening.html and an obituary for one of apiculture's pioneers, Professor Frank Robinson of the University of Florida.
Finally, Ed Colbey in the Bottom Board discusses his honey marketing strategy and his conversation with a colleague about everyone on the same journey. Read what "crossing over" means and why worry is really a misuse of imagination.
Malcolm T. Sanford
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