Friday, 12 November 2010

Apis Newsletter, November 12, 2010

Dear Subscribers,

The downside of no hurricanes this year in north Florida is drought .  The suwanee river is down to record lows  with no rain in sight.  There is also great risk of wild fire as we continue experiencing a strong La Nina event.  The strength and ramifications of this on the heels of an El Nino are lighting up some blogs as this could mean more hurricanes as occurred in 2004. We would not be unhappy with some rain as the hurricane season comes to a close. A little over three weeks ar e left, however, even this pattern could be shifting due to climate change.  Time will tell.

I am back from the annual meeting of the Michigan Beekeepers Association . Thanks to those folks for their hospitality.  I renewed my contacts with Dr. Roger Hoopingarner , retired from Michigan State University and his replacement Dr. Zachary Wang. The Association is going through a constitutional revision, and as part of that a dialogue on what the Association's role should be. The Florida Beekeepers Association is also doing this to a degree, revisiting both its constitution and by laws.  It held a successful convention in E stero the end of last month . This featured many events, including the roll out of my book Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees  and crowning of a honey queen, something Florida had not done since 1997. I am gratified that the book is receiving good reviews, including the one by editor Flottum in the November 2010 issue of Bee Culture.  I am also doing interviews with several people who have purchased the book.

Growing pains are everywhere with reference to beekeeping associations, including both the American Beekeeping Federation, which next meets in Galveston, Texas in January  and Apimondia, meeting in Buenos Aires in September, 2011.   The former is attempting to garner new members, but is having trouble defining itself within the context of U.S. beekeeping activities. The latter has a brand new President, Mr. Gilles Ratia of France as I noted in the last Apis Newsletter. Expect to see more of him in the future, as he continues reorganizing this worldwide federaton of Associations. He might in fact be seen on his motorcyle roaring past your front door.

It had to happen sooner or later. Africanized honey bees have been detected in the state of Georgia .  This article from Bee Culture's Catch the Buzz provides good tips and things to remember. A recent article Entitled Africanized Honey Bees 101 by the Bryan County  looks dispassionately at the ramifications.

My applogies to Analía at Apinet News about the following misunderstanding: "Journalist Federico Petrera told me to be in contact with you, because you published in your newsletter, 'This author discussed his experiences with the Apis newsletter and using electronic databases such as one hedeveloped for Chilean beekeeping some time ago.'  He told me to inform you that he never developed any Chilean system as you said, mainly because he doesn´t have the abilities to do that and also his general knowledge after ApiNews about the technology, was almost none." Here is my reponse: "Sorry about the confusion.  When I said 'this author,' I was not referring to Federico, but to myself, but I can see now that it was not clear who I was talking about.  I am the author of the Apis Newsletter and have put up a Chilean site as I noted in the newsletter.  I hope this makes things more clear.  My apologies to Federico and I will clear this up in the next issue."

U.S. Post Office delivery over the weekend is the newest casualty of the financial crisis.  Editor Flottum asks, therefore, what will happen to package bee delivery?

Beelogics , a bee health startup involved in treating viruses using RNAi technology, is circulating the following: "Recently, Beeologics received an FDA approval to disseminate Remebee™ for investigational use under INAD 11755 and accordingly, is offering Remebee™ for sale to beekeepers who wish to use it this winter. Remebee™ was tested under field conditions in Florida, Pennsylvania and California, and some information regarding these trials is publicly available. If you wish to participate and treat your hives with Remebee™, please send us an email to  to secure a position on the priority list.  This will allow us to better schedule and include you in the treatment regime, beginning in December 2010.  Please include the anticipated number of hives that you wish to tre at, and your contact details. You can also fax to (305) 233 7749 or alternatively, give us a call to (305) 233-6564 and we can discuss, answer questions and register you there". Kindly note that we are only able to include beekeepers who will treat a minimum of 50 hives."

Project Apis m. is on a roll, producing an informative newsletter.  The latest discusses among other things best management practices (BMPs) in nutrition, pest control, disease control, hive management, colony management, business management and others.  These BMPs focus on having strong colonies for almond pollination.  Presentations have been given recently at the Eastern Apicultural Society, Western Apicultural Society, CA Central Valley beekeepers, and the Montana State Beekeepers Association.  Putting key messages about pollination services together in one spot is being well-received.  If you would like copies of our BMP brochure for yourself or your bee club, contact Meg Ribotto at  BMPs can also be accessed on PAm’s web site.   

The National Honey Board is asking for bee-health research proposals for the 2010 competition. Some $223,000 is at stake.

Bears and Beekeeping are getting a lot of coverage recently. See more on this topic by looking at the group site of the Appalachee Beekeepers Association in North Florida

As always, check out what's new at the Extension Bee Health site.

Finally, look at links I have selected for the month at  These include a description of self-certification, beekeeping changes in Argentina, using nuclei (nucs) as part of an ongoing management procedure, and detection of Varroa in Bermuda.  Condolances go out to my good buddy Randolph Furbert at Chartwell Apiaries.
Gleanings from the November 2010 edition of Bee Culture:

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

Meghan Mattingly, Tanzania, writes that there might be some interesting learning opportunities for folks in both Africa and the U.S. analyzing beekeeping in Tanzania.  Editor Flottum points her to Bees for Developmen .  Lisa Lasko, Stahlstown, PA reads Ross Conrad and now Gwen Rosenberg concerning IPM and how ridid thinking can lead to inconsistencies. Apimondia's Ricardo Jannoni-Sebastianini describes in some detail TECA of the Food and Agricultural Association of the United Nations.  There is a beekeeping exchange group.

Editor Flottum discusses a  potpourri of things, from a potential Chinese takeover (honey laundering)  of the U.S. honey industry, to the White House Beekeeper (Charlie Brandt) and his activities, to the National Honey Show, to a brand new movie, Pollination Power.  What a fertile imagination!

New for beekeepers is a hive tracking system, a fix it material (bonding and filling agent)  a ventilated small hive beetle trap and a review of my book Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees, "an easy-to-understand style in a well-organized text."   Other new items include a good smelling bee removal substance   Lefore Essential Oil Patties at GloryBee , a basic beekeeping DVD ($15) that is ninety-minutes long, which can also be rented. Finally, order a signed and numbered limited edition of the September cover, e-mail:

Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at microflora in the honey bee gut.  More important than you might think. Your own gut has similar bugs!

Steve Sheppard reviews an article on frozen bee sperm; it looks like bee breeding might be taking a page out of other livestock improvement methods, but it's not there yet.
Steve also partners with Nick Calderone describing the efforts of the Coordinated Agricultural Project, Building a Better Bee. Read about what must go into a well-designed program to accomplish this important task.

Larry Connor takes on queen problems.  Read his review of what can go wrong with these individuals and the best way to manage these.

Tammy Horn summarizes the life and times of Ellen Smith Tupper.  What a roller coaster ride that was; it's a fun read, but goes to the heart of the matter that agriculture (beekeeping) was a hard-scrabble  life for many women at the end of the Civil War. 

A contemporary woman is now making news.  Dr. Marla Spivak, MacArthur Fellowship winner 2010, the second  at the University of Minnesota and a first for apiculture is one of 23 to receive $500,000 no strings attached funding for the next five years.  Read her bee biography and why she was selected.  Congratulations Marla!

Jim Tew struggles to put into words the devastation of a tornado that tore through the Ohio  Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) on September 16, 2010.  Instead he simply publishes pictures to show the depth of the tragedy.  Fortunately no one was hurt.  It is possible to follow the recovery effort on the World Wide Web.

Steve Tipton provides a pictorial recipe for making a candy board.  Read how this is done so you can be ready for emergency feeding in winter.

Editor Flottum visited several Bee Friendly Farms
in California where the movement began. Read what he found out and how one can get self-certified.  The Wallace Family is the first such firm in Florida.

Ross Conrad urges us to look at a bigger picture when it comes to beekeeping activities. Read his conclusions on things like climate change, staying out of debt, and providing a smaller footprint in most of our activities, including beekeeping.

Kim Flottum writes about Dr. Norman Gary's last hurrah as a "bee wrangler,"  putting on a 30-pound bee beard! Read how this is done for Stan Lee's Super Humans on the History Channel.

Steven Marks urges those with something to say and sell to consider Facebook, the social media network. He discusses The Flying Beekeeer and Red Bee Honey companies, but there are many more a quick search of the site reveals.

Jim Thompson began collecting stamps in the seventh grade. He has migrated to honey bee stamps. Read his tips about this hobby.

Connie Krochmal says honey bees are fond of sages. Read about some of the qualities of this plant and how to grow propagate some of the best varieties for honey bees.

Ann Harman writes that finding leaders for beekeeping associations is always a challenge.  Read some of her tips and ideas about developing a nominating committee and what it should and should not do.

Edwin Simon provides a recipe for lip balm on a budget.  Beeswax is the ticket, but follow these tips to avoid serious problems with this unique substance.

Eugene Makovec asks if you are smarter than a 5th grader.  Read why this age is his best audience and what they provide for him personally as the goto bee guy.

In all the news that fits, Tammy Horn gets the 2010 pollinator advocate award of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, a fossil flower find suggests origin of the sunflower, retirement of West Virginia Judge Dan O'Hanlon (also a beekeeper) who will be at next year's Eastern  Apicultural Society in Rhode Island, Nosema ceranae found in the Northern Territory (but not Western Australia), a honey festival in Saudi Arabia, legalizing beekeeping in Helena, Montana, and a report about honey produced in urban areas of the UK, good for consumers and beekeepers.

In the Bottom Board, Peter Sieling takes up the notion that CBD (collapsing beekeeper disorder) is caused by cell phones. It seems they insist on ringing at the most inappropriate times in the beeyard and are usually out of reach.


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.  .