Newsnotes archive

March 2014

Pathogenic Plant Virus Jumps to Honey Bee

A viral pathogen that typically infects plants has been found in honey bees and could help explain their decline. Researchers working in the U.S. and Beijing, China report their findings in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
The routine screening of bees for frequent and rare viruses “resulted in the serendipitous detection of Tobacco Ringspot Virus, or TRSV, and prompted an investigation into whether this plant-infecting virus could also cause systemic infection in the bees,” says Yan Ping Chen from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, an author on the study.

“The results of our study provide the first evidence that honeybees exposed to virus-contaminated pollen can also be infected and that the infection becomes widespread in their bodies,” says lead author Ji Lian Li, at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing.

“We already know that honey bees, Apis melllifera, can transmit TRSV when they move from flower to flower, likely spreading the virus from one plant to another,” Chen adds.

Notably, about 5% of known plant viruses are pollen-transmitted and thus potential sources of host-jumping viruses. RNA viruses tend to be particularly dangerous because they lack the 3’-5’ proofreading function which edits out errors in replicated genomes. As a result, viruses such as TRSV generate a flood of variant copies with differing infective properties.

One consequence of such high replication rates are populations of RNA viruses thought to exist as “quasispecies,” clouds of genetically related variants that appear to work together to determine the pathology of their hosts. These sources of genetic diversity, coupled with large population sizes, further facilitate the adaption of RNA viruses to new selective conditions such as those imposed by novel hosts. “Thus, RNA viruses are a likely source of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases,” explain these researchers.

Toxic viral cocktails appear to have a strong link with honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious malady that abruptly wiped out entire hives across the United States and was first reported in 2006. Israel Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV), Chronic Paralysis Virus (CPV), Kashmir Bee Virus (KBV), Deformed Wing Bee Virus (DWV), Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) and Sacbrood Virus (SBV) are other known causes of honeybee viral disease.

When these researchers investigated bee colonies classified as “strong” or “weak,” TRSV and other viruses were more common in the weak colonies than they were in the strong ones. Bee populations with high levels of multiple viral infections began failing in late fall and perished before February, these researchers report. In contrast, those in colonies with fewer viral assaults survived the entire cold winter months.

TRSV was also detected inside the bodies of Varroa mites, a “vampire” parasite that transmits viruses between bees while feeding on their blood. However, unlike honeybees, the mite-associated TRSV was restricted to their gastric cecum indicating that the mites likely facilitate the horizontal spread of TRSV within the hive without becoming diseased themselves. The fact that infected queens lay infected eggs convinced these scientists that TRSV could also be transmitted vertically from the queen mother to her offspring.

“The increasing prevalence of TRSV in conjunction with other bee viruses is associated with a gradual decline of host populations and supports the view that viral infections have a significant negative impact on colony survival,” these researchers conclude. Thus, they call for increased surveillance of potential host-jumping events as an integrated part of insect pollinator management programs.


Solving of 200-Year-Old Bee Puzzle Began at UC Davis

Arizona State University Provost Robert E. Page, Jr., emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and two other UC Davis-affiliated scientists are among the key members of a scientific team from the United States, Germany and France that cracked the 200-year secret of complementary sex determination in honey bees.
The research, “Gradual Molecular Evolution of a Sex Determination Switch in Honeybees through Incomplete Penetrance of Femaleness,” is published in the December edition of Current Biology. The research shows that five amino acid differences separate males from females.

The lead author, Martin Beye, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany, was Page’s former UC Davis postdoctoral researcher. Bee breeder-geneticist Michael “Kim” Fondrk provided the genetic material from crosses using Page’s bees that he tends at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.

“The story goes back to Johann Dzierson in the mid 1800s through Mendel, through Harry Laidlaw to me and to my former postdoc at Davis, Martin Beye,” Page said.

“Much of the work was done at UC Davis beginning in 1990,” Page said.  “From 1999-2000, Martin Beye was a Fyodor Lynen Fellow in my lab funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  During that year he began the sequencing and characterization of the csd gene; the paper was eventually published as a cover article in Cell.”

Said Fondrk: “This project was a long time in making; it began soon after our Cell paper was published in 2003. First we needed to assemble variation for alleles at the sex locus, by collecting drones from many different, presumably unrelated queens, and mating one drone each through an independently reared set of queens using instrumental insemination (which was Fondrk’s task). “Then a second set of crosses was made to identify and isolate individual sex alleles. The progeny that resulted from this cross were taken to Germany where Martin Beye’s team began the monumental task of sequencing the sex determination region in the collected samples.”

“It’s taken nearly 200 years, but scientists in Arizona and Europe have teased out how the molecular switch for sex gradually and adaptively evolved in the honey bee,” wrote ASU spokesperson Margaret Coulombe, director of academic communications for the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Silesian monk Johann Dzierson began studying the first genetic mechanism for sex determination in the mid-1800s. Dzierson knew that royal jelly determines whether the females will be queen bees or honey bee colonies, but he wondered about the males.

Dzierson believed that the males or drones were haploid – possessing one set of chromosomes, a belief confirmed in the 1900s with the advent of the microscope. In other words, the males, unlike the females, came from unfertilized eggs.

“However, how this system of haplodiploid sex determination ultimately evolved at a molecular level has remained one of the most important questions in developmental genetics,” Coulombe pointed out in her news release.

The collaborators resolved the last piece of the puzzle.

“Once again, the studies by Dr. Rob Page and his colleagues have unraveled another mystery of honey bee development,” commented Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who was not involved in the study but knows the work of many of the collaborators. “It would be interesting if someone investigated the same type of sexual dimorphism in other hymenopterans to determine if they all use the same, ancient-based mechanism.”

The authors studied 14 natural sequence variants of the complementary sex determining switch (csd gene), for 76 genotypes of honey bees.

“While complex, the researchers had several tools at hand that their predecessors lacked to solve this sexual determination puzzle,” Coulombe wrote. “First, honey bees are ideal study subjects because they have one gene locus responsible for sex determination. Also, Page and former graduate student Greg Hunt identified genetic markers – well-characterized regions of DNA – close to the complementary sex determining locus to allow gene mapping. In addition, Hunt and Page found that the honey bees’ high recombination rate – the process by which genetic material is physically mixed during sexual reproduction – is the highest of any known animal studied, which helped Beye isolate, sequence and characterize the complementary sex determining locus. Page and Beye were also able to knock out an allele and show how one could get a male from a diploid genotype; work that was featured on the cover of the journal Cell in 2003.

“However, the questions of which alleles were key, how they worked together and in what combinations and why this system evolved were left unanswered, though tantalizing close. This compelled the current team of collaborators to step back to review what actually constitutes an allele.”

Page was quoted in the news release: “There has to be some segment of that gene that is responsible in this allelic series, where if you have two different coding sequences in that part of the gene you end up producing a female. So we asked how different do two alleles have to be? Can you be off one or two base pairs or does it always have to be the same set of sequences? We came up with a strategy to go in and look at these 18-20 alleles and find out what regions of these genes are responsible among these variants.”

“In this process,” Page said, “we also had to determine if there are intermediate kinds of alleles and discover how they might have evolved.”

“What the authors found,” wrote Coulombe, “was that at least five amino acid differences can control allelic differences to create femaleness through the complementary sex determiner (csd) gene – the control switch.”

Page explained: “We discovered that different amounts of arginine, serine and proline affect protein binding sites on the csd gene, which in turn lead to different conformational states, which then lead to functional changes in the bees – the switch that determines the shift from female to not female.”

The authors also discovered a natural evolutionary intermediate that showed only three amino acid differences spanned the balance between lethality and induced femaleness, Coulombe wrote. The findings suggest that that incomplete penetrance may be the mechanism by which new molecular switches can gradually and adaptively evolve. 

Other co-authors included Christine Seelmann and Tanja Gempe of the University of Duesseldorf; Martin Hasslemann, Institute of Genetics at the University of Cologne, Germany; and Xavier Bekmans with Université Lille, n France. Grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft supported their work.

Page, who studies the evolution of complex social behavior in honey bees, from genes to societies, received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1980, and served as an assistant professor at Ohio State University before joining the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1989. He chaired the department for five years, from 1999 to 2004 when ASU recruited him as the founding director and dean of the School of Life Sciences, an academic unit within College of Liberal Arts and Science (CLAS).

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost honey bee geneticists, Page is a highly cited entomologist who has authored more than 230 research papers and articles centered on Africanized bees, genetics and evolution of social organization, sex determination and division of labor in insect societies. His work on the self-organizing regulatory networks of honey bees is featured in his new book, The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution, published in June 2013 by Harvard University Press.

(by Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC-Davis Dept. of Entomology and Nematology)

Ancient Pheromones Keep Queens in Charge

Researchers have identified a particular class of structurally similar, queen-specific hydrocarbons that suppress the reproduction of ant, wasp and bumblebee workers alike -- and they suggest that these pheromones have been around, signaling fertility in social insects, for nearly 150 million years. Previous studies have shown that when it comes to such social insects, queens maintain their monopoly on reproduction by emitting chemical signals that render their loyal workers infertile. But, even though these signals, called pheromones, achieve the same end in various species, they are structurally diverse. Annette Van Oystaeyen and colleagues studied the chemical profiles of the outer skeleton, or cuticle, of the desert ant, the common wasp and the buff-tailed bumblebee and found several compounds that were specifically overproduced in the queens of each species. They tested those chemicals on workers and discovered that, even when their queens were gone, the presence of saturated hydrocarbons kept the workers infertile. (Meanwhile, however, control groups of the insect species rapidly developed ovaries in the absence of their queens.)
Van Oystaeyen and her colleagues compared their findings to those of 90 other published studies and investigated the chemicals that have been consistently overproduced by queens across 64 different species. Their findings reveal that saturated hydrocarbons are, by far, the most common class of chemicals overproduced by social insect queens. In fact, their study suggests that similar hydrocarbons were used by the solitary ancestors of ants, wasps and bumblebees to indicate their reproductive status millions of years ago. The study suggests that these chemicals have been evolutionarily stable, and that queen pheromones are honest signs of the queen’s fertility (not manipulative signals, variable over time, meant to actively suppress worker reproduction). A Perspective article by Michel Chapuisat explains this study in more detail and highlights its implications regarding the ancient origins of eusociality.

February 2014

 (excerpt)

A Unique Gift to UC Davis: One to ‘Bee Hold’


by Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Dept. of Entomology


DAVIS--It was a gift to bee-hold--and a gift meant to keep on giving. No, not a donor organ, tree, or a smile. In this case, the gift was for generations of honey bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.

During a pollinator education program, employees of Valent U.S.A. Corporation, based in Walnut Creek, wanted to do something significant, something that would help the troubled bee population, and something that would promote team building.

So more than 270 employees engaged in a beehive building exercise, constructing 26 Langstroth bee hives. They delivered them to the Laidlaw facility in early December where bee breeder-geneticist Michael “Kim” Fondrk, extension apiculturist Eric Mussen and staff research associate/Laidlaw manager Billy Synk, all of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, gratefully accepted them.

The gift is valued at $4290. Said Mussen: “This is an incredible gift.”
“They did a good job,” said Fondrk, who provided workshop tips on how to build the bee boxes, using the right materials and specifications.

“We are thrilled to donate these hives to the Laidlaw facility,” said Meg Brodman, manager of marketing communications for Valent. “We recognize the incredible work being done by your organization and we thank you for your commitment to supporting the needs of America’s farmers through pollinator research, particularly in California, where we are also headquartered.”

“Pollinator safety,” she said, “continues to be a focus within our organization, and we at Valent, along with our counterparts in crop protection, are keenly focused on efforts that will support education and research for pollinator safety in agriculture.”

The bee boxes will be used beginning in the spring of 2014, just in time for the seasonal population build-up. In the peak season, each hive will hold some 60,000 bees. Brian Johnson, assistant professor, keeps his research bees at the apiary; his lab studies the genetics, behavior, evolution, and health of honey bees. Fondrk, who also keeps his bees in a nearby apiary, manages the research bees of Robert E. Page Jr., emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Johnson and associate professor Neal Williams, pollination ecologist, are co-directors of the Laidlaw facility.

Making the trek to UC Davis were Eric Tamichi, manager of registration and regulatory affairs; Linda Obrestad, regulatory division; and Brodman. Brodman described Valent as a “growing crop protecting company, offering a diverse line of conventional and biorational products, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicide, seed protection and plant growth regulators that protect agricultural crops, enhance crop yields, improve food quality, beautify the environment and safeguard public health.”

As for the bees, a few buzzed down to investigate their new homes as the crew wheeled the boxes into the building.

Friendship Between Researcher, Teenager Benefits Honey Bees


by Kate Wilhite
College of Agricultural, Human &
Natural Resource Sciences
Washington State University


PULLMAN, Wash. – At just 16 years old, Sheridan Miller is already a veteran fundraiser. The Mill Valley, Calif., teenager recently donated $1,400 she raised to help support Washington State University’s honey bee stock improvement program. Over the past six years, she has raised more than $5,000 to help fund research aimed at combating colony collapse disorder (CCD) and saving the honey bee.

A bee ally is born
Miller first became interested in honey bees when she was 10. She heard her mom talking about how bees were disappearing and became concerned.

“I remember being incredibly worried, because she said most ice cream flavors would be gone along with their disappearance,” said Miller, referring to the vital role bees play in agriculture through the pollination of about 100 crops, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, apples, cranberries and almonds.

About the same time, Miller had a school assignment to create a presentation on the topic of her choice. She chose to research honey bees and CCD. What she learned was far more disturbing than the disappearance of ice cream flavors, she said.

Energy and commitment

Energized by this new knowledge, Miller decided to help. She held her first fundraiser at age 10 and has made donations to bee research every year since. This year she organized and hosted a lecture for local honey bee enthusiasts and concerned citizens. The featured speaker was Sue Cobey, a WSU bee breeder-geneticist who Miller supported previously at the University of California, Davis.

“Sue was kind enough to come to Mill Valley to talk about her work with honey bees,” said Miller. “She really did an amazing job and continues to do amazing work each and every day.”
Miller’s parents are proud of their daughter’s commitment to the cause and her fund-
raising skills. Her father, Craig, describes Miller’s accomplishments as “remarkable.”
For this year’s fundraiser, she rented a clubhouse from the city of Mill Valley, got facility administrators to waive their insurance and down payment requirements, secured sponsors to pay for food and beverages and publicized the event. She also enlisted Cobey, who agreed to fly down and speak for more than two hours.

At the event, Miller sold hand-rolled beeswax candles, booklets about honey bees and raffle tickets for a donated gift basket.

“Sheridan cares so much about people and the earth,” said her father. “We are amazed at her energy level and the fact that, instead of burning out, she seems to be getting even more committed to her efforts. She often tells us of her next idea where she hopes to raise even more money than the last time.”

Developing high-level connections
Miller first met Cobey at UC Davis in 2009. Cobey was manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility (http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/), the largest and most comprehensive state-supported apiculture facility in North America. She gave Miller and her family a tour of the bee lab, with the goal to “enamor them with the bees and show what can be done,” said Cobey.

“Sheridan was excited about the breeding program we were working on as one piece of the puzzle in dealing with the collapse of colonies,” Cobey said. “She wanted to support this.”
After that first meeting, Miller kept in touch with Cobey, writing and asking questions. When Cobey came to work for WSU, Miller’s interest and donations followed.

“Sue has been generous with her time and her gratitude toward Sheridan,” said Craig. “She has instilled confidence in Sheridan and an incredible sense of pride.

“I guess an organization could simply send a thank-you note for a donation,” he said. “Sue, on the other hand, sent friendship, knowledge, encouragement – and even bees!”

Combating CCD with better breeding
Beekeepers first sounded the alarm about CCD when entire apiaries of bees began disappearing circa 2006. Researchers now believe that CCD may be caused by a variety and combination of factors, including pesticides, parasitic mites, pathogens, viruses and malnutrition resulting from the declining diversity and abundance of flowers.

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies in the country die annually.

Miller’s donations, along with other funding, support Cobey, who is working with Steve Sheppard, chair of the WSU Department of Entomology (http://entomology.wsu.edu/), to establish the first genetic repository of honey bee semen in the world. The project’s goal is to preserve and increase genetic diversity known to increase honey bee fitness and the ability to better cope with environmental challenges.

“Our project at WSU includes the importation of honey bee germplasm for breeding purposes in collaboration with U.S. honey bee queen producers who supply stock to beekeepers nationwide,” said Cobey.

Restrictions on honey bee importation into the United States have been in place since 1922 in an effort to protect domestic bees from imported mites and other dangers. The restrictions have resulted in a limited gene pool for U.S. honey bees.

“A million-and-a-half queens are commercially produced annually to supply the industry. These are descended from about 500 queen mothers – a relatively small number,” said Cobey.

“Lack of genetic diversity can lead to reduced fitness,” she said. “We look at genetic diversity as our tool box for selection toward more hardy strains of honey bees.”
Recent improvements in technology have made it possible for Cobey and fellow researchers to collect and successfully preserve honey bee semen. Germplasm imported from several races of honey bees in Europe is being crossed with domestic breeding stocks to create healthier, more robust bees.

Researchers are also collecting domestic strains of bees to preserve for future selection programs.

The outlook from a budding beekeeper
Miller’s passion for helping honey bees has led her to become a backyard beekeeper. Cobey set her up with her first hives.

“It’s been quite the experience, and I mean that in the best way,” said Miller. “Bees are such fascinating creatures; we as people can learn so much from the way they live.”
She offers the following tip for new beekeepers: “Don’t be tentative,” she said. “I was incredibly tentative the first few times around the hive, and it just holds you back from learning as much as you can about these insects.”

While Miller isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up, she will always maintain her love of bees.

“I want to continue in the field of science, whether that is in honey bee research or in the medical field,” Miller said. “I have so many things I want to pursue, and I am very excited to have fun learning where my biggest passions lie.

“I always want to be a backyard beekeeper, though,” she added. “I really sympathize with these tiny creatures’ plight and see them as ‘a canary in a coal mine’ for our somewhat ailing world.”

What advice does Miller have for others who are concerned about problems in the world?
“Honestly, and I know this sounds cliché, but every little bit counts,” she said. “CCD is an incredibly terrifying prospect … but it will only continue to keep getting worse if we just sit on the sidelines and let it happen.

“I have only made a tiny impact,” she said, “but if everyone made just as tiny an impact with this issue, or with other huge issues in the world, we would have 7 billion people making a gigantic impact – together.”

To learn more about honey bee research at WSU, visit http://entomology.wsu.edu/apis/.

January 2014

MadewithHoney.com Interactive Websites

Offered by National Honey Board


In an effort to provide food manufactures with information about the use of honey as an ingredient in products, the National Honey Board created the MadeWithHoney.com interactive websites. These five websites were launched to provide manufacturers with industry-specific technical, marketing and formulation assistance in the areas of baking, beverage, confectionery, dairy and snacking.
The National Honey Board encourages industry members to utilize the information and content found on these websites to stay up-to-date on the latest food product trends and innovation, as well as the most recent technical data available.
To find out more about these sites, the National Honey Board encourages you to visit MadeWithHoney.com.
www.BakingWithHoney.com: This informative website contains information on baking with honey, including retail and wholesale baking formulas and technical specifications.  Some of the newer technical materials include Frequently Asked Questions from the retail and wholesale baking industries, and information on Honey Substitution.
www.BeveragesWithHoney.com: This website offers insight into the expanding beverage industry as manufactures realize the value of using an all-natural sweetener with exceptional flavor and marketing impact.
www.CandyWithHoney.com: This website provides confectionery manufacturers with new product ideas and stories about the latest candy industry trends.
www.DairyWithHoney.com: From ice cream to yogurt, this website offers dairy food and beverage manufacturers the latest information on honey and dairy products made with honey.
www.SnackingWithHoney.com: An online guide to snack food products made with honey, as well as technical and marketing information for using honey in savory and salty snacks.

Texas Honey Broker Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Avoiding $37.9 Million in Tariffs on Chinese-Origin Honey


U.S. Dept. of Justice News Release

CHICAGO — A Texas honey broker was sentenced Nov. 14, 2013 to three years in federal prison for illegally brokering the sale of hundreds of container loads of Chinese-origin honey, which was misrepresented as originating from India or Malaysia, to avoid anti-dumping duties when it entered the United States. The defendant, JUN YANG, pleaded guilty in March to facilitating illegal honey imports by falsely declaring that the honey originated in countries other than China to avoid $37.9 million in anti-dumping duties.
Yang, 40, of Houston, operated National Honey, Inc., which did business as National Commodities Company in Houston, and brokered the sale of honey between overseas honey suppliers and domestic customers. He was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Jan. 15, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras, who cited the “inescapable harm” to the U.S. honey industry in imposing the sentence.
Yang has already paid financial penalties totaling $2.89 million to the government, including a maximum fine of $250,000, mandatory restitution of $97,625, and agreed restitution of $2,542,659.
“This is a significant sentence against a perpetrator of one of the largest food fraud schemes uncovered in U.S. history,” said Gary Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI Chicago. “Unbeknownst to Yang, he was dealing with an undercover HSI agent who was one step ahead of his illegal activities. Together with our partners at Customs and Border Protection, we will continue to protect American industries from deceptive import practices, while facilitating the lawful flow of goods across our borders that is so critical to the U.S. economy.”
According to court documents, Yang caused transportation companies to deliver to U.S. honey processors and distributors 778 container loads of honey, which were falsely declared at the time of importation as being from Malaysia or India, knowing that all or some of the honey had actually originated in China. As a result, the honey, which had an aggregate declared value of nearly $23 million when it entered the country, avoided anti-dumping duties and honey assessments totaling more than $37.9 million.
In addition, Yang admitted that he sold purported Vietnamese honey that tested positive for the presence of Chloramphenicol, an antibiotic not allowed in honey or other food products. After learning of the unfavorable test results, Yang obtained new test results that purported to show that the honey was not adulterated, and he instructed the undercover agent to destroy the unfavorable test results. This adulterated honey was seized by the government.
The sentence was announced by Mr. Hartwig and Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Yang was among a group of individuals and companies who were charged in February of this year in the second phase of an investigation led by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In December 2001, the Commerce Department determined that Chinese-origin honey was being sold in the United States at less than fair market value, and imposed anti-dumping duties. The duties were as high as 221 percent of the declared value, and later were assessed against the entered net weight, currently at $2.63 per net kilogram, in addition to a “honey assessment fee” of one cent per pound of all honey. In October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert for honey containing the antibiotic Chloramphenicol, a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat serious infections in humans, but which is not approved for use in honey. Honey containing certain antibiotics is deemed “adulterated” within the meaning of federal food and drug safety laws.
In 2008, federal authorities began investigating allegations involving circumventing antidumping duties through illegal imports, including transshipment and mislabeling, on the “supply side” of the honey industry. The second phase of the investigation involved the illegal buying, processing, and trading of honey that illegally entered the U.S. on the “demand side” of the industry.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros.

Make Sure You Don’t Buy Illegal Honey from China


Check Your Honey with a New Look-Up Tool on www.TrueSourceHoney.com

Washington, D.C. – November 14, 2013 – A new search function on www.TrueSourceHoney.com allows U.S. shoppers to be sure that they’re not mistakenly buying honey that has been illegally shipped from China. In one easy step they can help ensure the safety and quality of their honey, while also supporting U.S. honey producers and beekeepers. In addition, retailers and manufacturers are able to trace their product back to the hive.
By going to www.TrueSourceHoney.com and clicking on the starburst at the top of the page, consumers can enter the UPC code on the back of their packaged honey to see if it is True Source Certified™.
Millions of pounds of illegally sourced honey may continue to enter the United States, despite continuing federal crack-down efforts. True Source Certification™ helps ensure honey’s safety and quality because it traces the source of that honey from hive to table. The program has been applauded by honey industry leaders, including the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation.
“The True Source Certified logo tells you that the honey you’re buying was ethically and legally sourced,” says True Source Honey Executive Director Gordon Marks. “If you don’t see the logo, ask your retailer or honey company to join the program. And make sure that your favorite foods with honey – from breakfast cereals to snacks – are made by a manufacturer that purchases honey from a True Source Certified honey company.”
Earlier this year, two of the nation’s largest honey suppliers admitted to buying illegally imported Chinese honey, including some that was adulterated with unauthorized antibiotics.
About one-third of honey sold in North America today is now True Source Certified. Many large grocery retailers and club stores only use certified honey for store brands, including Costco (Kirkland Signature) and Target (Market Pantry and Simply Balanced).
The U.S. imports more than 60% of the honey it needs from other countries. Most is from high-quality, legal sources. But some honey brokers and importers illegally circumvent tariffs and quality controls, selling honey to U.S. companies that is of questionable origin. This threatens the U.S. honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey’s reputation for quality and safety.
True Source Honey, LLC is an effort by a number of honey companies and importers to protect consumers and customers from illegally sourced honey; and to highlight and support legal, transparent and ethical sourcing. The initiative seeks to help maintain the reputation of honey as a high-quality, highly valued food and further sustain the U.S. honey sector. Visit www.TrueSourceHoney.com. Follow us on Facebook.

Queen Bee’s Honesty is the Best Policy for Reproduction Signals


Queen bees convey honest signals to worker bees about their reproductive status and quality, according to an international team of researchers, who say their findings may help to explain why honey bee populations are declining.
“We usually think of animals’ chemical signals (called pheromones) as communication systems that convey only very simple sorts of information,” said Christina Grozinger, professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Penn State. “However, this study demonstrates that queen honey bees are conveying a lot of nuanced information through their pheromones.
“In addition, until now, no one knew if queen bees were manipulating workers into serving them or if they were providing valuable, honest information to workers. We have found that the information queens are conveying constitutes an honest message about their reproductive status and quality. The queens are ‘telling’ the workers that they are queens, whether or not they are mated and how well mated they are. In other words, whether or not they have mated with a lot of males.”
Why do worker bees care if their queen is well mated? According to Elina Niño, postdoctoral fellow, Penn State, previous research has shown that colonies headed by more promiscuous queens -- those who mate with many males -- are more genetically diverse and, therefore, healthier, more productive and less likely to collapse.
“Beekeepers have been very worried about their queens, since they seem to not be lasting as long -- a few weeks or months instead of one or two years,” said Niño. “We know that workers will replace their queens when they are not performing well. So if worker bees are able to detect poorly mated queens and take steps to remove them, that could be an explanation for the rapid rates of queen loss and turnover that beekeepers have been reporting.”
The researchers, who represent Penn State, North Carolina State University and Tel Aviv University, describe how they assigned queen bees to a variety of treatment groups. They reported their findings in the Nov. 13, 2013 issue of PLOS ONE.
In one group, they inseminated queens with a small volume of semen to mimic a poorly mated queen scenario. In a second group, the researchers inseminated queens with a large volume of semen to mimic a well-mated queen scenario. In a third and fourth group, they inseminated queens with low and high volumes of saline. A fifth group was an untreated control.
The researchers then dissected the queens, removing two glands that are known to produce pheromones -- the mandibular gland and the Dufour’s gland. Next, the team extracted the glands’ secretions and analyzed their chemical compositions using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Finally, the researchers presented the gland extracts to worker bees and observed the extent to which they were attracted to different extracts.
The team found that worker bees preferred pheromone extracts of queens that were inseminated with semen rather than saline. They also found that queens inseminated with higher volumes of semen or saline as opposed to those that were inseminated with low volumes of semen or saline were preferred by worker bees.
“These results suggest that queens are signaling detailed and honest information about their mating state and reproductive quality to workers, and workers are capable of adjusting their behavior accordingly,” Niño said. “When workers replace failing queens, it is particularly damaging to beekeepers since it can take up to three weeks for the new queen to begin laying eggs and another three weeks for the new workers to emerge as adults. This reduces the workforce and therefore reduces honey production and even pollination efficiency.”
The team also found that the mandibular gland and the Dufour’s gland differ in their functions.
“The Dufour’s gland seems to inform workers that queens have mated, while the mandibular gland seems to indicate the queen’s mating quality,” Niño said. “This also means that these glands are likely being regulated via different neurophysiological pathways.”
According to Grozinger, in addition to signaling queen bee reproductive status and quality, queen bee pheromones regulate how fast workers mature and transition from taking care of developing larvae to foraging outside the hive.
“It is possible that changing the quality of the pheromone could disrupt this and other processes, which could have large-scale effects on colony organization and survival,” she said.
Through funding from the Department of Agriculture, the researchers are beginning to examine the effects of viruses, pesticides and poor nutrition on queen pheromone quality to see if the queen also is providing workers with information about her health.
“The more we know about what affects the queen’s health the better chance we will have of creating high-quality queens and disease-resistant stocks of honey bees,” Niño said.

Beekeepers, Growers Laud Bayer Cropscience’s New Fluency Agent


Testimonies and Trials Confirm Seed Treatment Technology Lowers Dust
during Planting; Further Reducing Potential for Honey Bee Exposure

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Nov. 19, 2013) – Bayer CropScience conducted successful field trials of its new seed treatment application technology. The product is designed to further reduce potential dust exposure to honey bees during a typical planting process, while offering improved handling efficiencies for growers.
 
As an alternative to standard talc and graphite lubricants, the new Bayer fluency agent – made of a polyethylene wax substrate – was shown to significantly decrease dust and emissions during laboratory testing:

•    Ninety percent reduction in total dust versus talc
•    Sixty percent reduction in total dust versus graphite

Video testimonials from growers and beekeepers further illustrated the success of the large-scale field trials. The video captures the commercial viability of the new fluency agent under field conditions and features feedback from participants, such as:

•    Performed equal to or better than comparable talc or graphite lubricants;
•    Decreased level of dust during application and easier to avoid dust when checking boxes; and
•    Showed equivalent results at significantly lower use rates than talc when comparing planting uniformity.

The development of the new fluency agent is just the latest example of Bayer‘s dedication to crop protection and commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including the protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees. For additional information and background on other sustainability initiatives please visit http://www.bayercropscience.us/our-commitment/bayer-initiatives.

New Product- Beeshield™


by Justin Jay Brown
head of research and development
www.1stlighttrading.com
www.bee-shield.com
888-657-3636


The ways of the beekeeper have always been very simple; put your bees in a nice foraging area, move them to desired honey-flows and pollinating locations and then reap the benefits of having colonies: honey, pollen, wax, etc. The times have changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and in particular of the last ten years. Bees have been dying and disappearing at a rate that seems as unbelievable as it is mysterious. Beekeepers are losing anywhere from 30-99% of their hives in a single winter!  These are losses that are not acceptable or sustainable for the commercial beekeepers of the world.  Many different reasons have been thrown out to the community: mites, viruses, drought, starvation, brood disease and, of course, pesticides.  An important fact to keep in mind is that it isn’t just one of these factors, but the combination of them all that are smashing down on the busiest worker on the planet. The weight is just becoming too much for our little friends and we are seeing the effects of it the world over. 
Let’s start with starvation. Farmers have been using a modern agronomy program for crops that basically hasn’t changed since the 1950’s. The problem is that this standard NPK program is destroying the soil’s ability to hold water, resulting in a drought. On top of that, it destroys the natural organic life in the soil that allows the plant to absorb the nutrients it needs to produce nectar and pollen. Hence, the nutritional value of nectar and pollen has been declining since the 1950’s, some as much as 38%, so it makes sense that the bees are starving. They are eating food that is almost 40% less nutritious and, since the bee’s only source of food without supplementation is pollen and nectar, this is a large problem indeed. The more nutritious food the bee eats, the better its production of glycolipoprotein or its food storage/immune system. When the bees have an unhealthy food source, they no longer develop properly, their immune systems weaken and they die. Knowing this, it becomes apparent why these next factors are taking such a toll on the bee.
Viruses - there are around 14 different viruses that infect the honey bee in North America, some are tolerated while others destroy a colony. Mites - they are the transport vectors for many harmful viruses and, if the bees have a weakened immune system, these parasites can take over and destroy entire colonies. Last, but most certainly not least, are pesticides, which have been the most destructive factor for the honey bee since 1997. Nationwide protests to ban certain types of pesticides believed to be responsible for killing bees are ongoing.
Just one of any of these factors can be harmful to a colony. Unfortunately, all of these factors are now in play, resulting in a crisis for the health and lives of the honeybee. Something must be done and it must happen soon. There needs to be an increase in nutrient absorption for the honey bee so they have a fully developed immune system.
Hope is not lost, beekeepers are a resourceful lot and much can be done now to save an industry that provides for so many across the world. As a beekeeper and researcher for Shamrock Bees and, now, head of research and development at www.beeshield.com, a division of 1st Light Trading, LLC., I have been on a mission to find something to save our bees. BEESHIELD™ is an organic product, a supplemental spray and syrup additive, that prevents viruses from being able to infect healthy tissue, thus preventing viruses from harming a colony. The shield has been on the market since mid-January, with beekeepers ranging from California all the way to Alabama (Wood Creek Apiary, WA., Shamrock “S” Pollination, CA., and Wild West Honey, WY. to name a few), reporting promising results. BEESHIELD™ also binds to harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are everywhere in the modern agricultural environment, dramatically reducing/eliminating the harmful effects of these on the bee. Another benefit we’ve seen is that it increases the transport of nutrients into the bee’s system, increasing the production of the vital component glycolipoprotein, making for a stronger and healthier hive.  I believe now that there is hope where there seemed to be none and that there is a powerful shield to protect our bees.

Obituary

Raymond Klein

Raymond Michael Klein was born Jan. 6, 1912 to Nicholas and Frances (Wieber) Klein on a farm outside of Richmond, MN; he was the sixth of ten children. After attending country school, he helped operate  the family farm until he enrolled at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. He graduated in 1940 with a degree in apiculture. During the summer of 1940, he took a job with Tanquary Honey Farms in Marshall, MN, hoping it would be the warmest locale of the three oportunities he was offered.
In 1943 Ray went to California to assist in the war effort. He worked for Kaiser Shipyards building Liberty ships, as well as drove a San Francisco city bus, transporting sailors to and from Treasure Island Naval Base. During the 1940’s, Ray and his brother Eugene (Slim) were well known baseball players for the Marshall A’s. In 1950, Ray purchased Tanquary Honey Farms and renamed it Marshall Honey Farms. His lifelong love of beekeeping led to a successful business. In 1951, he established Klein’s Honey which is still available today, more than 60 years later.
On June 14, 1951, he was united in marriage to Cecilia (Haas) Klein in St. James Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN. They made their home in Marshall and were blessed with two children.
Ray died Wednesday, October, 2, 2013 in Marshall. Survivors include his children, Stephen (Kay) Klein of Marshall and Rosemary (Mark) Martin of Villa Hills, KY; 7 grandchildren, Caroline (Rob) Koska, Stephanie, Nicholas, Christian Klein; Jordan, Jacob and Matthew Martin; sister-in-law Rita Klein of Cold Spring and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

December 2013

(excerpt)

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship


Graduate Student Fellowship
Award: $4,000
Deadline: February 1, 2014


Purpose and History
The Garden club of America (GCA) Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship provides funding to a current graduate student to study the causes of Pollinator decline, in particular bees, bats, butterflies and moths, which could lead to potential solutions for their conservation and sustainability. The selection criteria are based on the technical merit of the proposed work and the degree to which the work is relevant to this objective
Pollinators—bees, bats, butterflies and moths—help our prairies, gardens, orchards, blueberry barrens, farmers’ fields and desert cacti reproduce and maintain genetic diversity. One-third of the food we eat has been fertilized by pollinators. An alarming decline in the number of pollinators in recent decades—through chemicals, diseases, mites, loss of habitat, and global climate change—has international repercussions.
The GCA Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship was established in spring 2013 to facilitate independent research in this field. This fellowship was made possible by generous gifts given in honor of the GCA Centennial by members of the Board of Associates.

Provisions
The GCA Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship annually funds one or more graduate students enrolled in U.S. institutions. funding may vary in amount, but normally will be in the range of $4,000 for study and research that will advance the knowledge of pollinator science and increase the number of scientists in the field. A recipient may reapply for an additional year of funding.

Research Categories
The categories under which applicants may apply are:

1. Effects of nutrition, genetics, pesticides, pathogens, parasites and disease on
pollinators
2. Pollinator habitat development, assessment or monitoring
3. Plant-pollinator interactions and pollination biology
4. Research that examines other aspects of pollinator health, including cutting-edge, original concepts

Terms
1. Only one GCA scholarship may be applied for annually.
2. GCA fellow will provide an interim 250-word report, two high quality photos, and an expense summary to GCA and P2 by September 1st. A final report and final expense summary will be due
February 1st.
3. Research excerpts (text and photos) may be published in GCA’s and P2’s publications and websites.
4. GCA fellow agrees to share research with members of the Garden club of America.

Pollinator Partnership - 423 Washington St., 5th Floor - San Francisco, CA 94111-2339 - (415) 362-1137 - info@pollinator. org, www.pollinator.org

The Bee’s Natural Lactic Acid Bacteria Have Become Its Own medicine


Research discovery
In 2005 in Sweden, Dr. Tobias Olofsson and his beekeeper grandfather Tage Kimblad and fellow researcher Alejandra Vásquez made a discovery: honey bees carry the largest collection of beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB) found in their honey stomach. There are nine different types of lactobacilli and four kinds of bifidobacteria.

Research background
We started our own research group at Lund University, Sweden, in 2007 based on this discovery. Today, both Lund University Innovation System AB and SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) Holding AB are partners in the company.
Our research has shown that these bacteria are always present in the honey stomach of honey bees worldwide. It is an on going symbiotic relationship between bees and their LAB during millions of years. The purpose of the LAB is to fight bee diseases and protect the nectar from destruction by other microorganisms while it is being converted into honey. The lactic acid bacteria are also involved in the fermentation and preservation of the beebread.

Development of bee medicine
Lactic acid bacteria require nutrients in order to grow and to combat other microorganisms that threaten them and their nutrients. The LAB and bees share the same nutritional source, nectar and pollen. We have developed an excellent product for bees and their LAB, called SymBeeotic. We strive to mimic nectar insofar as possible to attract the bees, while maintaining optimal nutrient composition for the bacteria and bees. The bee medicine ‘SymBeeotic’ (Figure 1) should be given shortly before and after the bees cluster for winter. The purpose of the active LAB is to prevent disease among bees and their larvae, or cure them, while providing a small nutritional supplement. These probiotic bacteria can hopefully replace antibiotics in the future.

Previous results and ongoing studies
Our research tests on diseases affecting bees and their larvae have to date demonstrated in the laboratory that LAB are effective against both American and European foulbrood disease.
In ongoing international collaborations we have tested SymBeeotic on colonies that were heavily infected with Nosema apis and N. ceranae. The colonies were given either SymBeeotic or placebo and the results were highly encouraging. The spore counts among almost all colonies that received SymBeeotic were sharply reduced after 2–3 months (forthcoming publication). These findings are as yet preliminary, but we are continuing to test SymBeeotic in the laboratory and in field studies against Nosema, American foulbrood, the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and deformed wing virus (DWV) virus.
More information about SymBeeotic is available online through www.apicellae.se.
In the future it is planned to make the product available in beekeeping stores in US through a large and well-known bee medicine company.

IBRA Journals Receive International Recognition


At the XXXIIIth International Apicultural Congress (Apimondia) held in Kiev, Ukraine, which ended in September of 2013, IBRA’s two journals were honored with awards. The Journal of Apicultural Research won a Gold Medal, and Bee World won a Silver Medal.
The Journal of Apicultural Research is IBRA’s peer-reviewed scientific journal, which publishes original research papers, short notes and authoritative review papers on all aspects of research involving all species of bees. Recent highlights have included a Special Issue on bee colony losses, and the publication of the review papers which form the COLOSS BEEBOOK, the definitive guide to how to carry out research involving honey bees, written by 243 of the world’s key researchers from 34 countries worldwide. For 2014, a Special Issue on the interactions between honey bee genotype and environmental factors is planned. JAR is edited by a team from Argentina, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA. Over the last few years, the number of high quality submissions to the journal has increased, as has the journal’s Impact Factor.
Bee World is IBRA’s popular journal, and fills a unique niche, bringing science in an accessible form to the thinking beekeeper. It also features articles on beekeeping techniques, on the history of beekeeping and news and topical information. Again, a truly international journal, it brings contributions from authors in many countries, four times a year.
IBRA Science Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “As a small independent publisher, IBRA is delighted that our two journals have been rewarded by our international audience in this way. We see this as recognition of the high standards that we try to attain, publishing in JAR only high quality original research of international interest. Bee World fully complements JAR, by bringing science to the beekeeper in an accessible form”.

Bees: A Natual History


There are more species of bees than birds and mammals combined. With at least 20,000 described species and with many new species being described annually, bees comprise a major component of our planet’s biodiversity. They play a vital role in human ecology, a fact underlined by the estimate that every third mouthful of our food is dependent on the pollination services of bees.

Bees: A Natural History (Firefly Books, $40,00 hardcover, November 2013) immerses readers in the world of a group of insects whose diversity of form and behavior is eloquent testimony to the fine-tuning of natural selection. This book aims to introduce readers to bees and their impressive diversity of size, form and behavior.
Sophisticated computing skills, fail-safe sun-compass orientation, a true sense of time and enviable fuel efficiency are just some of bee’s remarkable characteristics. They can be found in high alpine and sub-arctic regions, rainforest, savannahs, steppes and deserts. The greatest diversity of species occurs in shrub communities in regions with a Mediterranean-type climate: short mild winters, warm springs and hot dry summers.
Written by a respected entomologist and specialist in bees, the book’s topics include:

●    What are bees? (The Wasp Inheritance) - Bees as foragers, their nesting instinct, on-board computing facility, sun-compass orientation and sense of time
●    The many ways of being a bee - Solitary versus social, Miners and masons, Leafcutters and carpenters
●    Bees and flowering plants
●    The male of the species - Mating strategies, patrols, competition, territoriality, the role of scent
●    The enemies of bees - Cleptoparasites, cuckoo bees
●    Bees and People - historic and contemporary
●    Bees in Folk and Modern Medicine
●    The conservation of Bees - the decline of bees and honeybees, bees in human ecology, bee conservation, urban bees
●    Bee projects - the backyard bee scientist.

Bees can be found throughout history in roles poetic and military, in medicine and agriculture, in the kitchen and in the kit of a traditional healer. They have played a bigger role in human existence than is often recognized. This beautiffully illustrated, appreciative tribute will be welcomed by entomologists, students and all naturalist readers

About the Author:
Christopher O’Toole is an entomologist, author and speaker. Formerly based at the Hope Entomological Collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, his research has centered on the systematics, biogeography and floral relations of solitary bees. He has published widely, including 20 books on insects for the general reader. His books include Bees of the World and for children, discovering Bees and Wasps.
Christopher O’Toole has been scientific consultant to many television projects, including The Birth of the Bees for the BBC and on the David Attenborough series Life on Earth and was scientific consultant on the feature film Angels and Insects.

Title: Bees: A Natural History
Author:
Christopher O’Toole
Specs: 240 pages, 8 1/2” x 11”, 125 color photographs, 3 appendixes, index; $40.00 Hardcover
EAN: 978-177085-208-2
Pub Date: November 23, 2013
Publisher: Firefly Books

Available at bookstores, online booksellers and www.fireflybooks.com

Monsanto Announces Clinton Global Initiative Commitment on Honey Bee Health


By Jerry Hayes
Beeologics


My goal in life and work is continuous improvement. And, it has happened here since coming to Monsanto with lots of help from like-minded people who have really engaged and seen the vision of what Monsanto can offer to honey bee health.
I’m a firm believer that everything should build on the previous effort. Back in June, we were able to sponsor a first-of-its-kind Honey Bee Health Summit, hosted by Project Apis m. (PAm) and Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council. The leaders in the world of honey bee health were here and shared how we could help them reenergize this industry. The presentations are available at the site. After most meetings, workshops and conferences, everybody leaves with optimism and excitement and then nothing happens. Well, after this meeting, building to the next goal was to get honey bees positioned in front of global leaders who create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. One of the only places where you can do that and stand in front of the world is at the Clinton Global Initiative. We did it.

Group Launches Coalition to Research the Challenges Facing Honey Bees


ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Monsanto recently announced its commitment to honey bee health at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting with support from the Keystone Center, American Honey Producers Association, American Beekeeping Federation, World Wildlife Fund, Project Apis m. (PAm), and commodity groups. The multi-stakeholder coalition will include individuals involved in honey bee health, as well as new stakeholders, which include agriculture commodity groups, industry groups, government agencies, environmental NGOs, and agriculture companies, all focused on improving honey bee health.
The coalition will have four priority areas of focus: 1) improving honey bee nutrition; 2) providing research investment in novel technology for varroa and virus control; 3) understanding science-based approaches to studying pesticide impacts on honey bees and increasing awareness of pesticide best management practices among growers and beekeepers; and 4) enabling economic empowerment of beekeepers.
“One-third of our diet is made up of vegetables, fruits and nuts that depend on pollinators like honey bees,” said Jerry Hayes, Monsanto’s Commercial Bee Health Lead. “Honey bees play an essential role in ensuring crop yields – a critical need for global food security. The coalition will take an action-oriented approach to improve and sustain honey bee health.”
A significant decline in the honey bee population is posing a threat to agricultural sustainability and food security, as well as to ecosystem health and biodiversity. In the United States, beekeepers have seen an average winter loss of more than 30 percent of honey bee colonies every year since 2006 as a result of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), a phenomenon in which bees disappear abruptly from an otherwise healthy colony. The low survival rate of honey bee colonies is leading to a significant decline in the overall honey bee population. Historically, approximately 6 million colonies existed in the United States; today approximately 2.5 million colonies exist.
Monsanto has been involved with bee research since 2011 when it acquired Beeologics, an organization focused on researching and testing biological products to provide targeted control of pests and diseases in order to provide safe, effective ways to protect the honey bee. Monsanto also has collaborated with PAm to assist in forage projects in order to provide more nutritious food for bees, and is doing extensive research on the varroa mite, which may be one factor in the decline of honey bee health.

New Hive Tool - The Shizel


You are probably asking yourself what’s a Shizel? A Shizel is one of the most useful multi-purpose hand tools ever invented! A Shizel is whatever you want it to be. It’s a scraper, pry tool, nail-puller, leveler, chisel, can opener, hammer, trowel, bee hive tool, putty knife, box opener, and whatever else you can find to do with it! The Shizel has been patented, tested, and proven. Use it with carpentry repairs and remodeling. Great for fixing doors, flooring, painting surfaces, and window repair. Ideal for the lawn and garden. Clean shovels, remove grass under lawn mowers, dig weeds, transplant flowers, straighten pavers and retaining wall brick. The tool is professionally manufactured and has a lustrous stainless steel satin finish that will last for years. That’s the Shizel!
The Shizel will not be ready for sale until late December or mid January.

PINE RIDGE TOOLS
P.O. Box 342
#14 Stockade Road
Chadron, NE 69337
Phone (308) 430-5099

Groeb Farms, Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy


Normal Business Operations to Continue Under Chapter 11 Process

ONSTED, Mich. – Groeb Farms, Inc., a major U.S. honey packer, has announced that it has reached an agreement with its lender, a private equity firm, to recapitalize the company and invest additional capital into the business. The transaction will be consummated through a plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) which was filed Oct. 1 along with the company’s voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Upon confirmation of the proposed Plan, the company’s debt will be restructured, and the company’s capitalization will be dramatically improved. The Plan already has the support of the company’s major constituents, including its pre-petition lender and certain of its subordinated debt holders. The company expects to emerge from bankruptcy within 90 days, in a stronger, financially sound position.
The private equity pre-petition lender will financially support the company through the reorganization process. This lender was identified through an extensive marketing process conducted by Houlihan Lokey, an international investment banking firm.
Groeb Farms CEO Rolf Richter commented, “First and foremost, we want to indicate how pleased we are to be able to recapitalize the company.  We also want to assure customers, vendors, employees and all other stakeholders that the company will continue normal business operations during the reorganization process, which is expected to last approximately 90 days. This is a very desirable outcome for Groeb Farms. It allows us to restructure with strong financing in place. The bankruptcy is based on a prepackaged reorganization that releases the company from its legacy liabilities, allowing us to emerge as a strong, well-capitalized company, under new ownership, with a continued commitment to world class products and services, customer satisfaction and supply chain integrity.”
In conjunction with its filing, the company is seeking approval of its debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. The DIP financing provides ample capital to successfully execute the Plan. It also provides greater liquidity such that the company expects to be able to satisfy all future customary obligations associated with the normal course of business, including employee wages and benefits and payment of post-petition obligations to vendors.

Calif. Honey Broker Sentenced To Three Years in Prison for Avoiding $39.2 Million in Tariffs on Chinese-Origin Honey


U.S. Department of Justice,
United States Attorney,
Northern District of Illinois


CHICAGO — A California woman was sentenced Sept. 30 to three years in federal prison for illegally transporting hundreds of container loads of Chinese-origin honey through the Chicago area after it entered the country illegally. The defendant, HUNG YI LIN, also known as “Katy Lin,” 42, of Temple City, Calif., pleaded guilty in May to three counts of violating U.S. importation laws by falsely declaring that the honey shipments contained sugars, syrups, and apple juice concentrate to avoid $39.2 million in anti-dumping duties.
Lin, who owns and operates KBB Express Inc., of South El Monte, Calif., and served as the U.S. agent for at least 12 importers that were controlled by Chinese honey producers and manufacturers, was sentenced to a year in prison on each of the three counts, to be served consecutively, by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur. Lin was ordered to begin serving her sentence on Nov. 12. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $512,852 in unpaid tariffs.
“This sentence is the result of an extensive worldwide investigation that successfully dismantled the largest food fraud scheme in U.S. history,” said Gary Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI Chicago. “Lin’s illegal business practices cheated the U.S. government of nearly $40 million, while also inflicting damage on the domestic honey marketplace. We remain committed to protecting U.S. businesses from fraudulent trade practices, while fostering and facilitating the movement of legitimate trade across our borders that is critical to our economy.”
According to court documents, between 2009 and 2012, Lin schemed to falsify the importation documents for hundreds of containers of Chinese-origin honey by misrepresenting the contents as sugars and syrups. As a result, the honey, which had an aggregate declared value of nearly $11.5 million when it entered the country, avoided antidumping duties and honey assessments totaling $39.2 million.
The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and Mr. Hartwig, as well as officials with Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Chicago, and the Chicago Field Office of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. Lin was among a group of individuals and companies who were charged earlier this year in the second phase of an investigation led by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS).
See: http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2013/pr0220_02.html
In December 2001, the Commerce Department determined that Chinese-origin honey was being sold in the United States at less than fair market value, and imposed antidumping duties. The duties were as high as 221 percent of the declared value, and later were assessed against the entered net weight, currently at $2.63 per net kilogram, in addition to a “honey assessment fee” of one cent per pound on all honey. In October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert for honey containing the antibiotic Chloramphenicol, a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat serious infections in humans, but which is not approved for use in honey. Honey containing certain antibiotics is deemed “adulterated” within the meaning of federal food and drug safety laws.
In 2008, federal authorities began investigating allegations involving circumventing antidumping duties through illegal imports, including transshipment and mislabeling, on the “supply side” of the honey industry. The second phase of the investigation involved the illegal buying, processing, and trading of honey that illegally entered the U.S. on the “demand side” of the industry.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros.

 

November 2013


Model of Dangerous Bee Disease in UK Provides Tool in Fight Against Honey Bee Infections

Scientists at the University of Warwick have modeled an outbreak of the bee infection American foulbrood in Jersey, using a technique which could be applied to other honeybee diseases such as European foulbrood and the Varroa parasite.
As well as modeling how bee infections spread, the method also allows scientists to simulate various disease control interventions in order to measure their efficacy.
The researchers used two sets of data gathered two months apart during an outbreak of American foulbrood in Jersey in the summer of 2010. This provided two ‘snapshots’ of the disease from which they attempted to reconstruct the entire epidemic.
Reconstructions like this are common for livestock infections, but this is the first time the method has been applied to bee disease.
The research is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
American foulbrood is caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, which affects the larval stage of honey bees. It can cause the death of an entire hive within a matter of months.
The Jersey data covered 450 honey bee hives, their location and their owners, from which the researchers built a computer simulation which modeled the speed at which the infection grew, as well as how it spread geographically.
Dr. Samik Datta of the WIDER group, based at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, said: “Honeybees are one of the most important bee species in the world in terms of their contribution to food production through pollination.
“But in the past 20 years there has been a marked increase in the level of disease among bee populations.
“American foulbrood is an unusually virulent disease which can wipe out a hive within a few months.
“By understanding how it is spreads from hive to hive, we then have a good basis to formulate interventions.
“This is the first rigorous statistical analysis carried out on a honeybee disease epidemic that we are aware of.”
The model suggests that just under half of the 2010 Jersey infection spread was attributed to transmission by owners between their own hives.
The researchers suggest that distance between colonies was another important factor in the spread of the disease, with the disease mostly spreading between hives less than 2km apart.
The model also simulated the impact of different control strategies on controlling the epidemic and found that the measures taken by authorities in Jersey at the time – to inspect and destroy infected colonies – were the most effective.
However, their model suggested an earlier intervention would have made disease extinction more likely.
The researchers hope now to expand their model to investigate the spread of European Foulbrood, a more common bee disease in the UK. They also believe the same technique can be applied to the Varroa parasite.
Dr. Datta said: “Using just two snapshots of data we have been able to reconstruct this epidemic, and we are confident that our technique can be applied to a wide range of other outbreak scenarios.”
 
Australian Bluebees brood Box Bottom Board Explained

“Prevention is better than cure”

The current traditional equipment and practices have catastrophic impact to both the honey production and to the vital protection of the healthy environmental sustainability of the honey bee habitat when interloping parasites and diseases invade the beehives.
~ The only solution is prevention
~ Rather than trying to control pests after their invasion and deadly diseases spreading in the hives, BLUEBEES is advocating replacing the traditional bottom board with the revolutionary Australian-made BLUEBEES Brood Box Bottom Board
~ The BLUEBEES Boards allows optimal airflow, thereby dramatically reducing the humidity created by the natural condensation created by healthy bees colonies together with empowering the bees to eject pests, debris through the Bluebees bottom boards gaps. The water condensation, if any, runs out and the Bluebees Boards remain clean.
~ The need to use chemicals is also greatly reduced because the colonies now have the means to efficiently manage the health and cleanliness of their beehive
environment.
For more information, this company can be contacted via the information printed below.

BLUEBEES Producers
Proprietor: J-PF Mercader
www.bluebees.com.au
jpm@bluebees.com.au
Phone: 613 5474 8292 /// 0412 451 060

Keeping Bees With A Smile: A Vision and Practice of Natural Apiculture

by Fedor Lazutin,
edited by Dr. Leo Sharashkin
402 pages, over 100 illustrations and 32 full-color photographs
$34.95. ISBN 978-0-9842873-5-2
Deep Snow Press, September 2013.
www.DeepSnowPress.com

“Fascinating! It will shake up your thinking.”

“Keeping Bees With a Smile is a valuable guide for independent-minded beekeepers who are seeking ways to keep bees without treating them with chemicals, disrupting their homes, and otherwise intruding on their lives. Fedor Lazutin, one of Russia’s foremost natural beekeepers, describes a beekeeping system based on a trust of a bee colony as a living being capable of solving life’s challenges without human assistance. Beginner-friendly and complete with fascinating photographs, it is a special book, and one that I expect will ‘shake up’ the thinking of the independent-minded beekeepers in North America and Europe.”

— Dr. Thomas D. Seeley,
Professor, Cornell University
author of Honeybee Democracy and The Wisdom of the Hive

Laid-back beekeeping for all, naturally!

While the media are awash with the news of bees disappearing on a global scale, Fedor Lazutin’s bees are healthy and happy, and the number of his hives naturally doubles every year. He uses no medicines or any unnatural methods, inspects his hives once per year, and harvests more honey than he can sell! His approach is fun, healthful, rewarding, and accessible to all. Discover his unique insights on
how to:

keep bees naturally without interfering in their lives;
start an apiary for free by attracting local bee swarms;
build maintenance-free hives that mimic how bees live in nature;
keep colonies healthy & strong without any drugs or gimmickry;
help bees overwinter successfully even in the harshest climate;
    enhance local nectar plant resources;
produce truly natural honey without robbing the bees;
reverse the global bee decline... right in your backyard!

An invaluable resource for beginners and professionals alike, this richly illustrated book is complete with plans for making bee-friendly, well-insulated horizontal hives with extra-deep frames—plus other fascinating advice you won’t find anywhere else.
You will gain a profound respect for the bees’ intelligence, the practical information for successfully starting and maintaining a few (or many!) colonies in your own backyard, and an appreciation of the bees’ harmonious cooperative ways—which may be key to creating a brighter future for our planet.


The Fresh Honey Cookbook

Storey Publishing, August 2013
www.storey.com
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
208 pages; 7 x 9 Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-61212-051-5; Order # 622051
Paper: $14.95

Honey is one of nature’s most versatile ingredients. Prized as a natural sweetener and also known for boosting energy, strengthening the immune system, and alleviating ailments from insomnia to sore throats and allergies, it’s a bonus that honey also tastes so good.
The Fresh Honey Cookbook celebrates the subtle flavors of honey with a seasonal calendar of 84 recipes that focus on what’s fresh each month. Honey varietals, from orange blossom to tupelo to avacodo are featured in recipes such as Papa’s Salad with Clementines, Pork Tenderloin with Orange Blossom Honey-Mustard, Coconut Macaroons with Dried Cherries, Laurey’s Sweet Potato Salad with Sourwood Honey, Vermont-style Summer Squash Casserole, and Broiled Summer Peaches. From winter to summer, spring to fall, honey adds a lovely floral note to sweet and savory dishes.
The Fresh Honey Cookbook gives honey bees their due with informative sidebars about bees and beekeeping. Readers will learn why bees make honey, how it’s harvested, and what they can do to help the bee population. This is an appreciation of both bees and the honey they produce, making it the perfect gift for cooks, beekeepers, or anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of eating honey. Laurey Masterton is a beekeeper, café owner, caterer, and chef/spokesperson for The National Honey Board. She teaches the benefits of using and eating local ingredients in her speaking engagements, cooking demonstrations, and classes. She lives in North Carolina, where she runs Laurey’s Café.

Flight of the Honey Bee

by Raymond Huber
Illustrations by Brian Lovelock

This handsome, respectful volume deserves a place on the shelf … it succeeds in accurately dramatizing honey bee behavior. – Kirkus Reviews

Buy in United States via Amazon - amazon.com or Candlewick Press - http://candle
wick.com/


It’s rare to find a book which is so inextricably tied to events children can relate to while at the same time presenting a story so unlike theirs.– Peta Andersen

Review
“A honey bee crawls out of the hive, takes to the skies, and finds a sea of flowers. After escaping from a bird, she visits one blue blossom after another, sipping nectar while spreading pollen. Rain and hail ground her for a bit, but soon she heads home. When a wasp attacks her outside the hive, guard bees come to her rescue. Back inside the hive, she shares her nectar and does a dance to show her sister bees where to find more. This brightly illustrated picture book achieves a good deal. The lively, realistic story is enhanced with apt imagery and vivid turns of phrase. Meanwhile, small-type sentences on each spread add intriguing related facts about honey bees. Huber, a science writer from New Zealand, who has been a primary-grade teacher as well as a beekeeper, shows a good understanding of both honey bees and of what will interest young children. Lovelock’s illustrations, watercolor paintings with acrylic and colored-pencil elements, offer distinctive bee’s-eye views of the world, whether showing landscapes from the air or close-ups of falling hail and bee-to-wasp combat. One of the most informative picture books about honey bees, this is surely among the most beautiful as well.” — Carolyn Phelan, Booklist (American Library Association)
Inspiration:
I was scared of bees until I got a real beehive for my 40th birthday. After watching their fascinating, intricate lives, I came to love bees (but I do still wear a protective suit). Honey bees and humans have been partners for 20,000 years: we give them homes and they pollinate our food. But the world’s bees are now endangered, so I wrote this book to show how intelligent and essential (even appealing) bees are. I imagined all the challenges a bee would face out in the world – for added thrills Scout meets a few more dangers than an average bee on an average day! Writing a picture book is a bit like creating a poem – every word has to work hard in a confined space (like a bee) to suggest character and story, and remain true while still delighting the ear. — Raymond Huber - http://www.raymondhuber.co.nz

Obituary

James Charles Bach
December 23, 1941 - August 30, 2013


Jim was the Washington State Apiarist for more than 25 years, then worked in the Pesticide Investigation Section at WSDA until his retirement in 2005. Since then he has remained active in the beekeeping industry he loved so much -- running his own bees, acting as mentor and teacher anywhere he was needed, providing a website where beekeepers could ask questions, inspecting colonies going into certified seed pollination projects in Washington, Montana and North Dakota, and serving on the board of both WSBA (secretary) and the Western Apicultural Society (treasurer). His commitment to the industry was absolute.
The suddenness of Jim’s passing has hit all of us hard, both family and friends, and it will be a while until the world comes right side up again. Despite that, he would want no long faces and so I encourage you all to honor his memory by your cooperative efforts to better the industry. Some of you have asked if there is a charity you can donate to in his name. The charity of his choice would be beekeeping. There are programs needing funding that can benefit everyone. Any of them would be a fitting beneficiary of those gifts. A lot is happening right now and funding will be vital. Think about it.
The kindness of the entire beekeeping community, the cards, emails, calls and memories you have shared have been a wonderful tribute to my husband. I appreciate it and so would he. On behalf of myself and our family, thank you.

Fran Bach


Obituary

Ted Jansen


Ted Jansen, 87, of Chesterfield, Missouri, a long-time beekeeper and mentor to so many, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. Ted’s contribution to beekeeping in Eastern Missouri and the St. Louis region is legendary, having guided many as they made their way learning about beekeeping and honey bees. His beekeeping knowledge, influence and inspiration to beekeepers throughout the area is well-known; but it’s his warm, soft and gentle approach to teaching so much to so many that can never be replaced. To many, Ted was the heart and soul of their beekeeping experience. He was an active member of Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association, Missouri State Beekeepers Association, and Three Rivers Beekeepers, for which he was a founding member.
Ted was a dear husband of 50 years to Marlene; beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. (John Timmons, President, Missouri State Beekeepers Association)


Obituary

Joseph L. McCoy

Joseph L. McCoy Sr., 92, of Minden City, MI passed away June 30, 2013 surrounded by his family at his home. He was born Dec. 21, 1920 in Minden City to the late Dr. John P McCoy and Alma (Broadbeck) McCoy. He married Gloria M. Schock on Dec. 21, 1940; she preceded him in death April 9, 2013. Joe was a lifelong resident of Minden City; he started working bees as a teenager after school and during the summer for Garnett Puett. Garnett was a beekeeper and queen breeder who owned and operated Gold Leaf Apiaries in Hahira, Georgia. In the 1930’s and early 1940’s Garnett sent bees to three locations in the thumb of Michigan to produce honey. Joe started working full time for Garnett after he graduated from high school in 1939 and eventually ran the business in Minden City. In 1946 Joe and his wife Gloria purchased the honey business and home from Garnett and Faye Puett and McCoy Honey Co was established.
Over the years, Joe was not only a beekeeper, but he worked for the Sanilac County Courthouse as a court clerk and public guardian. He sold real estate for Century 21. Joe served as a Minden township Clerk and Supervisor. He was also an active volunteer fireman for the Minden City Fire Department. Joe was a parishioner at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church where he was a member of the Ushers Club. Joe enjoyed gardening, keeping his lawn looking its best, flowers and birds. He loved to go for rides in the country with his family members. In his later years Joe never missed Lawrence Welk and listening to the Sunday polka party. He truly loved spending time with his family. Joe will be sadly missed by all who loved and cared for him.
Joseph is survived by 11 children: John H. McCoy of Harbor Beach, MI; Deanna Jo Lautner of Madison Heights, MI; Joseph W. (Cindy) McCoy of Harbor Beach, MI; Steven J. (Sarah) McCoy of Chicago; Mary Louise (Paul) Buckham of Alexandria, LA; Alan G. (Esther) McCoy of Oak Park, MI; Paul L. (Mary Anne) McCoy of Bloomfield Hills, MI; Timothy M. McCoy and Tracy Lahair of Kinde, MI; Terri (Arthur) Trese of Athens, Ohio; Mark J. (Elaine) McCoy of Loxahatchee, FL; Lauri (Randy) Halifax of Minden City, MI; 39 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.

 September 2013


Losses of Honey Bee Colonies Over the 2012/13 Winter In Europe


Preliminary Results from anInternational Study

The honey bee research network COLOSS has announced the preliminary results of an international study to investigate winter colony losses. Data were collected from 19 countries from Europe, Israel and Algeria. In total, more than 15,000 beekeepers provided overwintering mortality and other data of their colonies. Collectively, they managed more than 280,000 colonies. A preliminary analysis of the data shows that the mortality rate over the 2012-13 winter varied between countries, ranging from 6% in Israel to 37% in Ireland, and there were also marked regional differences within some countries. These figures compare with losses over the same period of 31% and 34% recently reported from the USA and the UK, respectively.
The protocol used to collect this COLOSS data has been internationally standardized to allow comparisons and joint analysis of the data. A more detailed analysis of risk factors calculated from the whole dataset, as well as further colony loss data from other countries will be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Apicultural Research later in the year. The data show that Poland and Finland have each year experienced losses of about 17%. Countries in south eastern Europe (Slovakia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia) have had average losses of less than 10%, but in 2012 losses were slightly higher. In central Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) losses rose to above 20% in 2012, but went back to around 15% in 2013. In the neighboring Netherlands, losses were above 20% for five years, but decreased in 2013 to a level comparable with Germany and Switzerland. Interestingly, we now see losses rising to substantially higher levels in northern countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, UK) whose losses were around the 15% in the previous years.
Co-ordinator of the COLOSS Monitoring and Diagnosis Working Group Dr Romée van der Zee from the Dutch Center for Bee Research says: “We have observed an interesting pattern in honey bee colony losses over the last 3 years. These results emphasize that losses in many countries remain greater than beekeepers consider are acceptable. We believe that many factors including the weather are responsible for these losses, which show patterns over the years which are not bound to administrative borders.”

 

Bees in the U.K. Under Threat From Disease-carrying

Bumblebee Imports, Research Reveals


Stricter controls over bumblebee imports to the UK are urgently required to prevent diseases spreading to native bumblebees and honeybees, scientists have warned. The call follows the discovery of parasites in over three-quarters of imported bumblebee colonies they tested. The study - the first of its kind in the UK - is published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
While wild species of bees and other insects pollinate many crops, commercially-reared and imported bumblebees are essential for pollination of greenhouse crops such as tomatoes. They are also used to enhance pollination of other food crops such as strawberries, and are now marketed for use in people’s gardens. The trade is large and widespread: 40-50,000 commercially-produced bumblebee colonies – each containing up to 100 worker bees – are imported annually to the UK, and more than one million colonies are sold each year worldwide.
The team of researchers from the universities of Leeds, Stirling and Sussex bought 48 colonies of buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) from three European producers. Some colonies were a subspecies native to the UK and others were non-native. All were meant to be disease-free, but when they were tested using DNA technology, 77% of the colonies were found to be carrying parasites. Parasites were also found in the pollen food supplied with the bees.
Screening revealed that the imported bumblebee colonies carried a range of parasites including the three main bumblebee parasites (Crithidia bombi, Nosema bombi and Apicystis bombi), three honeybee parasites (Nosema apis, Ascosphaera apis and Paenibacillus larvae), and two parasites which infect both bumblebees and honeybees (Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus).
After the screening tests, the team conducted a series of carefully controlled laboratory experiments to find out whether the parasites carried by the commercially-produced bumblebee colonies were viable and able to infect other bees.
Lead author of the study, Peter Graystock of the University of Leeds explains: “We found that commercially-produced bumblebee colonies contained a variety of microbial parasites, which were infectious and harmful not only to other bumblebees, but also to honeybees.”
The results suggest current regulations and protocols governing bumblebee imports are not effective. Currently, Natural England licences are only required for the non-native subspecies. Although the licences require colonies to be disease free, colonies arriving in the UK are not screened to ensure compliance and the regulations do not apply to imports of the native subspecies.
The study argues that producers need to improve disease screening and develop a parasite-free diet for their bees, while regulatory authorities need to strengthen measures to prevent importation of parasite-carrying bumblebee colonies, including checking bees on arrival in the UK and extending regulations to cover imported colonies of the native subspecies.
As well as increasing the prevalence of parasites in wild bumblebees and managed honeybees near farms using the commercially-produced bumblebees, continuing to import bumblebee colonies that carry parasites is also likely to introduce new species or strains of parasites into some areas, the authors warn.
According to co-author of the study Prof. William Hughes of the University of Sussex: “If we don’t act, then the risk is that potentially tens of thousands of parasite-carrying bumblebee colonies may be imported into the UK each year, and hundreds of thousands worldwide. Many bee species are already showing significant population declines due to multiple factors. The introduction of more or new parasite infections will at a minimum exacerbate this, and could quite possibly directly drive declines.”
Although this is the first study of its kind in the UK, research in North America, South America and Japan suggests that parasites introduced by commercial bumblebees may be a major cause of population declines of several bumblebee species, including Bombus dahlbomii in Argentina, and Bombus terricola and Bombus pensylvanicus in North America.

Bees ‘Betray’ Their Flowers When Pollinator Species Decline

 

‘Alarming’ trend suggests global declines in pollinators could have a bigger impact on flowering plants and food crops than previously realized


Remove even one bumblebee species from an ecosystem and the impact is swift and clear: Their floral “sweethearts” produce significantly fewer seeds, a new study finds.
The study, to be published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on the interactions between bumblebees and larkspur wildflowers in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The results show how reduced competition among pollinators disrupts floral fidelity, or specialization, among the remaining bees in the system, leading to less successful plant reproduction.
“We found that these wildflowers produce one-third fewer seeds in the absence of just one bumblebee species,” says Emory University ecologist Berry Brosi, who led the study. “That’s alarming, and suggests that global declines in pollinators could have a bigger impact on flowering plants and food crops than was previously realized.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the study, co-authored by ecologist Heather Briggs of the University of California-Santa Cruz.
About 90 percent of plants need animals, mostly insects, to transfer pollen between them so that they can fertilize and reproduce. Bees are by far the most important pollinators worldwide and have co-evolved with the floral resources they need for nutrition.
During the past decade, however, scientists have reported dramatic declines in populations of some bee species, sparking research into the potential impact of such declines.
Some studies have indicated that plants can tolerate losing most pollinator species in an ecosystem as long as other pollinators remain to take up the slack. Those studies, however, were based on theoretical computer modeling.
Brosi and Briggs were curious whether this theoretical resilience would hold up in real-life scenarios. Their team conducted field experiments to learn how the removal of a single pollinator species would affect the plant-pollinator relationship.
“Most pollinators visit several plant species over their lifetime, but often they will display what we call floral fidelity over shorter time periods,” Brosi explains. “They’ll tend to focus on one plant while it’s in bloom, then a few weeks later move on to the next species in bloom. You might think of them as serial monogamists.”
Floral fidelity clearly benefits plants, because a pollinator visit will only lead to plant reproduction when the pollinator is carrying pollen from the same plant species. “When bees are promiscuous, visiting plants of more than one species during a single foraging session, they are much less effective as pollinators,” Briggs says.
The researchers conducted their experiments at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colorado. Located at 9,500 feet, the facility’s subalpine meadows are too high for honeybees, but they are buzzing during the summer months with bumblebees. The experiments focused on the interactions of the insects with larkspurs, dark-purple wildflowers that are visited by 10 of the of the 11 bumblebee species there.
The researchers studied a series of 20-meter square wildflower plots, evaluating each one in both a control state, left in its natural condition, and in a manipulated state, in which they used nets to remove the bumblebees of just one species.
The researchers then observed the bumblebee behavior in both the controlled plots and the manipulated plots. “We’d literally follow around the bumblebees as they foraged,” Briggs says. “It’s challenging because the bees can fly pretty fast.”
Sometimes the researchers could only record between five and 10 movements, while in other cases they could follow the bees to 100 or more flowers.
“Running around after bumblebees in these beautiful wildflower meadows was one of the most fun parts of the research,” Brosi says. Much of this “bee team” was made up of Emory undergraduate students, funded by the college’s Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE) grants and NSF support via the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory is exacting about using non-destructive methodologies so that researchers don’t have a negative impact on the bumblebee populations. “When we caught bees to remove target species from the system, or to swab their bodies for pollen, we released them unharmed when our experiments were over,” Brosi says. “They’re very robust little creatures.”
No researchers were harmed either, he adds. “Stings were very uncommon during the experiments. Bumblebees are quite gentle on the whole.”
Across the steps of the pollination process, from patterns of bumblebee visits to plants, to picking up pollen, to seed production, the researchers saw a cascading effect of removing one bee species. While about 78 percent of the bumblebees in the control groups were faithful to a single species of flower, only 66 percent of the bumblebees in the manipulated groups showed such floral fidelity. The reduced fidelity in manipulated plots meant that bees in the manipulated groups carried more different types of pollen on their bodies than those in the control groups.
These changes had direct implications for plant reproduction: Larkspurs produced about one-third fewer seeds when one of the bumblebee species was removed, compared to the larkspurs in the control groups.
“The small change in the level of competition made the remaining bees more likely to ‘cheat’ on the larkspur,” Briggs says.
While previous research has shown how competition drives specialization within a species, the bumblebee study is one of the first to link this mechanism back to the broader functioning of an ecosystem.
“Our work shows why biodiversity may be key to conservation of an entire ecosystem,” Brosi says. “It has the potential to open a whole new set of studies into the functional implications of interspecies interactions.”

Widely Used Pesticides Toxic to Honey Bees


PENSACOLA, Fla. - Research in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry analyzes the physiological effects of three separate pesticides on honey bee (Apis mellifera). An international research team - Drs. Stephan Caravalho, Luc Belzunces and colleagues from Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil and Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique in France - conclude that the absence of mortality does not always indicate fuctional integrity.
Deltamethrin, fipronil and spinosad, widely used pesticides in agriculture and home pest control, were applied to healthy honey bees and proved toxic to some degree irrespective of dosage. At sublethal doses, the pesticide modulated key enzymes that regulate physiological processes, cognitive capacities and immune responses, such as homing flight, associative learning, foraging behavior and brood development. Sensitivity to these insecticides and foraging range (as far as 1.5 to 3 km) make A. mellifera an optimal candidate for monitoring the environmental impacts of pesticides.

Common Agricultural Chemicals Shown to Impair Honey Bees’ Health


COLLEGE PARK, MD - Commercial honey bees used to pollinate crops are exposed to a wide variety of agricultural chemicals, including common fungicides which impair the bees’ ability to fight off a potentially lethal parasite, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.
The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.
On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.
In the study’s most surprising result, bees that were fed the collected pollen samples containing chlorothonatil were nearly three times more likely to be infected by Nosema than bees that were not exposed to these chemicals, said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the USDA’s Bee Research Laboratory and the study’s lead author. The miticides used to control Varroa mites also harmed the bees’ ability to withstand parasitic infection.
Beekeepers know they are making a trade-off when they use miticides. The chemicals compromise bees’ immune systems, but the damage is less than it would be if mites were left unchecked, said University of Maryland researcher Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s senior author. But the study’s finding that common fungicides can be harmful at real world dosages is new, and points to a gap in existing regulations, he said.
“We don’t think of fungicides as having a negative effect on bees, because they’re not designed to kill insects,” vanEngelsdorp said. Federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while pollinating insects are foraging, he said, “but there are no such restrictions on fungicides, so you’ll often see fungicide applications going on while bees are foraging on the crop. This finding suggests that we have to reconsider that policy.”
In an unexpected finding, most of the crops that the bees were pollinating appeared to provide their hives with little nourishment. Honey bees gather pollen to take to their hives and feed their young. But when the researchers collected pollen from bees foraging on native North American crops such as blueberries and watermelon, they found the pollen came from other flowering plants in the area, not from the crops. This is probably because honey bees, which evolved in the Old World, are not efficient at collecting pollen from New World crops, even though they can pollinate these crops.
The study’s findings are not directly related to colony collapse disorder, the still-unexplained phenomenon in which entire honey bee colonies suddenly die. However, the researchers said the results shed light on the many factors that are interacting to stress honey bee populations.

Honey Bee Gene Targeting Offers System to

Understand Food-related Behavior


JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments has published a new technique that will help scientists better understand the genes that govern food-related behavior in honey bees. The impact of this study could take scientists one-step closer toward understanding — and perhaps changing — undesirable food-related behavior in humans via gene control.
“Our technique has already helped to unravel [the] complex gene networks behind biological processes and behavior, such as gustatory perception,” said Dr. Ying Wang of Arizona State University. She and a team of scientists are behind the experiment, titled RNAi-mediated Double Gene Knockdown and Gustatory Perception Measurement in Honey Bees. “Honey bees are much less complex than mammals and humans, but [we] share many major genes,” said Wang, “therefore, honey bees have become an emerging system for us to understand food related behavior in humans.”
In Wang’s previous study, she found that carbohydrate metabolism and insulin pathway genes were involved in honey bee gustatory perception. Her new article introduces two strategies for targeting and simultaneously down-regulating multiple genes in honey bees via RNA interference. This allows for further research in examining the role of insulin metabolism in gustatory perception. The team believes it will be important to understanding how insulin pathways play a role in food-related behavior.
Wang’s multiple gene knockdown method is a first in entomology, and it overcomes the many shortfalls associated with typical single-gene targeting methods. A common problem associated with single gene suppression is that it is not sufficient to show the interrelationship of a gene network.
In the article published recently, Wang’s team has also provided a technique to measure the resulting changes in honey bee behavior, and this has led them to interesting observations. “Gustatory perception is a behavioral predictor for honey bee social behavior,” said Wang. A honey bee’s sensitivity to sugar predicts the food-choices and timing of foraging.
Wang’s experiment opens the door for researchers to build upon her lab’s techniques. “We believe our double knockdown approach will be more recognized and shared in the field when it is published in the video journal JoVE,” said Wang.
With any luck, the impact will result in more than just high-tech pest control. It could instead provide insight into human insulin pathways, potentially giving us an opportunity to learn how to control human dietary behavior.

Newly Described Behavior Shows How Asian Honey Bees

Apis cerana Defend Themselves Against Hornets


In a paper published recently in the Journal of Apicultural Research, the Asian honey bee Apis cerana, is shown to swarm and abscond to successfully elude a range of predatory hornet species. This newly described behavior used together with an armory of other defensive tactics helps to limit the damage hornets can inflict on colonies.
A. cerana is native and widespread through South and South East Asia where it endures predation by a range of hornets including Vespa velutina (now found in France), V. tropica and V. affinis. Their hunting techniques differ and elicit different reactions from the bees. These bees have previously been observed defending themselves from hornets by “shaking” (where the outer layer or “mantle” of bees shake which makes a whooshing sound), “heat balling” (clustering around the predator and heating them to a lethal temperature) and protean flight which is an evasive zig-zagging flight of worker bees returning to their colonies under attack. Unlike the European honey bee A. mellifera whose speed slows in protean flight, A. cerana bees fly quickly when under hornet attack.
In this new study of A. cerana bee swarms made in Thailand by Dr Willard Robinson of Casper College, USA, the bees were found to make a series of short or “saltatory” swarming flights to effectively rid themselves of attacking hornets. Where the bees settled it is thought they marked the site with an attractant which left some hornets clinging to the site after the swarm flew away. Relieved of these predators, the colony then absconded by taking a much longer flight to a new area. When hornets were absent, despite the presence of colonies of the giant honey bee A. dorsata which would normally attract hornets to the area, only one Apis cerana swarm was observed indicating that they only abscond to evade hornets when hornets are abundant.
Prior to swarming and under constant hornet attack, the swarms also formed downward aerial extensions, called “tails,” together with “arm” extensions formed along their support (such as a tree). The bees in these tails and arms did not fly to defend themselves and were targeted by the attacking hornets. This left the main bulk of the colony free from attack. It is thought, in effect, that these tail and arm bees were expendable decoys sacrificed to preserve the main colony. The main colony was then able to continue functioning and select the next appropriate action to take such as swarming.
IBRA Scientific Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “Honey bees normally swarm to reproduce by making new colonies and sometimes to find new food sources. This study is important because for the first time it shows bees also use swarming to defend themselves from predators.”

TREASURE VALLEY BEEKEEPERS CLUB

DONATES $400 TO PROJECT APIS M


On May 15, 2013, Randy Oliver issued a call through the popular on-line BEE-L forum for local beekeeping clubs to participate in a “crowdsourcing” funding effort on behalf of Project Apis m (PAm). The Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club (http://idabees.org) promptly rose to Randy’s challenge. Immediately following the TVBC’s June meeting, Chad Dickinson, TVBC President, proudly announced that thanks to the generosity of Southwest Idaho beekeeper, Mike Morrison and participating Club members, the TVBC was able to generate $400 in proceeds during a single raffle dedicated to PAm.
For the raffle during the Club’s regular June meeting, Mike Morrison kindly donated new woodenware, pollen supplement and equipment. The monthly meeting was attended by nearly 100 beekeepers from across Southwest Idaho. Local club members bought hundreds of raffle tickets and pitched in to do their part in making this significant contribution to PAm.
The TVBC, based in Idaho’s capitol city of Boise, was formed in 2008, and enjoys a thriving membership of over 250 beekeepers. The Club emphasizes beekeeper education and serving local Treasure Valley communities in all their beekeeping needs. Members participate in teaching classes for community groups, helping new beekeepers get established, managing bee colonies, and annually participating in the Western Idaho State Fair.

Archbishop Becomes Patron of Bees Abroad


The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has agreed to become a patron of Bees Abroad, the charity seeking to reduce poverty in developing countries worldwide through beekeeping.
This is a particularly appropriate move as his official residence, Lambeth Palace, has its own bee colony producing honey and also wax for scented candles — and Justin Welby has a long association with helping to relieve poverty in developing countries.
“I am delighted to lend my support to Bees Abroad by becoming a patron,” said the Archbishop.  “Through its imaginative and wholly practical work, the charity promotes the skills of beekeeping in a way that empowers and educates the communities in which it operates.
“In investing in people in some of the poorest and under-developed areas, Bees Abroad creates opportunities for this local enterprise to flourish at a sustainable and manageable level.
“I am sure that those who are trained in beekeeping under Bees Abroad’s guidance and encouragement will find it an interesting and satisfying experience.  I send my best wishes to all involved with the charity in whatever role.”
John Home, chairman of Bees Abroad said, “I am delighted that Justin Welby has agreed to become a patron. His awareness of the challenges that are faced in the developing countries and his understanding about how the work of Bees Abroad can help small communities improve their lives, is an asset to our organization. He joins the team of our existing patrons whose support we much value in the work that we do using indigenous bees and techniques appropriate to the local environment”.
Bees Abroad offers training and support in beekeeping including making hives and protective clothing from local materials, managing honeybees, collecting honey safely, and handling and storing it hygienically.
Home-based production of honey and other saleable goods from the by-products of beekeeping is introduced, together with marketing and business skills to ensure the sustainable generation of new income by poor rural communities in developing countries.
Bees Abroad’s projects are normally self-sustaining after five years and no longer dependent on external finance and mentoring.  It has projects which need funding and enquiries from community groups in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nepal, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
For further information, please visit: www.beesabroad.org.uk or contact:
John Home 01926 612322 Bees Abroad (Chairman)
Veronica Brown 0117 230 0231 Bees Abroad (Administrator)
Roger Ranson 0845 402 6527 BHR
Communications

BJ SHERRIFF STILL BUZZING AFTER 45 YEARS

BJ Sherriff, a British protective beekeeping clothing company, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this July.
Dissatisfied with the protection available in the 1960s, beekeepers Brian and Pat Sherriff utilized their knowledge of clothing manufacture from their lingerie factory to create the first lightweight, self-supporting hood with Clear View veiling. The innovative hood not only protected from bee stings but offered exceptional visibility.
Fast-forward 45 years and the family company continues to revolutionize the world of beekeeping from its base near Falmouth in Cornwall where Brian, with a life time of experience, still pattern designs and cuts the clothing.
Working alongside him is his daughter, Angela Sherriff, who runs a small team of staff as well as a network of eight local machinists.
She said: “It is amazing that something that started out as a hobby in 1968 has become a thriving commercial enterprise, and is a key part of beekeeping around the world.
For more information visit www.beesuits.com, email: sherriff.int@btinternet.com or call 01872 863304.

Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does


Title: Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does
ISBN: 978-0-9851625-0-4
Paperback: 215 pages, perfect bound, black and white interior with illustrations, glossary, bibliography, and index
Price: $19.95
Descripton: Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does is an invitation to take a closer look at what goes on inside the beehive—and beyond.
Uniquely focused on the worker, the familiar bee that we see on our lawns and in our gardens, the book simply asks: How? The explorations involved in answering this question not only speak to our long-term relationship with the honey bee, but also suggest ways in which we all might help the bee that is in so much trouble these days.
Beginning with an overview of the colony comprising the queen, workers, and drones, the book homes in on the worker: how she constructs honeycomb, tends the queen, raises all of the colony’s inhabitants, grooms and feeds herself and others, makes honey and bee bread, and dances. As the worker flies away from the hive, we learn how she searches for resources, collects nectar and pollen, defines a beeline, and, sometimes, swarms and stings. We also glimpse this insect’s enormous capacity to work cooperatively and meet the ever-changing needs of her colony as a whole.
Richly illustrated, engagingly written, and containing a glossary, bibliography, and index, Honey-Maker provides the nitty gritty that serves as an introduction, guide, and reference to both the honey bee and the millions of known and yet-to-be-described other insects on the planet today.

Publisher: Beargrass Press
4207 SE Woodstock Ste 517
Portland OR 97206
www.beargrasspress.com

Distribution: Beargrass Press
4207 SE Woodstock Ste 517
Portland OR 97206
503.772.3486
www.beargrasspress.com

In addition to Beargrass Press, available at local storefronts and online through:

Online Bookstore
Powell’s Books: www.powells.com

Online Bee Supply
Bee Thinking: www.beethinking.com
Ruhl Bee Supply: www.bee-outside.com

 

August 2013

 (excerpt)

Researchers Find  Genetic Diversity Key to Survival of Honey Bee Colonies

When it comes to honey bees, more mates is better. A new study from North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that genetic diversity is key to survival in honey bee colonies – a colony is less likely to survive if its queen has had a limited number of mates.
“We wanted to determine whether a colony’s genetic diversity has an impact on its survival, and what that impact may be,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper describing the study. “We knew genetic diversity affected survival under controlled conditions, but wanted to see if it held true in the real world. And, if so, how much diversity is needed to significantly improve a colony’s odds of surviving.”
Tarpy took genetic samples from 80 commercial colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the eastern United States to assess each colony’s genetic diversity, which reflects the number of males a colony’s queen has mated with. The more mates a queen has had, the higher the genetic diversity in the colony. The researchers then tracked the health of the colonies on an almost monthly basis over the course of 10 months – which is a full working “season” for commercial bee colonies.
The researchers found that colonies where the queen had mated at least seven times were 2.86 times more likely to survive the 10-month working season. Specifically, 48 percent of colonies with queens who had mated at least seven times were still alive at the end of the season. Only 17 percent of the less genetically diverse colonies survived. “48 percent survival is still an alarmingly low survival rate, but it’s far better than 17 percent,” Tarpy says.
“This study confirms that genetic diversity is enormously important in honey bee populations,” Tarpy says. “And it also offers some guidance to beekeepers about breeding strategies that will help their colonies survive.”
The paper, “Genetic diversity affects colony survivorship in commercial honey bee colonies,” was published online in June in the journal Naturwissenschaften. Co-authors of the study are Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp of the University of Maryland and Dr. Jeffery Pettis of USDA. The work was supported by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the National Honey Board.
(Courtesy Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University)

Pollinators Easily Enhanced by Flowering Agri-environment Schemes

Agri-environment schemes aimed to promote biodiversity on farmland have positive effects on wild bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Effects on diversity and abundance were strongest when agri-environment schemes prescribed sowing wild-flowers, the more flowering species the better. Organic farms, set-aside land or fields receiving reduced amounts of fertilizer and pesticides generally hosted more wild pollinators than conventionally farmed land. Jeroen Scheper of Alterra Research Institute and colleagues demonstrated this by analyzing the results of 71 studies that had looked at the effects of implementing agri-environment schemes in various European countries.
“There has been a lot of debate about the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes so the results were a bit of a surprise” said co-author David Kleijn. “We don’t know whether the results indicate that agri-environment schemes boost pollinator populations or that they temporarily attract pollinators from surrounding areas. Positive effects were restricted to very common species. However, recently there has been a lot of concern that the decline of pollinators might result in pollination limitation of insect-pollinated crops. Wild bees are excellent pollinators and common species do just the trick. All you have to do to enhance the wild pollinators of crops on farmland is increase flower abundance in field margins roadsides or crop edges.”
The examined agri-environment schemes seem less effective in enhancing endangered pollinator species. Endangered species were rarely observed during the field studies. “Most of the studies used for the analyses were carried out in North-western Europe where farming is relatively intensive. In these areas endangered species are restricted to semi-natural habitats and nature reserves. Also, endangered bee species often specialize on flowers that cannot easily be established on farmland, such as heather or bilberry.”
Rachael Winfree, a leading pollination scientist from Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA comments “This is an interesting, timely and comprehensive study that tests several ecological hypotheses to answer an important question: Where and how should we restore pollinators on agricultural lands? Given the global interest in pollinator declines, and the considerable government funding going into pollinator restorations in the USA and EU, this work will have important policy implications.”

Green Roof at Minneapolis City Halland Courthouse Building is Home Sweet Home for Honeybees

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donates bees, hives

(MINNEAPOLIS) - The green roof at the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse building is now buzzing with honey bees, thanks to a donation from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which donated the bees from its own apiaries. Bees on rooftops are common in cities, and the green roof provides critical, protected habitat – especially in a commercial area such as Downtown. The two hives are expected to grow to about 50,000 bees each.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donated the bees and equipment as part of its commitment to a sustainable environment and to help the City with its environmental goals. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s own beehives have brought benefits including pollination of the fruits and vegetables at the tribe’s Wozupi (garden), honey production, and increased public awareness of the importance of pollinators through Wozupi classes and tours.
The beehive installation promotes awareness of urban ecosystems and furthers City goals, including locally grown food available and chosen; and livable communities, healthy lives. It is also intended to serve as an example of urban and rooftop beekeeping since the City recently relaxed its beekeeping rules for rooftop hives.
The bees’ foraging distance is about 28 square miles; from this location that includes ample resources for a flourishing hive such as areas around Lake of the Isles; parts of Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake; about six miles of Mississippi shoreline; extensive parkland including Loring Park; and portions of the University of Minnesota. Honey bees are not aggressive; furthermore, their presence on rooftops is a safe distance from human traffic.
Honey bee populations have been declining because of several factors including loss of habitat, use of pesticides, bee diseases and parasites. Minneapolis is one of many cities around the country promoting beekeeping. From Washington, D.C., to Chicago to San Francisco, municipal governments and beekeeping organizations are working to reverse the trend of disappearing honey bees.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wozupi (garden) manages more than 4.8 million honey bees in 120 hives in six apiaries. The honey bees provide important pollination for the Wozupi fruits and vegetables, and they feed throughout the season on tree blossoms, flowers, and other plants around the Community. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a focus on being a good neighbor, good steward of the earth, and good employer, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is committed to community partnerships, charitable donations, a healthy environment, and a strong economy. For more information, visit www.shakopeedakota.org and www.smscwozupi.org.

Monsanto Company Forms Honey Bee Advisory Council, Pledges Support For Honey Bee Health At First-Of-Its-Kind Summit

Monsanto Commits To Collaboration With Beekeeping Industry Partners To Improve Honey Bee Health

ST. LOUIS, June 13, 2013 -- A first-of-its-kind Honey Bee Health Summit concluded at Monsanto Company’s Chesterfield Village Research Center. The three-day event hosted by Project Apis m. (PAm) and Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council (HBAC) included nearly 100 members of the bee community representing academics, beekeepers, industry associations and government sectors.
Summit attendees heard from some of the nation’s top apiculture researchers on the challenges facing honey bees, an important ecosystem service provider and natural
pollinator.

 

Learning from the Honey Bee Community
“Healthy honey bees are essential for productive agriculture and the environment,” said Jerry Hayes, who runs Monsanto’s bee industry efforts as the Beeologics commercial lead. “As a company focused on sustainable agriculture, Monsanto has made significant investments in collaborations and R&D for the betterment of honey bee health, including the formation of Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council.”
Monsanto joined forces with beekeeping industry experts to form the HBAC. Through the counsel of these experts from the beekeeping industry, Monsanto has learned a great deal about the complex challenges facing beekeepers. Members of Monsanto’s HBAC include:

-- Diana Cox-Foster, Ph.D., professor, entomology, Penn State University
-- David Mendes, commercial beekeeper and past president of American Beekeeping Federation
-- Gus Rouse, honey bee queen breeder and owner of Kona Queen Hawaii, Inc.
-- Larry Johnson, row crops grower and commercial beekeeper

In addition to working with the honey bee community, Monsanto, alongside other agriculture industry leaders, supports best management practices that are beneficial to honey bee health. Monsanto supports The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, which the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and CropLife America (CLA) recently released. The Guide is an industry-wide initiative that promotes the safe handling and management of treated seeds.

Forage for Pollinating Bees
Year-one results of a three-year partnership between PAm and Monsanto also were provided during the summit. The goal of the partnership is to educate and provide forage with growers and landowners in California about the value of planting honey bee forage on land they would otherwise leave unused. The selected flowering plants provide pollen diversity to keep pollinating bees strong.
Almond pollination is extremely important and it demands more colonies than any other crop. It takes approximately 800 commercial beekeepers and 1.6 million honey bee colonies to pollinate California almonds.
“To ensure strong colonies and healthy honey bees for pollination, they need access to varied forage,” said Christi Heintz, executive director, PAm. “This partnership signifies a strong commitment to helping find sustainable solutions to improve bee health by providing honey bee forage,” said Heintz.
130 percent of the first year’s goal was achieved, yielding an area of 450 acres of forage.

Working to Control the Varroa Mite

Based largely on HBAC’s counsel, Monsanto has focused its bee health research efforts on finding a way to control the Varroa mite, which is a carrier of various viruses that are harmful to honey bees. The Varroa mite is considered to be a potential leading contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
“If beekeepers let mite pressure get out of control, it becomes an uphill battle and they usually lose,” said Hayes.
Monsanto’s BioDirect(TM) technology has the potential for sustainable benefits to beekeepers, growers and consumers in the form of biological solutions. The technology has the potential to control a problem insect on a beneficial insect without harm to the beneficial insect. BioDirect technologies may ultimately be used to identify new and additional opportunities for current herbicides, create better insect control options and offer new virus-control tools.

Vita Launches Smartphone App about Keeping Healthy Bees

The first-ever smartphone app about keeping healthy honeybees has been launched by Vita (Europe) Ltd, the world’s largest dedicated bee health company. The app is free and gives beekeepers easy mobile access to information and photographs about honeybee disease identification and treatment.
The app, suitable for nearly all smartphones and tablet devices, can be downloaded free from www.healthybeeguide.com. It runs on Apple or Android, on iPhones, iPads, Samsungs and Blackberrys and the full range of smart mobiles.
Seb Owen, commercial development manager at Vita who has led the development of the app, said: “Beekeepers often need information at a moment’s notice in their apiaries, so we devised this app to be used anywhere they can receive a mobile signal.
“We introduced this first-ever honeybee health smartphone app to a small number of beekeepers earlier this spring and the first reactions have been very positive indeed, so we are now ready to go fully live.
“The Disease Identification section with its photographs and descriptions is already proving very useful in alerting beekeepers to potential problems – and with their smartphone they will even be able to take photographs to compare later or send to fellow beekeepers.”
The main sections of the app cover disease identification and treatment, where to buy treatments, plus sections on the very popular Vita Photo gallery, a beekeeping calendar and links to Vita’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.
To access the free Vita web app from your smartphone, simply use your internet browser to go to www.healthybeeguide.com. The app requires an internet connection, is not available from app stores and will not store information on your phone.

Foundation Offering 5 Graduate Student Scholarships:
Deadline September 15, 2013


The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees is again offering scholarships of $2,000 each to five graduate students in apiculture. This is the Foundation’s ninth year to award such scholarships.
The Foundation is a charitable research and education foundation affiliated with the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF). The Foundation has benefited from a generous gift from the Glenn and Gertrude Overturf estate, and is sustained by ongoing gifts from ABF members and other supportive individuals.
The Foundation Trustees have chosen to use a portion of the grant to offer graduate student scholarships to foster professional development for young apicultural scientists. The purpose of the scholarships is to allow the recipients to attend the American Beekeeping Research Conference during the 2014 North American Beekeeping Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana January 7-11, 2014. The recipients will have an opportunity to meet other researchers and beekeepers and to present their research at the meeting. The Board of Trustees looks forward to their contributions to the conference. The scholarships are available to all graduate students.  Graduate students enrolled in universities outside the United States are invited to apply.
Applications for the scholarships will be accepted until September 15, 2013.
Applicants should submit to the Board for consideration:
1. A cover letter from their University advisor outlining the student’s progress toward their graduate degree (Masters or PhD), tentative graduation date, and any other information about the student and their research that would help the committee “get to know” the student. 
2. The student’s curriculum vitae, or resume, not to exceed 2 pages. 
3. A research proposal (not to exceed 3 pages), written by the graduate student. This proposal should outline the specific research experiments the student is conducting for their degree. The proposal should clearly state how the research benefits bees and/or beekeeping. The proposal can describe research that the student is planning to perform, or the progress the student already has made toward that research. The proposal should begin with an introduction to the research problem, and should follow with clear goals and objectives that state the research questions and hypotheses. The student should then discuss the methods that will be used to answer their research questions, and the expected results or results to date.
Recipients will be selected in October 2013.
Applications must be submitted electronically, preferably as one pdf document to: Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota; e-mail: spiva001@umn.edu.
If you have questions or need more information about the scholarship program, contact: Marla Spivak, Scholarship Program Coordinator, Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, spiva001@umn.edu.

What Debbie Jamison of DAR Did for UC Davis Bee Research

DAVIS, CA—For Debra “Debbie” Jamison of Fresno, it’s always been about the bees. The honey bees.
“I have had a lifelong love and respect for bees and I spent a lot of my childhood watching them, attracting them with sugar water, catching and playing with them and even dissecting them during a time when I imagined myself to be a junior scientist,” Jamison said. “Back in those days, there was an abundance of bees, usually observed by this kid in her family’s backyard full of clover blossoms—something you rarely see any more due to spraying of pre-emergents and other weed killers.”
So when Jamison became state regent of the California State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), she adopted the motto, “Bees are at the heart of our existence” and vowed to support research to help the beleaguered bees. Her project resulted in DAR members raising $30,000 for bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis.
“Every state regent has a fund-raising project; I chose honey bees,” said Jamison, whose first name, Debra, means “bee” in Hebrew. Fresno, in the heart of San Joaquin Valley, is “The Food Basket to the World,” Jamison said, and  “a place where we grow a large variety of crops that require bees for pollination.”
“When the California State Society Board of Directors approved this project, we knew that it was an important one,” she told the crowd at a recent ceremony at UC Davis. “However, we did not know just how vital this project would be until we began talking to staff at UC Davis.  We hope that our contribution helps provide needed funding for the extremely important research going on at this well-known and well-respected facility.”
The funds will be used in the Johnson lab. His graduate student, Gerard Smith, researches the effect of pesticide exposure in the field on honey bee foraging behavior, and graduate student Cameron Jasper studies the genetic basis of division of labor in honey bees.
Johnson and fellow UC Davis bee scientists Neal Williams and Robbin Thorp discusssed their work and the importance of bees as pollinators. Williams, an assisant professor, researches wild or non-managed bees. Thorp, a native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor of entomology, does research on bumble  bees and other bees.
Jamison thanked Fresno beekeeper Brian Liggett and Cooperative Extension specialist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology for helping educate them about the bees. Among the others she acknowledged were Christi Heintz, director of Project Apis m., “who provided information on the plight of bees and helped us get in contact with UC Davis.”
(Courtesy of Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC-Davis Bee Research)

Thompson Bequest Benefits Foundation

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees is the beneficiary of a bequest from the estates of Victor and Margaret Thompson of Hesston, Kans.
Victor Thompson retired in 1981 from Ohio State University where he had been a professor and honey bee researcher for nearly 40 years. He was involved in Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler’s research into hygienic behavior in honey bees. He had a BS in entomology from Kansas State and an MS in apiculture from Iowa State.
Dr. Larry Connor, who had worked as an Ohio State extension specialist, said, “Vic was a quiet, unassuming person, who went about his business and did his job without a lot of fanfare. Margaret was much the same.”
In retirement, the Thompsons moved back to Kansas. In 2006, writing to the American Beekeeping Federation to express appreciation for a 50-year membership recognition, he said they felt they “should return to ‘our roots’ in Kansas where many of our relatives still live.” At that time, both at age 85, he said he enjoyed woodworking in the retirement center’s workshop and gardening and “Margaret enjoys painting – mainly watercolors.”
Until his last years Mr. Thompson attended Kansas beekeepers meetings, said ABF Vice President Tim Tucker of Niotaze, Kans., who remembers him as “a kind man.” Mr. Thompson died in December 2012; Mrs. Thompson had died in March 2011.
The Thompson bequest is expected to total nearly $200,000, according to Foundation Executive Director Troy Fore. The funds have been invested along with the Foundation’s endowment -- an earlier gift from the estates of Glenn and Gertrude Overturf.
The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees is a 501(c)(3) research and education foundation; all contributions are tax deductible. For more information, contact the Foundation at P.O. Box 1445, Jesup, GA 31598, ph. 912-427-4018, on the web at honeybeepreservation.org.

 July 2013

 (excerpt)

Winter Loss Survey 2012-2013: Preliminary Results

by Dennis vanEngelsdorp1*, Nathalie Steinhauer1, Karen Rennich1, Jeffery Pettis2, Eugene J. Lengerich3, David Tarpy4, Keith S. Delaplane5, Angela M. Spleen3, James T. Wilkes6, Robyn Rose7, Kathleen Lee8, Michael Wilson9 , John Skinner9, and Dewey M. Caron10 for the Bee Informed Partnership.

Note: This is a preliminary analysis. A more detailed final report is being prepared for publication at a later date.
The Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org), in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is releasing preliminary results for the seventh annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. For the 2012/2013 winter season, a total of 6,287 U.S. beekeepers provided validated responses. Collectively, responding beekeepers managed 599,610 colonies in October 2012, representing about 22.9%1 of the country’s estimated 2.62 million colonies.
Preliminary survey results indicate that 31.1% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. This represents an increase in loss of 9.2 points or 42% over the previous 2011/2012 winter’s total losses that were estimated at 21.9% (Figure 1). This level of loss is on par with the 6 year average total loss of 30.5%2.
On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1% of the colonies in their operation during the winter of 2012/2013. This is a 19.8 point or 78.2% increase in the average operational loss compared to the previous winter (2011/2012), which was estimated at 25.3%. The difference between average loss and total loss is explained by the respondent pool: while a majority of the respondents (95%) were backyard beekeepers, they managed a small fraction of the colonies represented in the survey (6%). For this reason total loss (which is more heavily influenced by commercial beekeeper losses) is more representative of national losses.
Survey participants indicated that they considered a loss rate of 15% as “acceptable,” but 70% of them suffered losses greater than this.

1 Based on NASS 2012 figures
2 Previous survey results found a total colony loss in the winters of 21.9% in the winter of 2011/2012, 30% in 2010/2011, 34% in 2009/2010, 29% in 2008/2009, 36% in 2007/2008, and 32% in 2006/2007 (see figure below)


The Bee Informed Partnership is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

http://beeinformed.org/2013/05/winter-loss-survey-2012-2013/

1. University of Maryland; dennis.vanengelsdorp@gmail.com 717-884-2147;
2. USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory
3. The Pennsylvania State University,
4. North Carolina State University
5. University of Georgia
6. Appalachian State University
7. Robyn Rose, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,
8. University of Minnesota
9. University of Tennessee
10. Oregon state University
*Corresponding author


Georgia Offers A Super Bee to Help Ailing American Bee

by Molly Corso

When it comes to relations between the United States and Georgia, outsiders usually focus on what the US has done for its tiny South Caucasus ally. But, now, it looks like Georgia might have a valuable item for the US – a super bee that could provide some much-needed variety to dwindling American bee colonies.
In 2012, commercial beekeepers in the United States lost between 40 to 50 percent of their hives, the worst year for bee-colony collapse since 2005, according to a March article in The New York Times. A lower bee count reduces the supply of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans dependent on pollination, which, consequently, increases prices, the article noted.
While there is no evidence that Caucasus bees are more resilient either to the mites or the pesticides that could be causing the deaths of American bees, scientists like Washington State University entomologist Walter S. Sheppard have started taking bee semen from Georgia to create more variety in American bee populations.
The gray Caucasus mountain honey bee, one of the world’s three types of honey bees, has a legendary ability to produce large amounts of honey despite cold weather and bad conditions. Georgia is the “central homeland” for the species, although the bees also can be found in eastern Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“The Caucasus honey bee has a long, strong history of importance to beekeeping worldwide,” said Sheppard, who has traveled to Georgia three times from Pullman, Washington to purchase bee semen for the artificial insemination of bees. “The Caucasus honey bee is good at eating less and producing more.”
Information was not immediately available about the quantity of Caucasus bee exports from Georgia. The bees were first sent to the United States for commercial production in the late 19th century, along with Carniolan bees from the Austrian Alps and Italian bees. (North America itself has no native honey bees.)
But American beekeepers’ access to the Caucasus bees was cut short by a 1922 law that blocked the import of live honey bees from any country the US Secretary of Agriculture had not deemed clear of diseases or parasites harmful to bees, among other conditions.
That meant that, for decades, while American beekeepers selectively bred other types of bees for honey production, Georgia’s Caucasus bee, also known as Apis mellifera caucasica, was studied and cultivated primarily by Soviet entomologists. The scientists were amazed by its ability to out-produce other bee types, even in non-native habitats, and by its long tongue, or proboscis.
A Soviet-era report found that honey production by Georgia’s Caucasus bees exceeded that of the Russian Krasnopoliansk bee by 30 to 40 percent, rendering a sweet total of 25 to 30 kilograms of honey per season.
Its proboscis played a role there. At an average length of 7.1 millimeters, over half a millimeter longer than that of other honey bees, the Caucasus bee’s proboscis can reach nectar that its competitors cannot.
Ever mindful of production quotas, Soviet officials were so concerned about preserving the purity of this Stakhanovite species that they outlawed any transport of Caucasus bee colonies without special permission.
Those rules, however, fell by the wayside in the chaotic years following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Until recently, Georgian entomologists feared that the years of unrestricted movement and breeding might have wiped out the four Georgian varieties (Abkhazian, Cartaline, Gurian and Megrelian) of the Caucasus bee.
“After the Soviet Union collapsed, the state did not have time for bees and beekeepers continued as best they could,” commented entomologist Marina Barvenashvili. Some Georgian beekeepers mixed species in an effort to increase productivity, but the result meant the potential loss of some of the bee’s traits, she added.
In 2012, Barvenashvli, together with four colleagues, won a 19,000-lari ($11,508) grant from the Agriculture University of Georgia to travel to the western region of Samegrelo, where the scientists hoped the region’s high mountains might have preserved the Megrelian bees, the most distinct of Georgia’s Caucasus bees.
While foreign scientists are more interested in the bees’ productivity and ability to withstand the cold, the Georgian entomologists were keen to determine if the species’ legendary gray coloring and long tongue had survived.
After months of research and testing in three different villages in Samegrelo, they determined that they had. Now, the group is hoping for an additional grant to let them try selective breeding of Caucasus bees.
Yet local concern about the bees lives on. While “the mountains are protecting them,” said research project manager Maia Peikrishvili, “people definitely need to pay attention” to making sure that Georgia’s Caucasus bee, with its unusually robust production levels, remains a pure species.
With no easy rebound in sight for the US bee populations the Caucasus bee is meant to help, American food consumers most likely can only agree.
Editor’s note: Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.
Originally published by EurasiaNet.org, http://www.eurasianet.org.


USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The report states that there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
“There is an important link between the health of American agriculture and the health of our honeybees for our country’s long term agricultural productivity,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “The forces impacting honeybee health are complex and USDA, our research partners, and key stakeholders will be engaged in addressing this challenge.”
“The decline in honey bee health is a complex problem caused by a combination of stressors, and at EPA we are committed to continuing our work with USDA, researchers, beekeepers, growers and the public to address this challenge,” said Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe.  “The report we’ve released today is the product of unprecedented collaboration, and our work in concert must continue. As the report makes clear, we’ve made significant progress, but there is still much work to be done to protect the honey bee population.”
In October 2012, a National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health, led by federal researchers and managers, along with Pennsylvania State University, was convened to synthesize the current state of knowledge regarding the primary factors that scientists believe have the greatest impact on managed bee health.

Key findings include:
Parasites and Disease Present Risks to Honey Bees:
The parasitic Varroa mite is recognized as the major factor underlying colony loss in the U.S. and other countries. There is widespread resistance to the chemicals beekeepers use to control mites within the hive. New virus species have been found in the U.S. and several of these have been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Increased Genetic Diversity is Needed:
• U.S. honeybee colonies need increased genetic diversity. Genetic variation improves bees thermoregulation (the ability to keep body temperature steady even if the surrounding environment is different), disease resistance and worker productivity.
• Honey bee breeding should emphasize traits such as hygienic behavior that confer improved resistance to Varroa mites and diseases (such as American foulbrood).

Poor Nutrition Among Honey Bee Colonies:
• Nutrition has a major impact on individual bee and colony longevity. A nutrition-poor diet can make bees more susceptible to harm from disease and parasites. Bees need better forage and a variety of plants to support colony health.
• Federal and state partners should consider actions affecting land management to maximize available nutritional forage to promote and enhance good bee health and to protect bees by keeping them away from pesticide-treated fields.

There is a Need for Improved Collaboration and Information Sharing:
• Best Management Practices associated with bees and pesticide use exist, but are not widely or systematically followed by members of the crop-producing industry. There is a need for informed and coordinated communication between growers and beekeepers and effective collaboration between stakeholders on practices to protect bees from pesticides.
• Beekeepers emphasized the need for accurate and timely bee kill incident reporting, monitoring, and enforcement.

Additional Research is Needed to Determine Risks Presented by Pesticides:
The most pressing pesticide research questions relate to determining actual pesticide exposures and effects of pesticides to bees in the field and the potential for impacts on bee health and productivity of whole honey bee colonies.

Those involved in developing the report include USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agricultural Research Services (ARS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Resource Conversation Service (NRCS) as well as the EPA and Pennsylvania State University. The report will provide important input to the Colony Collapse Disorder Steering Committee, led by the USDA, EPA and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
An estimated one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honey bees. In the United States, pollination contributes to crop production worth $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually. A decline in managed bee colonies puts great pressure on the sectors of agriculture reliant on commercial pollination services. This is evident from reports of shortages of bees available for the pollination of many crops.
The Colony Collapse Steering Committee was formed in response to a sudden and widespread disappearance of adult honey bees from beehives, which first occurred in 2006. The Committee will consider the report’s recommendations and update the CCD Action Plan which will outline major priorities to be addressed in the next 5-10 years and serve as a reference document for policy makers, legislators and the public and will help coordinate the federal strategy in response to honey bee losses.
To view the report, which represents the consensus of the scientific community studying honey bees, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf

Comments On the E.U. Restriction On Neonics

by Eric Mussen
From March/April 2013 University of California at Davis, Bee News


For many years, beekeepers and environmentally interested individuals have expressed the opinion that the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”) have interfered with the ability of honey bees and native bees to conduct their life activities properly. Since laboratory studies have detailed the disruptive effect on those insects, it was suggested that the same things were happening in the field. Unanticipated losses of formerly strong honey bee colonies, and easily observable decreases in bumble bee sightings, correlated well with increased use of neonics.
In Europe, registration and use of various pesticides are based on the “precautionary principle.” Basically, that means that a chemical is rated on its innate toxicity to honey bees and other non-targets, similar to the requirements of the U.S. EPA. Then, a second component enters the equation: likelihood of honey bees and non-targets to become exposed to the toxicant. This second factor is considered by EPA, but not as strongly as it is in Europe. If the sum of the toxicity and likely exposure is large enough, then the European Commission can restrict or prohibit the product’s use. A report published by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) concluded that the neonicotinoid pesticides posed a “high acute risk” to pollinators, including honey bees, but that a definitive connection between the chemicals and loss of colonies in the field remained to be established.
The complaint against the neonics was brought to the European Commission a while ago, and the members originally voted that not enough scientific information existed to warrant a ban on the products. In the following appeal, the members voted to allow the Commission to prepare new restrictions concerning the use of the products. The restrictions are intended to accomplish two goals: 1) prevent large-scale environmental contamination by dust from agricultural planting equipment and 2) reduce exposure of honey bees and other flower-visiting insects to residues of neonics in nectars and pollens.
Beginning in December of 2013 or sooner, no more neonic-treated crop seeds will be sold or planted in the E.U. Neonics will be withdrawn from use by the general public. Neonics still may be used on plants that are not attractive to honey bees, or other foraging bee species, as forage plants (such as winter cereals).
What might we expect to see as results from this large-scale experiment? First, if large-scale contamination of the air through which bees are flying, contamination of weeds in agricultural fields, along the borders of the fields, and out in the environment no longer happens, then we would anticipate no longer hearing complaints about honey bees and bee colonies dying shortly after the plantings have taken place. Second, we might anticipate the problems of colony population depletion, sometimes to the point of colony loss, proposed to be due to exposure of bees to residues of neonics in nectars and pollens, would no longer be seen.
However, it is not likely to be that simple. The substantial losses, closely following neoniccoated seed planting, might drop off. But, other colony population problems may not become better for some time. Analyses of residues of pesticides in beeswax, stored pollens, and bees themselves in the U.S. suggest that there are myriad chemicals stored in the hives that are likely to be impacting honey bee physiology negatively already, including a few detections of very low levels of neonics. Since the neonics tend to persist in soil and woody perennials for prolonged periods of time, it is likely that bee exposure at low levels will persist. If the dosage levels of neonics that induce physiological impacts on honey bees are below current levels of detection (LOD), then it will be extremely difficult to determine this effect.
Additionally, removal of neonics from a significant segment of the market suggests that other compounds are likely to be substituted to control pests currently kept subdued by the neonics. Some of the older chemistries that no longer are available were losing their effectiveness against the pests due to selection for resistance, anyway. They are likely to be replaced by newer chemistries that may or may not have detrimental effects on exposed pollinators, including honey bees. The inadequacies in the U.S. to demand definitive, long-term studies on honey bee brood development and adult longevity, following exposure to sublethal doses of the compounds, means that we may find things will not be a whole lot better when we remove uses of neonics from our registrations. It will be interesting to watch this experiment unfold from a distance.
 
 

 June 2013

(excerpt)

Bee Industry Hosts U.S. EPA for Tour of Almond Pollination Sites

Dead Bees and Empty Hives Show the Extent of the Losses

Oakdale, CA — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Jim Jones spent a day in early April with beekeepers and almond growers to learn more about this year’s massive colony losses, and beekeepers’ concerns about the role of pesticides in the decline. The National Pollinator Defense Fund (NPDF) Board provided Jones with a view of the disaster from inside the hive. It was not a pretty picture. Dead hives littered the landscape at one bee yard, and even the hives with bees in them were not at full strength.
“I started out last spring in the Midwest with 3,150 healthy bee colonies; of which 992 still survive, and most of those are very weak.  More than 2,150 of my valuable bee colonies are now just gone,” said Jeff Anderson, third generation beekeeper, and owner of California-Minnesota Honey Farms where the tour began.
Escalating colony losses are making replacement difficult.  In the meantime, without bees, they are unable to fulfill pollination contracts or make honey.  Beekeepers are not alone—growers of almonds, cherries, apples, pears, berries, melons, and other fruits, vegetables, and field crops stand to lose as well, since their yields will be lower without good pollination.  Almond growers are paying a premium price this year for bees.  The supply isn’t enough to ensure good pollination and fruit set.  “The industry’s ability to pollinate almonds this year is severely compromised because of colony failures.   I expect that next year may be worse,” said Bret Adee, National Pollinator Defense (NPDF) president, and owner of Adee Honey Farms. “Many beekeepers will just not be able to recover from these losses.”
This is EPA’s second visit this year to the almond orchards. In early March, Anita Pease, associate director of Environmental Fate and Effects Division with the Office of Pesticide Programs, spent the day touring beekeeping operations with NPDF board members Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson, Darren Cox, and Zac Browning. They were joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture bee researchers Jeff Pettis and Dennis Van Englesdorp;  American Honey Producers President, Randy Verhoek, and American Beekeeping Federation President, George Hansen, and Board member, Gene Brandi.
The National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) and the Almond Board helped the NPDF coordinate Jim Jones’ visit.  Jones is head of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) at U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C., one of the 12 main offices under the head of the EPA.  OCSPP is the part of EPA that oversees the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) that is responsible for registering pesticides, and ensuring that “no unreasonable adverse effects” will result from pesticide use.
In spite of OPP’s mandate, pesticides continue to kill bees.  Acute kills from illegal sprays on blooming crops or weeds are part of the problem.  Jeremy Anderson, fourth-generation beekeeper, noted “Many insecticide labels disallow spraying blooming crops; but if it happens, penalties for violating the rules are few and far between.  Just an acute exposure is enough to kill honey bees.”
After opening many of the hives and viewing sick honey bees, Jones was able to discern the difference between healthy honey bees, and a sick hive.  He also heard from beekeepers there is a serious need for better enforcement of label restrictions.  “There are no consequences for applying pesticides near beehives—state lead agencies responsible for enforcement usually do not investigate honey bee kills,” Anderson said.
“We’re pleased to see Jim Jones visit the almond orchards, growers, and beekeepers.  He understands the need for sustainable pollinators.  The EPA understands that the bee industry is in extreme critical condition at a tipping point.  He is evaluating the way EPA enforces pesticide laws.  Pollinators and beekeepers can’t continue to be on the receiving end of the losses, or the U.S. won’t have a beekeeping industry,” said Darren Cox, a fourth-generation beekeeper from Utah who brings bees to California for almond pollination.  Jim Jones stated he wants to bring all of the stakeholders together to work on this issue.
Beekeepers are also concerned about pesticide exposures that don’t kill the bees outright, but may affect their ability to thrive.  The bee industry is concerned several classes of insecticides, including systemic neonicotinoids and pyrethroids, and some fungicides and  growth regulators may impair the immune system, causing queen or brood failure, compromising homing abilities of forager bees, and/or disrupting communications within the hive, all of which contribute to colony loss.  We strongly urge the EPA to re-evaluate these compounds long term using tier testing protocols that can give us the answers we need to mitigate losses.
Some pesticides are long-lived and persistent in the environment. The pyrethroid pesticides are found in the wax of most hives that have spent time in agricultural areas. Neonicotinoids are more frequently found in the nectar and pollen stores in the hive.  A recent study of more than 800 hives from Pennsylvania State University found an average of six different pesticides, and as many as 39 in a single hive.  In the paper, the authors noted: “We concluded that the 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represented a remarkably high level for toxicants in the food of brood and adults.  While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations, and their direct involvement in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) remain to be determined.”
The National Pollinator Defense Fund’s mission is to defend managed and native pollinators vital to a sustainable and affordable food supply from the adverse impacts of pesticides.  For more information contact us at www.pollinatordefense.org.

Syngenta and Bayer CropScience Propose a Comprehensive  Action Plan to Help Unlock EU Stalemate on Bee Health

Syngenta News Release


Syngenta and Bayer CropScience recently proposed an action plan to help unlock the EU stalemate on bee health. This follows the failure of the European Commission to reach agreement with Member States on an appropriate response to EFSA’s report on the theoretical risk to bee health from neonicotinoid pesticides.
John Atkin, Syngenta’s chief operating officer, said: “This comprehensive plan will bring valuable insights into the area of bee health, whereas a ban on neonicotinoids would simply close the door to understanding the problem. Banning these products would not save a single hive and it is time that everyone focused on addressing the real causes of declining bee populations. The plan is based on our confidence in the safety of our products and on our historical commitment to improving the environment for bees.”
Dr. Rüdiger Scheitza, member of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience and Head of Strategy & Business Management, said: ”Even though all the evidence points to various parasites and diseases being the true cause of poor bee health, we are keen to do everything in our power to give consumers confidence in our products. The significant lack of agreement between the European Commission and the Member States needs a bold plan so that farmers in Europe can continue to produce the high quality affordable food, in a way that promotes the health of bees and other pollinators. We believe that such a plan as this can be delivered.”
The key features of the action plan are:

1. Significantly scale up the creation of pollen rich, flowering field margins across the EU to provide essential habitat and nutrition for bees.
2. Support for the establishment of a comprehensive field monitoring program for bee health including the detection of neonicotinoid crop protection products – particularly in maize, oilseed rape, sunflower and cotton.
3. Mandatory implementation of strict measures to mitigate the exposure risk to bees; these are currently already recommended by the manufacturers and effectively applied by most farmers as good agricultural practice.
4. Investment in and implementation, at the earliest opportunity, of new technologies which further reduce dust emissions from the planting of seed treated with neonicotinoid crop protection products.
5. Further investment in the research and development of new solutions for the main factors impacting bee health, which include parasites and viruses, and establishment of area-wide long-term pilot studies which demonstrate their effectiveness.

In further detail, the key features of the action plan are:

Significantly scale up the provision of pollen rich flowering field margins across the EU to be sown alongside bee attractive crops treated with neonicotinoids to provide habitat and nutrition.

  • This would build on Syngenta’s 10-year Operation Pollinator program which has demonstrated that these margins dramatically increase pollinator populations, including honeybees.
  • This would address one of the main factors identified by the European Commission in the decline in bee health.


Support for the establishment of a comprehensive field monitoring program for bee health including the detection of crop protection chemicals.

  • A comprehensive program, following the guidelines for surveillance projects by the EU Reference Laboratory for honey bee health, shall be established.
  • The current monitoring work of the EU reference laboratories on bee health, supported by national bee institutes, should be reinforced and extended.
  • Within this new scope the detection of chemicals from crop protection, particularly neonicotinoids, and veterinary products should be included.


Mandatory implementation of strict measures to mitigate the exposure risk to bees.

  • High quality treatment of seed to take place only in certified production sites which participate in a Quality Assurance Scheme.
  • Strict rules governing the use of treated seed, such as the mandatory use of deflectors in planting machinery, application only by professional and certified users, and improved information exchange between farmers and beekeepers.
  • Bayer Crop Science recently developed “SweepAir”, a new air-cleaning technology for maize sowing equipment offering a significant improvement in comparison to standard technology; first field tests with the prototype indicate a dust reduction well above 95%.


Invest in and roll out new technologies which further reduce the dust emissions from the planting of seed treated with neonicotinoid crop protection chemicals.

  • Bayer CropScience and Syngenta are both working on new solutions to further improve the coating of seeds treated with crop protection chemicals and the way they are planted to ensure that dust emissions are minimized.
  • Some of these solutions are ready to be deployed and we commit to continuing our investment in the research and development of these risk mitigation measures.


Further invest in the research and development of new solutions for the main factors impacting bee health.

  • The European Commission identifies disease and viruses such as Varroa destructor, American foulbrood, European foulbrood, Nosema spp., and honey bee viruses as the main cause of the decline in bee health.
  • Bayer CropScience and Syngenta have both invested in the research and development of new solutions to these parasites, diseases and viruses and commit to stepping up our activities in this area.
  • Bayer CropScience and Syngenta commit to supporting area-wide long-term pilot studies which demonstrate their effectiveness.

 

 May 2013


Social Bees Mark Dangerous Flowers with Chemical Signals


Scientists already knew that some social bee species warn their hivemates when detecting the presence of a predator near their hive, which in turn causes an attack response to the possible predator. Researchers at the University of Tours (France) in collaboration with the Experimental Station of Arid Zones of Almeria (Spain) have now demonstrated that they also use chemical signals to mark those flowers where they have previously been attacked.
Researchers at the University of Tours (France) and the Experimental Station of Arid Zones of Almeria (EEZA-CSIC) conducted an experiment to study whether bees are capable of using evasive chemical signals to mark those flowers where they have previously been attacked. For this purpose, they simulated a predator attack and observed whether the bees advised the rest of their hivemates of the danger of gathering nectar at a certain plant.
“Evasive alarm pheromones provoke an escape response in insects that visit a particular flower and until now, we were not sure of the role that these pheromones played in social bees. Our results indicate that, unlike solitary bees, social bees use this type of alert system on flowers to warn their sisters of the presence of a nearby predator,” as explained to SINC by Ana L. Llandres from the University of Tours and lead author of the study published in the ‘Animal Behaviour’ journal.
In order to determine whether social and solitary bees responded to these olfactory alarm signals, an experiment was performed using individuals from both types and from different countries: Australia, China, Spain and Singapore.
In some plants the predator attack was simulated by trapping the bees with pincers whereas in other cases control plants were used in which no attack took place.
“Solitary bees responded similarly in the case of flowers that had been attacked by control predators and control flowers. However, social bees responded very differently,” explains L. Llandres. “Despite approaching both types of flower, the probability of landing on control flowers was much higher.” The scientists also detected that the probability of social bees rejecting flowers was much greater if a predator attack had been previously simulated.
This study supports the idea that the sociability of bees is linked to the evolution of warning signals.

References:
Ana L. Llandres, Francisco G. Gonzálvez, Miguel A. Rodríguez-Gironés. “Social but not solitary bees reject dangerous flowers where a conspecific has recently been attacked”, Animal Behaviour 85: 97- 102, 2013.

Researchers ID Queens, Mysterious Disease Syndrome as KeyFactors in Bee Colony Deaths

by MATT SHIPMAN
(Courtesy North Carolina State University News Service, Raleigh, NC)


A new long-term study of honey bee health has found that a little-understood disease study authors are calling “idiopathic brood disease syndrome” (IBDS), which kills off bee larvae, is the largest risk factor for predicting the death of a bee colony.
“Historically, we’ve seen symptoms similar to IBDS associated with viruses spread by large-scale infestations of parasitic mites,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the study. “But now we’re seeing these symptoms – a high percentage of larvae deaths – in colonies that have relatively few of these mites. That suggests that IBDS is present even in colonies with low mite loads, which is not what we expected.” The study was conducted by researchers from NC State, the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The study evaluated the health of 80 commercial colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the eastern United States on an almost monthly basis over the course of 10 months – which is a full working “season” for commercial bee colonies. The goal of the study was to track changes in bee colony health and, for those colonies that died off, to determine what factors earlier in the year may have contributed to colony death. Fifty-six percent of the colonies died during the study.
“We found that colonies affected by IBDS had a risk factor of 3.2,” says Dr. Dennis vanEnglesdorp of the University of Maryland, who was lead author on the paper. That means that colonies with IBDS were 3.2 times more likely to die than the other colonies over the course of the study.
While the study found that IBDS was the greatest risk factor, a close runner-up was the occurrence of a so-called “queen event.”
Honey bee colonies have only one queen. When a colony perceives something wrong with its queen, the workers eliminate that queen and try to replace her. This process is not always smooth or successful. The occurrence of a queen event had a risk factor of 3.1.
“This is the first time anyone has done an epidemiological study to repeatedly evaluate the health of the same commercial honey bee colonies over the course of a season,” Tarpy says. “It shows that IBDS is a significant problem that we don’t understand very well. It also highlights that we need to learn more about what causes colonies to reject their queens. These are areas we are actively researching. Hopefully, this will give us insights into other health problems, including colony collapse disorder.”
The paper, “Idiopathic brood disease syndrome and queen events as precursors of colony mortality in migratory beekeeping operations in the eastern United States,” was published in the February issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine. Co-authors of the study include Dr. Eugene Lengerich of Penn State and Dr. Jeffery Pettis of USDA. The work was supported by USDA and the National Honey Board.

Bees Get a Buzz from Caffeine

Scientists have today shown that caffein improves a honey bee’s memory and could  could help the plant recruit more bees to spread its pollen.
Publishing in Science the researchers show that in tests honeybees feeding on a sugar solution containing caffeine, which occurs naturally in the nectar of coffee and citrus flowers, were three times more likely to remember a flower’s scent than those feeding on just sugar.
Study leader Dr Geraldine Wright, Reader in Neuroethology at Newcastle University, UK, explained that the effect of caffeine benefits both the honeybee and the plant: “Remembering floral traits is difficult for bees to perform at a fast pace as they fly from flower to flower and we have found that caffeine helps the bee remember where the flowers are.
“In turn, bees that have fed on caffeine-laced nectar are laden with coffee pollen and these bees search for other coffee plants to find more nectar, leading to better pollination.
“So, caffeine in nectar is likely to improve the bee’s foraging prowess while providing the plant with a more faithful pollinator.”
In the study, researchers found that the nectar of Citrus and Coffea species often contained low doses of caffeine. They included ‘robusta’ coffee species mainly used to produce freeze-dried coffee and ‘arabica’ used for espresso and filter coffee. Grapefruit, lemons, pomelo and oranges were also sampled and all contained caffeine.
Co-author Professor Phil Stevenson from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute, UK, said: “Caffeine is a defense chemical in plants and tastes bitter to many insects including bees so we were surprised to find it in the nectar. However, it occurs at a dose that’s too low for the bees to taste, but high enough to affect bee behavior.”
The effect of caffeine on the bees’ long-term memory was profound with three times as many bees remembering the floral scent 24 hours later and twice as many bees remembering the scent after three days.
Typically, the nectar in the flower of a coffee plant contains almost as much caffeine as a cup of instant coffee. Just as black coffee has a strong bitter taste to us, high concentrations of caffeine are repellent to honeybees.
Dr Wright added: “This work helps us understand the basic mechanisms of how caffeine affects our brains. What we see in bees could explain why people prefer to drink coffee when studying.”
Dr Julie Mustard, a contributor to the study from Arizona State University, explains further: “Although human and honeybee brains obviously have lots of differences, when you look at the level of cells, proteins and genes, human and bee brains function very similarly. Thus, we can use the honeybee to investigate how caffeine affects our own brains and behaviors.”
This project was funded in part by the Insect Pollinators Initiative which supports projects aimed at researching the causes and consequences of threats to insect pollinators and to inform the development of appropriate mitigation strategies.
Population declines among bees have serious consequences for natural ecosystems and agriculture since bees are essential pollinators for many crops and wild flowering species. If declines are allowed to continue there is a risk to our natural biodiversity and on some crop production.
Professor Stevenson said: “Understanding how bees choose to forage and return to some flowers over others will help inform how landscapes could be better managed. Understanding a honeybee’s habits and preferences could help find ways to reinvigorate the species to protect our farming industry and countryside.”


National Honey Board Offers Promotional Items to Industry Members

Firestone, Colo., March 11, 2013 – The National Honey Board (NHB) announced that it has produced three new promotional items that are available for purchase.
The promotional items were created to showcase honey’s versatility. The NHB focused on items that would span some of honey’s many applications, including culinary, beauty and more. The items also feature the Honey ONE logo, to remind people that honey is just one ingredient, the way nature intended.
The items available include a black polyester foldaway tote bag that’s perfect for the grocery store or farmer’s market. The tote folds into a carrying pouch with drawstring and has 18” shoulder straps. Next is an all-silicone spoon that is ideal for stirring pasta, soups, sauces and more and is 11-1/8” x 2-3/16” x 11/16” in size. The longer handle keeps your hands further away from the heat to help prevent steam burns. Finally, for the first time ever, the NHB is offering their signature honey and vanilla lip balm. This formula is specially created for the NHB and is made from all-natural ingredients, including honey and beeswax.
“We are pleased to offer these promotional items to the honey industry,” said Catherine Barry, marketing director at the National Honey Board. “These items are a continuation of our effort to provide materials to the industry to help promote honey. With items that are useful for everyday life, we hope that people will enjoy using them and they’ll continue to utilize honey throughout their day.”
These promotional items will be available to industry members for $3.50, $3.00 and $0.75 respectively. To purchase one or all the items, please call Andrea Brening, the National Honey Board’s fulfillment coordinator at 800-553-7162.
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.


National Honey Board Offers Sweet Stirrings Honey Cocktail Guide

Firestone, Colo., March 18, 2013 – The National Honey Board’s honey cocktail guide, Sweet Stirrings, is now available for order. Spiral-bound and bar-ready with 50 gorgeous, splash-proof pages, the guide features 32 honey-inspired cocktail recipes, honey simple syrup suggestions and information on honey varietals to boost the cocktail category.
With five tabbed sections for easy reference (Martinis, Highballs, Sours and Frozen Drinks, Smashes and Stick Drinks, and Wine and Ale Cocktails), the Sweet Stirrings guide features cocktail recipes ranging from honeyed-up favorites such as the Best Ever Bloody Mary and Honey Bee-jito, to innovative honey-inspired concoctions like the Lava Lamp Martini, sweet and spicy Peppermelon, and dessert-worthy Brandy Baklava and Apple Pie à la Mode.
“The Sweet Stirrings cocktail guide is designed to be a highly functional yet beautiful piece that inspires everyone, from bartenders to mixologists or anyone looking to spice up their cocktails with honey,” says Catherine Barry, director of marketing for the National Honey Board.
This honey cocktail guide will be available to industry members for $7.00 each. To purchase the Sweet Stirrings honey cocktail guide, please call Andrea Brening, the National Honey Board’s fulfillment coordinator at 800-553-7162.

British Columbia Beekeeping History

Book Review: “A History of
Beekeeping in British Columbia from 1950 to 2000,” Douglas M. McCutcheon, 2013, published by the British Columbia Honey Producers Association, 334 pp.

Bottom line: this is a thoroughly delightful book, and a masterly piece of work. Comprehensive and excellently researched, well written, full of anecdote and information, populated by fascinating characters and significant events, it’s a portrait of five eventful decades in beekeeping history.
McCutcheon’s book begins in 1950, taking up where a previous book “100 Years of Beekeeping in B.C.” by W. H. Turnbull, left off. “A History of Beekeeping in British Columbia” is brilliantly organized, dancing between anecdote, facts, occasions, profiles of significant individuals and compelling stories about the people, places and events that made up 50 years of beekeeping.
McCutcheon follows a brief review of pre-1950’s beekeeping with a general overview of the B.C. government’s Apiary program and the activities of the B.C. Honey Producers Association. He then moves on to a historical time line of projects and activities in B.C. beekeeping, followed by a section about each region in the province and its unique beekeeping environment and beekeepers.
He next writes about the many unique aspects of B.C. beekeeping, from university-level research to pollination, educational conferences to the Bee Masters course, honey shows to the 1999 international conference Apimondia. The book is richly illustrated with photos, has a beautiful and deeply moving front cover of McCutcheon beekeeping with his young grandson, and a back cover with a fine apiary shot surrounded by hexagonal color chips representing the major bee pollen colors from important B.C. bee forage.
We all owe a great of gratitude to Doug McCutcheon for his herculean and highly successful efforts. Buy this book; it’s a real treasure.
Mark L. Winston, FRSC
Academic Director and Fellow
Simon Fraser University’s
Centre for Dialogue

This book review first appeared in Spring 2013 issue of Canadian Hivelights magazine.

Book release date: April 15, 2013
Cost: $29.95, plus shipping
Available for online PayPal orders through the BCHPA web site:
http://www.bcbeekeepers.com/

The Honey Connoisseur

by C. Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum

Like wine, cheese, coffee, and chocolate, honey has emerged as an artisanal obsession. Its popularity at farmers’ markets and specialty food stores has soared. Interest in beekeeping and honey is at an all-time high. Retail chains such as Williams-Sonoma have their own artisanal collections that include beekeeping kits. All that’s missing is a comprehensive primer on honey—from the ubiquitous clover to tangy basswood to rich, smoky buckwheat—and how to interpret its color, aroma, and flavor. Now, from honey experts C. Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum, we finally have it, THE HONEY CONNOISSEUR: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey, With a Guide to More than 30 Varietals.
THE HONEY CONNOISSEUR (Publication date: June 4, 2013) including engaging explanations and step-by-step instructions on the origin and flavor of more than 30 varietals of honey from Alfalfa to Ulmo, wine and cheese pairings, and as a bonus, several simple, delicious recipes featuring honey. After a brief explanation of how bees pollinate plants and produce honey, the authors introduce terroir, or the way soil, weather, and other natural phenomena can affect the taste of honey. Terroir is a familiar concept to wine lovers, but has not been widely associated with honey until now. Knowing the terroir of a honey varietal informs an understanding of its flavor. This beautifully illustrated book teaches foodies, locavores, and consumers everything they need to know to taste, select, and use a diverse assortment of honey.
Published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. www.blackdogandleventhal.com (212) 647-9336. Hard cover, 208 pages - $26.95, ISBN: 978-1-57912-929-3.

Producing Royal Jelly

This fully illustrated guide provides all available practical information on the production of royal jelly and covers in detail:

Why bees produce royal jelly
Therapeutic uses of the product
Detailed methods of production
New larval transfer systems
International standards
Storage and sale of the fresh product

Step by step instructions show you how anyone with access to one or more hives can enjoy the satisfaction of producing royal jelly.

About the Author
Dr. Ron vonToor gained an MSc in Crop Protection at Bath University, UK. He has worked as an agricutlure researcher and technology specialist for 18 years in science disciplines including integrated weed and pest management, agronomy and soil fertility. He worked with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from 1986-1990 to solve specific problems in the export of honeybees and the production of royal jelly. He gained his PhD in plant pathology at Lincoln University, New Zealand in 2002 and now works as a scientist in crop protection for the New Zealand food research organization.
To order, contact Northern Bee Books, Scout Bottom Farm, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 5JS, Tel: 04422 882751, Email: jerry@
recordermail.com.uk.

Glorybee’s Social Initiatives Impact Local University’s Bee Research

Eugene, Ore. - Thursday, February 28, GloryBee hosted a honey-themed lunch honoring the OSU Honey Bee Lab and presented the team with a $10,000 check to go towards its research on bee health, nutrition, and parasite control. Funds were raised through the retail sales of GloryBee®Honey and HoneyStix branded products for the “Save the Bee” campaign.
In 2012, GloryBee launched its Social Intiatives campaign as a way to directly impact organizations dedicated to saving the bee and healthy living issues. Founder and CEO Richard Turanski started GloryBee® Honey as a beekeeper due to his love of bees.  With the concern of declining bee populations throughout the world, GloryBee has moved forward in efforts to be a part of the “Save the Bee” mission.
In addition to the OSU Honey Bee Lab, GloryBee donated $1,000 worth of equipment to recovering beekeepers impacted directly by Hurricane Sandy. The Brooklyn Grange Bees and a western Massachusetts beekeeper will be able to rebuild their colonies in time for spring due to the generosity of GloryBee®.
As a company dedicated to healthy living, nutrition is at the heart of our mission. The “Healthy Living” campaign donated $3,000 to the School Garden Project of Lane County. Food Corps, a nationwide team of leaders connecting kids to real food, received $5,000 and the Lane Coalition for Healthy and Active Youth (LCHAY) gained $3,500 to help support its efforts to reduce childhood obesity in Lane County. These funds were raised from the retail sales of Aunt Patty’s® products.
Aunt Patty’s® was founded on Pat Turanski’s belief (co-founder of GloryBee) in feeding her family healthy meals using alternatives to refined sugar. As a company, GloryBee feels strongly that childhood obesity is one condition we can positively change with healthy living.

About GloryBee
GloryBee Foods started in the family garage of Dick and Pat “Aunt Patty” Turanski in 1975 with the sales of honey farmed in their backyard and has grown to include not only everything to do with bees, but a large assortment of natural ingredients. The dream of providing quality, natural ingredients for their community has grown to include the U.S. and beyond. GloryBee is still a family-owned and operated business in Eugene, Oregon.

 

April 2013

(Excerpt)

Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California Almond Orchards

by Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Dept. of Entomology


DAVIS--California almond growers may not have enough honey bees to pollinate this year’s crop of   800,000 acres, says  Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He attributes the difficulty to winter losses and less populous hives.
“We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used for that purpose,” he said. “We need to bring in a million more colonies but due to the winter losses, we may not have enough bees.”
Those winter losses-- still being tabulated-- and the resulting fewer bees per hive could spell trouble for almond growers, he said.
“Last year was not a good year for honey production in the United States,” Mussen said, “and it could be one of the worst honey production years in the history of nation, although it’s been pretty rough in some of the previous years. Usually when we’re short of nectar, we’re short on pollen, and honey bees need both.  So, 2012 was a bad year for bee nutrition.”
Malnutrition is one of the stressors of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious malady first noticed in the winter of 2006 that has decimated one-third of the nation’s bees every year.  Some beekeepers have reported winter losses of  90 to 100 percent.
In CCD, the adult bees abandon the hive, leaving behind the queen bee, brood and food stores. Bee scientists think CCD is caused by a multitude of factors, including, pests, pesticides, parasites, diseases, malnutrition and stress.
“We don’t know how many more bees will be lost over the winter,” Mussen said. “We consider the winter ending when the weather warms up and the pollen is being brought into the hives.”
“Many, many colonies are not going to make it through the winter,” said Mussen, an apiculturist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology since 1976.  “We won’t have as large a bee population as in the past.”
In other words, fewer colonies will be available for the almond growers and the colonies that are available aren’t going to be as populous, he said.” Almond growers usually want at least eight frames of bees per hive,” Mussen said, “but this year they may be lucky to get six.  That’s one-third less bees per hive to pollinate the orchards.”
Mussen estimated a good solid hive with eight frames amounts to 2000 bees per frame or 16,000 bees.
Already brokers are getting calls from beekeepers saying “I can’t fulfill the contract. I’m going to be short.”
Mussen said it may all work out well in the end as “bees pollinate almonds on a community basis. The strong colonies will make up for the weak colonies. The strong colonies will clean the orchard of pollen by early afternoon and then go down the street and grab food from nearby orchards.”
San Joaquin almond orchards are already starting to bloom, “but it’s going to be late up here in the Sacramento Valley,” he said.  Kern County grows more almonds than any other county in the state.
“If we hit abnormally warm stretches that push out all the bloom at once,  that will be good,” said Mussen. “It’s likely that cross-pollination will be better if we have a steady period of warm weather, instead of a warm-cold fluctuating period.”
Although the almond growers are paying a lot of money for their pollination services –an average of $150 per hive—there’s no guarantee it will be a good nut set, Mussen warned. “If it’s too cool, fertilization may not occur.  The pollen tubes won’t grow all the way down to the base of the flower to the ovum.  The good nut set occurs within the first three days of pollination or at the most, within five days.”
On the other hand, if the weather is too hot and dry, the tissue dries out, he explained.  “So we need nice warm weather that’s not too hot or too cold to get good fertilization and nut set. It’s not always  the bees’ fault if the nuts fail to grow.”
Many beekeeping operations truck in thousands of colonies to pollinate California’s almonds. One beekeeping operation used to bring 16,000 colonies, Mussen said, “but that 16,000 could be half that this year.”  The bees are trucked here from all over the nation.
Around Feb. 14 the average almond orchard in California is in full bloom, but some orchards bloom earlier or later, depending on the cultivar and the weather.  An almond orchard blooms a total of about two weeks, he said, pointing out that “the season is short.”
 “Around March 7 to the 10th is the last pollination period for almonds in California,” he said. That means that some beekeepers can do double duty with their bees, first pollinating orchards in early February and then heading off to other orchards for the last blooms of the season.”
Almonds are California’s biggest export.  This year the National Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting a record-breaking 2.10 billion meat pounds, valued at approximately $3 billion. Eighty-percent of the global supply of almonds is grown in California, and about 70 percent of California’s crop is marketed overseas.

National Honey Board Offers Free Honey Brochures to Industry Members

Firestone, Colo., – The National Honey Board (NHB) has announced that it has produced two new educational honey brochures for 2013 entitled Honey – The Journey from Hive to Bottle and Honey – Discover the Versatility.
Honey – The Journey from Hive to Bottle is a four page, accordion style brochure that takes the reader through the journey of honey production, beginning with the humble honey bees. Topics include pollination, honey extraction, honey varietals and honey’s versatility, among many others. This brochure is beautiful and makes the learning process both fun and informative. 
Honey – Discover the Versatility is a six page, staple bound brochure that celebrates honey’s versatility both inside and outside the kitchen. In addition to highlighting honey as an all-natural ingredient, this brochure features recipes to showcase honey as an energy booster, natural cough suppressant, and beauty aid. It also informs readers about honey substitution and honey’s functionality when used as a culinary ingredient.  
“We are pleased to offer both of these new brochures to the honey industry,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “The brochures are a continuation of our effort to provide materials to the industry to help promote honey. With colorful images and lots of useful information, each brochure is attractive and showcases the journey of honey, from hive to bottle, as well as its versatility.”
The new complimentary brochures are available in limited quantities. To order, please contact Andrea Brening, the National Honey Board’s fulfillment coordinator at 800-553-7162 Toll-free or (303) 776-2337.


Can Treatment with Brood Pheromone Increase Honey Production?

John H. Borden (john.borden@contech-inc.com), Michael Campbell (mikecampbell@bchoney.com), Wesley Card (wesleycard@yahoo.com), John A. McLean (jands.mclean@gmail.com), Barry Foster (bjfoster@xtra.co.nz) and Ramesh R. Sagili (sagilir@hort.oregonstate.edu)
Honey bee brood pheromone is a blend of 10 fatty acid esters produced in the larval salivary glands.  Exposure to brood pheromone stimulates foraging by workers, oviposition by queens, and production of protein-enriched royal jelly by nurse bees. 
SuperBoost® is a commercial product that contains 180 mg of synthetic brood pheromone in a small plastic pouch suspended between the frames in a plastic holder (Figure 1).  Bees touching the pouch come into contact with a thin film of the oily pheromone.  One treatment lasts five weeks.  In two documented cases, application of SuperBoost enhanced the yield of honey, once in package bee colonies and once in established colonies (B. Foster et al. 2011, NZ Beekeeper 19 (5): 15, 17-18; C.G. Lait et al. 2012  J. Econ. Entomol. 105: 304-312).  We summarize both positive and neutral effects of brood pheromone treatment on honey production in four locations (Figure 2). 
In three British Columbia experiments combined (two with new package bee colonies), 108 colonies treated two or three times with SuperBoost starting at the beginning of nectar flow produced on average 86.7% more honey than 100 control colonies; they also had five splits compared to two from control colonies. 
A study in Louisiana employed 100 treated and 100 control colonies, all with 3-6 frames of bees and 1-2 frames of brood.  A single treatment was applied on 6 June 2012, and harvesting was done on 25 August. Three SuperBoost-treated and nine control colonies died.  Treated colonies produced 72.6 lb of honey on average, and control colonies produced 44.7 lb, a difference of 62.4%.  In addition, supers from SuperBoost-treated colonies had 19.9% more honey than supers from control colonies. 
A study in New Zealand employed 20 colonies treated twice beginning at the end of August (equivalent to February in the Northern Hemisphere).  Nine treated and three (of 20) control colonies produced splits.  The weight of honey (including splits) for SuperBoost-treated colonies was 1,939.4 lb, and that from control colonies was 1,570 lb, a difference of 23.5%.
A five-replicate experiment in Oregon employed equal number of treated and control colonies  within a replicate, but the numbers between replicates ranged from 14 to 100.  Treatment was done at the beginning of July, and harvesting was done 45 days later.  In four replicates, treated colonies produced 1.0% to 12.5% more honey than control colonies, but in one replicate, treated colonies produced 12.6% less honey than control colonies.  On average, SuperBoost-treated colonies produced only 0.4% more honey than control colonies.
Two main hypotheses could explain the increase in honey produced in three instances, and the lack of an increase in the fourth.  One is that increased nectar foraging resulted in increased honey harvest, particularly in Louisiana, where warm temperatures would have enabled pheromone-exposed bees to respond immediately.  Stimulation of brood production (and thus more workers) is the most plausible hypothesis.  In the New Zealand study, six more splits from the treated than control colonies  could have accounted for the increased yield.  In one package bee experiment in British Columbia, colonies treated with brood pheromone had 35% more adult bees at the end of the summer than control colonies.  In Oregon, with treatment at the beginning of July, two months later than the start of nectar flow, the main period of population build up would have been ending at the time of treatment; thus treated and control colonies might have had roughly the same number of bees producing the same amount of honey for the remainder of the summer. 
Analysis of the benefits of brood pheromone treatment showed a 13.5 times return on investment for the Louisiana study and 4.4 times for the New Zealand study.  The break-even points would have been gains of 4.33 lb and 3.86 lb of honey per colony in Louisiana and New Zealand, respectively.

National Honey Board Funds New Honey Bee Research Projects Focusing on Honey Bee Health

Firestone, Colo., February 25, 2013 – The National Honey Board has approved funding for nine new research projects focusing on honey bee health.  The Board’s Research Committee, with input from a panel of experts, selected the projects from 23 proposals received from researchers around the world. The total dollar commitment for the nine projects is $165,685. In addition, the Board’s 2013 budget includes $78,600 for ongoing bee research projects from prior years.
“The Board commits five percent of its assessment revenues to production research,” said George Hansen, an Oregon honey producer and Chairman of the Committee. “We’re pleased to be able to fund this research to help the industry with the challenges of maintaining the health of honey bees.”
The nine new projects approved for funding in 2013 include:

“How do gut microbial communities affect the quality of honey bee queens?” Dr. Heather Mattila, Wellesley College.
“Evaluating the effects of pesticide exposures on Nosema ceranae virus levels and immunity in honey bees,” Dr. Brenna E. Traver, Virginia Tech.
“Effects of agro-chemical residues in combs on commercial queen rearing,” Dr. Jeffrey W. Harris, Mississippi State University.
“Stimulating propolis collection to benefit honey bee health and immunity,” Dr. Marla Spivak and Renata Borba, University of Minnesota.
“Interactive effects of Nosema ssp. infection and chronic pesticide exposure on learning in foraging age honey bees, Apis mellifera,” Dr. James D. Ellis, University of Florida.
“Acaricide Tolerance by Diutinus and Non-Diutinus Workers,” Lizette Dalgren, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
“Improving honey bee queen quality via nutritional and hormonal treatments,” Dr. Ming H. Huang, North Carolina State University.
 “An integrated IPM program using non-chemical controls to manage parasites in honey bee colonies,” Kathleen C. Evans, M.S. and Dr. Deborah A. Delaney, University of Delaware.
“A decision support system for honeybee colony management,” Dr. James L. Frazier, Pennsylvania State University.

All bee research projects funded by the National Honey Board are listed on the Board’s website, www.honey.com. Visitors can click on the “Honey Industry” tab and then go to “Honey and Bee Research” for further information on completed and ongoing projects.
The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.


Honey featured at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon

Pure honeycomb and honey were presented to the political elite at the most prestigious power lunch ever, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Luncheon. The honey was served on the dessert plate alongside apple pie and cheese, not as an ingredient of another product, but in its complete form as comb honey.
On the Inaugural Day, January 21, the participants met for breakfast, where pure honey was also served along with yogurt, then proceeded to the swearing in ceremony. Afterwards, in the Statuary Hall in the Capitol building, the luncheon was served.
Attending the luncheon were, of course, President and Mrs. Obama and Vice President Biden with about other 200 guests, including House and Senate leaders from both parties, Cabinet members, all of the Supreme Court justices and members of the diplomatic corps.
The theme for the farm-to-table feast, “Faith in America’s Future” paid homage to sustainably produced and artisanal foods by featuring American agricultural products that have long been popular in our cuisine, but with an added modern touch. It was a celebration of American farms and agriculture, with a nod to their bright future and continued place in our culture.
US Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), as Chairman of the Inaugural Committee, wanted New York foods represented as much as possible at this historic event. The seasonal, certified kosher honey and honey comb was from Seaway Trail Honey (near Lake Ontario, NY), a small-scale apiary owned by Pat Bono. “It is an honor to have Senator Schumer showcase honey, especially pure New York State honey,” said Pat Bono, owner of Seaway Trail Honey. “New York State has a long tradition of producing some of the finest honey in the nation.”
Pat, a pure honey advocate (RochesterHoney.com ) and 2nd Vice President of the Empire State Honey Producers Association (the state beekeeping organization for NY, ESHPA.org), was also pleased that pure, treatment-free, all American honey was offered to the highest office holders of the USA.
best student paper
Kaira Wagoner’s paper was selected by the American Association of Professional Apiculturists as the “Best Student Presentation” at the 2013 American Bee Research Conference in Hershey, PA. The title of her paper was “Contributions of Brood Communication and Varroa mite - Exposure to Hygienic Behavior in Apis mellifera.”

March 2013


AAPA Research Scholarship Award Winner

Lizette Dahlgren began her Ph.D. under the direction of Drs. Marion Ellis and Blair Siegfried in 2010.  She is researching the differences in acaricide tolerance between queen and worker honey bees.  Lizette received her Masters of Science in entomology from Texas A&M University in 2008 and her Bachelors of Science in biology from the University of Nebraska in 2005.  Outside of research, she enjoys aiding in workshops for beginning beekeepers, master beekeepers, and queen rearing as well as volunteering in the Nebraska Beekeepers Association State Fair booth every year.This award is sponsored by the American Association of Professional Apiculturists.
 

Meet in Cabazon

The California State Beekeepers Association held their annual convention at The Morongo Resort and Casino November 13-15 at Cabazon, California.
Monday night the President’s Reception started the convention off in the 360 Room sponsored by Mann Lake Ltd. and Beekeeping Insurance Services.
Registration started Tuesday morning with Beekeepers showing up from all over California, with a surge from very interested Hobby beekeepers thirsty for more knowledge and commercial beekeepers looking to keep up with the trends.
Attendees were informed of new developments in the bee industry by some of the nations most prominent honeybee researchers. Speakers at this year’s general meeting included Eric Mussen UCD, Laurie Davies Adams, Bruce Boynton, Dennis van Engelsdrop, Jeff Pettis, Randy Oliver, Steve Sheppard, Brandon Hopkins, Christie Heintz, Frank Eischen, Bob Curtis, Randy Verhoek, Holly Fraumeni, Jackie Parks Burris, Brian Johnson, Jerry Hayes, James Nieh, Brent Woodworth.
Break-out sessions seemed to be a big hit this year “Bridging the Gap, Sideliner to Full Timer” where small-scale beekeepers were informed how to rear their own queens, install packages, manage their honey crops, monitor viruses and ended with a question and answer for more clarity.
Morongo Casino offered a beautiful exhibit room to accommodate all our vendors and a special thanks to all our Coffee Break Sponsors—Mann Lake Ltd. A&O Forklift, Used Pallet Co. Interwest Insurance, Cowen Mfg., Haagen Dazs and Global Patties. A Research Luncheon was sponsored by Golden Heritage Foods. “Beekeeping in a Flat World” Speaker was Jeff Pettis.
Dion Ashurst was our Auctioneer/Comedian auctioning off items donated to the CSBA with all the proceeds going to research. The beekeepers were very generous this year keeping Dion on his toes as the bids soared! Thank you to all the buyers.
As the convention came to a close we had a beautiful banquet with Bryan Ashurst calling the room to order one last time. Before awards were distributed, we called up Shannon Wooten (who was unable to make it to this year’s meeting due to a cow kicking him) and the whole congregation shouted “GET WELL SHANNON”.
Alan Mikolich distributed awards with Frank Johnson—we did a “One Clap” for all the “King Bees”; David Cowen- Distinguished Service Award; Buddy Ashurst- Honorary Beekeeper; Young Beekeeper of the Year – Russell Heitkam; Presidents Award – Richard Ashurst and The Beekeeper of the Year – Brock Ashurst. After the awards were completed, Bryan passed his gavel to John Miller our 2013 President.
Please make plans to join us at the 124th CSBA Meeting In South Lake Tahoe at the Harveys/Harrahs Casino Complex November 19-21, 2013.


2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen Crowned

The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association is proud to announce that Elena Hoffman was selected as the 2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen during its annual convention, Nov. 9 and 10 in Lewisburg, PA.
Hoffman, 17, is the daughter of Brian Hoffman and Beverly Hoffman of Millmont. She is a senior at Mifflinburg Area High School, where she is active with the Spanish Club, Interact Club, participates in soccer and track and field, is a member of the Yearbook staff and has been named to the National Honor Society. Hoffman has received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and the Xerox Award for innovation and information technology. After graduation she plans to attend college to pursue pre med.
Outside of school, Hoffman works with her father in their apiary, including maintaining the hives and extracting honey.
As the 2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, Hoffman will travel throughout the state promoting the beekeeping and honey industries by attending schools, fairs, festivals and participating in media interviews.
In addition, Hoffman will represent Pennsylvania in 2014 when she competes for the American Honey Queen title during the American Beekeeping Federation convention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
To invite 2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen Elena Hoffman to your event, contact Rachel Bryson, Pennsylvania Honey Queen Program Chair, at 717.300.0146 or brysonrachel@yahoo.com
Like us on Facebook at Pennsylvania Honey Queen Program.

Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad

$24.95 ● DVD
6 x 9, 3  hours, 13 minutes
ISBN 9781603583275

A comprehensive survey of natural beekeeping, its principles and practices, aimed at both hobby and small-scale commercial apiculturists.

The various chemicals used in beekeeping have, for the past few decades, held parasitic mites and other major pests at bay. But today chemical resistance is building and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer. In fact, there is evidence that such allopathic treatments are only making the bees’ problems worse.
In this filmed workshop, noted Vermont beekeeper Ross Conrad flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management. The video presents a comprehensive survey of natural beekeeping methods and challenges, including segments filmed in the field. It offers practical information that every aspiring beekeeper needs to know—everything from basic hive equipment to working with your bees to harvesting and processing honey.
Ross Conrad is the author of Natural Beekeeping (Chelsea Green, 2007), a book that brings together the best organic and natural approaches to keeping honeybees healthy and productive. In the book, Conrad presents nontoxic methods of controlling mites, eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and techniques for maintaining healthy hives, as well as detailed, holistic management techniques covered in a matter-of-fact way.
Order from major bee supply companies or go to www.chelseagreen.com.

 

February 2013


Understanding Bee Anatomy

Ian Stell's book "Understanding Bee Anatomy" is, I think, a significant addition to the range of honey bee anatomy books currently available. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this book is packed with high quality pictures; photos of dissections, histological slides in a range of magnifications, electron microscope pictures, and explanatory line drawings. The text is clear and the accuracy and precision of the anatomical descriptions demonstrates the author's background of anatomical training at medical school. Dr Stell clearly emphasizes the relationship between form and function, and I found the detailed embryological descriptions particularly fascinating.
Those beekeepers who are looking for a guide to the practicalities of dissection and how to use the microscope will, however, be disappointed; they probably ought to stick to Dade's book.
Also, some might find the book's title misleading, I don't know why it wasn't called "Understanding Honey Bee Anatomy", although I'm sure that the general principles can be extended to other examples of the Apidae.
In summary, this is an outstanding achievement by someone who manages to keep bees as well as working full time as an Emergency Physician. He shows a deep understanding and love of his subject which he manages to convey to the reader. For those with an interest in this field of study, this book is well worth the price tag.


Telling the Bees

Skipping between times in the twentieth century, TELLING THE BEES tells the story of Albert Honig, an elderly, unmarried beekeeper who lives in the same house in Orange County, California where he grew up. He makes a living from his beehives, just as his father and grandfather did before him. The bees are the closest thing he had to a companion, with an exception of his childhood friend Claire. When Claire and her sister are murdered, Albert is haunted by the loss and the secrets that divided them, the lies hanging in the hair like the hum of the bees. He learns that Claire’s secrets were darker than he could have imagined, and the mystery of her death lay not in who did it, but why.
Inspired by a real-life crime, Hesketh’s novel is a beautifully woven story of secrets and lies. The interesting part of Hesketh’s writing and research is that she’s highly allergic to bees, yet writes a meticulously researched novel about a beekeeper. She visited beekeepers and discovered a new way of life among the hives. By way of explanation, Hesketh says what she fears most is what she finds herself drawn to, which is what TELLING THE BEES is all about.
For book information contact: www.penguin.com


Beekeeper Calls for Return to Nature, Urban Bees

Longtime beekeeper JerryDunbar believes the answer to sustainable beekeeping lies in a natural approach. He introduces his methods in Natural Beekeeping; DVD and Blu-ray now for sale.
These tiny creatures, responsible for pollinating one third of our crops (and bringing us that healthy, tasty, antibacterial substance we call honey), are disappearing in mass waves, dying and losing the way back to their hives.
After 40 years of watching this problem develop, Dunbar sees part of the solution in an elimination of all artificial intrusion into the beeʼs life; in letting its natural biology and immune system build up strength, restoring balance. He envisions a future in which people around the world discover and take up apiculture, building a network of healthy small-scale beekeeping operations, creating a buffer against Colony Collapse Disorder. Interestingly, he encourages urban beekeeping more than rural: “The pesticides and monoculture in farmlands are bad for the bees and their honey. In cities, they at least have a choice of blossoms and can skip the ones with chemicals,” he notes.
To help promote his all-natural approach, heʼs participated in the creation of a video series - now on DVD and Blu-ray - demonstrating his practices and showing the life cycle of a healthy colony of bees. Natural Beekeeping follows his narrative, augmented with HD footage of seasonal and hive behavior. Dunbar also introduces some of the healthy and profitable products that can be made from honey and other substances found in the hive - including mead, honey straws, propolis tincture and edible lip balm.
More information and copies of Natural Beekeeping on DVD or Blu-ray available for sale at:
http://honeyfarm.blogspot.com

National Honey Board Offers Honey Locator to the Industry

Firestone, Colo. – The National Honey Board (NHB) wants to remind honey industry members that they can have their honey company listed on the NHB’s online directory website, www.HoneyLocator.com.
The Honey Locator is a valuable search tool that helps consumers and members of the food industry find suppliers to purchase honey from. The website includes ways to search for specific honey varietals, as well as different forms of honey, like comb honey or whipped honey. Honey purchasers can also search for honey from a particular location (such as their home state), and for other goods and services offered by honey producers, packers and importers.
HoneyLocator.com has an average of 15,000 monthly visitors, with over 120,000 unique visitors in 2012. With a little over 300 companies listed on the site, this is an effortless way to grow your business. This site has proven invaluable for people looking for a specific varietal, form of honey or honey from their area.
Honey Locator has a one-time fee of $50.00, which is the only cost incurred over the life of the membership. If the applicant is a current assessment payer, this one-time fee will be waived. Members will be reminded to update their current information and honey offerings on a yearly basis.
For more information, please log on to www.HoneyLocator.com or call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162.
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.


Secretary Vilsack Announces National Honey Board Appointments

WASHINGTON, – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed six members and alternates to serve on the National Honey Board. Representatives will complete three-year terms of office beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
Newly appointed board members include first handler Jill M. Clark of Lancaster, Pa. and importer member Charles V. Kocot of New Providence, N.J. First handler Tony D. Schmitz of Defiance, Ind. and importer Nicholas J. Sargeantson of Wilton, Conn. will serve as alternates.
Producers George K. Hansen of Colton, Ore. and Bonnie M. Woodworth of Halliday, N.D. were reappointed as a member and alternate, respectively.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides board oversight in accordance with the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order. The program is administered by board members, who are selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, authorized by Congress and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 20 research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers, establishing a framework for them to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS oversight ensures fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.


Small Patches of Native Plants Help Boost Pollination Services in Large Farms

A combined team of scientists from Europe and South Africa (Luísa G. Carvalheiro (University of Leeds, UK & Naturalis Biodiversity Research Centre, Netherlands), Colleen Seymour and Ruan Veldtman (SANBI, South Africa) and Sue Nicolson (University of Pretoria)) have discovered that pollinator services of large agriculture fields can be enhanced with a simple cost-effective measure, that involves the creation of small patches of native plants within fruit orchards.
"Mango farmers in South Africa are aware of the pollination limitation of this crop and invest a substantial amount of money renting honeybee hives to supplement pollination within the large farmland areas. However, while during blooming season, mango fields can have millions of open flowers, those flowers are not very attractive to neither local wild pollinators nor managed honeybees." says the lead author Luísa Carvalheiro.
While pesticide use and isolation from natural habitat lead to declines in flying visitors and in mango production (kg of marketable fresh fruit), the results of this study show that the presence of small patches of native flowers within large farms can ameliorate such negative impacts, increasing the number of visits of honeybee and wild pollinators to mango, and consequently mango production. As these patches do not compromise production areas and its maintenance has very low costs, such native flower compensation areas represent a profitable management measure for farmers, increasing cost-effectiveness of cropland. Further studies are needed to determine the optimum size and flower composition of such flower areas that maximizes benefits.
However, the effectiveness of flower patches is likely dependent on the preservation of remaining patches of natural habitat and judicious use of pesticides. The study was published in Journal of Applied Ecology, fieldwork was funded by SANBI – South African National Biodiversity Institute and data analyses by the project STEP – 'Status and Trends of European Pollinators' that is funded by the European Union Framework Program 7.

Bayer Bee Care Center Helps Solve Bee Health’s Toughest Challenges

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Dec. 4, 2012) – Bayer CropScience today announced plans to break ground in February on its North American Bee Care Center, which will serve as a gathering place for researchers, bee experts, students and other visitors to meet regularly with leading Bayer scientists. The Bayer Bee Care Center is dedicated to promoting and protecting bee health so that these hard-working, beneficial insects can continue to provide hive products as well as pollination services for foods we enjoy each day.
The North American Bayer Bee Care Center, to be located at the Bayer CropScience North America headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is scheduled for completion in July 2013. The Bee Care Center is part of Bayer’s Global Bee Care Program, which provides a more focused and centralized resource for Bayer scientists and external stakeholders. The Center will bring together significant technological, scientific and academic resources, with the ultimate goal of supporting product stewardship and sustainable agriculture.
“We understand the necessity for healthy bees as pollinators and their critical role to agriculture, and by working with scientists, growers, beekeepers and customers, we strive to create new approaches and solutions to benefit bee health and the global food supply,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience North America. “Because we are aware of the challenge to continue feeding a growing world population, our Bee Care Center will be a vital resource in our ongoing commitment to maintaining sustainable agriculture.”

The North American Bee Care Center will include:

•    Full laboratory and research apiary, as well as honey extraction and workshop space needed to conduct bee health research and to support a practical apiculture. The research will focus on Integrated Pest Management for the multiple causes affecting bee health, such as parasites, like the Varroa mite, predators, diseases, seasonal management, and environmental stressors
•    The active promotion of bee-responsible use of Bayer products along with communication activities worldwide
•    State-of-the art meeting, training and presentation facilities for beekeepers, farmers and educators to provide resources and an interactive learning center

Bayer’s new North American Bee Care Center is the second established by the company to promote bee health. In 2012, its global Bayer Bee Care Center was established at the joint headquarters campus of Bayer CropScience and Bayer Animal Health in Monheim, Germany.
The Bayer Bee Care Center, a more than 6,600 square feet building in Research Triangle Park, will be fully staffed, including an office space for graduate students. Not only will the Center be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, providing pollinator-friendly gardens, but it will also produce a surplus of energy. As a LEED-certified building, the Center will continue Bayer’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint to help improve agricultural management and foster environmental stewardship. The net zero building will generate more energy each year than consumed through its geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting and solar water heating.
For more than 25 years, Bayer has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health, and the two new Centers confirm how its commitment furthers collaboration and understanding of the health of bees.
Bayer is dedicated to crop protection and is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including the protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees.
For additional information and background on other sustainability initiatives please visit http://www.bayercropscience.us/our-commitment/bayer-initiatives.
(Courtesy Bayer Crop Science News)

 

 January 2013


International Trade Commission Votes to Continue Anti-dumping Duties Placed on Chinese Honey

The International Trade Commission voted Nov. 19, 2012 to continue anti-dumping duties on Chinese imported honey.  After testimony presented earlier, the Commission decided that "removing the tariffs would likely hurt the domestic industry."
"The commission voted 5-0 to maintain the protective measures on Chinese honey following a second sunset review to determine whether U.S. honey producers still needed the duties. Domestic trade groups, The American Honey Producers Association and the Sioux Honey Association, claimed honey from China being sold at below market value would harm the industry," according to a story written by Jonathan Randles of Law360.
"The Uruguay Round Agreements Act requires the United States to revoke an anti-dumping or counterveiling duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless the department and the ITC determine that revoking the order or terminating the suspension agreement would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies and of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time," according to the "sunset review" conducted every five years.
The Commerce Department began their investigation on Chinese honey dumping in 2000 and the International Trade Commission made the decision to start protective tariffs on Chinese honey imports that year.

 

 December 2012

(excerpt)

secrets of the Honey Bee Bite Revealed: a Previously Unknown Honey Bee Defense Weapon Against Varroa and a Potential New Natural  Anesthetic for Humans

Researchers have discovered that honey bees can bite as well as sting and that the bite contains a natural anesthetic. The anesthetic may not only help honey bees fend off pests such as wax moth and the parasitic varroa mite, but it also has great potential for use in human medicine.
The surprise findings discovered by a team of researchers from Greek and French organizations in collaboration with Vita (Europe) Ltd, the UK-based honey bee health specialist, will cause a complete re-thinking of honey bee defense mechanisms and could lead to the production of a natural, low toxicity local anesthetic for humans and animals.
The natural anesthetic that has been discovered in the bite of the honey bee and measured at the University of Athens is 2-heptanone (2-H), a natural compound found in many foods and also secreted by certain insects, but never before understood to have anesthetic properties. Independent tests have verified Vita's findings and the potential of 2-heptanone as a local anaesthetic.
As a naturally-occurring substance with a lower toxicity than conventional anesthetics, 2-heptanone shows great potential. Vita has already patented the compound for use as a local anesthetic and is seeking pharmaceutical partners to develop it further.
Until recently, research seemed to indicate that 2-heptanone was either a honey bee alarm pheromone that triggers defensive responses, or a chemical marker signalling to other foraging bees that a flower had already been visited. Vita's results contradicted these notions.
The new research clearly shows that 2-heptanone paralyzes small insects and mites bitten by bees for up to nine minutes. Somewhat like a snake, the honey bee uses its mandibles to bite its enemy and then secretes 2-heptanone into the wound to anesthetize it. This enables the honey bee to eject the enemy from the hive and is a particularly effective defense against pests, such as wax moth larvae and varroa mites, which are too small to sting.
Dr. Max Watkins, technical director of Vita (Europe) Ltd, said, “We are very excited about our findings on at least two levels. Firstly, the revelation that honey bees can bite enemies that they cannot sting confounds some existing ideas and adds significantly to our biological knowledge. Secondly, the discovery of a highly effective natural anesthetic with huge potential will be of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry eager to develop better local anesthetics."
In laboratory neurophysiological trials in the School of Biology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), 2-heptanone was found to have a similar mode of action to Lidocaine, the dominant local anesthetic used in humans and other mammals. 2-heptanone is found naturally in many foods such as beer and white bread and is so safe that it is permitted as a food additive by USA regulatory authorities. 2-heptanone therefore offers considerable potential as an alternative to Lidocaine. Very recent laboratory research using mammalian cells in the USA, has confirmed Vita’s expectations that the anesthetic could be as effective on humans and mammals as it is on insects and mites.
In considering the biological impacts of the findings, Dr. Alexandros Papachristoforou, a Vita researcher working under the supervision of Prof. G Theophilidis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, said: “It is amazing that this second line of honey bee defense has gone undetected for so long. Beekeepers will be very surprised by our discovery and it is likely to cause a radical rethink of some long-held beliefs. It will probably stimulate honey bee research in many new directions. For instance, many beekeepers have spoken of the 'grooming' behavior of honey bees in helping to control varroa populations. This grooming behavior can now be interpreted as biting behavior.”
Dr. Papachristoforou described how the unexpected properties of 2-heptanone were discovered: “We were investigating wax moth control. Wax moths are a serious honey bee pest whose larvae consume wax and pollen, often completely destroying honeycomb. When exposed to 2-heptanone, which is produced naturally by honey bees, the wax moths appeared to die. However, on closer inspection, we realized that the wax moths were merely anesthetized for a period of one to nine minutes. This was quite unexpected, so our scientific team set up a series of rigorous experiments to find out what was really happening and came up with our remarkable discovery.”
The research was published in the
peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE: http:
//dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.004742
Several organizations contributed to the research in collaboration with Vita (Europe) Ltd: the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université Paris-Sud, Cyprus University of Technology, and the University of Athens.

 

Genetic ‘Remix’ Key to Evolution of Bee Behavior: York University Research

TORONTO– Worker bees have become a highly skilled and specialized work force because the genes that determine their behaviour are shuffled frequently, helping natural selection to build a better bee, research from York University suggests.
The study published October 15 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), sheds light on how worker bees – who are sterile – evolved charismatic and cooperative behaviors such as nursing young bees, collecting food for the colony, defending it against intruders, and dancing to communicate the location of profitable flowers to nestmates.
When York University researchers examined the honey bee genome, they discovered that the genes associated with worker behavior were found in areas of the genome that have the highest rate of recombination. Recombination represents a shuffling of the genetic deck: recombination in the ovaries of a queen shuffles the chromosomes she inherited from her parents. As a result, the queen's female offspring are likely to inherit mosaic chromosomes with different combinations of mutations, says Biology Professor Amro Zayed, whose lab conducted the research.
Recombination allows natural selection to act on specific mutations without regard to neighboring mutations.
"If I'm a good rower in a dragon boat with 49 poor rowers, I am going to lose all of my races. But if teams were shuffled after every race, I'll likely have a better chance of winning. I may even get to be in a boat with 49 good rowers just like myself," says Zayed. "The same thing happens with mutations on a chromosome. Recombination makes the evolutionary fate of mutations independent of their surrounding neighbours, which enhances the process of natural selection."
The team believes that they have solved one of the mysteries of the honey bee's genome, says postdoctoral research associate Clement Kent, lead author on the study.
"The honey bee has the highest rates of recombination in animals – ten times higher than humans. Our study shows that this high degree of genetic shuffling has turned on the evolutionary faucet in parts of the bee genome responsible for orchestrating worker behavior," says Kent. "This can allow natural selection to increase the fitness of honey bee colonies, which live or die based on how well their workers 'behave'."

National Honey Board Offers Free Honey Decals to Industry Members

Firestone, Colo. – The National Honey Board (NHB) wants to remind beekeepers, packers and other honey industry members that they may receive up to six free honey decals. The NHB has developed vehicle or sign decals to help promote honey and spread the message that honey is just one ingredient, the way nature intended.
The decals are available in three sizes: The smaller decal is 6.4” tall x 7” wide, the medium size decal is 14.5” x 6” and the larger decal is 22” x 24”. Use the decals on bee yard, shop or farmers market signs, vehicles or anywhere they might be seen by the public.
If you have already requested your six free decals, you may purchase additional quantities of the smaller decal for $3.50 each, the medium size decal for $5.50 each, and the larger decal for $9.50 each, plus shipping costs.
To order the decals, please call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, NHB’s fulfillment coordinator.
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Honey Summit Celebrates Honey’s Use in Baking Industry

Firestone, Colo. – The National Honey Board Summit, conducted September 26, 2012 in Chicago, brought together some of the most innovative bakers in the retail, wholesale, foodservice and in-store segments for a daylong educational and technical seminar about baking with honey. The goal of the seminar was to spark innovation in new product development of breads, rolls, cakes, pies and sweet goods made with honey.
The Honey Summit was held at Kendall College, and in addition to intensive educational and technical sessions, attendees also watched baking demonstrations by Melina Kelson, Certified Master Baker and Baking and Pastry Chef Instructor at Kendall College. To close the Honey Summit, attendees donned their bakery whites and developed a variety of bakery foods made with honey.
The Honey Summit offered bakers the opportunity to get away from their bakeries and spend an entire day thinking about new products and ways to bring innovation to their bakery food offerings,” Catherine Barry, National Honey Board’s director of marketing, says. “Honey is the perfect all-natural sweetener for new products because it not only provides a great sweetness and flavor, but also because of the all-natural ingredient’s functional and marketing benefits.”
As detailed at the Honey Summit, many bakers are currently capitalizing on honey’s popularity with new product launches in the bread, cookie and cracker aisle at supermarkets throughout the United States. According to Mintel new product information, 121 new bakery foods were launched with honey as an ingredient from August 2011 to August 2012. In the snack category, 146 new products were launched, with food bars leading the way.
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Handbook for Natural  Beekeeping, 2nd Edition

This newly-updated booklet is published by Certified Naturally Grown for beekeepers who want to manage their hives naturally and support the optimum health of their honey bees without synthetic treatments. The Handbook covers all aspects of beekeeping - from apiary location to foundation to management of pests and diseases - in 40 colorful pages (5.5" x 8.5"). Organized clearly by topic, the contents are based on the Apiary Standards of Certified Naturally Grown and include the list of allowed and prohibited substances for CNG beekeeping, as well as some definitions and techniques. Take a look inside and order online at www.naturallygrown.org/store, or send a check to CNG, 540 President St, Third Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215. $6 each plus $3 shipping.

Homegrown Honey Bees

As the backyard homesteading movement continues to grow, beehives are joining chicken coops in suburban yards and on city rooftops across North America. People are increasingly aware of the essential role bees play in pollinating crops, as well as the joy of harvesting honey from their own backyards.
Homegrown Honey Bees introduces the basic procedures, possibilities, and pleasures of keeping bees. Spectacular macro photography brings the inner workings of the hive to life, while the passionate, playful text leads the beginning beekeeper through the first year. All the primary concerns and questions are addressed, from allergies, permits and restrictions, and potential issues with the neighbors to hive structure, colony hierarchy, and bee behavior.
Beekeepers Alethea Morrison and Mars Vilaubi chronicle the happenings in their own hive and share the challenges of their first year, from replacing a failing queen bee to sustaining a colony over a cold winter, as well as the reward of tasting their first honey harvest.
Beginners, dreamers, families, and educators will find this highly visual reference an indispensable guide to becoming a confident, happy beekeeper. Homegrown Honey Bees will be available from Storey Publishing in January 2013.

obituary
Ridley ‘Wade’ Taylor


Stanford, MT — Ridley “Wade” Taylor, 88, of Stanford, Mont., a retired Merchant Marine officer, WWII veteran and master beekeeper, died of natural causes, Aug. 24, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls.
Wade an only child, was born Oct. 15 1923, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Ridley and Martha Pearl (Wade) Taylor. Wade attended school in Los Angeles and Alhambra, Calif. He attended and graduated from the Jr. College of Alhambra. he was then selected by his congressman for an appointment to the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY, where he entered cadet school, receiving his first commission Jan. 6, 1943.
There came that time when Wade had to choose between his love of the sea and the love of his wife, June. After they were married in 1946, they settled in California and Wade followed his father’s footsteps building homes. It was then that he began beekeeping as a hobby and soon chose it as his lifelong work, moving his wife, six children and one hired man to Lewistown, Mont., in 1957 on a joint beekeeping venture. With a desire to be in business for himself, he moved his family to Stanford, Mont., in 1965 where he built Taylor’s Honey Inc. into what it is today—all with the help of the good Lord, and his wife and children. Wade always referred to the Judith Basin as “God’s Country,” never regretting the move.
As a “master beekeeper,” Wade not only mentored his sons Steve and Paul, as they followed in his footsteps, but beekeepers all across the state on Montana. He was highly respected by fellow honey producers who witnessed the success of a business governed by godly principles. Wade was actively involved in the decision-making process for Taylor’s Honey right up until the time of his death, even though his illness made it difficult to speak.
Survivors include his wife, Pat McVay Taylor of Great Falls and Stanford, daughters Sharon Lindstron (Paul) of Great Falls, Marty Cox (John) of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Susan Ballantyne (David) of Budapest, Hungary; sons Ridley “Phil” Taylor (Sue) of Billings and Paul Taylor (Wanda) of Stanford; stepsons Casey McVay (Amanda) of Portland, Ore., and Michael McVay of Great Falls; 14 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren.

Apivar® (Amitraz) Approved for Varroa Control in South Dakota

Several Other States
Expect Approval Soon
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Section 18 approval for Apivar® (amitraz) use in beehives to control varroa mites in South Dakota, the original requesting state. A number of other states have also requested similar approvals that are pending. South Dakota's original request for a special Section 18 permit was made in 2010. A Section 18 approval lasts for one year and then must be renewed. This is different than a Section 3 general use permit, which would include all states and would not have the one year time limit on the acaricide's use. The amitraz product, Apivar, comes in strip form and has been used in Europe for a number of years. Canadian authorities approved emergency use of the acaricide three years ago and a general use registration was expected this year. New Zealand beekeepers have also been using Apivar for varroa control.
Apivar® (active ingredient: 3.33% amitraz) is a sustained-release plastic strip designed for use in honey bee hives.
According to the 2010 South Dakota request:
"EPA has received a specific exemption request from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture to use the pesticide amitraz (CAS No. 330089–61–1) to treat up to 250,000 colonies of beehives to control varroa mites. Under section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C. 136p), at the discretion of the Administrator, a Federal or State agency may be exempted from any provision of FIFRA if the Administrator determines that emergency conditions exist which require the exemption. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has requested the Administrator to issue a specific exemption for the use of amitraz in beehives to control varroa mites. Information in accordance with 40 CFR part 166 was submitted as part of this request.
"As part of this request, the applicant asserts that the beekeeping industry in South Dakota is threatened by varroa mite, a devastating pest found in bees. According to the applicant, varroa mites are developing resistance to pesticides currently available to control this pest. South Dakota is a top ranking honey-producing state and the beekeeping industry is important to South Dakota’s economy. Varroa mite outbreaks are also associated with colony virus problems.
"The Applicant proposes to make no more than two treatments (plastic strips impregnated with amitraz) per year in beehives in all counties throughout South Dakota. Approximately 250,000 honeybee colonies could be treated in South Dakota, requiring 500,000 strips for a single varroa mite treatment. The total amount of pesticide that could be used is 250,000 grams active ingredient.
"The proposed treatment schedule allows for the plastic strips to be hung in the beehives during the spring or fall if varroa mite infestations have reached treatment threshold."
Instructions from the manufacturer for Apivar Use in Bee Hives:

1. Correctly identify the pest and ensure economic and agronomic thresholds are being met before treatment.
2. Remove honey supers before application of Apivar®.
3. Use 2 Apivar® strips per colony.
4. Separate the double strip and hang each strip between two comb frames inside the brood area or bee cluster, with a minimum distance of 2 frames between strips.
5. Suspend Apivar® strips in the brood chamber in such a way that the bees can walk on both sides of the strips.
6. Leave the strips inside the hive for 42 days and then remove.
7. In case of movement inside the bee hive far from the strips, a repositioning of the strips should be done into the bee cluster, and the strips left in place for 14 more days before removal.
8. Strips must be removed after a maximum of 56 days.
9. Do not re-use the strips.
10. Timing: Hang Apivar® strips in the hives in spring before the first honey flow if varroa mite infestations have reached treatment threshold.
11. Remove honey supers before use of Apivar strips.
12. DO NOT USE APIVAR STRIPS WHEN HONEY SUPERS ARE PRESENT.
13. If the varroa mite infestation is severe, treat colonies in the autumn after all surplus honey has been removed from the hive.
14. Wait 14 days after removing strips before placing honey supers on hive.
15. Monitor treated pest populations for resistance development.

 

November 2012

(excerpt)

PAm Receives a Monsanto  Match and a Costco Commitment

"We have identified ourselves as being the go-to organization at the interface of honey bees and pollinated crops and others are taking notice. With that defined focus, we are very successful," so explains Christi Heintz, Project Apis m's executive director. PAm has infused over 1.5 million dollars into honey bee research since its inception in December, 2006. The non-profit organization has enjoyed broad-based support among beekeepers and growers of pollinated crops and now two corporations have noticed the impact PAm is making in the beekeeping industry. Both Monsanto and Costco have entrusted to PAm additional funding to help the honey bee.

Monsanto recently matched the Specialty Crop Block Grant monies awarded to PAm by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in 2010. Specifically, Monsanto funding will be used by PAm to source and purchase seed to continue building bee forage for an additional three years.  Good nutrition is vital to overall honey bee health. CDFA and Monsanto funding further enables PAm to evaluate seed mixes and enlist large-scale almond growers/land managers in providing forage resources to bees.

Costco funding more than doubles PAm's current research program. As a sustainable funding source, Costco seeks long-term impact and advancements in beekeeping management practices. Dr. Marla Spivak, PAm-Costco Advisory Team member, says "The beekeeping industry needs help and having more funds available will allow us to make a lasting impression." 
Both corporations found PAm's credibility within both the beekeeping and grower communities to be a great strength, along with their knowledge, low overhead and outreach capabilities.  Looking for a meaningful partnership, PAm was an easy choice.

The need for beekeepers and growers to donate to PAm does not diminish with the new infusion of funding.  The funds were received because the stakeholder community believes and supports PAm. This commitment needs to continue. Your contributions are necessary to carry on prompt and practical beekeeping studies and complements the corporate and grant funding needed to expand PAm's ability to work on specific and long-term goals.

"Beekeeper and grower donations to Project Apis m. are important in their ability to be leveraged to access larger sources of funding. We've enjoyed broad support and are confident that will continue as we take the organization and the beekeeping industry to the next level," states Dan Cummings, PAm's chairman.

Donate NOW to PAm. Why? Because PAm funds bee research that is selected and guided by beekeepers. Use the "Donate Now" button on p 1 of our website: www.projectapism.org.
If you were a Paramount beekeeper for almonds or pomegranates, let us know with your donation and Paramount will match!

PAm is a 501 (c) (5) non-profit organization.

How Bees Decide What to Bee

Johns Hopkins researchers link reversible 'epigenetic' marks to behavior patterns

Johns Hopkins scientists report what is believed to be the first evidence that complex, reversible behavioral patterns in bees – and presumably other animals – are linked to reversible chemical tags on genes.

The scientists say what is most significant about the new study, described online September 16 in Nature Neuroscience, is that for the first time DNA methylation "tagging" has been linked to something at the behavioral level of a whole organism. On top of that, they say, the behavior in question, and its corresponding molecular changes, are reversible, which has important implications for human health.

According to Andy Feinberg, M.D., M.P.H., Gilman scholar, professor of molecular medicine and director of the Center for Epigenetics at Hopkins' Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, the addition of DNA methylation to genes has long been shown to play an important role in regulating gene activity in changing biological systems, like fate determination in stem cells or the creation of cancer cells. Curious about how epigenetics might contribute to behavior, he and his team studied a tried-and-true model of animal behavior: bees.

Working with bee expert Gro Amdam, Ph.D., associate professor of life sciences at Arizona State University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Feinberg's epigenetics team found significant differences in DNA methylation patterns in bees that have identical genetic sequences, but vastly different behavioral patterns.

Employing a method that allows the researchers to analyze the whole genome at once, dubbed CHARM (comprehensive high-throughput arrays for relative methylation), the team analyzed the location of DNA methylations in the brains of worker bees of two different "professions." All worker bees are female and, within a given population, are all genetically identical sisters. However, they don't all do the same thing; some nurse and some forage.

Nurses are generally younger and remain in the hive to take care of the queen and her larvae. When nurses mature, they become foragers that leave the hive to gather pollen and other supplies for the hive. "Genes themselves weren't going to tell us what is responsible for the two types of behavior," Feinberg says. "But epigenetics – and how it controls genes – could."
Feinberg and Amdam started their experiment with new hives populated by bees of the same age. That removed the possibility that any differences they might find could be attributed to differences of age. "When young, age-matched bees enter a new hive, they divvy up their tasks so that the right proportion becomes nurses and foragers," explains Amdam. It is these two populations that were tested after painstakingly characterizing and marking each bee with its "professional," or behavioral, category.

Analyzing the patterns of DNA methylation in the brains of 21 nurses and 21 foragers, the team found 155 regions of DNA that had different tag patterns in the two types of bees. The genes associated with the methylation differences were mostly regulatory genes known to affect the status of other genes. "Gene sequences without these tags are like roads without stop lights – gridlock," says Feinberg.

Once they knew differences existed, they could take the next step to determine if they were permanent. "When there are too few nurses, the foragers can step in and take their places, reverting to their former practices," says Amdam. The researchers used this strategy to see whether foraging bees would maintain their foraging genetic tags when forced to start acting like nurses again. So they removed all of the nurses from their hives and waited several weeks for the hive to restore balance.

That done, the team again looked for differences in DNA methylation patterns, this time between foragers that remained foragers and those that became nurses. One hundred and seven DNA regions showed different tags between the foragers and the reverted nurses, suggesting that the epigenetic marks were not permanent but reversible and connected to the bees' behavior and the facts of life in the hive.

Dramatically, Feinberg noted, more than half of those regions had already been identified among the 155 regions that change when nurses mature into foragers. These 57 regions are likely at the heart of the different behaviors exhibited by nurses and foragers, says Amdam. "It's like one of those pictures that portray two different images depending on your angle of view," she says. "The bee genome contains images of both nurses and foragers. The tags on the DNA give the brain its coordinates so that it knows what kind of behavior to project."

The researchers say they hope their results may begin to shed light on complex behavioral issues in humans, such as learning, memory, stress response and mood disorders, which all involve interactions between genetic and epigenetic components similar to those in the study. A person's underlying genetic sequence is acted upon by epigenetic tags, which may be affected by external cues to change in ways that create stable – but reversible – behavioral patterns.


Pesticides Not Yet Proven Guilty of Causing Honey Bee Declines

The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, according to a paper in the journal Science today (20 September 2012). More research is now needed to predict the impact of widely-used agricultural insecticides, called neonicotinoids, on honeybee populations.

UK scientists from the University of Exeter and Food and Environment Agency highlight flaws in previous research (published in Science, April 2012) that predicted that neonicotinoids could cause honeybee colony collapse. Neonicotinoids are among the most widely-used agricultural insecticides and honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides as they gather nectar and pollen from treated plants.

The previous research has been cited by scientists, environmentalists and policy-makers as evidence of the future impact of these pesticides on honeybees. It is likely that the research was instrumental in the French government's recent decision to ban the use of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid that is the active ingredient of Cruiser OSR, a pesticide produced by the Swiss company Syngenta.

However, the new paper argues that the calculations made in the research were flawed because they failed to reflect the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing individuals.
The previous research, led by French scientist Mikaël Henry, showed that the death rate of bees increased when they drank nectar laced with a neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam. It calculated that this would cause their colony to collapse. The research published today explains how the calculation may have used an inappropriately low birth rate.

Lead author Dr James Cresswell of the University of Exeter said: "We know that neonicotinoids affect honeybees, but there is no evidence that they could cause colony collapse. When we repeated the previous calculation with a realistic birth rate, the risk of colony collapse under pesticide exposure disappeared.

"I am definitely not saying that pesticides are harmless to honeybees, but I think everyone wants to make decisions based on sound evidence – and our research shows that the effects of thiamethoxam are not as severe as first thought.

"We do not yet have definitive evidence of the impact of these insecticides on honeybees and we should not be making any decisions on changes to policy on their use. It is vital that more research is conducted so that we can understand the real impact of neonicotinoids on honeybees, so governments can put together a proper plan to protect them from any dangers that the chemicals pose."


SF State Biologists Tag “Zombies” to Track Their Flight

ZomBeeWatch.org team is outfitting infected honeybees with tiny radio trackers to learn more about parasitized honeybees

SAN FRANCISCO -- After last year's accidental discovery of "zombie"-like bees infected with a fly parasite, SF State researchers are conducting an elaborate experiment to learn more about the plight of the honey bees.

The scientists are tagging infected bees with tiny radio trackers, and monitoring the bees' movements in and out of a specially designed hive on top of the Hensill Hall biology building on campus. At the same time, they are monitoring hives on campus and on the roof of the San Francisco Chronicle's offices for further signs of the mysterious parasite and encouraging the public to participate through a new website ZomBeeWatch.org.

After being parasitized by the Apocephalus borealis fly, the bees abandon their hives and congregate near outside lights, moving in increasingly erratic circles on the ground before dying. The phenomenon was first discovered on campus by SF Professor of Biology John Hafernik, and reported last year in the research journal PLoS ONE, with former SF State master's student Andrew Core as lead author.

It's unclear yet how big of a threat the emerging fly parasite might be to the health of honey bee colonies, or if the parasite is linked to the colony collapse disorder that has devastated honey bee colonies in the United States, say Hafernik and colleagues.

To learn more about how the parasitic fly affects the bees' behavior, the scientists have built a system to track the movements of infected bees in and out of a hive. Each bee has a set of tiny radio frequency trackers -- each no bigger than a fleck of glitter -- attached to the top of its thorax. The bees leave and return to the hive through a small tube outfitted with dual laser readers that interact with the individual trackers.

The readers, which operate in a similar way to barcode scanners in a grocery checkout lane, create "virtually a 24-hour record of bees going in and out of the hive to forage," said Christopher Quock, an SF State master's biology student working on the hive's design together with beekeeper Robert MacKimmie.

Knowing exactly when bees leave--and whether they come back--is important for understanding how and when the parasites might cause the bees to abandon their hives, Quock explained. The original study found bees disoriented and dying at night, for instance, but the researchers aren't sure whether the infected bees only leave their hives to fly in the dark.

Quock's challenge has been to create a hive design where the bees "still have room to do their normal behavior." To get a unique identification and time stamp for each bee, he said, the insects have to pass one at a time under the laser readers through a narrow passage.

Quock, who began work on the bees as an undergraduate, has also been perfecting a method for studying infected bees in the lab. "Hopefully in the long run, this information might help us understand how much of a health concern these flies are for the bees, and if they truly do impede their foraging behavior," he said. "We also want to know whether there are any weak links in the chain of interactions between these flies and honey bees that we could exploit to control the spread of this parasite."

In addition to understanding how parasitism affects foraging behavior, Andrew Zink, SF State assistant professor of biology and Quock's advisor, said that the tracking project might eventually shed light on how the infected bees behave inside the hive. "We are also interested in knowing if parasitized foragers are the recipients of aggression by other workers, for example if they're expelled from the hive, or if parasitized foragers behave in ways that disrupt hive productivity."

If enough of the parasitized bees do the wrong "waggle" dances to send unparasitized foragers off in the wrong directions for food, or distract unparasitized foragers through antagonistic interactions, the hive's productivity could falter. Combined with the premature deaths of the infected foragers, Zink said, these within-hive effects "would represent a two-fold cost of fly parasitism for the hive."

The radio tracking study "could give us a hint" as to why parasitism alters bee behavior, Hafernik said. "It might just be that having a maggot in the back is uncomfortable."

The PLoS ONE study was heavily covered in the media and some unusual outlets. "Our study got picked up on zombie discussion boards, and zombie blogs," Hafernik recalled. "And for the most part the discussion was all very respectful and zombie lovers were interested."

The researchers hope to capitalize on the interest in the bees with a citizen science project called ZomBee Watch. The project encourages bee watchers to help map the parasite's spread by uploading photos of possible parasitized bees to a central website.

  October 2012

(excerpt)

California Inspection Station Update


The California State Beekeepers Association (CSBA) is aware of the many challenges beekeepers experience when entering California at the local border stations. Over the last year, CSBA has worked diligently with the Department of Food and Agriculture’s staff in an effort aimed at reducing the delays at the stations. In order to address the need for water to keep the loads cool during the inspections, CSBA and the Department of Food and Agriculture are working to increase the number of water hose bibs at the stations. It will be important for the drivers to carry hoses, preferably sprinkler hoses strapped on the top of their loads. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing-fiscal crisis in California, the Department has been unable to increase staff at the stations during peak season or to create a new program to expedite the pest inspections that may be contributing to the delays at the border stations. Now, more than ever, it is extremely important for beekeepers to have their loads CLEAN before approaching a border station to reduce your inspection time. CSBA will continue to work with the state and the almond industry in an effort to address these on-going challenges at the border stations in the future. (Courtesy California State Beekeepers Association)

National Honey Board Accepting Bee  Research Proposals


Firestone, Colo., – The National Honey Board (NHB) is requesting proposals for research dealing with honey bee colony production.
The goal of this research is to help producers maintain colony health while assuring the maintenance of honey quality. Areas of interest are: control of Varroa destructor, Acarapis woodi, Nosema ceranae, and small hive beetle; the investigation into the causes and controls of Colony Collapse Disorder; and honey bee nutrition, immunology, and longevity.
The NHB is open to both projects that find new methods of maintaining health, and ones that combine current methods to increase efficacy rates. Other projects will be considered and research outside the U.S. is possible.
The amount of funds available for a particular proposal will depend on the number and merit of proposals finally accepted. The funds will be available for approved projects for the duration of the calendar year 2013 and may be carried into early 2014 if necessary; the duration of projects being funded should generally not exceed 12 months.
Proposals must be received at the National Honey Board office by 5:00p.m. MST, November 14, 2012. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Instructions on how to submit a research proposal may be found on the NHB website at www.honey.com.
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Rob Page Elected Fellow of Entomological Society of America

Davis, CA-Honey bee scientist Robert E. Page, emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and now the vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, has been selected one of 10 new fellows of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA). He will be recognized Nov. 11, 2012 at the ESA's annual meeting in Knoxville, Tenn.
Page, a former longtime resident of Davis, studies the evolution of complex social behavior in honey bees, from genes to societies. He retired from UC Davis in 2004 to be the founding director of the new School of Life Sciences. Arizona State University, where he built a Social Insect Research Group that is now recognized worldwide. He has held his current position of vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since July 2011.
Page received his bachelor's degree in entomology from San Jose State University and his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis. After completing postdoctoral training at the USDA Honey Bee Research Laboratory in Madison, Wisc., he was appointed assistant professor of entomology at The Ohio State University in 1986.
Page joined the UC Davis faculty in 1989, serving as chair from 1999-2004. He moved to Arizona State University in 2004 to be the founding director of the new School of Life Sciences.
Page was trained as an entomologist, evolutionary population geneticist, classical animal breeder, and mechanistic behaviorist. This training has defined his research approach of looking at the genetics and evolution of complex social behavior. He has taken a vertical approach to understanding the mechanisms of honey bee social foraging and how it evolves. His work is contained in more than 225 research articles.
Page has also co-edited three books and authored or co-authored two. Page is a highly cited ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) author in plant and animal science. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German National Academy of Science, and the Brazilian Academy of Science. In 1995 he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize by the government of Germany.
Although Page resides in Arizona, his research bees are UC Davis-based residents. Bee breeder-geneticist Michael "Kim" Fondrk, who worked with Page at Ohio State University, UC Davis and ASU, manages the specialized genetic stock, which today includes 90 hives.
Of the 90 hives, about 70 have instrumentally inseminated queens as part of their pollen-hoarding breeding research program.
Page considers Davis "as still home to me. I raised my family there, my closest friends and colleagues are still in the entomology department there. I still feel very strong attachments."
Robert Washino, emeritus professor of entomology and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, recently recalled that "Rob chose to return to UC Davis in 1989 to be with his former major professor (Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.). He later cared for him and his wife, Ruth, in their declining years. We all remember Rob's scholarly side and his humanitarian side."

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Department of Entomology
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA
Phone: (530) 754-6894
Fax: (530) 752-1537
mailto:kegarvey@ucdavis.edu

Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities

Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs, and this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal, and neighbor-friendly.
The text is rounded out with profiles of urban beekeepers from all over the world, including public hives at the Maryland Center for Horticulture, beekeeping on an office balcony in Melbourne, Australia, and a poolside hive at a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia.
•Price: $19.95 Format: Paperback Pages: 184 pp.
•Book dimensions: 7½ x 9 in. (230 x 190 mm.) Images: 132 color photos, 3 drawings
•ISBN-10: 1604692871 ISBN-13: 978
1604692877 Product code: 689287. To order contact www.timberpress.com.

About the author Luke Dixon
Luke Dixon is a professional beekeeper based in Soho, London. He manages hives for the London College of Fashion, Ted Baker, and Kensington Palace, among others, and keeps his own hives in the gardens of London's Natural History Museum. In the winter, when beekeeping duties slacken off, he returns to his first career as a theater director.

The Perfect Alternative Holiday Gift

“It’s almost impossible to comprehend the suffering that children experience around the world. World Vision is addressing those needs,” said Patricia Heaton.
This upcoming holiday season, shoppers can reinvent gift lists and join the cause by choosing meaningful, life-changing gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog. These alternative gift ideas, from beehives, goats and chickens to life-saving medicines, honor the recipient and create a lasting impact for people in need. The catalog offers a wide variety of items to match the hobby or interest of the recipient. For example, a gardener may like hybrid or drought-resistant seeds for a farmer while a sports enthusiast could get a kick out of four soccer balls donated to a school.
New this year is the option to create a personal My Gift Catalog page at www.mygiftcatalog.org. This online tool allows individuals to create a personalized fundraising page. The individual can then encourage family and friends to visit their page and purchase a gift from the catalog in lieu of traditional holiday presents. This tool can be used during the holiday season, as well as all year long for birthdays, weddings, graduations or other celebrations.
For the fourth consecutive year, World Vision staff will also be traveling around the world to get a look inside the lives of families impacted by the Gift Catalog through the “The True Spirit of Christmas” tour. The tour demonstrates the impact animals and other gifts have on families and children. Donors can follow “The True Spirit of Christmas” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/worldvision. The video is a true-life example of the love and hope these gifts bring to families. The video shares the story of a family in Sri Lanka whose life has been improved by the gift of chickens.
Since the Gift Catalog was introduced in 1996, its popularity as a gift-giving medium has continually grown and is projected to reach more than $33.5 million in purchases made last fiscal year which impacted more than 800,000 people around the world. In fiscal year 2013, World Vision hopes to reach the $35 million mark. After purchasing a Gift Catalog item, the person whose name the gift was given in can receive a special card describing the gift and its impact. Donors can also receive free handmade gifts such as ornaments from Nairobi and jewelry from Thailand with a contribution to the Maximum Impact Fund.
To order from World Vision’s Gift Catalog, visit www.worldvisiongifts.org. To order by phone or to request a print catalog, call toll-free at (888) 511-6511.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor, regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.

Obituary

Dave Emde

Dave Emde passed away June 30, 2012 in Orlando Florida. He was 76 years old. He is survived by his daughter, Lindi Neal and his son Dave Emde Jr., both living in Florida. He had two sisters, Gail MacLafferty (TN) and Jeanne Townsend (FL) and two brothers, Mark Emde (TN) and Tom Emde (FL).
Dave had a big heart and was always willing to help those around him. He was fun-loving and enjoyed people. He will be greatly missed by friends and family.
Dave owned and operated Western States Apiaries from the 1950s through the 1990s, doing business in Timber Lake, SD and Winter Garden, FL. In later years, he also operated a bee business in Big River, Sask, Canada and a queen operation in Apopka, FL, both of which were founded by his father, Earl Emde.
Migratory beekeeping was Dave’s first love. When it came to moving bees, he was an innovator. In 1966, Dave met Woody Woodworth in Dickinson, North Dakota. Woody had a Melroe Bobcat loader and he and Dave started thinking about its possible use for moving bees. This included plans for a pallet that would hold four colonies using metal U-shaped clips and a plywood floor. These features eliminated the use of bottom boards and made it quick and easy to take colonies off and on the pallet. Incidentally, Dave and Woody both received an award at the 1992 San Diego American Beekeeping Federation convention for this contribution to migratory beekeeping.
In the fall of 1966 Dave and his brother, Tom drove to Gwinner, ND (where Bobcats were manufactured). Their first Loader was the Melroe Bobcat 500. The price was $4300.00, which included the Bobcat, attachments, and a trailer. During 1967 Emdes palletized their 4200 colonies. Their brother, Mark, soon bought his first Bobcat with the same goal in mind.
In January, 1968, Dave took an 8 mm movie to the ABF convention in Niagara Falls, NY, where it received much interest. The film showed the use of the Bobcat and the four-colony pallet for moving bees.  Jim Powers was in attendance and very interested in this new method of handling colonies. In June of that year, Jim sent one of his managers to Timber Lake, SD to pick up one of the Emde pallets. He then had the pallet cut in half, sending each piece to two of his operations. The rest is history; migratory beekeeping was changed forever.  Even though the skid-steer loader was not the first machine used to load and move bees, it was the first one that changed migratory beekeeping nationwide.
The use of the Bobcat, the opening a many new Interstate Highways in the 1960s, and using larger trucks were the perfect combination for beekeeping. Having hives on pallets meant bees would travel cooler with more air movement. Better highways allowed trucks to move through cities quickly. This all combined to make life much easier for beekeepers.

Obituary

Joseph O. Moffett


Joseph O. Moffett, 86, a well known bee researcher, died July 17, 2012 in Stillwater, Okla. His funeral service was held July 21, 2012 at Strode Funeral Home Chapel in Stillwater, Okla.
He was born on Jan. 9, 1926 to Joseph Orr Moffett, Jr. and Myrtle Ester (Mathoit) Moffett in Peabody, Kan., He married Lucy Arlene Hodges on Nov. 13, 1944 in Reidsville, N.C.. They had seven children and were married for 64 years until her death in 2007. He was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and later earned his PhD in Entomology. Joseph lived in the Ripley/ Stillwater area for over 30 years, and he was a member of the Cimarron Valley Writers Society in Cushing, Okla.
Dr. Moffett was a research entomologist for many years at Oklahoma State University and at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, AZ. He also wrote extensively and authored a number of important bee research articles, in addition to his popular 1979 book entitled “Some Beekeepers and Associates”. A number of his research papers investigated honey bee pollination of cotton.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Myrtle Moffett; wife, Lucy Arlene Moffett; daughter, Linda Sue Glazebrook; son Jimmy Don Moffett; and sister, Dorothy Harp.
He is survived by his son, David Joe Moffett, Wichita, Kan.; son, Terry Ray Moffett, Chattanooga, Tenn.; son, Steve Jay Moffett, Texas; daughter, Nancy Lou Elliott, Ripley, Okla.; daughter, Kathy Lee Howell, Tucson, Ariz.; brother, Robert Moffett, Peabody, Kan.; and two granddaughters, seven grandsons, nine great grandsons and sixteen great granddaughters.
Stillwater NewsPress The Stillwater News

September 2012

(excerpt)

Enhanced Royal Jelly Produces Jumbo Queen Bee Larvae


Scientists have discovered a way to make worker bees produce an enhanced version of royal jelly (RJ) – the super-nutritious substance that dictates whether larvae become workers or queens, and that is also renowned as a health supplement for people. Their study, which found that the super RJ that makes queen bee larvae grow 2-3 times larger than normal, appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Chia-Nan Chen and colleagues explain that royal jelly is a thick liquid made up of proteins, sugars and fats that is secreted by glands in the throats and jaws of worker bees and fed to larvae. Workers feed all bee larvae RJ for the first three days of their lives, but only the queen gets it throughout life, growing larger and living up to 15 times longer than other bees. The scientists treated worker bees with drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) to see whether they could enhance the larvae’s growth.

They found that worker bees given HDACis produced a fortified royal jelly that made the queen bee larvae grow to be 2-3 times larger than larvae fed standard royal jelly. A couple HDACis have already been approved for treating certain forms of cancer. The scientists noted that this is the first study showing that the composition of RJ can be modified in a way that changes the body size of queen bees during development.

Bees Can 'Turn Back Time,' Reverse Brain Aging


TEMPE, Ariz. – Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia.

In a study published in the scientific journal Experimental Gerontology, a team of scientists from ASU and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, led by Gro Amdam, an associate professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, presented findings that show that tricking older, foraging bees into doing social tasks inside the nest causes changes in the molecular structure of their brains.

"We knew from previous research that when bees stay in the nest and take care of larvae – the bee babies – they remain mentally competent for as long as we observe them," said Amdam. "However, after a period of nursing, bees fly out gathering food and begin aging very quickly. After just two weeks, foraging bees have worn wings, hairless bodies, and more importantly, lose brain function – basically measured as the ability to learn new things. We wanted to find out if there was plasticity in this aging pattern so we asked the question, 'What would happen if we asked the foraging bees to take care of larval babies again?"

During experiments, scientists removed all of the younger nurse bees from the nest - leaving only the queen and babies. When the older, foraging bees returned to the nest, activity diminished for several days. Then, some of the old bees returned to searching for food, while others cared for the nest and larvae. Researchers discovered that after 10 days, about 50 percent of the older bees caring for the nest and larvae had significantly improved their ability to learn new things.

Amdam's international team not only saw a recovery in the bees' ability to learn, they discovered a change in proteins in the bees' brains. When comparing the brains of the bees that improved relative to those that did not, two proteins noticeably changed. They found Prx6, a protein also found in humans that can help protect against dementia – including diseases such as Alzheimer's – and they discovered a second and documented "chaperone" protein that protects other proteins from being damaged when brain or other tissues are exposed to cell-level stress.

In general, researchers are interested in creating a drug that could help people maintain brain function, yet they may be facing up to 30 years of basic research and trials.

"Maybe social interventions – changing how you deal with your surroundings – is something we can do today to help our brains stay younger," said Amdam. "Since the proteins being researched in people are the same proteins bees have, these proteins may be able to spontaneously respond to specific social experiences."

Amdam suggests further studies are needed on mammals such as rats in order investigate whether the same molecular changes that the bees experience might be socially inducible in people.

Bees Shed Light on Human Sweet Perception and Metabolic Disorders


Researchers identify connection between sugar sensitivity, diabetic physiology and metabolism

TEMPE, Ariz. – Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that honey bees may teach us about basic connections between taste perception and metabolic disorders in humans. By experimenting with honey bee genetics, researchers have identified connections between sugar sensitivity, diabetic physiology and carbohydrate metabolism. Bees and humans may partially share these connections.

In a study published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics (Public Library of Science), Gro Amdam, an associate professor, and Ying Wang, a research scientist, in the School of Life Sciences in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, explain how for the first time, they've successfully inactivated two genes in the bees' "master regulator" module that controls food-related behaviors. By doing so, researchers discovered a possible molecular link between sweet taste perception and the state of internal energy.

"A bee's sensitivity to sugar reveals her attitude towards food, how old the bee is when she starts searching for nectar and pollen, and which kind of food she prefers to collect," said Wang, lead author of the paper. "By suppressing these two 'master' genes, we discovered that bees can become more sensitive to sweet taste. But interestingly, those bees also had very high blood sugar levels, and low levels of insulin, much like people who have Type 1 diabetes."
In Amdam's honey bee lab at ASU, scientists suppressed two genes including vitellogenin, which is similar to a human gene called apolipoprotein B, and ultraspiracle, which partners with an insect hormone that has some functions in common with the human thyroid hormone. The team is the first in the world to accomplish this double gene-suppressing technique. Researchers used this method to understand how the master regulator works.

"Now, if one can use the bees to understand how taste perception and metabolic syndromes are connected, it's a very useful tool," said Amdam, who also has a honey bee laboratory at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. "Most of what we know about deficits in human perceptions is from people who are very sick or have had a brain trauma. We know shockingly little about people in this area."

The researchers are now considering how, exactly, the bees' sweet taste was enhanced by the experiment. The most metabolically active tissue of the bee, called the fat body, may hold the key. The fat body is similar to the liver and abdominal fat in humans, in that it helps store nutrients and create energy.

Amdam explains that taste perception evolved as a survival mechanism, for bees as well as for people. For example, bitter foods may be poisonous or sweet taste may signal foods rich in calories for energy. For all animals, taste perception must communicate properly with one's internal energetic state to control food intake and maintain normal life functions. Without this, poorly functioning taste perception can contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

"From this study, we realized we can take advantage of honey bees in understanding how food-related behaviors interact with internal metabolism, as well as how to manipulate these food-related behaviors in order to control metabolic disorders," added Amdam.

April Ohio Bee Die-off Was Not Due to Pesticides, Study Claims


by Colleen Scherer, Managing Editor
Ag Professional


A mass die-off of honey bees in April in Ohio was not due to pesticides, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Although the manner in which the bees died suggested that they had been poisoned by pesticides, the results did not agree. The department tested samples of dead bees and ran the results against a database of 300 pesticides. However, no pesticides were detected in the samples, according to Brett Gates, an agency spokesman.

The results have left officials scratching their heads because no known cause was found.
John George, vice president of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association, was surprised by the findings. “Something affected these bees,” he told Dispatch.com.

One of the reasons  officials suspected pesticides was because in January, Purdue University published the results of its study that found “extremely high levels” of a neonicotinoid in talc.
(Reprinted with permission by AgProfessional)

The EPA Denies Petition Seeking Emergency Suspension of Clothianidin and Releases Petition for Public Review


The EPA is denying a petition requesting emergency suspension of clothianidin based on imminent hazard. The agency will, however, be taking comment  from the public for 60 days on the petition’s request for cancellation of clothianidin. The agency received the petition from a group of beekeepers, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network of North America and others on March 20, 2012. The petition alleges that clothianidin poses an “imminent hazard,” requiring swift regulatory action to protect bees. After considering the petition and the supporting information, the EPA is denying the request to suspend clothianidin use because the petition fails to show that an imminent hazard to bees exists. Under the FIFRA standard, suspension is appropriate only if there exists a substantial likelihood of serious, imminent harm. Having reviewed the petition and supporting information, the EPA does not believe there is a substantial likelihood of imminent serious harm from the use of clothianidin. Specifically, the EPA does not believe the petition demonstrates that the use of clothianidin is causing or will cause:

• significant reduction in populations of domestic bees or native pollinators,
• significant decreases in honey production,
• serious effects on other agricultural systems as a result of decreases in pollination services or
• a reduction in pollination of wild plants in a way that may alter ecosystems.

EPA is continuing its comprehensive scientific evaluation on all the neonicotinoid pesticides, including clothianidin. This extensive review will determine if any restrictions are necessary to protect people, the environment, or pollinators.  Also, in September, EPA will seek independent scientific peer review on how to better assess the risks of pesticides to pollinators. This effort will improve our understanding and strengthen the scientific and regulatory process to protect honey bees and other pollinators.

The EPA's response denying the petition is available at regulations.gov under docket EPA HQ-OPP-2012-0334.

A future Federal Register notice will open a 60-day comment period on the remaining issues in the petition. The EPA will respond to the entirety of the petition at a later date after it has obtained and reviewed any public comments.

In the same Federal Register notice, the EPA will announce the availability of the final work plan for clothianidin’s re-evaluation under Registration Review and its response to comments received during the initial public comment period for the registration review of clothianidin.

Spreading the Word About the Beekeeping Industry is Just 'Fine' with Alyssa Fine

by Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC - Davis Communications Specialist


DAVIS--When youngsters meet Alyssa Fine, the first thing they ask is, “Do you ever get stung?”
They also ask if the bee population is “still” declining and if she’s a beekeeper.
Yes, yes, and yes.

Alyssa Fine, 23, of Monongahela, Penn., is accustomed to answering questions. As the 2012 American Honey Bee Queen, sponsored by the American Beekeeping Federation, she’s an ambassador to the beekeeping and honey industries. One of her responsibilities is to educate the public about the importance of bees and the merits of honey.

And that’s just “fine” with her. “I really enjoy this,” she said.

Fine, a 2010 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management, is spending 11 days in California, one of some 23 states on her itinerary during her yearlong role as the American Honey Bee Queen.

In July, accompanied by her host Brian Fishback of Wilton, a veteran beekeeper and volunteer at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, Fine toured the bee research facility and the adjacent Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
She met honey bee and native bee scientists and admired the haven’s morphologically correct six-foot-long ceramic sculpture of a worker bee. The sculpture, created by Donna Billick of Davis, anchors the half-acre pollinator garden.

No stranger to bees, ....

PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN BEE RESEARCH CONFERENCE NOW AVAILABLE!

 The 2012 American Bee Research Conference was held February 7-8 at APHIS Headquarters in Greenbelt, MD in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Apiary Inspectors of America.  The twenty-sixth American Bee Research Conference will be held in Hershey, PA in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Honey Producers Association in January 2013.  To access these abstracts now, click on the link below. These abstracts represent some of the latest bee research being conducted in the United States.  Enjoy!

icon 2012_Proceedings_ABJ.pdf (565 KB)


August 2012

 

Researchers Search for Viruses to Save Honey Bees

In an effort to save the dwindling honeybee population researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are looking to viruses to help treat one of the most destructive and widespread bee brood diseases in the United States. They reported their findings at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"Our food supply depends on the actions of millions of insects such as the common honeybee. Due to the importance of honeybees a pollinators in the agriculture of the United States and therefore the current and future food supply, honeybee health is of great concern," says Diane Yost, a researcher on the study.

American Foulbrood Disease (AFB) is the most widespread and destructive brood disease affecting honey bees. It is caused by a bacterial pathogen, Paenibacillus larvae. Young honey bee larvae become infected when they ingest the bacterial spores in their food. Infected larvae normally die after their cells are sealed. The bacteria eventually die as well, but not before producing millions of spores.

While there are some chemical treatments that can be used to hold AFB in check, they must be continued indefinitely. Once the treatment is suspended the American foulbrood spores germinate successfully again leading to a disease outbreak. Because the spores can survive up to 40 years, many states require diseased hives to be burned completely.

Yost and her colleagues are researching an alternative treatment for AFB. They are focusing on using bacteriophages, viruses that infect and kill specific bacteria, to target the bacteria responsible for AFB and eventually treat the disease.

"If an effective remedy for the disease could be developed, hives that are infected with the pathogen could be treated rather than burned, which is currently the only effective treatment," says Yost.

The researchers conducted an extensive search for phage from environmental sources including samples from desert and garden soils, beehives, flowers, compost and cosmetics containing beeswax. Nearly 100 samples were tested for the presence of phages. A total of 31 phages were isolated and each were subsequently tested against 8 different strains of the AFB pathogen. The researchers identified 3 phages that had activity against all 8 strains of the bacteria.

"These results demonstrate that bacteriophages capable of infecting P. larvae are present in the natural environment, and these phages may represent the first step in developing a potential treatment for AFB," says Yost.


Vita Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

From one product to the world’s largest dedicated honeybee health specialist
in a decade and a half


Vita (Europe) Ltd, honeybee health specialist, which celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in June, is stepping up its fight to combat honeybee diseases across the world with an increasing range of products that are safe and effective and an expanding distributor network. 

The challenges of new threats to honeybees plus complex and expensive regulatory systems are ever-present challenges, but Vita continues to grow as its products prove effective in environments across the world and its strong marketing networks can rely on the safety and efficacy of Vita products.

Founded in 1997 with just one product, Vita has grown to become the largest dedicated honeybee health company in the world with offices in France, Italy and Russia and a network of more than 60 international distributors.

Jeremy Owen, sales director of Vita (Europe) said: "These certainly have been interesting times. When we set up in business 15 years ago, we entered the marketplace with one product and an embryo distributor network. Today our distribution network is global and our growing product portfolio is well-proven.

"With our vibrant network of distributors and subsidiary companies, we've established Vita as the premier honeybee health products supplier in Western and Central Europe, the USA and the Middle East, and we are now developing our network in Eastern Europe, the countries of the former Soviet Union and South America."

Dr. Max Watkins, technical director at Vita (Europe) said: "Researching new products at a time like this is challenging, but enormously rewarding. I pay tribute to our international research partners and their dedication to the R&D of new products.

"As a company we aim to meet the demand of beekeepers for safe and effective products, but one of our greatest challenges is in complying with the requirements of a regulatory system that is out-of-kilter with the economics of the beekeeping sector. Nonetheless, we are strong advocates of regulation to ensure the safety of bees, the environment and humans and the efficacy of products, but the current situation of conflicting and complex international regulations does often slow the speed of products to market."

Vita's diverse international research program addresses the main threats to the honeybee -- varroa, viruses, foulbrood, and the Asian hornet -- in universities and institutes in Italy, Greece, and the UK. The latest and perhaps most exciting venture is Vita's partnership with the University of Aberdeen and the UK National Bee Unit to try to develop a ground-breaking gene knock-down treatment to combat varroa.


Apiculture Center of Excellence to Be Opened in Ethiopia

Trade Advance Ltd and Bees for Development are delighted to announce an innovative partnership to develop beekeeping livelihoods in one of the poorest parts of Ethiopia. The initial step will be to establish an Apiculture Center of Excellence, the first of its kind, in the State of Amhara. The Center will be an information and education hub, offering advice about beekeeping as a business.

Tilahun Gebey, who will direct The Center, is a specialist in Ethiopian apiculture and long-term associate of Bees for Development. He said‚“I will be proud to work on this initiative. Together we can make a change – helping farmers develop their beekeeping up to business level and reduce hardship in rural areas.”

In Amhara State, beekeeping is a vital income source and way of life for many subsistence farmers. The aim of the partnership is to increase the income derived from beekeeping by enhancing skills and protecting the local environment that provides nectar for bees. Through Trade Advance Ltd, more lucrative markets will be opened up to Amhara beekeepers through linkages to national and regional buyers.

Bees for Development Director, Dr. Nicola Bradbear, says, “We have long recognized the potential for beekeeping to lift people out of poverty in Ethiopia and we are delighted to have the support of Trade Advance. We anticipate that the Center of Excellence will tackle some of the challenges faced by beekeepers, such as unwise use of pesticides.”

Bernie & Yemi Thomas, founders & directors of Trade Advance Ltd say: “When we set up Trade Advance Ltd in 2003 we always had a vision of using the business for more than just making a profit and more specifically to help address poverty in Ethiopia, Yemi’s country of origin. Our primary aim was to restore dignity back to as many of its people as possible by using ‘trade as aid’ – by equipping people with the tools to produce more and sell more of what they produced. The funding of the Apiculture Center of Excellence will start this process by imparting the beekeeping and commercial knowledge needed by the farmers to produce better quality honey more efficiently and to access higher value markets more effectively. The ACE will also conduct research and cooperate closely with key stakeholders to sustainably grow both apicultural capacity and foreign exchange.”

 

July 2012


Propolis Extract Shows Potential as Prostate Cancer Treatment


Proteomics reveals how ancient remedy slows prostate tumor cell proliferation

An over-the-counter natural remedy derived from honey bee hives arrests the growth of prostate cancer cells and tumors in mice, according to a paper from researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester, or CAPE, is a compound isolated from honey bee hive propolis, the resin used by bees to patch up holes in hives. Propolis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for conditions ranging from sore throats and allergies to burns and cancer. But the compound has not gained acceptance in the clinic due to scientific questions about its effect on cells.

In a paper published in Cancer Prevention Research, researchers combined traditional cancer research methods with cutting-edge proteomics to find that CAPE arrests early-stage prostate cancer by shutting down the tumor cells' system for detecting sources of nutrition.
"If you feed CAPE to mice daily, their tumors will stop growing. After several weeks, if you stop the treatment, the tumors will begin to grow again at their original pace," said Richard B. Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology and senior author of the study. "So it doesn't kill the cancer, but it basically will indefinitely stop prostate cancer proliferation."

Natural remedies isolated from plant and animal products are often marketed as cure-alls for a variety of maladies, usually based on vague antioxidant and anti-inflammatory claims. While substances such as ginseng or green tea have been occasionally tested in laboratories for their medicinal properties, scientific evidence is commonly lacking on the full biological effects of these over-the-counter compounds.

"It's only recently that people have examined the mechanism by which some of these herbal remedies work," Jones said. "Our knowledge about what these things are actually doing is a bit of a disconnected hodge-podge of tests and labs and conditions. In the end, you're left with a broad, disconnected story about what exactly these things are doing and whether or not they would be useful for treating disease."

To study the purported anti-cancer properties of CAPE, first author Chih-Pin Chuu (now at the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan) tested the compound on a series of cancer cell lines. Even at the low concentrations expected after oral administration, CAPE successfully slowed the proliferation of cultured cells isolated from human prostate tumors.

CAPE was also effective at slowing the growth of human prostate tumors grafted into mice. Six weeks of treatment with the compound decreased tumor volume growth rate by half, but when CAPE treatment was stopped, tumor growth resumed its prior rate. The results suggested that CAPE stopped cell division rather than killing cancerous cells.

To determine the cellular changes that mediated this effect, the researchers then used an innovative proteomics technique invented by Jones and colleagues called the "micro-western array." Western blots are a common laboratory tool used to measure the changes in protein levels and activity under different conditions. But whereas only one or a few proteins at a time can be monitored with Western blots, micro-western arrays allow researchers to survey hundreds of proteins at once from many samples.

Chuu, Jones and their colleagues ran micro-western arrays to assess the impact of CAPE treatment on the proteins of cellular pathways involved in cell growth – experiments that would have been prohibitively expensive without the new technique.

"What this allowed us to do is screen about a hundred different proteins across a broad spectrum of signaling pathways that are associated with all sorts of different outcomes. You can pick up all the pathways that are affected and get a global landscape view, and that's never been possible before," Jones said. "It would have taken hundreds of Westerns, hundreds of technicians, and a very large amount of money for antibodies."

The micro-western array results allowed researchers to quickly build a new model of CAPE's cellular effects, significantly expanding on previous work that studied the compound's mechanisms. Treatment with CAPE at the concentrations that arrested cancer cell growth suppressed the activity of proteins in the p70S6 kinase and Akt pathways, which are important sensors of sufficient nutrition that can trigger cell proliferation.

"It appears that CAPE basically stops the ability of prostate cancer cells to sense that there's nutrition available," Jones said. "They stop all of the molecular signatures that would suggest that nutrition exists, and the cells no longer have that proliferative response to nutrition."

The ability of CAPE to freeze cancer cell proliferation could make it a promising co-treatment alongside chemotherapies intended to kill tumor cells. Jones cautioned that clinical trials would be necessary before CAPE could be proven effective and safe for this purpose in humans. But the CAPE experiments offer a precedent to unlock the biological mechanisms of other natural remedies as well, perhaps allowing these compounds to cross over to the clinic.

"A typical problem in bringing some of these herbal remedies into the clinic is that nobody knows how they act, nobody knows the mechanism, and therefore researchers are typically very hesitant to add them to any pharmaceutical treatment strategy," Jones said. "Now we'll actually be able to systematically demonstrate the parts of cell physiology that are affected by these compounds."

Bee Pollen Supplements Can Cause Anaphylactic Shock

Although many people take bee pollen as a health supplement, it can cause severe anaphylactic reactions. However, most people are unaware of the risks, states an article published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

A case study in the journal illuminates the possible hazards of ingesting bee pollen. A 30-year-old woman with seasonal allergies, but no history of allergies to food, drugs, insects or latex, had an anaphylactic reaction after taking bee pollen. She had swelling of the eyelids, lips and throat, difficulty swallowing, hives and other life-threatening symptoms. After emergency treatment and discontinuation of the bee pollen supplements, there were no further reactions.

"Anaphylaxis associated with the consumption of bee pollen has been reported in the literature, but many people remain unaware of this potential hazard," write Dr. Amanda Jagdis, University of British Columbia, and Dr. Gordon Sussman, St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto.

Anaphylactic reactions after ingesting bee pollen have been reported in people with no history of allergies or only seasonal allergies. In a Greek study in which atopic participants underwent skin tests for reactions to bee pollen, 73% (of 145 patients) had positive skin test reactions to one or more types of bee pollen extracts.

"Health care providers should be aware of the potential for reaction, and patients with pollen allergy should be advised of the potential risk when consuming these products — it is not known who will have an allergic reaction upon ingesting bee pollen," conclude the authors.


Blowing In the Wind: How Hidden Flower Features are Crucial for Bees

As gardeners get busy filling tubs and borders with colorful bedding plants, scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol have discovered more about what makes flowers attractive to bees rather than humans. Published recently in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology, their research reveals that Velcro-like cells on plant petals play a crucial role in helping bees grip flowers – especially when the wind gets up.

The study focuses on special cells found on the surface of petals, whose stunning structure is best seen under an electron microscope. According to lead author, Dr Beverley Glover: "Many of our common garden flowers have beautiful conical cells if you look closely – roses have rounded conical petal cells while petunias have really long cells, giving petunia flowers an almost velvety appearance, particularly visible in the dark-colored varieties."

Glover's group previously discovered that when offered snapdragons with conical cells and a mutant variety without these cells, bees prefer the former because the conical cells help them grip the flower. "It's a bit like Velcro, with the bee claws locking into the gaps between the cells," she explains.

Compared with many garden flowers, however, snapdragons have very complicated flowers; bees have to land on a vertical face and pull open a heavy lip to reach the nectar so Glover was not surprised that grip helps. But she wanted to discover how conical cells help bees visiting much simpler flowers.

"Many of our garden flowers like petunias, roses and poppies are very simple saucers with nectar in the bottom, so we wanted to find out why having conical cells to provide grip would be useful for bees landing on these flowers. We hypothesized that maybe the grip helped when the flowers blow in the wind."

Using two types of petunia, one with conical cells and a mutant line with flat cells, Glover let a group of bumblebees that had never seen petunias before forage in a large box containing both types of flower, and discovered they too preferred the conical-celled flowers.

They then devised a way of mimicking the way flowers move in the wind. "We used a lab shaking platform that we normally use to mix liquids, and put the flowers on that. As we increased the speed of shaking, mimicking increased wind speed, the bees increased their preference for the conical-celled flowers," she says.

The results, Glover says, give ecologists a deeper insight into the extraordinarily subtle interaction between plant and pollinator. "Nobody knew what these cells were for, and now we have a good answer that works for pretty much all flowers," she concludes. "It's too easy to look at flowers from a human perspective, but when you put yourself into the bee's shoes, you find hidden features of flowers can be crucial to foraging success."


Scientists Discover First Ever Record of Insect Pollination from 100 Million Years Ago

Amber from Cretaceous deposits (110-105 my) in Northern Spain has revealed the first ever record of insect pollination. Scientists have discovered in two pieces of amber several specimens of tiny insects covered with pollen grains, revealing the first record of pollen transport and social behavior in this group of animals. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) dated 14-18 May 2012.

The international team of scientists comprises: Enrique Peñalver and Eduardo Barrón from the Instituto Geológico y Minero de España in Madrid; Xavier Delclòs from the University of Barcelona; Andre and Patricia Nel from the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris; Conrad Labandeira from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; and Carmen Soriano and Paul Tafforeau from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The amber samples were from the collection of the Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Álava (Spain).

Today, more than 80% of plant species rely on insects to transport pollen from male to female flower parts. Pollination is best known in flowering plants, but also exists in so-called gymnosperms, seed-producing plants like conifers. Although the most popular group of pollinator insects are bees and butterflies, a myriad of lesser-known species of flies, beetles or thrips have co-evolved with plants, transporting pollen and in return for this effort, being rewarded with food.

During the last 20 years, amber from the Lower Cretaceous (110-105 my) found in the Basque country in Northern Spain has revealed many new plant and animal species, mainly insects. Here, the amber featured inclusions of thysanopterans, so-called thrips, a group of minute insects of less than 2 mm in length that feed on pollen and other plant tissues. They are efficient pollinators for several species of flowering plants.

Two amber pieces revealed six fossilized specimens of female thrips with hundreds of pollen grains attached to their bodies. These insects exhibit highly specialized hairs with a ringed structure to increase their ability to collect pollen grains, very similar to the ones of well known pollinators like domestic bees. The scientists describe these six specimens in a new genus (Gymnopollisthrips) comprising two new species, G. minor and G. major.

The most representative specimen was also studied with synchrotron X-ray tomography at the ESRF to reveal in three dimensions and at very high resolution the pollen grain distribution over the insect's body.

The pollen grains are very small and exhibit the adherent features needed so that insects can transport them. The scientists conclude that this pollen is from a kind of cycad or ginkgo tree, a kind of living fossil of which only a few species are known to science. Ginkgos trees are either male or female, and male trees produce small pollen cones whereas female trees bear ovules at the end of stalks which develop into seeds after pollination.

For which evolutionary reason did these tiny insects, 100 million years ago, collect and transport Gingko pollen? Their ringed hairs cannot have grown due to an evolutionary selection benefitting the trees. The benefit for the thrips can only be explained by the possibility to feed their larvae with pollen. This suggests that this species formed colonies with larvae living in the ovules of some kind of gingko for shelter and protection, and female insects transporting pollen from the male Gingko cones to the female ovules to feed the larvae and at the same time pollinate the trees.

Only amber can preserve behavioral features like pollination in such rich detail over millions of years. 100 million years ago, flowering plants started to diversify enormously, eventually replacing conifers as the dominant species. "This is the oldest direct evidence for pollination, and the only one from the age of the dinosaurs. The co-evolution of flowering plants and insects, thanks to pollination, is a great evolutionary success story. It began about 100 million years ago, when this piece of amber fossil was produced by resin dropping from a tree, which today is the oldest fossil record of pollinating insects. Thrips might indeed turn out to be one of the first pollinator groups in geological history, long before evolution turned some of them into flower pollinators," concludes Carmen Soriano, who led the investigation of the amber pieces with X-ray tomography at the ESRF.


Commonly Used Pesticide Turns Honey Bees into 'Picky Eaters'

Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that a small dose of a commonly used crop pesticide turns honey bees into "picky eaters" and affects their ability to recruit their nestmates to otherwise good sources of food.

The results of their experiments, detailed in a recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, have implications for what pesticides should be applied to bee-pollinated crops and shed light on one of the main culprits suspected to be behind the recent declines in honey bee colonies. ....

 

Newsnotes - June 2012

 

Vita Helps Fund New Research to Halt Honey Bee Killer

  A major investment from public and private sector organizations is helping scientists to develop completely new ways of tackling the biggest killer of honey bees worldwide – the bloodsucking Varroa mite.
  Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Aberdeen and the National Bee Unit, part of the Food and Environment Research Agency, have worked out how to ‘knock down’ genes in the parasitic mite causing it to die.
  So far the work has only been done in the lab, but now the team can take their work a step closer towards developing a product that could help beekeepers thanks to funding worth over a quarter of a million pounds from Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Vita (Europe) Ltd.
  Dr. Alan Bowman, who is heading up the research, said: “Honey bees are incredibly important because of their pollination of flowers of both wild and farmed plants.
  “But their numbers are seriously declining year on year and while there are probably several reasons for this, one of the most important factors is Varroa destructor that sucks the blood from bees and transmits serious viral diseases.”
“There is an urgent need to develop a Varroa-specific, environmentally friendly treatment or some method of overcoming the Varroa’s resistance mechanism to existing treatments and that’s what we are now working towards.”
Dr. Max Watkins, technical director of Vita (Europe) Ltd, a major funder of the research, said: "Finding treatments that kill varroa mites, but don't harm honeybees, bee products or the environment is not easy. The challenge is heightened because the relatively short life cycle of the varroa mite means that resistance to a single treatment can often develop quite quickly unless beekeepers alternate treatments of different types. Vita is therefore supporting this exciting and innovative research and hopes that an effective and environmentally sensitive treatment can eventually be developed at a cost that is affordable to beekeepers across the globe."
  Dr. Giles Budge, from the National Bee Unit at Fera added, “We are delighted to be in a position to progress this research, playing our part facilitating the translation of science from brilliant academics at Aberdeen to a company like Vita which has an established record of research, development and marketing of new honey bee health products. It is particularly exciting to see our work move from the bench into products which could become commercially available to help beekeepers.”
Researchers will create and scour databases of all the Varroa genes in a bid to identify the ones that can be effectively and safely targeted by potential new treatments.
Dr. Bowman added: “We rely on honey bees to pollinate our crops and add variety to our diets, which is why there is a real need to tackle the problem of their decline. Having proved our concept in the lab we are delighted that this funding will allow us to develop our research to have real-world impact.”

More About the Research
  Led by Dr. Alan Bowman, the research team will be using modern molecular techniques to investigate gene silencing and the identification of suitable target genes in the varroa mite.
In a 2010 peer-reviewed academic paper, Dr. Bowman produced the first report of successful 'knock-down' of genes in a mite species, specifically varroa, through RNA interference (RNAi), a gene silencing technique. This technique had previously been shown to be successful with invertebrates by injecting small interfering double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules. Bowman showed that that the small size of varroa need not pose insurmountable problems and found that immersion in dsRNA solution could produce results relatively easily, quickly and inexpensively.
  With the technique proven successfully in the laboratory, the challenge of the current research is to find the most relevant and susceptible genes to be targeted and in the longer term to develop a suitable affordable treatment for use by beekeepers.
The first stage of the new work is to use “Next Generation Sequencing” to identify and describe all the genes of Varroa destructor. From hundreds of millions of pieces of gene sequencing information, the team will search for the Achilles’ heel of the varroa mite, and check that targeting it will not affect the bees or indeed any other animal species.
Once vulnerable genes of the varroa mite have been identified, the search will then focus on producing a treatment to target that gene. Laboratory and field trials will then thoroughly test the efficacy and safety of potential treatments.

About Vita (Europe) Ltd.
Vita (Europe) Limited is a mite control and honeybee health specialist. It is the world’s largest dedicated supplier of honeybee health products to the honey and pollination industries. With headquarters in the UK, offices in Italy, France and Russia, and partners across the globe, Vita researches, develops, and manufactures a range of honeybee health products. These products are marketed internationally through a network of 60 distributors in 50 countries.
www.vita-europe.com

Bees 'Self-Medicate' When Infected With Some Pathogens

  Research from North Carolina State University shows that honey bees “self-medicate” when their colony is infected with a harmful fungus, bringing in increased amounts of antifungal plant resins to ward off the pathogen.
  “The colony is willing to expend the energy and effort of its worker bees to collect these resins,” says Dr. Michael Simone-Finstrom, a postdoctoral research scholar in NC State’s Department of Entomology and lead author of a paper describing the research. “So, clearly this behavior has evolved because the benefit to the colony exceeds the cost.”
  Wild honey bees normally line their hives with propolis, a mixture of plant resins and wax that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Domesticated honey bees also use propolis, to fill in cracks in their hives. However, researchers found that, when faced with a fungal threat, bees bring in significantly more propolis – 45 percent more, on average. The bees also physically removed infected larvae that had been parasitized by the fungus and were being used to create fungal spores.
  Researchers know propolis is an effective antifungal agent because they lined some hives with a propolis extract and found that the extract significantly reduced the rate of infection.
  And apparently bees can sometimes distinguish harmful fungi from harmless ones, since colonies did not bring in increased amounts of propolis when infected with harmless fungal species. Instead, the colonies relied on physically removing the spores.
  However, the self-medicating behavior does have limits. Honey bee colonies infected with pathogenic bacteria did not bring in significantly more propolis – despite the fact that the propolis also has antibacterial properties. “There was a slight increase, but it was not statistically significant,” Simone-Finstrom says. “That is something we plan to follow up on.”
  There may be a lesson here for domestic beekeepers. “Historically, U.S. beekeepers preferred colonies that used less of this resin, because it is sticky and can be difficult to work with,” Simone-Finstrom says. “Now we know that this is a characteristic worth promoting, because it seems to offer the bees some natural defense.”
  The paper, “Increased resin collection after parasite challenge: a case of self-medication in honey bees?,” was co-authored by Dr. Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota and published March 29 in PLoS ONE. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Partially Africanized Bees Found in East Tennessee


(Courtesy TN.gov Newsroom)

VONORE, Tenn.– Tennessee’s first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed through genetic testing in April in a colony belonging to a beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.
  State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. “I’m actually surprised it’s just now happening. We have been expecting this for some time,” Studer said. “Citizens need to be vigilant, but there’s no need to overreact. This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good beekeeping practices.
  “We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area.”
  Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17 percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.
  The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Africanized bees are much more aggressive, defend their nests more fiercely and in greater numbers and are more likely to defend the nest when threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions. But, the sting from a single Africanized bee is no more venomous than a European honey bee.
  Africanized bees tend to colonize in smaller spaces than the docile European honeybee. Therefore, if you see honeybees in the ground, or in small openings such as flower pots or bluebird houses, leave them alone and call the state apiarist immediately to assess the situation. Bees do not try to hurt people, they simply defend their territory.
If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these steps to protect yourself.

1. Run.
2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attack.
4.Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. Isolate yourself from the bees.
5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.

  State law requires all beekeepers to register their colonies with the TDA and to update their registration every three years. Once registered, the state apiarist is able to contact beekeepers in the event of a disease outbreak or aerial pesticide spraying in their area. Registration also gives the beekeepers the opportunity for free inspections to make sure their colonies are healthy. Registration can be done online.

National Honey Board Offers Free Honey Brochure in Spanish to Industry Members

La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza.

  Firestone, Colo., April 5, 2012 – The National Honey Board (NHB) announced that it has created a Spanish version of their recipe brochure developed earlier in 2012 entitled La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza (Honey – Nature’s Secret Ingredient).
  The recipe brochure, which will be available at no cost to honey industry members throughout the United States, features eight delectable recipes, ranging from appetizer and entrées, to side dishes and desserts, and all in Spanish. More and more consumers are realizing the versatility of honey and using it for multiple purposes and functions, as it has become a pantry staple in the kitchen. This all-natural ingredient will give your recipes unbeatable flavor and unmatched functional benefits. La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza is a vibrant brochure that comes in a convenient, accordion-style layout.
  “The National Honey Board recognizes the importance of reaching out to the Hispanic market and we are pleased to now offer this piece in Spanish,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “The NHB strives to reach all consumer segments and this brochure is a continuation of the NHB’s efforts to provide materials to help promote honey.”
  The new brochures are available in packets of 50. To order, please call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, the NHB’s fulfillment coordinator.
  The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

National Honey Board Sponsors  Minor League Baseball

  Firestone, Colo., April 5, 2012 – The National Honey Board (NHB) is pleased to announce its fifth year of support for Minor League Baseball® (MiLB®), featuring seven MiLB® teams in markets stretching from coast-to-coast. As the official natural energy booster of each of the teams, the NHB will expand its honey messaging through strong in-park promotion and broadcast media presence.
  The 2012 promotion will include electronic and billboard ballpark signage that will be displayed throughout the 2012 MiLB® season. In addition, each ballpark will host between innings honey trivia games for fans, directly engaging them in the honey messaging efforts. For a broadcast media presence, the NHB’s “High Energy Play of the Game” will be featured on each team’s live play-by-play radio broadcast.
  “We are excited for our 2012 sponsorship of Minor League Baseball®,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “Honey is an American classic and this is a great opportunity to reach out to the fans, showcasing its versatility, as well as highlighting it as an all-natural energy booster.”
  This year’s sponsorship of MiLB® will continue to incorporate discount offers on game tickets and team merchandise for baseball fans. Discounts will be given on game day tickets ranging from buy one get one free to a free team souvenir cap, as well as exclusive discounts of 10 – 15 percent on team souvenir merchandise. Both offers are tied to the proof of purchase (with original receipt) of a bottle of pure honey. This program is designed to increase the awareness and consumption of honey while offering baseball fans discounts on game tickets and official team souvenir merchandise. The honey purchase incentive program will be supported through radio mentions, PA announcements, marketing handouts at the fan service desk and team merchandise stores of each ballpark, as well as banner ads on team website pages. Please refer to the following list for participating teams and specific discount information.

Indianapolis Indians, Triple-A, Indianapolis, Indiana
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A, Memphis, Tennessee
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
New Orleans Zephyrs, Triple-A, New Orleans, Louisiana
Buy one ticket, get one free*
15 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Double-A, Springdale, Arkansas
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Oklahoma City RedHawks, Triple-A, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Get an official RedHawks team cap, free with grocery receipt
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Omaha Storm Chasers, Triple-A, Omaha, Nebraska
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A, Rochester, New York
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise

* Discount ticket offers are limited to specific weekday games. For more details and specific exclusions on discount offers, please visit http://www.honey.com/nhb/baseball.

AAPA Student Paper Presentation Award

  I was this year's winner of the AAPA student paper award at Beltsville. I have been asked by the AAPA to send you a photo, a brief bio, and a brief summary of the paper.

Regards,
Mike Goblirsch


Title: The Effects of Nosema ceranae on Vitellogenin and Juvenile Hormone.
Mike Goblirsch1, Zachary Huang2, and Marla Spivak1
1Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota; St. Paul, MN 55108
2Department of Entomology, Michigan State University; East Lansing, MI 48824
Bio Sketch: Mike Goblirsch is a graduate student of the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on understanding the role of the fungal pathogen, Nosema ceranae, in honey bee health. He is particularly interested in pathogen-mediated effects to bee developmental physiology caused by this emerging pathogen. He also works on developing honey cell cultures that will serve as a tool to understanding intracellular microbes that have a negative impact on honey bees. He enjoys working with and especially learning from beekeepers.
Brief Summary: Each year a significant number of beekeepers lose over one-third of their colonies. The obligate intracellular fungus, Nosema ceranae, is likely a contributing factor to these losses; therefore, it is important to understand how this emerging pathogen affects bees physiologically. We examined how N. ceranae may disrupt levels of vitellogenin and juvenile hormone, endocrine signaling factors that are fundamental to regulating adult development and lifespan in honey bees in cages. In addition, we found that the onset of foraging and life span is negatively affected in honey bees infected with N. ceranae using field studies. Findings from this research will aid in the development of management strategies to counter the effects of N. ceranae infection on honey bee health.

Coloss “Beebook”


Exciting new book to facilitate worldwide honey bee research

  The honey bee is probably the most well studied insect in the world, yet despite this, much remains unknown. Recent concern about worldwide colony losses has drawn sharp attention to significant gaps in our knowledge.
  Since 2008, the international COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) network (currently supported by COST and the Ricola Foundation - Nature & Culture) has been coordinating scientific efforts to understand the causes of colony losses and to reverse these declines. Unprecedented international cooperation among scientists has ensured a very fruitful network.
  COLOSS COST Action Chair Peter Neumann says: “After four years of activity, the COLOSS network has organized eight conferences, 28 workshops, 29 Short-term Scientific Missions, three training schools, and has contributed to over 130 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We intend to use the strength of COLOSS to solve an immediate problem experienced by honey bee researchers: the lack of standardization of experimental methods that makes comparison of the results of experiments carried out in different countries difficult”.
  A paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research introduces the COLOSS “BEEBOOK”, a unique venture that aims to standardize methods for studying the honey bee. It will be the definitive, but evolving, research manual, composed of 29 peer-reviewed chapters authored by more than 160 of the world’s leading honey bee experts, and is expected to be completed by late 2012. Chapters will describe methods for studying honey bee biology, methods for understanding honey bee pests and pathogens, and methods for breeding honey bees.
  The COLOSS “BEEBOOK: standard methodologies for Apis mellifera research” edited by Vincent Dietemann and Peter Neumann of the Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux and Jamie Ellis of the University of Florida, USA, will be published both online as an Open Access Special Issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research and as a hard copy book for use at the laboratory bench.
  IBRA Science Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “IBRA is delighted to be associated with this unique and exciting project which will reap enormous benefits for the worldwide bee research community”. Website for ordering: www.ibra.org.uk

Beekeeping for Poets


By Alexander S. Templeton
Published: April 12, 2012
Words: 39031 (approximate)

  Beekeeping for Poets is an e-book not intended solely for poets, really. It’s more of an attempt to highlight the truth, wisdom, and beauty all around beekeeping.
  We’ll consider the ingredients of an emerging philosophy of beekeeping that builds upon yet transcends the rationalized approach developed over the past 150 years.
  Diversity has generally come to be regarded as an invaluable strategy in devising robust, resilient systems—why not in beekeeping as well?
  One can read authoritative, exhaustive references on contemporary progressive beekeeping, in excruciatingly redundant detail and variety—just… elsewhere.
  The author does throw in a little relevant verse now & then, so you won’t feel misled or disappointed.
  E-book price $5.99. Contact: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/151216

Newsnotes - May 2012

 (excerpt)

Studies Show How Common Crop Pesticide Harms Bees

A pair of new studies reveals the multiple ways that a widely used insecticide harms bumblebees and honey bees.

The reports, one by a U.K. team and one by a French team, appear online at the Science Express Web site of the journal Science, on 29 March, 2012. Science is published by AAAS, the nonprofit, international science society.

Bumblebees and honeybees are important pollinators of flowering plants, including many major fruit and vegetable crops. Each year, for example, honeybee hives are trucked in to help pollinate almond, apple and blueberry crops, among others.

In recent years, honeybee populations have rapidly declined, in part due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bumble bee populations have been suffering as well, according to Dave Goulson of the University of Stirling in Stirling, U.K., who is a co-author of one of the studies.

“Some bumblebee species have declined hugely. For example in North America, several bumblebee species which used to be common have more or less disappeared from the entire continent. In the U.K., three species have gone extinct,” Goulson said.
Researchers have proposed multiple causes for these declines, including pesticides, but it’s been unclear exactly how pesticides are inflicting their damage.

Both of the Science studies looked at the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides, which were introduced in the early 1990s and have now become one of the most widely used crop pesticides in the world. These compounds act on the insect’s central nervous system, and they spread to the nectar and pollen of flowering crops.

In one study, Penelope Whitehorn of the University of Stirling in Stirling, U.K. and colleagues exposed developing colonies of bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, to low levels of a neonicotinoid called imidacloprid. The doses were comparable to what the bees are often exposed to in the wild.

The researchers then placed the colonies in an enclosed field site where the bees could forage under natural conditions for six weeks. At the beginning and end of the experiment, the researchers weighed each of the bumblebee nests – which included the bees, wax, honey, bee grubs and pollen – to determine how much the colony had grown.
Compared to control colonies that had not been exposed to imidacloprid, the treated colonies gained less weight, suggesting less food was coming in. The treated colonies were on average eight to 12 percent smaller than the control colonies at the end of the experiment. The treated colonies also produced about 85 percent fewer queens. This last finding is particularly important because queen production translates directly to the establishment of new nests following the winter die-off. Thus, 85 percent fewer queens could mean 85 percent fewer nests in the coming year.

“Bumblebees pollinate many of our crops and wild flowers. The use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops clearly poses a threat to their health, and urgently needs to be re-evaluated,” said Goulson.

In the other Science report, a French team found that exposure to another neonicotinoid pesticide impairs honey bees’ homing abilities, causing many of the bees to die.
Mickaël Henry of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon, France and colleagues tagged free-ranging honeybees with tiny radio-frequency identification, or “RFID,” microchips that were glued to each bee’s thorax. These devices allowed the researchers to track the bees as they came and went from their hives. The researchers then gave some of the bees a sublethal dose of the pesticide thiamethoxam.

Compared to control bees that were not exposed to the pesticide, the treated bees were about two to three times more likely to die while away from their nests. These deaths probably occurred because the pesticide interfered with the bees’ homing systems, the researchers propose. In the second part of their study, the researchers used data from the tracking experiment to develop a mathematical model that simulated honeybee population dynamics. When the mortality caused by the homing failure was incorporated into the simulations, the model predicted that honeybee populations exposed to this pesticide should drop to a point from which it would be difficult to recover.

The authors note that even though manufacturers are required to ensure their pesticide doses remain below lethal levels for honeybees, the studies used to determine this lethality level have probably underestimated the ways that pesticides can kill bees indirectly, for example by interfering with their homing systems.

"Our study raises important issues regarding pesticide authorization procedures. So far, they mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties," said study author Mikaël Henry of INRA, in Avignon, France.
Beekeepers & Environmental Groups to EPA:
Pesticide Approval is "Irresponsible" & "Damaging"


Over 1 Million Urge EPA to Suspend  Use of Pesticide Harmful to Bees, Fix Broken Regulatory System

Washington, DC —Commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed an urgent legal petition in March with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend further use of a pesticide the agency knows poses harm to honey bees, and adopt safeguards to ensure similar future pesticides aren’t approved by the agency. The legal petition is supported by over one million citizen petitions also submitted today that were collected from people across the country calling out one pesticide in particular – clothianidin – for its harmful impacts on honey bees.

“EPA has an obligation to protect pollinators from the threat of pesticides,” said Jeff Anderson of California Minnesota Honey Farms, a co-petitioner. “The Agency has failed to adequately regulate pesticides harmful to pollinators despite scientific and on-the-ground evidence presented by academics and beekeepers.”

Over two dozen beekeepers and beekeeper organizations from across the country, from California and Minnesota to Kansas and New York, filed the legal petition with the EPA today. Many of these family-owned beekeeping operations are migratory, with beekeepers traveling the country from state-to-state, during different months of the year to provide pollination services and harvesting honey and wax. And they are concerned about the continued impacts on bees and their beekeeping operations, which are already in jeopardy.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers,” said Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co and a co-petitioner.

Nine years ago, scientists within the EPA required a field study examining the potential harm of clothianidin to non-target insects - specifically honey bees - because they had reason to believe the pesticide may harm pollinators. In the years since EPA first required this study, a substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, a persistent chemical, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects that are in or near recently sown fields.
“EPA ignored its own requirements and failed to study the impacts of clothianidin on honey bees,” said Peter Jenkins, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety and co-petitioner. “The body of evidence against the chemical continues to grow, yet the agency has refused to take action.”

The legal petition points to the fact that EPA failed to follow its own regulations. EPA granted a conditional, or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003 without a required field study establishing that the pesticide would have no “unreasonable adverse effects” on pollinators. Granting conditional registration was contingent upon the subsequent submission of an acceptable field study, but this requirement has not been met. EPA continues to allow the use of clothianidin nine years after acknowledging that it had an insufficient legal basis for allowing its use to begin with. Additionally, the product labels on pesticides containing clothianidin are inadequate to prevent excessive damage to non-target organisms, which is a second violation of the requirements for using a pesticide and further warrants removing all such mislabeled pesticides from use.

Over 1.25 million people, including many hobbyist beekeepers, submitted comments in partnership with the organizations Avaaz, Change.org, Credo, Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Neals Yard Remedies/Care2.com, calling on EPA to take action on clothianidin.
“EPA should move swiftly to close the loophole and revoke the conditional registration of clothianidin,” said Heather Pilatic, co-director of Pesticide Action Network and a co-petitioner. “Bees and beekeepers can’t afford to wait another nine years for inaction.”

Petitioners point to the agency’s demonstrated delay in analyzing potentially harmful products and then taking them off the market. EPA is concurrently conducting a review of clothianidin’s registration, which it projects completing in 2018.

Beekeepers estimate the real value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crops grown from seed that relies upon bee pollination. Bees in particular are responsible for pollinating many high-value crops, including pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries. So any decline in bee populations, health and productivity can have especially large impacts on agriculture, the food system and rural economies. Honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world, according to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations.

Beekeepers have survived the economic recession only to find their operations are still threatened. Recent, catastrophic declines in honey bee populations, termed “Colony Collapse Disorder,” have been linked to a wide variety of factors, including parasites, habitat loss and pesticides like clothianidin.

“Independent research links pollinator declines, especially honey bees, to a wide range of problems with industrial agriculture, especially pesticides,” said John Kepner, program director at Beyond Pesticides and a co-petitioner.

Neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, is taken up a plant and expressed through the plants through which bees then forage and pollinate. Recent research in the journal PLoS ONE underscores the threat of these pesticides through a previously undocumented exposure route – planter exhaust – the talc and air mix expelled into the environment as automated planters place neonicotinoid-treated seeds into the ground during spring planting.

As a result of the petition, EPA may choose to suspend the use of clothianidin, or open a public comment process to evaluate the concerns voiced by beekeepers and environmental organizations.

Don't Blame Pesicides as the Sole Cause of Declining Bee Population, Bee Expert Says

by Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Dept of Entomology
University of California
Davis, CA

DAVIS--Despite a growing worldwide clamor to ban pesticides linked to honey bee deaths, multiple factors contribute to the declining honey bee population, not just one class of insecticides, says Extension Apiculturist and noted honey bee expert Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

Speaking on honey bee health at the 51st annual meeting of the international Society of Toxicology and ToxExpo, held recently in San Francisco, Mussen said “no specific culprit” causes colony collapse disorder (CCD), a mysterious malady characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive, leaving behind the queen, her brood, and honey and pollen stores.

Multiple factors affecting colony health include “pathogens, parasites, pesticides and malnutrition,” he told the society, which is comprised of 7,500 scientists from academia, government, and industry from various countries around the globe.

“Pesticide residues have been found in beeswax, stored pollens and adult bees,” Mussen said in his abstract. Bee scientists are “also looking at the synergistic interactions among pesticides, including adjuvants mixed into the pesticides and investigating everything from bacteria, fungi, viruses, malnutrition, transportation of migratory bees, impact of pollen from genetically modified plants, and effects of exposure to irradiation.”

“None of these factors explains why 25 percent of beekeepers continue to lose 40 to 100 percent of their colonies annually,” Mussen declared.

Banned in some European countries is the class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which act on the central nervous system of insects, Mussen said, but scientific studies show that despite the ban, the bee population continues to suffer significant annual losses.
Neonicotinoids, or systematic pesticides, are applied as seed or soil treatments, and also directly to the foliage of vegetable, orchard, field, turf and ornamental crops.

According to Mussen, colony losses are not new. Prior to the arrival of tracheal (Acarapis woodi) in 1984 and varroa (Varroa destructor) mites in 1987, annual colony losses averaged around 5 to 10 percent, he said. “To control mites, most beekeepers place acaricides in their hives. Since then, queen longevity, colony health and vigor have declined in many operations and colony losses increased to about 15 to 20 percent.”

CCD, so-named in 2006, first surfaced in 2004 when approximately 25 percent of the nation’s beekeepers noted that apparently healthy colonies very quickly lost all adult bees, except the queen and a few newly emerged workers that soon perished, Mussen said.
“All stages of brood were present, and stores of honey and pollens were abundant,” he said. “In the few remaining adult bee specimens, titers of the fungus (Nosema ceranae) and one or more
RNA viruses were very high. While appearing similar to losses induced by extremely heavy varroa mite infestations, neither bees with shriveled wings nor copious varroa fecal spots were observed.”

The resulting media attention prompted governmental agencies to provide extra funding for honey bee research. “That research provided a greater insight into the parameters of honey bee health,” he said.
The honey bee’s immune system is “meager” compared to that of a fruit fly or mosquito, he said.

Mussen, in a recent talk at a UC Cooperative Extension seminar in Woodland, advocated that the bee toxicity tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) “be of a longer time frame.” Current regulations “specify that they be completed in 96 hours, which is too short of a time period to see what happens to the bees.”

“Sublethal effects are not required, chronic exposure to sublethal effects is not required and synergism is not studied,” he said.

“Synergies easily could be the biggest problem,” Mussen said. “Coumaphos (an acaricide used for mite control) knocks the daylight out of queens when it’s in the pollen. “Fluvalinate (synthetic pyrethoid commonly used to control varroa mites) synergizes Coumaphos, and vice versa.”

Mussen cautioned that adjuvants can be toxic. “Adjuvants seem to make non-toxic fungicides toxic to honey bee brood, especially the organosilicone ‘superspreaders,’” he said. “The superspreader can penetrate the waxy cuticle of leaves, such as Eucalyptus leaves. And the waxy cuticle is the No. 1 bee protection.”

Also at the Cooperative Extension seminar, Mussen called for greater genetic diversity in the honey bee and a loosening of the “genetic bottleneck” in the United States. “Unlike dogs and horses, there are no pedigree bees and no papers, he said. “There are few true breeding lines, but they include the New World Carniolans (developed by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of UC Davis), Russians, Minnesota Hygienic, and the Varroa Sensitive Hygiene.”

“Most breeders simply select from last season’s best performing stock,” he said. They breed for certain company traits, such as color, gentleness and brood pattern.”
Mussen pointed out that in 1922 the United States closed the door to live bees entering our country” due to fears of an incoming pest, the tracheal mite.

The tracheal mite eventually found its way to the United States in 1984, he said. “We couldn’t prevent it from coming in forever. It killed half of our nation’s bees in five years as it expanded across the country. Then the varroa mite arrived in 1987, and killed half of the remaining colonies in five years as it expanded across the country. This one practically killed all of our feral colonies in 1995-1996. It made a really big dent in our gene pool.”

Mussen described the varroa mite as “Beekeeping Enemy No. 1.” Mite feeding lowers the pupal blood protein, resulting in underweight bees and a shortened life span, he said. It suppresses the honey bee immune system. And third, the mite is a vector for RNA virus diseases.
Of the viral diseases affecting the honey bee, RNA viruses are the most prevalent. “We have 20 known and named viruses, and more are coming,” Mussen said. Some of the viral diseases are shared with bumble bees, wasps, ants, other native bees and other unrelated species of insects.

Asked what the average person can do to help the bees, Mussen said that a wide mix of pollen is essential for honey bee nutrition, and “they’re not getting that any more. Plant bee attractive plants. Each colony needs the equivalent of one acre of bloom every day to survive.”
What about the role of genetically modified plants in bee health, he was asked. “They don’t appear to be a problem. One modified corn variety seemed to affect honey bees in lab studies, but it’s not being grown anymore. The honey bees don’t care if it’s genetically modified or not.”
As for viruses, “The harder we look, the more we find,” Mussen said.

April 2012

 
Honey Could Be Effective At Treating and Preventing Wound Infections


Manuka honey could help clear chronic wound infections and even prevent them from developing in the first place, according to a new study published in Microbiology. The findings provide further evidence for the clinical use of manuka honey to treat bacterial infections in the face of growing antibiotic resistance.

Streptococcus pyogenes is a normal skin bacterium that is frequently associated with chronic (non-healing) wounds. Bacteria that infect wounds can clump together forming 'biofilms', which form a barrier to drugs and promotes chronic infection. Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University have shown that manuka honey can not only destroy fully-formed S. pyogenes biofilms in vitro but also prevent the bacteria from initially binding to components of wound tissue.

Honey has long been acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties. Traditional remedies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by diverse ancient civilizations. Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree found growing in New Zealand and parts of Australia. It is included in modern licensed wound-care products around the world. Manuka honey has been reported to inhibit more than 80 species of bacteria, yet the antimicrobial properties of honey have not yet been fully exploited by modern medicine as its mechanisms of action are not fully understood.

Wounds that are infected with S. pyogenes often fail to respond to treatment. This is largely due to the development of biofilms which may be difficult for antibiotics to penetrate - in addition to problems of antibiotic resistance. The results of the study showed that very small concentrations of honey prevented the start of biofilm development and that treating established biofilms grown in Petri dishes with honey for 2 hours killed up to 85% of bacteria within them.

The Cardiff team are working towards providing molecular explanations for the antibacterial action of honey. The latest study reveals that honey can disrupt the interaction between S. pyogenes and the human protein fibronectin, which is displayed on the surface of damaged cells. "Molecules on the surface of the bacteria latch onto human fibronectin, anchoring the bacteria to the cell. This allows infection to proceed and biofilms to develop," explained Dr Sarah Maddocks who led the study. "We found that honey reduced the expression of these bacterial surface proteins, inhibiting binding to human fibronectin, therefore making biofilm formation less likely. This is a feasible mechanism by which manuka honey minimizes the initiation of acute wound infections and also the establishment of chronic infections.

Ongoing work in Dr Maddocks' lab is investigating other wound-associated bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Manuka honey has also been shown to be effective at killing these bacteria. "There is an urgent need to find innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. No instances of honey-resistant bacteria have been reported to date, or seem likely," said Dr Maddocks. "Applying antibacterial agents directly to the skin to clear bacteria from wounds is cheaper than systemic antibiotics and may well complement antibiotic therapy in the future. This is significant as chronic wounds account for up to 4% of health care expenses in the developed world."


The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science Joins the Journal of Apicultural Research

The highly regarded Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science has been incorporated into the International Bee Research Association’s flagship journal the Journal of Apicultural Research from January 2012.

In 2009, IBRA launched a new peer reviewed scientific journal entitled The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science (JAAS). Under Senior Editor Prof. Rose Cooper from Cardiff Metropolitan University, it focused upon evidence based research being carried out on biologically relevant properties of bee and hive products, and their scientific relevance in the fields of medicine, nutrition and healthcare. This journal provided a forum where the efficacy and effectiveness of bee and hive products with therapeutic properties could be presented, debated and evaluated using scientific principles.

In the past three years JAAS has published 58 papers, including 41 original research articles, nine reviews, six notes and comments, and two editorials. One Special Issue devoted to Malaysian tualang honey was also published. All types of hive products were covered, and JAAS became a forum for both laboratory and clinical research. It became well known amongst scientists working in the apimedical, apitherapy and apiceutical arena.

From January 2012 it has been decided to incorporate JAAS into IBRA’s major peer reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Apicultural Research (JAR) which celebrated its 50th birthday last year. Issue 51(1) of JAR will contain five former JAAS papers covering the pollen, mineral, heavy metal contents and physicochemical and microbiological properties of honey from both honey bees and from stingless bees.

IBRA Scientific Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “The incorporation of JAAS into JAR will strengthen the journal in the important area of hive products. I am delighted that JAAS Senior editor Prof. Rose Cooper has agreed to join the JAR Editorial team.

Prof. Rose Cooper says: “With the current interest in therapies not yet accepted into conventional medicine, there is a need to disseminate scientific research into the properties and mechanisms of action of potential remedies derived from hive products”.


Bumblebees Get By With a Little Help From Their Honey Bee Rivals


Bumblebees can use cues from their rivals the honeybees to learn where the best food resources are, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.
Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explain how they trained a colony of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to use cues provided by a different species, the honeybee (Apis mellifera), as well as cues provided by fellow bumblebees to locate food resources on artificial flowers.

They found that the bumblebees were able to learn the information from the honeybees just as efficiently as when the information came from their own species, demonstrating that social learning is not a unique process limited to members of the same species.

PhD student Erika Dawson, explains: "Most social learning research has focused on learning between members of the same species. But in the same way that human engineers can pick up useful tricks from animals (such as using bird aerodynamics to design planes), animals might of course learn from different species where the best food is, where predation looms or where the best place to nest can be found.

"We wanted to determine whether animals can use any social cue to enhance their environment, even if they come from another species that share their habitat, resources or predators."

The results show that information learned from other species can be just as valuable to an animal like the bumblebee as information from their own species. Bees would have opportunities to learn cues from their own species and other species to an equal degree in the wild, as they often share the same flower species as a source of food. This is particularly true for large flowers such as sunflowers, which are often fed from by multiple pollinators simultaneously.

The results also show that competition between the two species may be much more severe than previously assumed, as Erika Dawson explains: "If bumblebees use individual exploration and copying of their fellow bumblebees to identify rewarding plants, but also use the information provided by a rival species (ie honeybees), this could have important ecological implications for community structure and formation, and may help us better understand the impact of competition within natural pollinator communities."


Historic Signing Finalizes Organic Equivalence Arrangement Betweeen EU and U.S.


The world's two largest markets for organic food expand organic market access

NUREMBERG, Germany and WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb.15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --At a press event today at BioFach Germany, European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos for the European Union's (EU) Agriculture and Rural Development and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the signing of an organic equivalence arrangement between the world's two largest markets for organic food. Under the proposed arrangement, the EU and United States will work together to promote strong organic programs, protect organic standards, enhance cooperation, and facilitate trade in organic products.

Officials noted the EU - U.S. organic equivalence cooperation arrangement will expand market access for organic producers and companies by reducing duplicative requirements and certification costs on both sides of the ocean while continuing to protect organic integrity.

"This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing and healthy U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to farmers both in the United States and European Union as well as to consumers who choose organic products," said Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA). She added, "Equivalence with the EU will be an historic game changer."

As a result, certified organic products as of June 1 can move freely between the United States and EU borders provided they meet the terms of the new arrangement. Under the agreement, the EU will recognize the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to the EU Organic Program and allow products produced and certified as meeting USDA NOP standards to be marketed as organic in the EU. Likewise, the United States will allow European products produced and certified under the EU Organic Program to be marketed as organic in the United States.

The agreement will allow access to each other's markets provided (1) antibiotics were not administered to animals for products entering the United States, and (2) antibiotics were not used to control fire blight in apples and pears for products entering the European Union. To facilitate trade, the EU and United States have agreed to work together to promote electronic certification of import transaction certificates.

The arrangement is limited to organic products of U.S. or EU origin produced, processed or packaged within these jurisdictions. Additionally, both programs have agreed to exchange information on animal welfare issues, and on methods to avoid contamination of organic products from genetically modified organisms. General country labeling requirements must still be met.

"On behalf of the U.S. organic industry, OTA extends its sincere appreciation to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), National Organic Program, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and OTA's U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force for all their efforts in maintaining and expanding foreign export markets for USDA certified organic products globally. The results are mutually beneficial arrangements with our major trading partners that uphold the integrity of food grown and labeled as organic," Bushway said.

OTA convened its U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force in May 2010 to monitor, analyze and discuss emerging issues from organic equivalency discussions between the United States and EU, and directly advised FAS and USTR on the industry's perspective on these negotiations and market potential. This task force is made up of 34 industry volunteers from across the supply chain, from produce and grain companies to dairy producers and certification agencies. It is led by OTA's Executive Vice President Laura Batcha and Jake Lewin of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) as co-chairs, with Bob Anderson (Sustainable Strategies—Advisors in Food & Agriculture) serving as ex officio.

For more information, see OTA's EU-U.S. equivalence Web page (http://www.ota.co/GlobalMarkets/US-EU-Organic-Equivalence-Arrangement.html) or USDA's website (http://www.
usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=LATEST_RELEASES
).

Monsanto Company Names Jerry Hayes Beeologics Lead

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 1, 2012) – Apiary expert Jerry Hayes has been named Monsanto’s Beeologics Commercial Lead, assuming responsibilities for leading the group’s commercial work. Beeologics researches and develops biological tools to provide targeted control of pests and diseases including those that are potentially contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

“We knew we wanted someone with a keen understanding of the bee industry to lead this business for us, and Jerry’s name kept rising to the top,” said Steve Padgette, R&D investment strategy lead. “His leadership will be instrumental in helping us deliver a product to help beekeepers address the causes of CCD.”

“Coming to Monsanto to help beekeepers is an honor,” Hayes said. “Monsanto is the leader in the development of new technologies to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively control agriculture pests, predators and diseases. Honey bees are the key foundational pollinator of production agriculture, backyard gardens and the environment. Being able to work with the beekeeping industry on honey bee health issues is a tremendous challenge, but one which we can address together.”

Hayes has served two terms as president of the Apiary Inspectors of America group and is a founding member of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Working Group. He is currently a science advisor for Project Apis Mellifera and is the contributor of the American Bee Journal’s Q&A column “The Classroom” as well as a book of the same title. He has authored or co-authored dozens of published research papers. He previously served as Chief of the Apiary Inspection Section for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He has a long history with Beeologics, having previously served on Beeologics’ technology advisory board working with colleagues in government and university researchers on Beeologics’ efforts to help the global apiculture industry. Monsanto acquired Beeologics last year.


Research Scholarship Award

Judy Y. Wu has been awarded the 2012 AAPA Research Scholarship Award. She received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) in 2005. The following year, she began a Student Conservation Association internship working directly with USDA-ARS (Fort Lauderdale, FL) assessing potential biological control agents for invasive weeds management. In 2007, she continued her interests in Entomology at Washington State University (Pullman, WA) and began studying sub-lethal effects of pesticide residues in brood comb on honey bee health and development. She received her Master’s degree from Washington State University in 2010. She is currently in a Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) investigating effects of neonicotinyl insecticides on honey bee and bumblebee health.

The main objective of this project is to determine if and how neonicotinyl insecticide exposure contributes to honey bee and bumble bee colony decline. To do this, three research questions or focuses will be addressed. The first investigates how results obtained from laboratory bioassays, used to determine potential non-target risk, compare to responses from relevant field exposures. The second question will evaluate the over-wintering and reproductive success of honey bee and bumble bee queens exposed at known field-relevant concentrations of neonicotinoids. The third question will investigate possible physiological mechanisms responsible for observed behavioral effects of neonicotinyl insecticide exposure on bees reported in previous studies. The results of this project will be an important contribution and will improve our under
standing of the effects of neonicotinyl insecticides on honey bee and bumble bee health, reproduction, and survival.

New Beekeeping Books Recently Released From X-Star Publishing Company


Huber’s New Observations Upon Bees, The Complete Volumes I & II, by Francis Huber, Translated by C.P. Dadant $49

Hardcover: B & W 674 pages
                     149 Illustrations
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161476056X
ISBN-13: 978-1614760566
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches


What Huber discovered and wrote about here, laid the ground work for all the practical knowledge we have of bees today. His discoveries were so revolutionary, that beekeeping can be divided in two eras very easily as pre-Huber and post-Huber.

This edition of Huber's Observations by far surpasses any other edition ever printed in the English language. First it has both Volume I and II, while every English edition currently in print that I am aware of is only Volume I of the 1809 edition. which is only one third of the final Huber book. The second volume was published in 1814 in French 5 years after that 1809 edition and contains Huber's research on the origin of wax, the construction of comb, the ventilation of the hive and much more.
Second, it is the best English translation from the original French. C.P. Dadant, was uniquely qualified to do the translation. Dadant was born in France and French was his first language, yet he spent most of his life beekeeping; and writing and editing beekeeping articles and books in America in English.

Third, all of the English editions currently in print have only 2 plates (if any). Only the previous Dadant edition (1926) had all 14 of the original plates, but unfortunately while they were apparently the best available at the time, they were only halftones of some old yellow copies and are not very readable. This edition has new scans from a very good condition edition of the original 1814 French of both Volumes of Nouvelles Observations Sur Les Abeilles so these are clearer than any previous edition other than the original 1814 French edition. An additional engraving of Huber's work from Cheshire's book, plus an engraving of Francis Huber from the Dadant edition have been included. In addition, 7 more photos of a museum quality reproduction of Huber's Leaf hive have also been included. All figures have been split out and enlarged and put in the text where they are referred to. Photos of the original plates are included at the back for historic and artistic purposes.

Fourth, to put this book in context I have included a memoir of Huber by Prof. De Candolle, a friend of Huber. This gives a bit of background on Huber's life.

Fifth, the only other edition to come close to this, the 1926 edition by Dadant, was in very small print. This one is 12 point and a typeface that appears to be larger and is very readable. This is not a scan and is completely re-typeset.

If you are a Huber fan, you need this book. If you are not a Huber fan, and you keep bees, you should be.

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XstarPublishing.com

The Australasian Bee Manual and Complete Guide to Modern Bee Culture in the Southern Hemisphere
(1911 edition), by Isaac Hopkins $29


Hardcover: B & W 212 pages
                     82 Illustrations
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614760586
ISBN-13: 978-1614760580
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches


Isaac Hopkins obviously had a lot of real life experience and not just a lot of book knowledge. This book was probably the most influential book on beekeeping in Australia and New Zealand. Hopkins presents in this version of the book one of the simplest ways of getting a lot of queens that also does not require a lot of special equipment known as "the Hopkins method of queen rearing". This is a great book on beekeeping in any location in any age. It was originally published in 1886 and this revision was updated in 1911. This is not a scan and is completely re-typeset.

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XstarPublishing.com

 

Newsnotes - June 2012

 

Vita Helps Fund New Research to Halt Honey Bee Killer

  A major investment from public and private sector organizations is helping scientists to develop completely new ways of tackling the biggest killer of honey bees worldwide – the bloodsucking Varroa mite.
  Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Aberdeen and the National Bee Unit, part of the Food and Environment Research Agency, have worked out how to ‘knock down’ genes in the parasitic mite causing it to die.
  So far the work has only been done in the lab, but now the team can take their work a step closer towards developing a product that could help beekeepers thanks to funding worth over a quarter of a million pounds from Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Vita (Europe) Ltd.
  Dr. Alan Bowman, who is heading up the research, said: “Honey bees are incredibly important because of their pollination of flowers of both wild and farmed plants.
  “But their numbers are seriously declining year on year and while there are probably several reasons for this, one of the most important factors is Varroa destructor that sucks the blood from bees and transmits serious viral diseases.”
“There is an urgent need to develop a Varroa-specific, environmentally friendly treatment or some method of overcoming the Varroa’s resistance mechanism to existing treatments and that’s what we are now working towards.”
Dr. Max Watkins, technical director of Vita (Europe) Ltd, a major funder of the research, said: "Finding treatments that kill varroa mites, but don't harm honeybees, bee products or the environment is not easy. The challenge is heightened because the relatively short life cycle of the varroa mite means that resistance to a single treatment can often develop quite quickly unless beekeepers alternate treatments of different types. Vita is therefore supporting this exciting and innovative research and hopes that an effective and environmentally sensitive treatment can eventually be developed at a cost that is affordable to beekeepers across the globe."
  Dr. Giles Budge, from the National Bee Unit at Fera added, “We are delighted to be in a position to progress this research, playing our part facilitating the translation of science from brilliant academics at Aberdeen to a company like Vita which has an established record of research, development and marketing of new honey bee health products. It is particularly exciting to see our work move from the bench into products which could become commercially available to help beekeepers.”
Researchers will create and scour databases of all the Varroa genes in a bid to identify the ones that can be effectively and safely targeted by potential new treatments.
Dr. Bowman added: “We rely on honey bees to pollinate our crops and add variety to our diets, which is why there is a real need to tackle the problem of their decline. Having proved our concept in the lab we are delighted that this funding will allow us to develop our research to have real-world impact.”

More About the Research
  Led by Dr. Alan Bowman, the research team will be using modern molecular techniques to investigate gene silencing and the identification of suitable target genes in the varroa mite.
In a 2010 peer-reviewed academic paper, Dr. Bowman produced the first report of successful 'knock-down' of genes in a mite species, specifically varroa, through RNA interference (RNAi), a gene silencing technique. This technique had previously been shown to be successful with invertebrates by injecting small interfering double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules. Bowman showed that that the small size of varroa need not pose insurmountable problems and found that immersion in dsRNA solution could produce results relatively easily, quickly and inexpensively.
  With the technique proven successfully in the laboratory, the challenge of the current research is to find the most relevant and susceptible genes to be targeted and in the longer term to develop a suitable affordable treatment for use by beekeepers.
The first stage of the new work is to use “Next Generation Sequencing” to identify and describe all the genes of Varroa destructor. From hundreds of millions of pieces of gene sequencing information, the team will search for the Achilles’ heel of the varroa mite, and check that targeting it will not affect the bees or indeed any other animal species.
Once vulnerable genes of the varroa mite have been identified, the search will then focus on producing a treatment to target that gene. Laboratory and field trials will then thoroughly test the efficacy and safety of potential treatments.

About Vita (Europe) Ltd.
Vita (Europe) Limited is a mite control and honeybee health specialist. It is the world’s largest dedicated supplier of honeybee health products to the honey and pollination industries. With headquarters in the UK, offices in Italy, France and Russia, and partners across the globe, Vita researches, develops, and manufactures a range of honeybee health products. These products are marketed internationally through a network of 60 distributors in 50 countries.
www.vita-europe.com

Bees 'Self-Medicate' When Infected With Some Pathogens

  Research from North Carolina State University shows that honey bees “self-medicate” when their colony is infected with a harmful fungus, bringing in increased amounts of antifungal plant resins to ward off the pathogen.
  “The colony is willing to expend the energy and effort of its worker bees to collect these resins,” says Dr. Michael Simone-Finstrom, a postdoctoral research scholar in NC State’s Department of Entomology and lead author of a paper describing the research. “So, clearly this behavior has evolved because the benefit to the colony exceeds the cost.”
  Wild honey bees normally line their hives with propolis, a mixture of plant resins and wax that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Domesticated honey bees also use propolis, to fill in cracks in their hives. However, researchers found that, when faced with a fungal threat, bees bring in significantly more propolis – 45 percent more, on average. The bees also physically removed infected larvae that had been parasitized by the fungus and were being used to create fungal spores.
  Researchers know propolis is an effective antifungal agent because they lined some hives with a propolis extract and found that the extract significantly reduced the rate of infection.
  And apparently bees can sometimes distinguish harmful fungi from harmless ones, since colonies did not bring in increased amounts of propolis when infected with harmless fungal species. Instead, the colonies relied on physically removing the spores.
  However, the self-medicating behavior does have limits. Honey bee colonies infected with pathogenic bacteria did not bring in significantly more propolis – despite the fact that the propolis also has antibacterial properties. “There was a slight increase, but it was not statistically significant,” Simone-Finstrom says. “That is something we plan to follow up on.”
  There may be a lesson here for domestic beekeepers. “Historically, U.S. beekeepers preferred colonies that used less of this resin, because it is sticky and can be difficult to work with,” Simone-Finstrom says. “Now we know that this is a characteristic worth promoting, because it seems to offer the bees some natural defense.”
  The paper, “Increased resin collection after parasite challenge: a case of self-medication in honey bees?,” was co-authored by Dr. Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota and published March 29 in PLoS ONE. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Partially Africanized Bees Found in East Tennessee


(Courtesy TN.gov Newsroom)

VONORE, Tenn.– Tennessee’s first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed through genetic testing in April in a colony belonging to a beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.
  State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. “I’m actually surprised it’s just now happening. We have been expecting this for some time,” Studer said. “Citizens need to be vigilant, but there’s no need to overreact. This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good beekeeping practices.
  “We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area.”
  Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17 percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.
  The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Africanized bees are much more aggressive, defend their nests more fiercely and in greater numbers and are more likely to defend the nest when threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions. But, the sting from a single Africanized bee is no more venomous than a European honey bee.
  Africanized bees tend to colonize in smaller spaces than the docile European honeybee. Therefore, if you see honeybees in the ground, or in small openings such as flower pots or bluebird houses, leave them alone and call the state apiarist immediately to assess the situation. Bees do not try to hurt people, they simply defend their territory.
If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these steps to protect yourself.

1. Run.
2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attack.
4.Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. Isolate yourself from the bees.
5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.

  State law requires all beekeepers to register their colonies with the TDA and to update their registration every three years. Once registered, the state apiarist is able to contact beekeepers in the event of a disease outbreak or aerial pesticide spraying in their area. Registration also gives the beekeepers the opportunity for free inspections to make sure their colonies are healthy. Registration can be done online.

National Honey Board Offers Free Honey Brochure in Spanish to Industry Members

La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza.

  Firestone, Colo., April 5, 2012 – The National Honey Board (NHB) announced that it has created a Spanish version of their recipe brochure developed earlier in 2012 entitled La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza (Honey – Nature’s Secret Ingredient).
  The recipe brochure, which will be available at no cost to honey industry members throughout the United States, features eight delectable recipes, ranging from appetizer and entrées, to side dishes and desserts, and all in Spanish. More and more consumers are realizing the versatility of honey and using it for multiple purposes and functions, as it has become a pantry staple in the kitchen. This all-natural ingredient will give your recipes unbeatable flavor and unmatched functional benefits. La Miel – El Ingrediente Secreto de la Naturaleza is a vibrant brochure that comes in a convenient, accordion-style layout.
  “The National Honey Board recognizes the importance of reaching out to the Hispanic market and we are pleased to now offer this piece in Spanish,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “The NHB strives to reach all consumer segments and this brochure is a continuation of the NHB’s efforts to provide materials to help promote honey.”
  The new brochures are available in packets of 50. To order, please call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, the NHB’s fulfillment coordinator.
  The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

National Honey Board Sponsors  Minor League Baseball

  Firestone, Colo., April 5, 2012 – The National Honey Board (NHB) is pleased to announce its fifth year of support for Minor League Baseball® (MiLB®), featuring seven MiLB® teams in markets stretching from coast-to-coast. As the official natural energy booster of each of the teams, the NHB will expand its honey messaging through strong in-park promotion and broadcast media presence.
  The 2012 promotion will include electronic and billboard ballpark signage that will be displayed throughout the 2012 MiLB® season. In addition, each ballpark will host between innings honey trivia games for fans, directly engaging them in the honey messaging efforts. For a broadcast media presence, the NHB’s “High Energy Play of the Game” will be featured on each team’s live play-by-play radio broadcast.
  “We are excited for our 2012 sponsorship of Minor League Baseball®,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “Honey is an American classic and this is a great opportunity to reach out to the fans, showcasing its versatility, as well as highlighting it as an all-natural energy booster.”
  This year’s sponsorship of MiLB® will continue to incorporate discount offers on game tickets and team merchandise for baseball fans. Discounts will be given on game day tickets ranging from buy one get one free to a free team souvenir cap, as well as exclusive discounts of 10 – 15 percent on team souvenir merchandise. Both offers are tied to the proof of purchase (with original receipt) of a bottle of pure honey. This program is designed to increase the awareness and consumption of honey while offering baseball fans discounts on game tickets and official team souvenir merchandise. The honey purchase incentive program will be supported through radio mentions, PA announcements, marketing handouts at the fan service desk and team merchandise stores of each ballpark, as well as banner ads on team website pages. Please refer to the following list for participating teams and specific discount information.

Indianapolis Indians, Triple-A, Indianapolis, Indiana
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A, Memphis, Tennessee
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
New Orleans Zephyrs, Triple-A, New Orleans, Louisiana
Buy one ticket, get one free*
15 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Double-A, Springdale, Arkansas
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Oklahoma City RedHawks, Triple-A, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Get an official RedHawks team cap, free with grocery receipt
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Omaha Storm Chasers, Triple-A, Omaha, Nebraska
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise
Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A, Rochester, New York
Buy one ticket, get one free*
10 percent off team souvenir merchandise

* Discount ticket offers are limited to specific weekday games. For more details and specific exclusions on discount offers, please visit http://www.honey.com/nhb/baseball.

AAPA Student Paper Presentation Award

  I was this year's winner of the AAPA student paper award at Beltsville. I have been asked by the AAPA to send you a photo, a brief bio, and a brief summary of the paper.

Regards,
Mike Goblirsch


Title: The Effects of Nosema ceranae on Vitellogenin and Juvenile Hormone.
Mike Goblirsch1, Zachary Huang2, and Marla Spivak1
1Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota; St. Paul, MN 55108
2Department of Entomology, Michigan State University; East Lansing, MI 48824
Bio Sketch: Mike Goblirsch is a graduate student of the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on understanding the role of the fungal pathogen, Nosema ceranae, in honey bee health. He is particularly interested in pathogen-mediated effects to bee developmental physiology caused by this emerging pathogen. He also works on developing honey cell cultures that will serve as a tool to understanding intracellular microbes that have a negative impact on honey bees. He enjoys working with and especially learning from beekeepers.
Brief Summary: Each year a significant number of beekeepers lose over one-third of their colonies. The obligate intracellular fungus, Nosema ceranae, is likely a contributing factor to these losses; therefore, it is important to understand how this emerging pathogen affects bees physiologically. We examined how N. ceranae may disrupt levels of vitellogenin and juvenile hormone, endocrine signaling factors that are fundamental to regulating adult development and lifespan in honey bees in cages. In addition, we found that the onset of foraging and life span is negatively affected in honey bees infected with N. ceranae using field studies. Findings from this research will aid in the development of management strategies to counter the effects of N. ceranae infection on honey bee health.

Coloss “Beebook”


Exciting new book to facilitate worldwide honey bee research

  The honey bee is probably the most well studied insect in the world, yet despite this, much remains unknown. Recent concern about worldwide colony losses has drawn sharp attention to significant gaps in our knowledge.
  Since 2008, the international COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) network (currently supported by COST and the Ricola Foundation - Nature & Culture) has been coordinating scientific efforts to understand the causes of colony losses and to reverse these declines. Unprecedented international cooperation among scientists has ensured a very fruitful network.
  COLOSS COST Action Chair Peter Neumann says: “After four years of activity, the COLOSS network has organized eight conferences, 28 workshops, 29 Short-term Scientific Missions, three training schools, and has contributed to over 130 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We intend to use the strength of COLOSS to solve an immediate problem experienced by honey bee researchers: the lack of standardization of experimental methods that makes comparison of the results of experiments carried out in different countries difficult”.
  A paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research introduces the COLOSS “BEEBOOK”, a unique venture that aims to standardize methods for studying the honey bee. It will be the definitive, but evolving, research manual, composed of 29 peer-reviewed chapters authored by more than 160 of the world’s leading honey bee experts, and is expected to be completed by late 2012. Chapters will describe methods for studying honey bee biology, methods for understanding honey bee pests and pathogens, and methods for breeding honey bees.
  The COLOSS “BEEBOOK: standard methodologies for Apis mellifera research” edited by Vincent Dietemann and Peter Neumann of the Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux and Jamie Ellis of the University of Florida, USA, will be published both online as an Open Access Special Issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research and as a hard copy book for use at the laboratory bench.
  IBRA Science Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “IBRA is delighted to be associated with this unique and exciting project which will reap enormous benefits for the worldwide bee research community”. Website for ordering: www.ibra.org.uk

Beekeeping for Poets


By Alexander S. Templeton
Published: April 12, 2012
Words: 39031 (approximate)

  Beekeeping for Poets is an e-book not intended solely for poets, really. It’s more of an attempt to highlight the truth, wisdom, and beauty all around beekeeping.
  We’ll consider the ingredients of an emerging philosophy of beekeeping that builds upon yet transcends the rationalized approach developed over the past 150 years.
  Diversity has generally come to be regarded as an invaluable strategy in devising robust, resilient systems—why not in beekeeping as well?
  One can read authoritative, exhaustive references on contemporary progressive beekeeping, in excruciatingly redundant detail and variety—just… elsewhere.
  The author does throw in a little relevant verse now & then, so you won’t feel misled or disappointed.
  E-book price $5.99. Contact: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/151216

Newsnotes - May 2012

 (excerpt)

Studies Show How Common Crop Pesticide Harms Bees

A pair of new studies reveals the multiple ways that a widely used insecticide harms bumblebees and honey bees.

The reports, one by a U.K. team and one by a French team, appear online at the Science Express Web site of the journal Science, on 29 March, 2012. Science is published by AAAS, the nonprofit, international science society.

Bumblebees and honeybees are important pollinators of flowering plants, including many major fruit and vegetable crops. Each year, for example, honeybee hives are trucked in to help pollinate almond, apple and blueberry crops, among others.

In recent years, honeybee populations have rapidly declined, in part due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bumble bee populations have been suffering as well, according to Dave Goulson of the University of Stirling in Stirling, U.K., who is a co-author of one of the studies.

“Some bumblebee species have declined hugely. For example in North America, several bumblebee species which used to be common have more or less disappeared from the entire continent. In the U.K., three species have gone extinct,” Goulson said.
Researchers have proposed multiple causes for these declines, including pesticides, but it’s been unclear exactly how pesticides are inflicting their damage.

Both of the Science studies looked at the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides, which were introduced in the early 1990s and have now become one of the most widely used crop pesticides in the world. These compounds act on the insect’s central nervous system, and they spread to the nectar and pollen of flowering crops.

In one study, Penelope Whitehorn of the University of Stirling in Stirling, U.K. and colleagues exposed developing colonies of bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, to low levels of a neonicotinoid called imidacloprid. The doses were comparable to what the bees are often exposed to in the wild.

The researchers then placed the colonies in an enclosed field site where the bees could forage under natural conditions for six weeks. At the beginning and end of the experiment, the researchers weighed each of the bumblebee nests – which included the bees, wax, honey, bee grubs and pollen – to determine how much the colony had grown.
Compared to control colonies that had not been exposed to imidacloprid, the treated colonies gained less weight, suggesting less food was coming in. The treated colonies were on average eight to 12 percent smaller than the control colonies at the end of the experiment. The treated colonies also produced about 85 percent fewer queens. This last finding is particularly important because queen production translates directly to the establishment of new nests following the winter die-off. Thus, 85 percent fewer queens could mean 85 percent fewer nests in the coming year.

“Bumblebees pollinate many of our crops and wild flowers. The use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops clearly poses a threat to their health, and urgently needs to be re-evaluated,” said Goulson.

In the other Science report, a French team found that exposure to another neonicotinoid pesticide impairs honey bees’ homing abilities, causing many of the bees to die.
Mickaël Henry of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon, France and colleagues tagged free-ranging honeybees with tiny radio-frequency identification, or “RFID,” microchips that were glued to each bee’s thorax. These devices allowed the researchers to track the bees as they came and went from their hives. The researchers then gave some of the bees a sublethal dose of the pesticide thiamethoxam.

Compared to control bees that were not exposed to the pesticide, the treated bees were about two to three times more likely to die while away from their nests. These deaths probably occurred because the pesticide interfered with the bees’ homing systems, the researchers propose. In the second part of their study, the researchers used data from the tracking experiment to develop a mathematical model that simulated honeybee population dynamics. When the mortality caused by the homing failure was incorporated into the simulations, the model predicted that honeybee populations exposed to this pesticide should drop to a point from which it would be difficult to recover.

The authors note that even though manufacturers are required to ensure their pesticide doses remain below lethal levels for honeybees, the studies used to determine this lethality level have probably underestimated the ways that pesticides can kill bees indirectly, for example by interfering with their homing systems.

"Our study raises important issues regarding pesticide authorization procedures. So far, they mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties," said study author Mikaël Henry of INRA, in Avignon, France.
Beekeepers & Environmental Groups to EPA:
Pesticide Approval is "Irresponsible" & "Damaging"


Over 1 Million Urge EPA to Suspend  Use of Pesticide Harmful to Bees, Fix Broken Regulatory System

Washington, DC —Commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed an urgent legal petition in March with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend further use of a pesticide the agency knows poses harm to honey bees, and adopt safeguards to ensure similar future pesticides aren’t approved by the agency. The legal petition is supported by over one million citizen petitions also submitted today that were collected from people across the country calling out one pesticide in particular – clothianidin – for its harmful impacts on honey bees.

“EPA has an obligation to protect pollinators from the threat of pesticides,” said Jeff Anderson of California Minnesota Honey Farms, a co-petitioner. “The Agency has failed to adequately regulate pesticides harmful to pollinators despite scientific and on-the-ground evidence presented by academics and beekeepers.”

Over two dozen beekeepers and beekeeper organizations from across the country, from California and Minnesota to Kansas and New York, filed the legal petition with the EPA today. Many of these family-owned beekeeping operations are migratory, with beekeepers traveling the country from state-to-state, during different months of the year to provide pollination services and harvesting honey and wax. And they are concerned about the continued impacts on bees and their beekeeping operations, which are already in jeopardy.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers,” said Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co and a co-petitioner.

Nine years ago, scientists within the EPA required a field study examining the potential harm of clothianidin to non-target insects - specifically honey bees - because they had reason to believe the pesticide may harm pollinators. In the years since EPA first required this study, a substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, a persistent chemical, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects that are in or near recently sown fields.
“EPA ignored its own requirements and failed to study the impacts of clothianidin on honey bees,” said Peter Jenkins, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety and co-petitioner. “The body of evidence against the chemical continues to grow, yet the agency has refused to take action.”

The legal petition points to the fact that EPA failed to follow its own regulations. EPA granted a conditional, or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003 without a required field study establishing that the pesticide would have no “unreasonable adverse effects” on pollinators. Granting conditional registration was contingent upon the subsequent submission of an acceptable field study, but this requirement has not been met. EPA continues to allow the use of clothianidin nine years after acknowledging that it had an insufficient legal basis for allowing its use to begin with. Additionally, the product labels on pesticides containing clothianidin are inadequate to prevent excessive damage to non-target organisms, which is a second violation of the requirements for using a pesticide and further warrants removing all such mislabeled pesticides from use.

Over 1.25 million people, including many hobbyist beekeepers, submitted comments in partnership with the organizations Avaaz, Change.org, Credo, Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Neals Yard Remedies/Care2.com, calling on EPA to take action on clothianidin.
“EPA should move swiftly to close the loophole and revoke the conditional registration of clothianidin,” said Heather Pilatic, co-director of Pesticide Action Network and a co-petitioner. “Bees and beekeepers can’t afford to wait another nine years for inaction.”

Petitioners point to the agency’s demonstrated delay in analyzing potentially harmful products and then taking them off the market. EPA is concurrently conducting a review of clothianidin’s registration, which it projects completing in 2018.

Beekeepers estimate the real value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crops grown from seed that relies upon bee pollination. Bees in particular are responsible for pollinating many high-value crops, including pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries. So any decline in bee populations, health and productivity can have especially large impacts on agriculture, the food system and rural economies. Honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world, according to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations.

Beekeepers have survived the economic recession only to find their operations are still threatened. Recent, catastrophic declines in honey bee populations, termed “Colony Collapse Disorder,” have been linked to a wide variety of factors, including parasites, habitat loss and pesticides like clothianidin.

“Independent research links pollinator declines, especially honey bees, to a wide range of problems with industrial agriculture, especially pesticides,” said John Kepner, program director at Beyond Pesticides and a co-petitioner.

Neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, is taken up a plant and expressed through the plants through which bees then forage and pollinate. Recent research in the journal PLoS ONE underscores the threat of these pesticides through a previously undocumented exposure route – planter exhaust – the talc and air mix expelled into the environment as automated planters place neonicotinoid-treated seeds into the ground during spring planting.

As a result of the petition, EPA may choose to suspend the use of clothianidin, or open a public comment process to evaluate the concerns voiced by beekeepers and environmental organizations.

Don't Blame Pesicides as the Sole Cause of Declining Bee Population, Bee Expert Says

by Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Dept of Entomology
University of California
Davis, CA

DAVIS--Despite a growing worldwide clamor to ban pesticides linked to honey bee deaths, multiple factors contribute to the declining honey bee population, not just one class of insecticides, says Extension Apiculturist and noted honey bee expert Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

Speaking on honey bee health at the 51st annual meeting of the international Society of Toxicology and ToxExpo, held recently in San Francisco, Mussen said “no specific culprit” causes colony collapse disorder (CCD), a mysterious malady characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive, leaving behind the queen, her brood, and honey and pollen stores.

Multiple factors affecting colony health include “pathogens, parasites, pesticides and malnutrition,” he told the society, which is comprised of 7,500 scientists from academia, government, and industry from various countries around the globe.

“Pesticide residues have been found in beeswax, stored pollens and adult bees,” Mussen said in his abstract. Bee scientists are “also looking at the synergistic interactions among pesticides, including adjuvants mixed into the pesticides and investigating everything from bacteria, fungi, viruses, malnutrition, transportation of migratory bees, impact of pollen from genetically modified plants, and effects of exposure to irradiation.”

“None of these factors explains why 25 percent of beekeepers continue to lose 40 to 100 percent of their colonies annually,” Mussen declared.

Banned in some European countries is the class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which act on the central nervous system of insects, Mussen said, but scientific studies show that despite the ban, the bee population continues to suffer significant annual losses.
Neonicotinoids, or systematic pesticides, are applied as seed or soil treatments, and also directly to the foliage of vegetable, orchard, field, turf and ornamental crops.

According to Mussen, colony losses are not new. Prior to the arrival of tracheal (Acarapis woodi) in 1984 and varroa (Varroa destructor) mites in 1987, annual colony losses averaged around 5 to 10 percent, he said. “To control mites, most beekeepers place acaricides in their hives. Since then, queen longevity, colony health and vigor have declined in many operations and colony losses increased to about 15 to 20 percent.”

CCD, so-named in 2006, first surfaced in 2004 when approximately 25 percent of the nation’s beekeepers noted that apparently healthy colonies very quickly lost all adult bees, except the queen and a few newly emerged workers that soon perished, Mussen said.
“All stages of brood were present, and stores of honey and pollens were abundant,” he said. “In the few remaining adult bee specimens, titers of the fungus (Nosema ceranae) and one or more
RNA viruses were very high. While appearing similar to losses induced by extremely heavy varroa mite infestations, neither bees with shriveled wings nor copious varroa fecal spots were observed.”

The resulting media attention prompted governmental agencies to provide extra funding for honey bee research. “That research provided a greater insight into the parameters of honey bee health,” he said.
The honey bee’s immune system is “meager” compared to that of a fruit fly or mosquito, he said.

Mussen, in a recent talk at a UC Cooperative Extension seminar in Woodland, advocated that the bee toxicity tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) “be of a longer time frame.” Current regulations “specify that they be completed in 96 hours, which is too short of a time period to see what happens to the bees.”

“Sublethal effects are not required, chronic exposure to sublethal effects is not required and synergism is not studied,” he said.

“Synergies easily could be the biggest problem,” Mussen said. “Coumaphos (an acaricide used for mite control) knocks the daylight out of queens when it’s in the pollen. “Fluvalinate (synthetic pyrethoid commonly used to control varroa mites) synergizes Coumaphos, and vice versa.”

Mussen cautioned that adjuvants can be toxic. “Adjuvants seem to make non-toxic fungicides toxic to honey bee brood, especially the organosilicone ‘superspreaders,’” he said. “The superspreader can penetrate the waxy cuticle of leaves, such as Eucalyptus leaves. And the waxy cuticle is the No. 1 bee protection.”

Also at the Cooperative Extension seminar, Mussen called for greater genetic diversity in the honey bee and a loosening of the “genetic bottleneck” in the United States. “Unlike dogs and horses, there are no pedigree bees and no papers, he said. “There are few true breeding lines, but they include the New World Carniolans (developed by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of UC Davis), Russians, Minnesota Hygienic, and the Varroa Sensitive Hygiene.”

“Most breeders simply select from last season’s best performing stock,” he said. They breed for certain company traits, such as color, gentleness and brood pattern.”
Mussen pointed out that in 1922 the United States closed the door to live bees entering our country” due to fears of an incoming pest, the tracheal mite.

The tracheal mite eventually found its way to the United States in 1984, he said. “We couldn’t prevent it from coming in forever. It killed half of our nation’s bees in five years as it expanded across the country. Then the varroa mite arrived in 1987, and killed half of the remaining colonies in five years as it expanded across the country. This one practically killed all of our feral colonies in 1995-1996. It made a really big dent in our gene pool.”

Mussen described the varroa mite as “Beekeeping Enemy No. 1.” Mite feeding lowers the pupal blood protein, resulting in underweight bees and a shortened life span, he said. It suppresses the honey bee immune system. And third, the mite is a vector for RNA virus diseases.
Of the viral diseases affecting the honey bee, RNA viruses are the most prevalent. “We have 20 known and named viruses, and more are coming,” Mussen said. Some of the viral diseases are shared with bumble bees, wasps, ants, other native bees and other unrelated species of insects.

Asked what the average person can do to help the bees, Mussen said that a wide mix of pollen is essential for honey bee nutrition, and “they’re not getting that any more. Plant bee attractive plants. Each colony needs the equivalent of one acre of bloom every day to survive.”
What about the role of genetically modified plants in bee health, he was asked. “They don’t appear to be a problem. One modified corn variety seemed to affect honey bees in lab studies, but it’s not being grown anymore. The honey bees don’t care if it’s genetically modified or not.”
As for viruses, “The harder we look, the more we find,” Mussen said.

Newsnotes - April 2012

 
Honey Could Be Effective At Treating and Preventing Wound Infections


Manuka honey could help clear chronic wound infections and even prevent them from developing in the first place, according to a new study published in Microbiology. The findings provide further evidence for the clinical use of manuka honey to treat bacterial infections in the face of growing antibiotic resistance.

Streptococcus pyogenes is a normal skin bacterium that is frequently associated with chronic (non-healing) wounds. Bacteria that infect wounds can clump together forming 'biofilms', which form a barrier to drugs and promotes chronic infection. Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University have shown that manuka honey can not only destroy fully-formed S. pyogenes biofilms in vitro but also prevent the bacteria from initially binding to components of wound tissue.

Honey has long been acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties. Traditional remedies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by diverse ancient civilizations. Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree found growing in New Zealand and parts of Australia. It is included in modern licensed wound-care products around the world. Manuka honey has been reported to inhibit more than 80 species of bacteria, yet the antimicrobial properties of honey have not yet been fully exploited by modern medicine as its mechanisms of action are not fully understood.

Wounds that are infected with S. pyogenes often fail to respond to treatment. This is largely due to the development of biofilms which may be difficult for antibiotics to penetrate - in addition to problems of antibiotic resistance. The results of the study showed that very small concentrations of honey prevented the start of biofilm development and that treating established biofilms grown in Petri dishes with honey for 2 hours killed up to 85% of bacteria within them.

The Cardiff team are working towards providing molecular explanations for the antibacterial action of honey. The latest study reveals that honey can disrupt the interaction between S. pyogenes and the human protein fibronectin, which is displayed on the surface of damaged cells. "Molecules on the surface of the bacteria latch onto human fibronectin, anchoring the bacteria to the cell. This allows infection to proceed and biofilms to develop," explained Dr Sarah Maddocks who led the study. "We found that honey reduced the expression of these bacterial surface proteins, inhibiting binding to human fibronectin, therefore making biofilm formation less likely. This is a feasible mechanism by which manuka honey minimizes the initiation of acute wound infections and also the establishment of chronic infections.

Ongoing work in Dr Maddocks' lab is investigating other wound-associated bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Manuka honey has also been shown to be effective at killing these bacteria. "There is an urgent need to find innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. No instances of honey-resistant bacteria have been reported to date, or seem likely," said Dr Maddocks. "Applying antibacterial agents directly to the skin to clear bacteria from wounds is cheaper than systemic antibiotics and may well complement antibiotic therapy in the future. This is significant as chronic wounds account for up to 4% of health care expenses in the developed world."


The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science Joins the Journal of Apicultural Research

The highly regarded Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science has been incorporated into the International Bee Research Association’s flagship journal the Journal of Apicultural Research from January 2012.

In 2009, IBRA launched a new peer reviewed scientific journal entitled The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science (JAAS). Under Senior Editor Prof. Rose Cooper from Cardiff Metropolitan University, it focused upon evidence based research being carried out on biologically relevant properties of bee and hive products, and their scientific relevance in the fields of medicine, nutrition and healthcare. This journal provided a forum where the efficacy and effectiveness of bee and hive products with therapeutic properties could be presented, debated and evaluated using scientific principles.

In the past three years JAAS has published 58 papers, including 41 original research articles, nine reviews, six notes and comments, and two editorials. One Special Issue devoted to Malaysian tualang honey was also published. All types of hive products were covered, and JAAS became a forum for both laboratory and clinical research. It became well known amongst scientists working in the apimedical, apitherapy and apiceutical arena.

From January 2012 it has been decided to incorporate JAAS into IBRA’s major peer reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Apicultural Research (JAR) which celebrated its 50th birthday last year. Issue 51(1) of JAR will contain five former JAAS papers covering the pollen, mineral, heavy metal contents and physicochemical and microbiological properties of honey from both honey bees and from stingless bees.

IBRA Scientific Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “The incorporation of JAAS into JAR will strengthen the journal in the important area of hive products. I am delighted that JAAS Senior editor Prof. Rose Cooper has agreed to join the JAR Editorial team.

Prof. Rose Cooper says: “With the current interest in therapies not yet accepted into conventional medicine, there is a need to disseminate scientific research into the properties and mechanisms of action of potential remedies derived from hive products”.


Bumblebees Get By With a Little Help From Their Honey Bee Rivals


Bumblebees can use cues from their rivals the honeybees to learn where the best food resources are, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.
Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explain how they trained a colony of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to use cues provided by a different species, the honeybee (Apis mellifera), as well as cues provided by fellow bumblebees to locate food resources on artificial flowers.

They found that the bumblebees were able to learn the information from the honeybees just as efficiently as when the information came from their own species, demonstrating that social learning is not a unique process limited to members of the same species.

PhD student Erika Dawson, explains: "Most social learning research has focused on learning between members of the same species. But in the same way that human engineers can pick up useful tricks from animals (such as using bird aerodynamics to design planes), animals might of course learn from different species where the best food is, where predation looms or where the best place to nest can be found.

"We wanted to determine whether animals can use any social cue to enhance their environment, even if they come from another species that share their habitat, resources or predators."

The results show that information learned from other species can be just as valuable to an animal like the bumblebee as information from their own species. Bees would have opportunities to learn cues from their own species and other species to an equal degree in the wild, as they often share the same flower species as a source of food. This is particularly true for large flowers such as sunflowers, which are often fed from by multiple pollinators simultaneously.

The results also show that competition between the two species may be much more severe than previously assumed, as Erika Dawson explains: "If bumblebees use individual exploration and copying of their fellow bumblebees to identify rewarding plants, but also use the information provided by a rival species (ie honeybees), this could have important ecological implications for community structure and formation, and may help us better understand the impact of competition within natural pollinator communities."


Historic Signing Finalizes Organic Equivalence Arrangement Betweeen EU and U.S.


The world's two largest markets for organic food expand organic market access

NUREMBERG, Germany and WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb.15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --At a press event today at BioFach Germany, European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos for the European Union's (EU) Agriculture and Rural Development and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the signing of an organic equivalence arrangement between the world's two largest markets for organic food. Under the proposed arrangement, the EU and United States will work together to promote strong organic programs, protect organic standards, enhance cooperation, and facilitate trade in organic products.

Officials noted the EU - U.S. organic equivalence cooperation arrangement will expand market access for organic producers and companies by reducing duplicative requirements and certification costs on both sides of the ocean while continuing to protect organic integrity.

"This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing and healthy U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to farmers both in the United States and European Union as well as to consumers who choose organic products," said Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA). She added, "Equivalence with the EU will be an historic game changer."

As a result, certified organic products as of June 1 can move freely between the United States and EU borders provided they meet the terms of the new arrangement. Under the agreement, the EU will recognize the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to the EU Organic Program and allow products produced and certified as meeting USDA NOP standards to be marketed as organic in the EU. Likewise, the United States will allow European products produced and certified under the EU Organic Program to be marketed as organic in the United States.

The agreement will allow access to each other's markets provided (1) antibiotics were not administered to animals for products entering the United States, and (2) antibiotics were not used to control fire blight in apples and pears for products entering the European Union. To facilitate trade, the EU and United States have agreed to work together to promote electronic certification of import transaction certificates.

The arrangement is limited to organic products of U.S. or EU origin produced, processed or packaged within these jurisdictions. Additionally, both programs have agreed to exchange information on animal welfare issues, and on methods to avoid contamination of organic products from genetically modified organisms. General country labeling requirements must still be met.

"On behalf of the U.S. organic industry, OTA extends its sincere appreciation to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), National Organic Program, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and OTA's U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force for all their efforts in maintaining and expanding foreign export markets for USDA certified organic products globally. The results are mutually beneficial arrangements with our major trading partners that uphold the integrity of food grown and labeled as organic," Bushway said.

OTA convened its U.S.-EU Equivalency Task Force in May 2010 to monitor, analyze and discuss emerging issues from organic equivalency discussions between the United States and EU, and directly advised FAS and USTR on the industry's perspective on these negotiations and market potential. This task force is made up of 34 industry volunteers from across the supply chain, from produce and grain companies to dairy producers and certification agencies. It is led by OTA's Executive Vice President Laura Batcha and Jake Lewin of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) as co-chairs, with Bob Anderson (Sustainable Strategies—Advisors in Food & Agriculture) serving as ex officio.

For more information, see OTA's EU-U.S. equivalence Web page (http://www.ota.co/GlobalMarkets/US-EU-Organic-Equivalence-Arrangement.html) or USDA's website (http://www.
usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=LATEST_RELEASES
).

Monsanto Company Names Jerry Hayes Beeologics Lead

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 1, 2012) – Apiary expert Jerry Hayes has been named Monsanto’s Beeologics Commercial Lead, assuming responsibilities for leading the group’s commercial work. Beeologics researches and develops biological tools to provide targeted control of pests and diseases including those that are potentially contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

“We knew we wanted someone with a keen understanding of the bee industry to lead this business for us, and Jerry’s name kept rising to the top,” said Steve Padgette, R&D investment strategy lead. “His leadership will be instrumental in helping us deliver a product to help beekeepers address the causes of CCD.”

“Coming to Monsanto to help beekeepers is an honor,” Hayes said. “Monsanto is the leader in the development of new technologies to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively control agriculture pests, predators and diseases. Honey bees are the key foundational pollinator of production agriculture, backyard gardens and the environment. Being able to work with the beekeeping industry on honey bee health issues is a tremendous challenge, but one which we can address together.”

Hayes has served two terms as president of the Apiary Inspectors of America group and is a founding member of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Working Group. He is currently a science advisor for Project Apis Mellifera and is the contributor of the American Bee Journal’s Q&A column “The Classroom” as well as a book of the same title. He has authored or co-authored dozens of published research papers. He previously served as Chief of the Apiary Inspection Section for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He has a long history with Beeologics, having previously served on Beeologics’ technology advisory board working with colleagues in government and university researchers on Beeologics’ efforts to help the global apiculture industry. Monsanto acquired Beeologics last year.


Research Scholarship Award

Judy Y. Wu has been awarded the 2012 AAPA Research Scholarship Award. She received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA) in 2005. The following year, she began a Student Conservation Association internship working directly with USDA-ARS (Fort Lauderdale, FL) assessing potential biological control agents for invasive weeds management. In 2007, she continued her interests in Entomology at Washington State University (Pullman, WA) and began studying sub-lethal effects of pesticide residues in brood comb on honey bee health and development. She received her Master’s degree from Washington State University in 2010. She is currently in a Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) investigating effects of neonicotinyl insecticides on honey bee and bumblebee health.

The main objective of this project is to determine if and how neonicotinyl insecticide exposure contributes to honey bee and bumble bee colony decline. To do this, three research questions or focuses will be addressed. The first investigates how results obtained from laboratory bioassays, used to determine potential non-target risk, compare to responses from relevant field exposures. The second question will evaluate the over-wintering and reproductive success of honey bee and bumble bee queens exposed at known field-relevant concentrations of neonicotinoids. The third question will investigate possible physiological mechanisms responsible for observed behavioral effects of neonicotinyl insecticide exposure on bees reported in previous studies. The results of this project will be an important contribution and will improve our under
standing of the effects of neonicotinyl insecticides on honey bee and bumble bee health, reproduction, and survival.

New Beekeeping Books Recently Released From X-Star Publishing Company


Huber’s New Observations Upon Bees, The Complete Volumes I & II, by Francis Huber, Translated by C.P. Dadant $49

Hardcover: B & W 674 pages
                     149 Illustrations
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161476056X
ISBN-13: 978-1614760566
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches


What Huber discovered and wrote about here, laid the ground work for all the practical knowledge we have of bees today. His discoveries were so revolutionary, that beekeeping can be divided in two eras very easily as pre-Huber and post-Huber.

This edition of Huber's Observations by far surpasses any other edition ever printed in the English language. First it has both Volume I and II, while every English edition currently in print that I am aware of is only Volume I of the 1809 edition. which is only one third of the final Huber book. The second volume was published in 1814 in French 5 years after that 1809 edition and contains Huber's research on the origin of wax, the construction of comb, the ventilation of the hive and much more.
Second, it is the best English translation from the original French. C.P. Dadant, was uniquely qualified to do the translation. Dadant was born in France and French was his first language, yet he spent most of his life beekeeping; and writing and editing beekeeping articles and books in America in English.

Third, all of the English editions currently in print have only 2 plates (if any). Only the previous Dadant edition (1926) had all 14 of the original plates, but unfortunately while they were apparently the best available at the time, they were only halftones of some old yellow copies and are not very readable. This edition has new scans from a very good condition edition of the original 1814 French of both Volumes of Nouvelles Observations Sur Les Abeilles so these are clearer than any previous edition other than the original 1814 French edition. An additional engraving of Huber's work from Cheshire's book, plus an engraving of Francis Huber from the Dadant edition have been included. In addition, 7 more photos of a museum quality reproduction of Huber's Leaf hive have also been included. All figures have been split out and enlarged and put in the text where they are referred to. Photos of the original plates are included at the back for historic and artistic purposes.

Fourth, to put this book in context I have included a memoir of Huber by Prof. De Candolle, a friend of Huber. This gives a bit of background on Huber's life.

Fifth, the only other edition to come close to this, the 1926 edition by Dadant, was in very small print. This one is 12 point and a typeface that appears to be larger and is very readable. This is not a scan and is completely re-typeset.

If you are a Huber fan, you need this book. If you are not a Huber fan, and you keep bees, you should be.

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XstarPublishing.com

The Australasian Bee Manual and Complete Guide to Modern Bee Culture in the Southern Hemisphere
(1911 edition), by Isaac Hopkins $29


Hardcover: B & W 212 pages
                     82 Illustrations
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614760586
ISBN-13: 978-1614760580
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches


Isaac Hopkins obviously had a lot of real life experience and not just a lot of book knowledge. This book was probably the most influential book on beekeeping in Australia and New Zealand. Hopkins presents in this version of the book one of the simplest ways of getting a lot of queens that also does not require a lot of special equipment known as "the Hopkins method of queen rearing". This is a great book on beekeeping in any location in any age. It was originally published in 1886 and this revision was updated in 1911. This is not a scan and is completely re-typeset.

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XstarPublishing.com

PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN BEE RESEARCH CONFERENCE NOW AVAILABLE!

 The 2012 American Bee Research Conference was held February 7-8 at APHIS Headquarters in Greenbelt, MD in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Apiary Inspectors of America.  The twenty-sixth American Bee Research Conference will be held in Hershey, PA in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Honey Producers Association in January 2013.  To access these abstracts now, click on the link below. These abstracts represent some of the latest bee research being conducted in the United States.  Enjoy!

icon 2012_Proceedings_ABJ.pdf (565 KB)

 

 

Newsnotes - March 2012

(excerpt)

National Honey Board Offers Free Honey Brochure to Industry Members

Firestone, Colo. – The National Honey Board (NHB) has announced that it has produced a new recipe brochure for 2012 entitled “Honey – Nature’s Secret Ingredient.”

The recipe brochure, which will be available at no cost to honey industry members throughout the United States, features eight delectable recipes, ranging from appetizer and entrées, to side dishes and desserts. More and more Americans are realizing the versatility of honey and using it for multiple purposes and functions, as it has become a pantry staple in the kitchen. This all-natural ingredient will give your recipes unbeatable flavor and unmatched functional benefits. Honey – Nature’s Secret Ingredient is a vibrant brochure that comes in a convenient, accordion-style layout.

“We are very pleased to offer this new brochure to the honey industry,” said Bruce Boynton, CEO of the National Honey Board. “The brochure is a continuation of our effort to provide materials to the industry to help promote honey. With colorful images of the eight finished recipes, the fanfold brochure is attractive and showcases the versatility of honey.”

The new brochures are available in packets of 25. To order, please call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, NHB’s fulfillment coordinator.


Researchers: Honeybee Deaths Linked to Seed Insecticide Exposure

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years, and Purdue University scientists may have identified one of the factors that cause bee deaths around agricultural fields.

Analyses of bees found dead in and around hives from several apiaries over two years in Indiana showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting. The research showed that those insecticides were present at high concentrations in waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during planting.

The insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam were also consistently found at low levels in soil - up to two years after treated seed was planted - on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen gathered by the bees, according to the findings released in the journal PLoS One this month.

"We know that these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees," said Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomology and a co-author of the findings.

The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives each year, according to Greg Hunt, a Purdue professor of behavioral genetics, honeybee specialist and co-author of the findings. Hunt said no one factor is to blame, though scientists believe that others such as mites and insecticides are all working against the bees, which are important for pollinating food crops and wild plants.

"It’s like death by a thousand cuts for these bees," Hunt said.

Krupke and Hunt received reports that bee deaths in 2010 and 2011 were occurring at planting time in hives near agricultural fields. Toxicological screenings performed by Brian Eitzer, a co-author of the study from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, for an array of pesticides showed that the neonicotinoids used to treat corn and soybean seed were present in each sample of affected bees. Krupke said other bees at those hives exhibited tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of insecticide poisoning.

Seeds of most annual crops are coated in neonicotinoid insecticides for protection after planting. All corn seed and about half of all soybean seed is treated. The coatings are sticky, and in order to keep seeds flowing freely in the vacuum systems used in planters, they are mixed with talc. Excess talc used in the process is released during planting and routine planter cleaning procedures.

"Given the rates of corn planting and talc usage, we are blowing large amounts of contaminated talc into the environment. The dust is quite light and appears to be quite mobile," Krupke said.

Krupke said the corn pollen that bees were bringing back to hives later in the year tested positive for neonicotinoids at levels roughly below 100 parts per billion.

"That's enough to kill bees if sufficient amounts are consumed, but it is not acutely toxic," he said.

On the other hand, the exhausted talc showed extremely high levels of the insecticides - up to about 700,000 times the lethal contact dose for a bee.

"Whatever was on the seed was being exhausted into the environment," Krupke said. "This material is so concentrated that even small amounts landing on flowering plants around a field can kill foragers or be transported to the hive in contaminated pollen. This might be why we found these insecticides in pollen that the bees had collected and brought back to their hives."

Krupke suggested that efforts could be made to limit or eliminate talc emissions during planting.
"That's the first target for corrective action," he said. "It stands out as being an enormous source of potential environmental contamination, not just for honeybees, but for any insects living in or near these fields. The fact that these compounds can persist for months or years means that plants growing in these soils can take up these compounds in leaf tissue or pollen."

Although corn and soybean production does not require insect pollinators, that is not the case for most plants that provide food. Krupke said protecting bees benefits agriculture since most fruit, nut and vegetable crop plants depend upon honeybees for pollination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the value of honeybees to commercial agriculture at $15 billion to $20 billion annually.

Hunt said he would continue to study the sublethal effects of neonicotinoids. He said for bees that do not die from the insecticide there could be other effects, such as loss of homing ability or less resistance to disease or mites.

"I think we need to stop and try to understand the risks associated with these insecticides," Hunt said.

New York - Young Beekeeper Award

The average beekeeping club appears to have many more members over 50 years old than they have members under 20. Our club in upstate New York, the Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association (SABA), has found a successful way to help young people who have an interest in beekeeping get started.

At the 2004 meeting of the American Beekeeping Federation, one of our SABA members heard John Tulloch of Texas give a presentation about his state’s youth beekeeper award.  The objective of this annual award is to introduce and educate young people in the art and science of beekeeping.  A home-schooled teen named Blake Shook won the award, and Mr. Tulloch was his mentor. Blake has since gone on to become Texas’ youngest commercial beekeeper (http://desertcreekhoney.com/).

The 2004 presentation was the incentive for SABA to institute our own annual youth award beginning in 2005, the Wolf-Lounsbury Young Beekeeper Award. With funding from SABA members and other organizational funds, the award fully outfits the winner with a starter beehive, bees, equipment, protective gear, club membership, book, class, and a mentor (a $450 value). Starting in 2011 SABA is now able to present a second annual young beekeeper award, the Bob Stevens Youth Beekeeping Award, thanks to sponsorship by Betterbee Inc., a local beekeeper’s supply company.

The young beekeeper award at the community level is an excellent way to grow your club membership and encourage youth to participate in the joys of beekeeping.  Additional information about the awards is available at the SABA website, www.adirondackbees.org.


2012 Wisconsin Honey Queen

The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association is proud to announce that Sarah Rushfeldt was selected as the 2012 Wisconsin Honey Queen at their convention in November.  Sarah is the 23-year-old daughter of James and Bonnie Rushfeldt of Dresser, Wisconsin. Sarah is currently a junior at Crown College in St. Bonifacious, MN, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing.  A beekeeper since the age of 8, Sarah now manages approximately 100 colonies of bees.

Prior to being selected as the Wisconsin Honey Queen, Sarah served as the 2011 Northwestern District Honey Queen. In this role, she promoted the honey industry at local fairs and in schools.
Sarah will spend the next year promoting the beekeeping industry in Wisconsin. She is available to speak with civic groups and appear at fairs, festivals, and farmers markets. She will also give presentations in schools about honey bees and the beekeeping industry. In January 2013, Sarah will represent Wisconsin at the American Honey Queen competition at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

To schedule an appearance with Wisconsin Honey Queen Sarah Rushfeldt, contact Becky Mehringer at 920-220-1026 or wihoneyqueenprogram@gmail.com. All appearances are free of charge.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN BEE RESEARCH CONFERENCE NOW AVAILABLE!

 The 2012 American Bee Research Conference was held February 7-8 at APHIS Headquarters in Greenbelt, MD in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Apiary Inspectors of America.  The twenty-sixth American Bee Research Conference will be held in Hershey, PA in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Honey Producers Association in January 2013.  To access these abstracts now, click on the link below. These abstracts represent some of the latest bee research being conducted in the United States.  Enjoy!

icon 2012_Proceedings_ABJ.pdf (565 KB) 

Newsnotes - February 2012

 

Deadly Fly Parasite Spotted for First Time

SF State researchers’ new find may help understanding of ‘colony collapse disorder’

SAN FRANCISCO -- Honey bees can become the unwitting hosts of a fly parasite that causes them to abandon their hives and die after a bout of disoriented, "zombie-like" behavior, San Francisco State University researchers have found.

The phenomenon, first observed on the SF State campus, may help scientists learn more about colony collapse disorder (CCD). This mysterious ailment has drastically increased honey bee colony losses across the United States since its discovery in 2006.

So far, the fly parasite has only been found in honey bee hives in California and South Dakota, said SF State Professor of Biology John Hafernik. But the possibility that it is an emerging parasite "underlines the danger that could threaten honey bee colonies throughout North America, especially given the number of states that commercial hives cross and are deployed in," Hafernik and colleagues write in the January 3, 2012 issue of PLoS ONE.

Hafernik, who also serves as president of the California Academy of Sciences, didn't set out to study the parasitized bees. In 2008, he was just looking for some insects to feed the praying mantis that he had brought back to SF State's Hensill Hall after an entomology field trip. He scrounged the bees from underneath the light fixtures outside the biology building.
"But being an absent-minded professor," Hafernik joked, "I left them in a vial on my desk and forgot about them. Then the next time I looked at the vial, there were all these fly pupae surrounding the bees."

The fly, Apocephalus borealis, deposits its eggs into a bee's abdomen. Usually about seven days after the bee dies, fly larvae push their way into the world from between the bee's head and thorax. But it's the middle part of this macabre story that may be the most scientifically interesting to those studying the dramatic and mysterious disappearance of honey bees.
After being parasitized by the fly, the bees abandon their hives in what is literally a flight of the living dead to congregate near lights. "When we observed the bees for some time—the ones that were alive—we found that they walked around in circles, often with no sense of direction," said Andrew Core, an SF State graduate student from Hafernik's lab who is the lead author on the study.

Core won first place at the 2011 California State University Research Competition and the Geraldine K. Lindsay Award for excellence in the natural sciences at the annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his presentation of the bee research.

Bees usually just sit in one place, sometimes curling up before they die, said Core. But the parasitized bees were still alive, unable to stand up on their legs. "They kept stretching them out and then falling over," he said. "It really painted a picture of something like a zombie."
Bees that left the hives at night were more likely to bear the parasite than those who foraged during the day, the researchers found. Genetic tests of parasitized hives also showed that both bees and flies were often infected with deformed wing virus and a fungus called Nosema ceranae.
Some researchers have pointed to the virus and fungus as potential culprits in colony collapse disorder, and hive abandonment is the primary characteristic of the disorder. It may be time, Hafernik said, to consider how the fly parasite fits into the CCD picture.

He said the next step is to find out exactly how the parasite is affecting the bees' behavior. It is possible, he said, that the parasite is somehow interfering with the bees' "clock genes" that help them keep a normal day-night rhythm.

The researchers also don't know if the infected bees are leaving the hive of their own accord, or whether they give off some sort of chemical signal that provokes their hive mates into throwing them out. "A lot of touching and tasting goes on in a hive," Hafernik said, "and it's certainly possible that their co-workers are finding them and can tell that there's something wrong with them."

The scientists will deploy a range of tools -- from tiny radio tags to video monitoring -- to help them answer these questions and discover ways to protect the hives.
"We don't know the best way to stop parasitization, because one of the big things we're missing is where the flies are parasitizing the bees," Hafernik noted. "We assume it's while the bees are out foraging, because we don't see the flies hanging around the bee hives. But it's still a bit of a black hole in terms of where it's actually happening."

Genetic analysis of the parasites confirmed that they are the same flies that have been infecting bumblebees, raising the possibility that the fly is an emerging and potentially costly new threat to honey bees.

"Honey bees are among the best-studied insects in the world," Hafernik noted. "So at one level, we would expect that if this has been a long-term parasite of honey bees, we would have noticed."

Decisions, Decisions: House-hunting Honey Bees Work Like Complex Brains


Researchers report how the signaling of honey bee nest-site scouts parallels that of neurons in primate brains

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – House-hunting is full of decisions, for us and honey bees. One early decision we both face is where to live. P. Kirk Visscher at the University of California, Riverside, often in collaboration with Thomas Seeley at Cornell University, NY, has long been studying how honey bees make these decisions.
Swarms of honey bees split off from their mother colony and go house-hunting, looking for a secure cavity in a tree or elsewhere that will make a good home for the new colony. In this process, they communicate to each other what they have found by dancing: a scout bee returning from a good site moves over and over in a figure-eight pattern that indicates the direction and the distance to the site, and other scouts read these dances and inspect the site themselves.

Usually, the swarm's scouts find more than one site, in which case the swarm faces a decision that must be made quickly since the swarm is exposed and the season for honey collection is passing. The decision, however, must also be good decision, the future welfare of the colony depending on a good home site.

Visscher, Seeley and colleagues report Dec. 8 in Science Express that they have found another, overlooked, signal that plays a role in this process – a signal that is similar to those that occur between neurons in the brains of monkeys making decisions. Called the "stop signal," it is a very short buzz delivered by the sender scout while butting her head against the dancer. Its effect is to shorten and ultimately end the dance.

"It appears that the stop signals in bee swarms serve the same purpose as the inhibitory connections in the brains of monkeys deciding how to move their eyes in response to visual input," said Visscher, a professor of entomology. "In one case....

Newsnotes - January 2012

 

Mite Away Quick Strips Now Approved in All 50 States

BASF Corporation News Release

WYANDOTTE, MI, November 8, 2011 – NOD Apiary Products obtained state-level pesticide registration for Mite Away Quick Strips™ (MAQS) in all 50 states, as of May 31, 2011. Since their launch in Hawaii in 2008, MAQS have revolutionized the beekeeping industry, providing a pest control solution that is both effective and sustainable. The backbone of this easy-to-use strip is a film made of BASF’s biodegradable plastic Ecoflex®, which is filled with formic acid in a saccharide (plant sugar) formulation. With the final phase of registration now complete across the United States, MAQS have the potential of increasing protection to more than 2.5 million honey bee colonies. 

MAQS protect hives from Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that threatens bee populations and reduces honey production. The strip is designed to penetrate the brood cap, stopping the mite where it reproduces. It is the first mite treatment to successfully target this area of mite infestation in the hive, destroying the male mite, as well as immature female mites infesting the bee brood.

By combining the Ecoflex product with NOD Apiary’s mite-control technologies, the companies have not only created a convenient and effective solution, but also demonstrated their commitment to sustainability: By utilizing formic acid in a saccharide (plant sugar) formulation, these strips reproduce a defense mechanism observed in nature. Formic acid is found in the venom of bees and the bite of many insects, and as a result, is biodegradable, leaving no lasting residue.

“BASF has brought the technology and expertise from our Agricultural and Specialty Polymer divisions together to help create a sustainable solution for bee farmers,”said Keith Edwards, Manager, Biodegradable Polymers, for BASF in North America. “MAQS are addressing a challenge that directly impacts the economic losses beekeepers have been experiencing. This product will help reverse the annual loss cycle for beekeepers, facilitating the sustainability of both the bee farming community and our environment.”

Now that NOD has completed U.S. registration, they are working on completing the registration process in Canada.  The application for full federal pesticide registration in Canada has been submitted to Health Canada and is currently undergoing the regulatory process. In Europe, NOD and BASF have been actively working together with registration authorities to extend this product to other beekeeping communities by 2012.

New York Beekeepers Receive USDA Grant

Courtesy of Peter Borst
Empire State Honey Producers Assoc.

www.eshpa.org

A federal grant awarded to the Empire State Honey Producers Association (eshpa.org) will help New York beekeepers to stop the loss of honey bee colonies in the State.

The 3- year, $59,000 grant will train beekeepers to not only prevent, diagnose, and treat honeybee maladies, but give them the tools to teach other beginning beekeepers to recognize bee diseases.

The honey bee has been in the national spotlight following large-scale unexplained losses of numbers. The silver lining in this cloud has been a renewed interest in beekeeping. Like any other specialized activity, beekeeping has a steep learning curve and may not yield immediate returns.

Dennis VanEnglesdorp, senior extension associate at Penn State, is enthusiastic about the potential of the USDA funding: “It doesn't matter if you keep two or 100's of hives – keeping bees is one of the most relaxing and fascinating occupations.” The Project Director of the Bee Informed Partnership (beeinformed.org), an extension project that endeavors to decrease the number of managed honey bee colonies that die over the winter, adds, “Unfortunately, keeping bees alive isn't that easy, and it seems to be getting harder all the time.  Projects like this one are exactly what we need to help keep colonies alive and so ensure we have the pollinators needed to pollinate our gardens and orchards.”

The directors of the grant, Pat Bono of Rochester, and Peter Borst of  Ithaca, in conjunction with the Empire State Honey Producers (which will provide matching funds), will implement a bold, new concept for NY beekeepers by partnering with many regional beekeeping groups throughout New York State. Workshops will be held at several locations across the State.

Among the many goals of the program, Bono and Borst include the retention of beginning beekeepers, as there is an increase in the number of new beekeepers, especially by women. With successful  beekeeping, these beginning beekeepers would be less apt to quit the profession, and it will help attract, and encourage new beekeepers, who constitute the next generation of pollinators and  honey producers. A successful program in New York State will also serve as a model and example for other states in the New England and snow belt region.

The grant is administered by the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and  Rancher Development Program, which provides funding to support training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives  for beginning farmers or ranchers.

Honey bees pollinate about $300 million in value of New York State crops, such as apples, berries, squash, pumpkins, and grapes.

"This grant will allow beekeepers, to learn and identify honeybee disease. The knowledge that the trainers acquire will continue to benefit NY beekeepers for many years", says Greg Kalicin, president of the Empire  State Honey Producers Association (eshpa).

The Empire State Honey Producers Association, the state beekeeping organization of New York, welcomes new members, and presents informational and educational programs twice a year. The group has  been promoting the interests of New York beekeepers since 1868.

Why is this grant important?
There has been a lot of media attention directed at the plight of bees in Europe and North America. The underlying causes for the bee decline are complicated and numerous. All the same, bee health is one of the key areas of interest and one which we can address directly. Other, more nebulous factors, like large mono-cropped areas and loss of natural habitat, are more difficult to tackle. The overall health of the bee industry has been hit hard by exotic parasites from other parts of the globe. Increasing the level of beekeeper skill in diagnosing and treating bee afflictions is the chief goal of the grant.

How will the USDA grant impact honey producers?
The decline of honey bees in the US has had the effect of driving honey prices upwards, but lowered yields make it difficult for honey producers to take advantage of strong prices. By restoring vigor to their colonies, they will be able to obtain larger honey crops. Better crops and better financial returns will increase the incentive to treat bees as valuable assets and encourage honey producers to pay close attention to the details which lead to healthy colonies.

How will it impact other farmers who depend upon bee pollination?
There are a lot of crops that are absolutely dependent on bees for  pollination, such as apples and almonds. Growers need a reliable source of bees in season to obtain the fruit set they need to grow a paying crop. Many growers actually pay beekeepers a handsome fee to bring bees in, so this is an additional source of income for honey producers,  provided they have healthy bees early in the season when they are needed. But beyond that, there are many farms that benefit from bees being present locally, even if they do not hire beekeepers directly. Essentially, locally produced bees provide a valuable resource for gardeners and farmers.

Peter Loring Borst
Spencer, NY

Editors Note: Mr. Peter Borst has worked in the beekeeping industry since 1974 as both a commercial beekeeper and later as senior apiarist at Cornell's Dyce Bee Lab and has trained numerous students. He has also worked as a NY State Apiary inspector.

Protein Love Triangle Key to Crowning  Queen Bees?

A honey bee becomes a royal queen or a common worker as a result of the food she receives as a larva. While it has been well established that royal jelly is the diet that makes bees queens, the molecular path from food to queen is still in dispute. However, scientists at Arizona State University, led by Adam Dolezal and Gro Amdam, have helped reconcile some of the conflicts about bee development and the role of insulin pathways and partner proteins. Their article "IIS and TOR nutrient-signaling pathways act via juvenile hormone to influence honey bee cast fate" has been published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Central to the dispute within the scientific community about "who would be queen" has been a ground-breaking study published in the journal Nature by Japanese scientist Masaki Kamakura in 2011. He found that a single protein in royal jelly, called royalactin, activated queen development in larval bees through interaction with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Kamakura's work suggested that insulin signals do not play a role in queen development, despite previous studies suggesting otherwise, including work pioneered with the insulin receptor protein by Amdam's group.

Undeterred by Kamakura's findings, Dolezal, a doctoral student, and Amdam, a Pew Biomedical Scholar and professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, looked for ways to resolve the disparity between the research studies. Amdam's team's first step involved taking control of the insulin receptor's partner protein, IRS, which the insulin receptor relies upon for signaling. The scientists found that by blocking IRS, they caused a central developmental hormone to crash, which forced larval bees into the worker mold despite their diet of royal jelly. Amdam's team then "rescued" the now worker-destined bees. They found that by giving the bees hormone treatments, the bees could then develop along the queen trajectory.

However, while Dolezal and Amdam's studies showed that they could block queen development, and then rescue it, and clarified the role of IRS in the queen-making process, their work could not resolve the remaining conflict with Kamakura's results.

Taking a new tack, the Amdam group, which also included Navdeep Mutti, Florian Wolschin, and Jasdeep Mutti, and Washington State University scientist Kulvinder Gill, turned to mathematical modeling, combining their results with approaches that analyze potential partner interactions. These models, developed to understand and clarify complex relationships in physics and biology, allowed the ASU researchers to build a model of consensus – explaining how the IRS partner protein could partner to both epidermal growth factor receptor and the insulin receptor. And while the insulin receptor itself may play no role – as Kamakura's findings suggest – Dolezal and Amdam's findings show that the IRS partner protein may in fact be key to a molecular love triangle, interacting with both receptors, and with the bond to epidermal growth factor receptor being the crowning feature in queen development.

Honey Bee Mystery Protein Is A Freight Train For Health and Lifespan

Why are bee colonies worldwide suffering mysterious deaths? A unique study describes a single bee protein that can promote bee health and solve a major economic challenge.

Honey bees are the most effective pollinators of many agricultural crops and vitally important to food production.

Honey bee health is a topic of considerable concern due to massive deaths of bee colonies in the USA and Europe. Recently, the European Union reacted by promising more resources for honey bee research, estimating European pollination to an economic value of EUR 22 billion.

"Detailed studies on the molecules that keep bees healthy are extremely important to the food industry as well as the global provision of food," said Dr. Heli Havukainen, who defended her PhD thesis at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) on November 25. Her study of honey bees is a collaboration between UMB and the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway.

More protein = better health and longer life
One of these molecules is a protein called vitellogenin. "Simply put, the more vitellogenin in bees, the longer they live. Vitellogenin also guides bees to do different social tasks, such caregiving or foraging. It also supports the immune function and is an antioxidant that promotes stress resistance. In my research, I set out to find out how this molecule is shaped and how it behaves on a nano-scale. This provides us with more knowledge about how vitellogenin is good for honey bees," Havukainen said.

Like a freight train
Under the supervision of Professor Gro Amdam (UMB and Arizona State University) and Associate Professor Øyvind Halskau (UiB), Havukainen discovered that vitellogenin can be described as a freight train consisting of a locomotive and a carriage. The protein carries fat as its cargo, which it picks up in the bees' belly-fat cells - the main station. The vitellogenin "train" travels in the bee's blood and delivers the fat cargo at different local stops or stations.

"I found out that, instead of starting the train journey from the fat cell main station, some vitellogenin molecules are divided in two, so the locomotive is separated from its cargo. The cargo cannot move without a locomotive and it stays in the fat cells, while the locomotive disappears. We soon realized that this is a typical behaviour for the vitellogenin molecule," Havukainen said.

Prior to this study, scientists believed vitellogenin to be one entity, like a cargo ship, unable to separate from its cargo. Therefore, Havukainen's new discovery is a big step forward for research that aims to keep bees healthy and long lived.

"We figured out that vitellogenin can drop its fat cargo as a reaction to changing chemical conditions. How this "drop" occurs and which factor makes the locomotive move and leave its cargo are important questions in the protein world, and probably equally important to the bee," Havukainen said.

What's up with the train hitch?
The research group believes that the separation of vitellogenin in two parts is a key to understanding how the protein works. They are now in search of the factor that breaks the fragile connection, or the train hitch of the protein, and lets the locomotive go.

"My discovery is that vitellogenin is not one entity. It consists of two functional parts. Now, I want to stop the separation process, so the locomotive and fat cargo are always together. This will help us figure out why the locomotive sometimes ditches its cargo and travels around on its own, and what the consequences are for the bees. This way, we can learn how vitellogenin affects social behavior, immunity and stress resistance, and ultimately global food production and provision, Havukainen said.

Three Arrested In Jacksonville Honey Dumping Scheme

Courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three people accused of misclassifying Chinese honey as rice fructose in order to avoid more than $1 million in duties have been indicted in federal court on charges related to smuggling goods into the United States and providing false descriptions of the merchandise.

Chin Shih "Jeff" Chou, 48, from Taiwan, Qiao "Dott" Chu, 25, from China, and Wei-Tang Lo, 48, from Hacienda Heights, Calif., represented a number of honey importation companies in executing the scheme.

According to an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the defendants labeled shipping containers filled with Chinese honey as rice fructose instead of honey to avoid a $2.63 per kilo anti-dumping duty. Once the containers of honey passed through customs, they were forwarded to a warehouse, washed of all markings and relabeled as amber honey, which was then sold to domestic purchasers.

"HSI agents and CBP officers working together at our nation's ports of entry provide an important safeguard against those seeking to break the law for their own enrichment," said Susan McCormick, ICE HSI special agent in charge in Tampa. "This type of criminal behavior poses serious dumping risks to domestic U.S. honey producers who are in danger of being run out of the market because of this fraud."

The investigation revealed that Chou and his associates, through various shell companies, successfully imported 900 containers of rice fructose over the past two years. HSI agents, in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are in the process of seizing or detaining 123 containers of falsely manifested rice fructose located at 11 ports of entry throughout the United States. The loss of duty owed to the U.S. government on these containers alone is approximately $1,150,000.

Intelligence generated by the investigation so far is leading to thousands of barrels of misclassified honey that have already entered the United States. Many more seizures are expected in the continuing investigation.

Maxant Industries Announces New Honey-wax Separator

Maxant Industries in Ayer, MA has begun full scale production of the model 7000 high speed continuous honey-wax separator. This machine, which has been in development for over 15 years, has proven itself to be a valuable tool for the volume producers. The model 7000 is used in conjunction with pick, knife, or flail type uncappers and extracting machines. The model 7000 is essentially a constant flow machine and works best if the flow is even. Production of 13-25 barrels per 8 hour day can be expected, depending on conditions.

The model 7000 is a high speed compact machine that works on the principle of centrifugal force to separate the wax and the honey. It works on the same principle as the years old technology to separate cream from milk, except that the emerging wax must be shaved off somehow. The Maxant concept is unique. two very sharp knives (like a lathe tool) slowly move up and down peeling off the emerging wax. The wax is ejected down through the middle of the machine in a sawdust form. No heat exchangers are required. Each machine is shipped complete with instructions.

African Bee Product Company Wins Prize

Bees for Development is pleased to announce that our partner organization Guiding Hope of Cameroon has won first prize in the prestigious Best New Business category at the 2011 Africa Small Medium and Micro Enterprise Awards. The award is a major recognition for over five years of hard work from a team of six and over 1000 beekeepers in the remote savannah and highlands forests in the Congo basin.

Now selling over 120 tonnes of beeswax, propolis and honey a year to buyers in the UK, across Europe and Canada, Guiding Hope can hardly keep up with demand! The skilled families that have been practicing beekeeping and honey hunting for centuries, although largely illiterate and living on an average of just over US$2 a day,  are now receiving up to 50% higher prices.

Guiding Hope’s core trading principles are to support local communities, trade fairly, profitably, and look after the environment.
Bees for Development is a Welsh NGO based in Monmouth that supports beekeeping as an effective way for poor people to strengthen their livelihoods and fight poverty. We provide information to assist them, working at the heart of an international network of people involved with apiculture in developing countries.

The Journal of Apicultural Research Celebrates 50 Years of Publication

IBRA’s flagship scientific journal the Journal of Apicultural Research (JAR) has now completed 50 years of continuous publication. In that time, over 1,600 scientific papers have been published in its pages.

IBRA Scientific Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “In an era when most scientific journals are published by large corporations who have hundreds of titles, for a small independent charity like IBRA, this is a great achievement”.

JAR was founded in 1962 to satisfy the need for a peer-reviewed scientific journal to publish research on all aspects of the study of all species of bee. It has published papers making an important contribution to our knowledge of a wide range of topics. These range from studies of bee biology such as the swarming behaviour of bees, to the properties of hive products such as honey, beeswax and propolis. Throughout its history, many papers have reported research on honey bee pests and diseases. For example, the first ever report that the parasitic mite Varroa could become a pest of the European honey bee was published in JAR in 1963, and more recent papers have made a major contribution to our understanding of the international problem of honey bee colony losses.

Issue 1 of volume 1 of JAR contained a paper written by Prof. Jerzy Woyke of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland, as does this Issue 4 of Volume 50, published today. In total Prof. Woyke has published 68 papers in JAR, and 2010 marked the 60th year of his scientific publishing. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to bee science, IBRA Council has now conferred Honorary Membership upon Prof. Woyke. IBRA Chairman Hans Kjaersgaard says: “This Honorary Membership is in recognition of his long and distinguished career as well as his many contributions to our journals. He is our longest serving contributor and the only person who contributed to the very first edition who is still busy writing”.

Prof. Woyke has replied: “This is the most important distinction for me, since IBRA is the most distinguished organization of the bee researchers of the world”.

 

Newsnotes - December 2011

 

Two Million Blossoms—Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey

A New Book
by KIRSTEN TRAYNOR


New scientific findings from around the world demonstrate honey heals chronic wounds, beats antibiotic-resistant superbugs, eliminates tissue scarring, reduces brain damage, improves memory and minimizes the harmful side-effects of cancer treatments. An easily assimilated antioxidant, honey proves more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines, acts as a natural laxative, stimulates good intestinal flora, and alleviates spring allergies.

This ancient remedy has recently been rediscovered by the medical community. As conventional therapies increasingly failed to clear infected wounds, doctors started applying honey dressings with astounding success. Chronic wounds that refused to mend for many years using standard medical care costing over $300,000 suddenly started healing when treated with honey.

In 2007, the FDA approved medical honey for diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, 1st and 2nd degree burns, donor sites, traumatic wounds and surgical wounds. Two Million Blossoms lets you discover the remarkable healing properties of honey.

“This delightful book Kirsten has written is the book I wanted to write myself twenty years ago, but I never progressed further than producing outlines for the chapters. I felt it was very important the public know about the information I was finding and discovering on the potential of honey, as it could prevent people from suffering needlessly from ailments that detracted from their quality of life. But I was also very aware that more scientific research was needed to be able to persuade the present-day medical profession to seriously consider using honey as a medicine. Research always turns up as many new questions as it does answers, and I am still working on finding the answers, so the book never got written. I was also hesitant to face the difficulty of writing something that the general public would easily understand. It was for these reasons that I was so pleased to be approached for help by someone with the writing ability that I longed for, who had a keen interest in writing such a book, and an excellent understanding of the subject.

“What Kirsten has written in this book should be distinguished from what is generally written about the health-promoting properties of honey. The many claims that are made, which are not supported by scientific research or medical evidence, add to the widespread prejudice that there is against any medicine that is not the product of the research and advertising of pharmaceutical companies. There is much recycling of misinformation, especially on websites. Kirsten has been very careful to seek and use only information that is based on the findings of scientific research and professional clinical practice.

“Readers of this book should find it an interesting and enjoyable learning experience, and very beneficial for their health.”

Dr. Peter Molan
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Director of the Honey Research Unit
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Waikato
New Zealand

The Author
Kirsten Traynor is a honey bee biologist and science writer, who spent several years researching the medicinal benefits of honey. As a German Chancellor Scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, she spent eighteen months in Europe working at the Institute for Bee Research in Celle and communicating with honey researchers and medical doctors around the world. An inaugural speaker at the International Symposium on Honey and Human Health, she detailed the historical and modern uses of honey.

She is especially grateful to the following experts for sharing their vast knowledge of honey:
·    Dr. Peter Molan—honey researcher and pioneer of Manuka honey’s healing properties
·    Dr. Jost Dustman—former head of the Institute for Bee Research in Celle and honey advisor to the German Beekeeping Organization
·    Dr. Werner von der Ohe—honey guru and current head of the Institute for Bee Research in Celle
·    Dr. Arne Simon—pediatric oncologist and researcher at the Bonn University Hospital

Book Orders
To order “Two Million Blossoms” contact Dadant & Sons, Inc. at our Hamilton, IL office. Toll-free 1-888-922-1293. Price: $19.95 plus shipping. Two Million Blossoms - M00120.

New Beekeeping Books Recently Released From X-Star Publishing Company

The Practical Beekeeper Volume I, II & III Beekeeping Naturally
by Michael Bush
Hardcover: 676 pages
Publisher: X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY (June 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1614760641
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 2 inches

This book is about how to keep bees in a natural and practical system where they do not require treatments for pests and diseases and only minimal interventions. It is also about simple practical beekeeping. It is about reducing your work. It is not a main-stream beekeeping book. Many of the concepts are contrary to "conventional" beekeeping. The techniques presented here are streamlined through decades of experimentation, adjustments and simplification. The content was written and then refined from responding to questions on bee forums over the years so it is tailored to the questions that beekeepers, new and experienced, have. It is divided into three volumes and this edition contains all three: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. However, the individual volumes may be ordered if desired.
Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XStarPublishing.com

*******

Classic Queen Rearing Compendium
by G.M. Doolittle, C.C. Miller, Henry Alley, Jay Smith, Isaac Hopkins and Frank Pellett
Overview of queen rearing by Michael Bush

If you want to raise queens, these books are the place to start. These are the seminal works on modern queen rearing techniques. These men laid the groundwork and worked out the details of practical systems of queen rearing. Pellett did a lot of distilling down of the various systems, which is very valuable, Smith perfected a lot of what Doolittle started. Miller and Hopkins were the queen rearing examples for the beekeeper who just wanted a few good queens for themselves. These queen rearing books are also available as individual volumes.
Hardcover: 830 pages
Publisher: X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY (September 28, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614760594
ISBN-13: 978-1614760597
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2 inches

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XStarPublishing.com

National Honey Board Offers Free Decals To Industry Members

Firestone, Colo., – The National Honey Board has developed vehicle or sign decals to help promote honey and spread the message that honey is just one ingredient, the way nature intended.  Beekeepers, packers and other honey industry members may receive up to six of these decals for FREE.

The decals are available in two sizes: The smaller decal is 14.5” tall x 15” wide and the larger decal is 22” x 24”. Use the decals on bee yard, shop or farmers market signs, vehicles or anywhere they might be seen by the public.

After receiving up to six free decals, individuals may purchase additional quantities of the smaller decal for $8.00 each and the larger decal for $12.00 each, plus shipping costs.

To order the decals, call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, NHB’s fulfillment coordinator.

The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Ibra Strikes Gold At Apimondia

The International Bee Research association (IBRA) has won a Gold Medal at the International Apicultural Congress held at Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its book “Varroa - still a problem in the 21st century?”

This important new book covers the major problem affecting bees worldwide, the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. One of the book’s authors, Professor Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia, USA, coordinator of the US$4.1M “Managed Pollinator Coordinated Agricultural Project”, a multi-institutional consortium funded by the US Department of Agriculture and dedicated to the goal of understanding and mitigating the causes of bee decline says: “It is simply non controversial among the world’s practicing bee scientists that Varroa destructor is problem #1”.

In recent years, the world’s headlines have been full of stories of mass deaths of honey bee colonies, but scientific consensus suggests that there is no single cause, and that different interacting factors may be occurring in different regions. It is inescapable, however, that varroa is present in all regions where recent colony losses have occurred, and the mite is known to interact with other pests and diseases, principally viruses. Varroa is, however, not new, but remains a problem because conventional approaches to control have failed, with the mite becoming resistant to many of the chemicals used.

In this new book, a team of international scientists addresses all aspects of the varroa problem, with chapters on: mite biology; varroa and viruses; chemical control; Integrated Pest Management; biological control and breeding bees for varroa tolerance. The final chapter looks forward at prospects for improved control and innovative ways to tackle the problem.

IBRA Scientific Director Norman Carreck says: “We are delighted at this recognition that our book brings together in one place the state of our current knowledge of how the global varroa crisis can be tackled.”

Idaho Corn Maze Is “Sweet As Can Bee”

Courtesy of Benjamin Kelly
Idaho Honey Industry Association


This corn maze in Boise, Idaho is “Sweet as can Bee” and was created by owner and manager Jim Lowe specifically to highlight the importance of pollinators in our food supply. The maze is cut in approximately 18 acres of corn and most people enjoy 45 minutes to one hour of getting lost as they wander the pathways and rows of corn.

The process of creating the maze begins with a concept, planned out path-by-path on a computer. The field of corn is planted as usual and then with a lot of head-scratching and elbow-grease, the pathways are cut out—preferably when the corn is still fairly short. The particular process is somewhat more complicated, but uses simple geometry, measurements and intuition which are all important tools to create the maze design.

Along with the thousands of people who attend the maze from the last full week of September through Halloween, the maze includes a mini-maze for children, a Field of Screams for the teens and an obstacle course that is set up for the annual Saturday morning 5k race. Of course, there are the traditional hayrides and a 12-acre pumpkin patch with 38 different varieties to choose from.

The origins of The Farmstead first hit the Treasure Valley in 1997. In the early years a number of different farmers tried their hand at the operations of mazes. In 2006, Kuna residents Jim and Hillary Lowe assumed the owner/operator role for what has become a Treasure Valley tradition. Jim had been involved in corn mazes since 2000, designing mazes for The MAiZE, Inc. and traveling the country to carve them into cornfields in nearly every state. A life-long involvement in agriculture and a BS degree in Agri-Business made The MAiZE a perfect fit for Jim’s interests.
2009 marked the re-branding of the event to The Farmstead—Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival. Of course, you can still count on the world-class maze designs and creative fun you have come to expect from The MAiZE. We hope the new name will more fully represent all of the traditions we share from our family to yours.

For the Lowes, The Farmstead is a passion. It is a whole year of work and planning for the exhilaration of a six-week whirlwind of fun. On any given day, you can find Hillary, Jim’s wife running the ticket booth or supplying the concession stands and Jim fixing the antique tractors or calling the pig races. The Lowe kids, although still young, are not to be left out of the action. Brooklyn, age 7 helps in the shaved ice and concession and even runs her own little candy stand from time-to-time. Max, age 4 is eager to keep an eye on the tractors and help with the hayride any chance he gets.

According to Rick Waitley, executive director of the Idaho Honey Industry Association, we are very honored as an industry to have The Farmstead select a theme from our industry. On Saturday, October 15 the theme at the maze was “Honey I’ll see you at the Farmstead”. There were coloring sheets for kids, honey stickers, playdough made with honey (using the recipe supplied by the National Honey Board) and honey recipe cards made available through the Idaho Preferred Program at the State Department of Agriculture.

Since a little over one-third of our food supply is directly tied to pollination, Director Waitley applauded the educational efforts that Jim and Hillary go to during the corn maze season to involve schools, day cares and families in helping them learn and have an appreciation for Idaho agriculture.

Canadian Student Merit Award Offered

The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists student merit award was established to recognize outstanding achievement by a student in the field of apiculture. This is an annual award valued at $500.00. All Canadian students attending Canadian or foreign universities and all foreign students attending Canadian universities, graduate or undergraduate, are eligible to apply. Eligible students will have demonstrated excellence in research, extension, or any other area contributing to the development of apiculture. An application consists of a cover letter, curriculum vita and two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should include commentary on the student’s achievements as a researcher and/or excellence in extension, citing specific examples and their contributions to the industry. Interested students should forward applications to Alison Van Alten (alison_bee@yahoo.com) by Dec. 15, 2011. Applications may also be mailed to Alison Van Alten, 300 Carlisle Road, Carlisle, ON L0R 1H2.

Newsnotes - November 2011

 

Two Million Blossoms - Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey

A New Book
by KIRSTEN TRAYNOR

  New scientific findings from around the world demonstrate honey heals chronic wounds, beats antibiotic-resistant superbugs, eliminates tissue scarring, reduces brain damage, improves memory and minimizes the harmful side-effects of cancer treatments. An easily assimilated antioxidant, honey proves more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines, acts as a natural laxative, stimulates good intestinal flora, and alleviates spring allergies.
  This ancient remedy has recently been rediscovered by the medical community. As conventional therapies increasingly failed to clear infected wounds, doctors started applying honey dressings with astounding success. Chronic wounds that refused to mend for many years using standard medical care costing over $300,000 suddenly started healing when treated with honey.
  In 2007, the FDA approved medical honey for diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, 1st and 2nd degree burns, donor sites, traumatic wounds and surgical wounds. Two Million Blossoms lets you discover the remarkable healing properties of honey.
  "This delightful book Kirsten has written is the book I wanted to write myself twenty years ago, but I never progressed further than producing outlines for the chapters. I felt it was very important the public know about the information I was finding and discovering on the potential of honey, as it could prevent people from suffering needlessly from ailments that detracted from their quality of life. But I was also very aware that more scientific research was needed to be able to persuade the present-day medical profession to seriously consider using honey as a medicine. Research always turns up as many new questions as it does answers, and I am still working on finding the answers, so the book never got written. I was also hesitant to face the difficulty of writing something that the general public would easily understand. It was for these reasons that I was so pleased to be approached for help by someone with the writing ability that I longed for, who had a keen interest in writing such a book, and an excellent understanding of the subject.
  "What Kirsten has written in this book should be distinguished from what is generally written about the health-promoting properties of honey. The many claims that are made, which are not supported by scientific research or medical evidence, add to the widespread prejudice that there is against any medicine that is not the product of the research and advertising of pharmaceutical companies. There is much recycling of misinformation, especially on websites. Kirsten has been very careful to seek and use only information that is based on the findings of scientific research and professional clinical practice.
"Readers of this book should find it an interesting and enjoyable learning experience, and very beneficial for their health."

Dr. Peter Molan
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Director of the Honey Research Unit
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Waikato
New Zealand

The Author
  Kirsten Traynor is a honey bee biologist and science writer, who spent several years researching the medicinal benefits of honey. As a German Chancellor Scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, she spent eighteen months in Europe working at the Institute for Bee Research in Celle and communicating with honey researchers and medical doctors around the world. An inaugural speaker at the International Symposium on Honey and Human Health, she detailed the historical and modern uses of honey.

She is especially grateful to the following experts for sharing their vast knowledge of honey:
· Dr. Peter Molan-honey researcher and pioneer of Manuka honey's healing properties
· Dr. Jost Dustman-former head of the Institute for Bee Research in Celle and honey advisor to the German Beekeeping Organization
· Dr. Werner von der Ohe-honey guru and current head of the Institute for Bee Research in Celle
· Dr. Arne Simon-pediatric oncologist and researcher at the Bonn University Hospital

Book Orders
To order "Two Million Blossoms" contact Dadant & Sons, Inc. at our Hamilton, IL office. Toll-free 1-888-922-1293. Price: $19.95 plus shipping. Two Million Blossoms - M00120.

NEW BEEKEEPING BOOKS RECENTLY RELEASED FROM X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY

The Practical Beekeeper Volume I, II & III Beekeeping Naturally
by Michael Bush
Hardcover: 676 pages
Publisher: X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY (June 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1614760641
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 2 inches

  This book is about how to keep bees in a natural and practical system where they do not require treatments for pests and diseases and only minimal interventions. It is also about simple practical beekeeping. It is about reducing your work. It is not a main-stream beekeeping book. Many of the concepts are contrary to "conventional" beekeeping. The techniques presented here are streamlined through decades of experimentation, adjustments and simplification. The content was written and then refined from responding to questions on bee forums over the years so it is tailored to the questions that beekeepers, new and experienced, have. It is divided into three volumes and this edition contains all three: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. However, the individual volumes may be ordered if desired.
  Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XStarPublishing.com

*******

Classic Queen Rearing Compendium
by G.M. Doolittle, C.C. Miller, Henry Alley, Jay Smith, Isaac Hopkins and Frank Pellett
Overview of queen rearing by Michael Bush

  If you want to raise queens, these books are the place to start. These are the seminal works on modern queen rearing techniques. These men laid the groundwork and worked out the details of practical systems of queen rearing. Pellett did a lot of distilling down of the various systems, which is very valuable, Smith perfected a lot of what Doolittle started. Miller and Hopkins were the queen rearing examples for the beekeeper who just wanted a few good queens for themselves. These queen rearing books are also available as individual volumes.
Hardcover: 830 pages
Publisher: X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY (September 28, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614760594
ISBN-13: 978-1614760597
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2 inches

Available at online booksellers. For more information: www.XStarPublishing.com

National Honey Board Offers Free Decals to Industry Members

  Firestone, Colo., - The National Honey Board has developed vehicle or sign decals to help promote honey and spread the message that honey is just one ingredient, the way nature intended.  Beekeepers, packers and other honey industry members may receive up to six of these decals for FREE.
  The decals are available in two sizes: The smaller decal is 14.5" tall x 15" wide and the larger decal is 22" x 24". Use the decals on bee yard, shop or farmers market signs, vehicles or anywhere they might be seen by the public.
After receiving up to six free decals, individuals may purchase additional quantities of the smaller decal for $8.00 each and the larger decal for $12.00 each, plus shipping costs.
  To order the decals, call the National Honey Board office at 800-553-7162 and ask for Andrea Brening, NHB's fulfillment coordinator.
The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Ibra Strikes Gold at Apimondia

  The International Bee Research association (IBRA) has won a Gold Medal at the International Apicultural Congress held at Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its book "Varroa - still a problem in the 21st century?"
  This important new book covers the major problem affecting bees worldwide, the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. One of the book's authors, Professor Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia, USA, coordinator of the US$4.1M "Managed Pollinator Coordinated Agricultural Project", a multi-institutional consortium funded by the US Department of Agriculture and dedicated to the goal of understanding and mitigating the causes of bee decline says: "It is simply non controversial among the world's practicing bee scientists that Varroa destructor is problem #1".
  In recent years, the world's headlines have been full of stories of mass deaths of honey bee colonies, but scientific consensus suggests that there is no single cause, and that different interacting factors may be occurring in different regions. It is inescapable, however, that varroa is present in all regions where recent colony losses have occurred, and the mite is known to interact with other pests and diseases, principally viruses. Varroa is, however, not new, but remains a problem because conventional approaches to control have failed, with the mite becoming resistant to many of the chemicals used.
  In this new book, a team of international scientists addresses all aspects of the varroa problem, with chapters on: mite biology; varroa and viruses; chemical control; Integrated Pest Management; biological control and breeding bees for varroa tolerance. The final chapter looks forward at prospects for improved control and innovative ways to tackle the problem.
  IBRA Scientific Director Norman Carreck says: "We are delighted at this recognition that our book brings together in one place the state of our current knowledge of how the global varroa crisis can be tackled."

Idaho Corn Maze Is "Sweet As Can Bee"

Courtesy of Benjamin Kelly
Idaho Honey Industry Association

  This corn maze in Boise, Idaho is "Sweet as can Bee" and was created by owner and manager Jim Lowe specifically to highlight the importance of pollinators in our food supply. The maze is cut in approximately 18 acres of corn and most people enjoy 45 minutes to one hour of getting lost as they wander the pathways and rows of corn.
  The process of creating the maze begins with a concept, planned out path-by-path on a computer. The field of corn is planted as usual and then with a lot of head-scratching and elbow-grease, the pathways are cut out-preferably when the corn is still fairly short. The particular process is somewhat more complicated, but uses simple geometry, measurements and intuition which are all important tools to create the maze design.
  Along with the thousands of people who attend the maze from the last full week of September through Halloween, the maze includes a mini-maze for children, a Field of Screams for the teens and an obstacle course that is set up for the annual Saturday morning 5k race. Of course, there are the traditional hayrides and a 12-acre pumpkin patch with 38 different varieties to choose from.
  The origins of The Farmstead first hit the Treasure Valley in 1997. In the early years a number of different farmers tried their hand at the operations of mazes. In 2006, Kuna residents Jim and Hillary Lowe assumed the owner/operator role for what has become a Treasure Valley tradition. Jim had been involved in corn mazes since 2000, designing mazes for The MAiZE, Inc. and traveling the country to carve them into cornfields in nearly every state. A life-long involvement in agriculture and a BS degree in Agri-Business made The MAiZE a perfect fit for Jim's interests.
  2009 marked the re-branding of the event to The Farmstead-Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival. Of course, you can still count on the world-class maze designs and creative fun you have come to expect from The MAiZE. We hope the new name will more fully represent all of the traditions we share from our family to yours.
  For the Lowes, The Farmstead is a passion. It is a whole year of work and planning for the exhilaration of a six-week whirlwind of fun. On any given day, you can find Hillary, Jim's wife running the ticket booth or supplying the concession stands and Jim fixing the antique tractors or calling the pig races. The Lowe kids, although still young, are not to be left out of the action. Brooklyn, age 7 helps in the shaved ice and concession and even runs her own little candy stand from time-to-time. Max, age 4 is eager to keep an eye on the tractors and help with the hayride any chance he gets.
  According to Rick Waitley, executive director of the Idaho Honey Industry Association, we are very honored as an industry to have The Farmstead select a theme from our industry. On Saturday, October 15 the theme at the maze was "Honey I'll see you at the Farmstead". There were coloring sheets for kids, honey stickers, playdough made with honey (using the recipe supplied by the National Honey Board) and honey recipe cards made available through the Idaho Preferred Program at the State Department of Agriculture.
  Since a little over one-third of our food supply is directly tied to pollination, Director Waitley applauded the educational efforts that Jim and Hillary go to during the corn maze season to involve schools, day cares and families in helping them learn and have an appreciation for Idaho agriculture.

Canadian Student Merit Award Offered

  The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists student merit award was established to recognize outstanding achievement by a student in the field of apiculture. This is an annual award valued at $500.00. All Canadian students attending Canadian or foreign universities and all foreign students attending Canadian universities, graduate or undergraduate, are eligible to apply. Eligible students will have demonstrated excellence in research, extension, or any other area contributing to the development of apiculture. An application consists of a cover letter, curriculum vita and two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should include commentary on the student's achievements as a researcher and/or excellence in extension, citing specific examples and their contributions to the industry. Interested students should forward applications to Alison Van Alten (alison_bee@yahoo.com) by Dec. 15, 2011. Applications may also be mailed to Alison Van Alten, 300 Carlisle Road, Carlisle, ON L0R 1H2.

Excerpt from Tammy Horn's new book

Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach
Us About Local Trade and the Global Market

  

Counting for Nothing

  

Kairos: a passing instant when an opening appears which must
be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.
-E. C. White

The Greeks once worshipped two gods of time: Chronos and Kairos. Chronos came to be associated with linear, measurable time; the word "chronology" is our best-known, most widely used etymological reference to this god. For most of us, chronological time is all we have ever known. It was the only form of time taught in my school. As I negotiated a career, I followed its "forced march" toward academic success: college, a graduate program, a doctorate. Its rhythm was a regulated walk away from my farming background, unpredictable weather patterns, and uninsulated farmhouses.

This march came to a screeching halt in 1997 when I offered to help my grandfather with his bees. I would be available one day only, I dictated. Memories of being hot, dusty, and sunburned while adults discussed things they could not control, such as weather, market prices, and loan rates, still lingered. I was done with those days.

My self-righteousness faded as every single thing became a struggle for my grandfather that morning: putting on gloves, fooling with zippers, lighting the smoker. I remember the overwhelming sadness of watching my grandfather's once adept hands tremble constantly. The control I had asserted began to ebb away incrementally. As we lifted a beehive cover and I peered into the frames below me, the steady drumbeat of Chronos stopped, permanently replaced by the softer and steadier hum of honey bees.

Kairos we hear less about. I was in my thirties, with a couple of failed attempts at tenure tracks and conventional relationships behind me, before I learned about Kairos. Kairos can be either gender, although the Greeks fi rst created an icon that was male. The signature feature for the icon in both genders has been that the forehead is covered with hair and the back of the head completely bald. The point: one must grasp the opportunity in front of oneself; otherwise, it will be gone forever, depicted by baldness. Sometimes Kairos is depicted as running by, emphasizing that opportunities are fleeting and will not wait. Not surprisingly, Christian theologians appropriated Kairos to mean a time of divine revelation, and some of the finest writing about it has come from twentieth-century Christian philosophers.

Ten years after that moment in the beehive, I was invited to participate in an environmental tour of surface-mine sites. Acres and acres of nonnative fescues and invasive trees covered land that once had been dense, diverse forests. For me, it was a moment of Kairos, of looking at the acres of fescues on compacted land and deciding, "We can do better than this."

There was just one problem: the classic conflict between Chronos and Kairos. How to balance my new interest in pollinator reclamation with my career as an English professor? Many people would give anything to teach at a private, liberal arts college with small class enrollments. But I had been on one-year contracts for ten years. The teaching schedule given to me at the last minute each summer was an entirely new set of classes.

Seeing an opportunity in front of me, I tucked my hair into a baseball cap and arranged for a flight to Mackay, Australia. A sugar industry town in the nineteenth century, Mackay is now a port city for Peabody Coal. Looking down from my window seat in the plane, I could see Chinese ships floating like an armada in a harbor, waiting to be loaded with coal as far as I could see.

When I returned from Australia, several forces aligned to create Coal Country Beeworks, a cooperative extension project that works with coal companies to plant pollinator-friendly vegetation and trees. One coal company decided to reclaim surface-mine sites with pollinator-friendly plants for ten years, and two beekeepers decided to sponsor the project. A beekeeping couple in Tennessee, Elaine and Edwin Holcombe, provided the project with trachea mite-resistant bees. By January 2008 a new form of time had started for me: bee time.

I want to create a honey corridor between Kentucky and West Virginia in which landscapes are reclaimed with pollinator-friendly plants. Opportunities for a new economy are in front of us just as they were for the women profiled in this book. Contemporary economies tend to devalue women and the services they provide-whether it be childcare, retail, education, or agriculture. But women's services were not always held in low esteem, nor have women always gone along with the larger market economies. They have found resolutions; they have created new systems or sometimes resurrected ancient ones. So we can change current and fl awed economies with new rules, ones that women can construct if we seize the opportunities in front of us.

Former prime minister Marilyn Waring is the inspiration for this transition. In 1975 Waring was elected to parliament in New Zealand at the age of twenty-two. She was reelected three times and was instrumental to making New Zealand a nuclear-free zone. This service was her education in capitalism and economics. She demystifies the language of economics. In the 1995 documentary Who's Counting: Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics, she explains it used to be that "‘value' meant to be strong, worthy," but her time in office taught her that the word had been co-opted to mean numbers and accounts. Those who have the most value, Waring discovered, were often invisible in the account books. Women, children, the environment-economics just did not have a value for them.

Economic systems include everything with a cash-generating capacity but recognize "no value other than money. No value to peace, no value to the preservation of natural resources, no value of unpaid work including the value of reproduction and day care." Waring says, quite simply, "As long as activity is going on in [the] market, it is fine. . . . Fantastic growth is aligned with Exxon tragedy . . . insurance, compensations, etc."

More pointedly for this book, Waring learned the economic rules were not specific to New Zealand: "These are the rules everywhere. . . . An African woman walks five miles to get water and tends goats and cattle and children. The men, they worry."

Economics, Waring concludes, "is a tool of people in power . . . a justification."

Currently, industrial agriculture and even industrial apiculture do not "count" women beekeepers in the market economy, which measures profits and bottom lines. But it does not have to be this way.

After three years of the Coal Country Beeworks project, more coal companies are voluntarily planting pollinator-friendly trees and wildflowers. The beeyard sites are open to local communities for workshops. Women teach at and attend the local bee schools as much as men. More acres, more flowers, and more bees than I can possibly count are the beneficiaries of this new economy.

Creating a new economy is not easy. Cultural challenges such as religion and politics have to be negotiated. Even when women attain higher education, their degrees do not level the pay threshold. Similar approaches will not be possible in the short term for every continent. However, the time is right for a new economy-and perhaps a new form of time-in which women and environment count. Counting for nothing gets old after a while.

Newsnotes - November 2011

 

New Apiguard Varroa Control Sachets Coming Soon


  Vita (Europe) Ltd has produced Apiguard, the varroa treatment, in new handy 25g sachets suitable for use with nucleii and very small colonies. Regulatory approval has already been granted in the USA and approvals in EU countries are expected to follow soon.
The new sachets come with small cards - the gel is simply squeezed onto the cards which can then be inserted above the brood frames.

  For more information on Apiguard, see http://www.vita-europe.com/products/
Apiguard

Web http://www.vita-europe.com/
Facebook “Vita (Europe) Ltd”
Twitter @vitaeuropeltd

National Honey Board Accepting Bee Research Proposals


  Firestone, Colo., Sep. 12, 2011 – The National Honey Board will accept proposals for new bee research projects this fall. The goal of the research is to help producers maintain colony health while assuring the maintenance of honey quality.
Researchers interested in submitting a proposal should check the Board’s website for details at www.honey.com, or call the office at 1-800-553-7162. All proposals are due by Dec. 15, 2011.
  The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Announcement of AAPA Student Awards


  The American Association of Professional Apiculturists announces the following awards for the year 2012.

AAPA Student Research Scholarship
This scholarship is given to recognize and promote outstanding research by students in the field of apiculture. The scholarship will consist of a $1000 stipend for research.
Undergraduates or graduate students working in North America with Apis are eligible. Nominees must be students of active AAPA members to be eligible for this scholarship. Recipients of this scholarship will be ineligible for future AAPA Student Research Scholarships.

  Proposals: Each research scholarship proposal must include a curriculum vitae of the nominee, one letter of recommendation, and a summary of the research problem not to exceed three pages double-spaced. The summary must include objectives, significance and methods. Nominees may also include up to three publication reprints, submitted manuscripts or abstracts of theses or dissertations. The submissions should be electronically sent in PDF files.

  Submitting Proposals: Please send your proposal electronically as PDF to:
Ann W. Harman
1214 North Poes Road
Flint Hill, VA 22627
540-364-4660
e-mail: ahworkerb@aol.com

Submission Deadline: Deadline December 1, 2011

Student Paper Award
    This award is offered for the best student paper presented at the American Bee Research Conference (ABRC). The recipient will receive $100 and a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
    Both graduate students and undergraduates are eligible for this award. The paper must involve the genus Apis. Students do not have to be members of AAPA, nor do their advisors need to be members.
The presenter should specify that he/she is a student participating in the competition when the title is submitted. Only one paper may be designated as participating in the competition.
Papers will be evaluated by a 3-judge panel for:
• presentation (not including responses to questions) (70 points)
• quality of research (30 points)
Comments from the judges will be returned to competitors to help strengthen their presentation skills.
Details of evaluation criteria may be obtained from Ann Harman at the above address.

Study of Bee Links Gene Regulatory Networks in the Brain to Behavior


  CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new study reveals that distinct networks of genes in the honey bee brain contribute to specific behaviors, such as foraging or aggression, researchers report.
The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to show that common, naturally occurring behaviors are under the influence of discrete regulatory networks in the brain. It confirms, scientists say, what years of research into the brain and behavior seemed to indicate: There is a close relationship between changes in gene expression – which genes are actively transcribed into other molecules to perform specific tasks in the cell – and behavior.
  "We found that there is a high degree of modularity in the regulation of genes and behavior, with distinct behavioral states represented by distinct gene network configurations," said University of Illinois entomology and neuroscience professor Gene Robinson, who led the study. Robinson is the director of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.
  The study made use of data from the BeeSpace Project. Curated by Illinois medical information science professor Bruce Schatz, BeeSpace is a catalog of genes that turn on or off in the bee brain in response to social cues, environmental changes or as a result of hereditary factors. By analyzing gene expression and behavioral data from dozens of studies (which were performed under the auspices of the BeeSpace Project), the researchers were able to get a broad view of the molecular changes in the bee brain that contribute to behavior.
  The team focused their analysis on lists of genes implicated in at least one of three categories of behavior: foraging, such as scouting for flowers or navigating to and from the hive; maturation, the process by which an adult honey bee graduates from being a nanny to working as a forager as it grows older; and aggression, or hive defense.
  The researchers then used a systems approach, led by Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Nathan Price (now at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle), to create a computer model of a gene regulatory network that could predict the differences in gene expression seen in the experimental studies.
  The model found a "mosaic" pattern of behavior-related gene expression in the brain. It also predicted that a few transcription factors – genes that regulate other genes – play a role in all three behavioral categories. Only four of these "global regulators" were identified, while sets of about 15-25 transcription factors were behavior-specific.
  Researchers have long worried that the regulation of brain gene expression is too complex to fathom, because so many factors can act together to regulate behavior.
  "But now we see that direct, linear relationships between transcription factors and downstream genes can predict a surprisingly large amount of gene expression," Price said. "This gives scientists hope that it will be possible to completely understand the regulation of brain gene expression in the future."
  Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

Newsnotes - October 2011

 

Florida Inmates Learn Beekeeping


Lake Butler Inmates at Reception and Medical Center are learning about beekeeping thanks to a new inmate re-entry program in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture. As part of the program, inmates are learning how to maintain a colony of honey bees and collect honey. After an inmate completes the program and is released from prison, he has an immediate job prospect with commercial beekeeper Dave Mendes.

The program began in July with 10 bee hives donated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and 20 inmates. Upon completion, inmates earn a training certificate and the possibility of a rewarding career.
“Inmates who have a skill and a job are less likely to return to prison, so programs like this advance public safety,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss.

Beekeeper and business owner Dave Mendes has guaranteed each inmate who successfully completes the program a job interview upon release from prison.

“I am very pleased to be a part of this program,” said Dave Mendes. “The need for new beekeepers has grown in recent years, and FDACS has done a tremendous job putting this together. The beekeeping industry needs more programs like this.”

Developed in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, this is the first and only beekeeping program in the Florida Prison system. 

“Florida’s honey bee industry has a tremendous impact on the economy and contributes significantly to the production of food and the viability of our natural ecosystems,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “Jobs in agriculture are diverse and can be very rewarding.  We look forward to working with the Department of Corrections to pursue every opportunity that promotes the health of the honey bee industry and creates long-term job opportunities in the industry.”

Currently one of every three inmates released from the Florida prison system returns to prison within three years. Through programs like this one, the Department of Corrections is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.

For additional information contact the Department of Corrections, Office of Public Affairs (850) 488-0420 or Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 888-397-1517.

National Honey Board and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Partner to Promote Honey Education


Recent Research Reveals Confusion About Honey Use With Young Children 
 
Firestone, Colo.–  July 28, 2011– The National Honey Board (NHB) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). Together, the organizations will develop a honey education program, based on recent research findings that uncovered widespread confusion surrounding the age when honey can be introduced to young children. Focused on health professionals who deal directly with parents of young children, education efforts will dispel honey misconceptions, explain the benefits of honey and remind parents that honey can be given to children older than one year of age. 

“It’s widely known that honey shouldn’t be fed to infants, but most people don’t know why or at what age it can be introduced,” said Cheri Barber, DNP, RN, CRNP, President of NAPNAP. “The truth is that honey can be introduced to a child at one year of age. It’s important that health care professionals and families with young children understand the facts about honey.”

Barber added that honey has been used for centuries to help soothe coughs, and with the recommended removal of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DM), parents are turning to effective natural remedies like honey.

The National Honey Board confirmed earlier this year through focus groups and a nationally fielded online survey that there is a need for honey education. Research* revealed that moms are confused about when to feed honey to their children, citing reasons for avoidance like allergens, bacteria and the like. But the educational program of NHB and NAPNAP would set the record straight:

Because infants’ gastrointestinal systems are immature and thus susceptible to contracting infant botulism if spores are present, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Department of Public Health and other health associations recommend that certain foods not be fed to infants under one year of age, including honey. After 12 months of age, honey may be introduced to a child’s diet. Botulinum spores occur in nature, but honey is one of the potential dietary sources for infant botulism.

The research showed that moms are nearly as likely to think honey is a potential food allergen as they are to identify its association with bacterial illness (36% avoid feeding infants honey because they think  it’s an allergen, 39% avoid honey due to its association with bacterial illness). Only one percent of moms chose “risk of botulism” as a reason to avoid feeding honey to infants. However, when provided the specific risk of “baby may get infant botulism,” this number jumped to 43%.

According to the research, more than half of moms (57%) erroneously think children should be 2 years or older before feeding them honey. The consumer research also showed that 82% of moms would be more likely to feed honey to their children close to their first birthday if they learned they could introduce it from one of their top trusted sources, especially if they receive an educational handout from their pediatric healthcare provider’s office. 

Overall, moms expressed excitement about rediscovering honey and its uses as a culinary ingredient and as a natural cough remedy, and want to learn more about honey.
“Our study showed that moms trust pediatricians and nurse practitioners the most to provide correct information about the age at which children can eat honey,” said Catherine Barry, director of marketing for the National Honey Board. “This finding confirms that we have the ideal partnership with NAPNAP for this public information campaign. Our efforts will begin this August.”

Research Methodology
*The National Honey Board research was conducted by the Ketchum Global Research Network and consisted of three focus groups among moms (two in Denver and one in Chicago in January 2011), three focus groups among health care professionals (one in Chicago and two at the annual NAPNAP conference in Baltimore, March 25, 2011). Directional findings from the focus groups helped form questions that were given in an online nationwide survey of 500 moms with children ages 5 and younger. The survey sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.

The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey. The National Honey Board is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the professional organization for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and other advanced practice nurses who care for children and is committed to improving the health care of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. An association of nearly 7,500 health care providers throughout the United States, NAPNAP has 48 Chapters nationwide. For more information, call 856/857-9700 or visit NAPNAP's Website at www.napnap.org.

The Flight of the Bumble Bee: Why Are They Disappearing?


By Dennis O'Brien

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist is trying to learn what is causing the decline in bumble bee populations and also is searching for a species that can serve as the next generation of greenhouse pollinators.

Bumble bees, like honey bees, are important pollinators of native plants and are used to pollinate greenhouse crops like peppers and tomatoes. But colonies of Bombus occidentalis used for greenhouse pollination began to suffer from disease problems in the late 1990s and companies stopped rearing them. Populations of other bumble bee species are also believed to be in decline.

Entomologist James Strange is searching for solutions at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pollinating Insects—Biology, Management and Systematics Research Unit in Logan, Utah. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of improving agricultural sustainability.

Many greenhouse growers now use commercially produced Bombus impatiens, a generalist pollinator native to the Midwest and Eastern United States and Canada. But scientists are concerned about using a bee outside its native range, and some western states restrict the import and use of non-native bees. If B. impatiens were to escape and form wild colonies in the western United States, they could compete with native bees for food and resources and expose native bumble bees to pathogens they are ill equipped to combat.

Strange has been studying a pretty, orange-striped generalist named Bombus huntii, native to the western half of the country, that could be used in greenhouses in the western United States. He is determining how to best rear B. huntii in a laboratory setting, a vital step in commercializing it.

To understand the decline of B. occidentalis, Strange and his colleagues also have been tracking its habitat range and population trends. Evidence gathered so far shows that the range and populations of B. occidentalis have declined, that it is not as genetically diverse as it used to be, and that it has higher pathogen prevalence than other bee species with stable populations. The results were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers also have assembled a large database with information on more than 80,000 Bombus specimens representing 10 species throughout the country, including B. occidentalis. With Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling technology, they were able to construct historic and current range maps of several bumble bee species. The mapping process is described in the Uludag Bee Journal.

Making a Bee-line for the Best Rewards


Bumblebees use complex problem solving skills to minimize the energy they use when flying to collect food, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

For the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), as with many other animals, the simplest approach to finding more nectar would be to fly to the nearest neighboring flower, particularly considering their tiny brain size. But a team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has found that this isn't the case.

The research team arranged six artificial flowers in a flight arena so that the bees would have to follow an unnecessarily long route when flying between nearest neighbor flowers to collect nectar. They watched the bees as they carried out 80 foraging bouts, and recorded which flowers they visited and in which order.

Writing in the journal Biology Letters, Dr Mathieu Lihoreau and colleagues report how, over 640 flower visits, the bees significantly reduced their flight distances as they learned the position of each flower within the array. Surprisingly, the bees almost never followed a nearest-neighbor strategy (in which the bee would fly to the nearest unvisited flower until all flowers are visited). Instead they prioritized following the shortest possible route by learning and memorizing individual flower locations.

The team's findings suggest that bees are able to solve complex routing problems by learning, without needing a sophisticated cognitive representation of space. Dr Lihoreau explained: "Despite having tiny brains, bees effectively used gradual optimization (comparing several different routes), to solve this famously complex routing problem which still baffles mathematicians 80 years after it was first posed."

Luck Bee a Lady


Beekeeping Industry to Gather in Las Vegas in January

Plans are well underway for the “Luck BEE a Lady” 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, Jan. 10-14, in Las Vegas, Nev. The annual meeting of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is sure to be the conference you won’t want to miss. And with an anticipated attendance of more than 600, beekeepers from all over North America and beyond will gather to share ideas and develop new contacts.

The conference promises to offer something for everyone, including many great opportunities for learning, networking and socializing. From the new small-scale beekeeper to the seasoned professional, conference organizers have planned a schedule to incorporate educational sessions at all levels. The tradeshow, as always, will feature the latest and greatest deals and new product ideas.

The conference will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The ABF has negotiated a discounted group rate for all conference attendees of $109 per night single/double occupancy plus tax. The ABF is excited to be in Las Vegas, the city that attracts more than 36 million visitors a year by offering the grandest hotels, the biggest stars in entertainment, the highest caliber of award-winning chefs, the brightest lights – and, now, the best beekeepers!

The conference will begin on Tuesday evening with a complimentary welcome reception for all registered attendees. Wednesday morning will kick-off with the Opening General Session followed by Shared Interest Group meetings, and then finish in the evening with the traditional Honey Queen Reception. The 2012 American Honey Show will also take place on Wednesday.

The tradeshow will open on Wednesday afternoon and remain open during conference hours until 1:00 p.m. on Friday. Thursday and Friday will be dedicated to general sessions, as well as the always-popular and well-attended Serious Sideliner Symposium. Interactive workshops will take place on Saturday morning. In addition, the ABF will host its annual banquet during the conference.

Registration rates, online registration and hotel reservation information is now available on the conference Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com. Be sure to check the Web site often as additional conference details will be posted as soon as they are made available.

National Honey Bee Day Celebrated in High Springs, Florida


It was a very warm and humid August day as folks gathered in High Springs for the 3rd National Honey Bee Awareness Day held at Dadant & Sons in High Springs. Next year it will be named National Honey Bee Day.

The visitors came from as far as the Florida Keys, Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, and many local surrounding counties here in North Florida. This event, sponsored by the Alachua County Beekeepers Club, draws the crowd and its membership from many surrounding counties. Attendees came to learn how they may help save our honey bees and other pollinators that are needed to help produce the foods we eat. Many were curious as to why anyone would want to keep thousands of insects in a box and why we spend so much of our time with honey bees. Others were new beekeepers and wanted to learn all the ins and outs on how to be a successful beekeeper.

The day allowed the public to learn from Christine McCoy how to make candles from beeswax or how to make soaps and body lotions from products from the hive taught by Joanne and Laura Latner. The crowd walked around outside in the bee yard with Dr. Jamie Ellis, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida (UF) and founder of the Bee College at UF, as he gave his presentation. The crowd watched as Apiary Inspector David Westervelt opened hives and passed around frames covered with live bees to the audience to handle and understand that bees are very docile creatures if we allow them to be. One of the purposes of this event is to show the public they don’t need to fear honey bees that are so beneficial to us all.

Inside the buildings the visitors were amazed at the beautiful German Copper-Embossed Artwork displayed by Ursula Westervelt alongside the booth where Laura Latner offered her home made soaps and other items made with products from the hive. The always entertaining Dr. Malcolm Sanford kept the crowd enthralled with his presentation and the offering of his latest book, "Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees". Jerry Hayes kept the audience amazed with his knowledge and wisdom on bees and how they need our help.
Everyone had the opportunity to learn from the best scientists, teachers, long-time beekeepers, authors of beekeeping books, and even look at bees and other insects under microscopes provided by the UF Bee Lab under the guidance of Jeanette Klopchin. Many couldn't wait for the fundraising auction conducted by Laurence Cutts, the inventor of the now famous Better Beetle Blaster.

Our special guests this year were the Florida Honey Queen Jayla Gillaspie from Ft. Myers, Florida and American Honey Princess Allison Adams from Plano, Texas. Along with the event at Dadant's all day on Saturday, the Queen and Princess did a "Cooking With Honey" demonstration at Hitchcock's Supermarket in Alachua, made a 30-minute on-air appearance with Jake and Ed on the "Talk of the Town" radio program on "The Star 99.5" in Gainesville, where they took phone calls from the public and explained some aspects of beekeeping and the many uses of honey. Handling a call from a person who spoke the usual fear tactics that help pest control companies to make money in exterminating bees, our dynamic duo calmly and professionally explained there is no need to fear AHB and explained proper management is the answer to dealing with the bees. Queen Jayla and Princess Allison also spoke to the Alachua County Beekeepers Club explaining their respective Queen Programs and answered many questions the membership asked them.

Early the next morning they made a brief presentation to the Honey Technical Council in Gainesville. Then they were off to  host two screenings of the movie "Queen of the Sun" at the Hippodrome Theatre where they did a question and answer program after each viewing for the public to answer all the questions about the movie or beekeeping. They also visited with Jerry Hayes at the Bureau of Plant & Apiary Inspection for a brief tour to see the operations and learn how the State Apiary Inspectors apply their skills to help the beekeepers in the state. They even had time to visit the Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville during their four-day visit. For more information on the Florida Honey Queen Program, visit http://floridabeekeepers.org/ and for the American Honey Queen Program, visit http://abfnet.org/displaycommon.cfm?
an=1&subarticlenbr=10

We are trying to save all honey bees and other pollinators and want to educate the public that calling the exterminator is not always the right thing to do. (Courtesy of Wayne McChesney)

New Product—Vita Swarm Attractant Wipe


Swarming poses beekeepers all sorts of challenges and this new product is designed to help attract swarms in search of a new home.

Packaged in a small sachet, the swarm attractant resembles a cleansing wipe and is impregnated with essential oils extracted from plants. To activate, the sachet can be pierced and hung in an empty hive, skep or other suitable container, or it can be wiped over the inner surface of the container.

The swarm attractant will keep for about two years in a fridge and will be effective for up to 10 days once opened, depending upon the ambient temperature).

According to Dr. Max Watkins, director of Vita (Europe) Limited: “This new swarm attractant will provide a very useful tool for beekeepers. It will help to attract passing swarms, and to lure swarms temporarily hanging in trees and other awkward places into a skep or box containing the swarm attractant. It will even reduce the risks of swarms leaving the apiary if a bait hive contains the attractant. Beekeepers tend to be very resourceful and innovative, so I also expect to hear about novel uses.”

Newsnotes - September 2011

 

Team Shows How the Honey Bee Tolerates Some Synthetic Pesticides

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study reveals how enzymes in the honey bee gut detoxify pesticides commonly used to kill mites in the honey bee hive. This is the first study to tease out the precise molecular mechanisms that allow a pollinating insect to tolerate exposure to these potentially deadly compounds.

The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Previous studies have shown that honey bee hives are contaminated with an array of agricultural chemicals, many of which the bees themselves bring back to the hive in the form of contaminated pollen and nectar, said University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, who led the new research.

"There are agricultural pesticides everywhere," she said. "They accumulate in the wax of bee hives, so bees in particular are exposed. And their habit of foraging very broadly across a staggering diversity of plant species also tends to expose them to many different types of habitats, which may also have different types of chemical residues."

Other chemicals are applied directly to the hives, she said. For the past 20 years, beekeepers have used acaricides - chemicals designed to kill mites but not bees - in the hive.

While evidence so far does not support the idea that exposure to synthetic pesticides is a cause or significant contributor to colony collapse disorder, the massive die-off of honey bees first reported in late 2006, "it's abundantly clear that pesticides aren't really very good for any insect," Berenbaum said. "So we figured it was about time somebody knew something about how pollinators process toxins."

The researchers focused on cytochrome P450s, enzymes that are well-known agents of detoxification "in most air-breathing organisms," Berenbaum said. Other studies had shown that cytochrome P450s in honey bees play a key role in their tolerance of pyrethroid pesticides, such as tau-fluvalinate, which is used to kill mites in the hive. But no previous study had identified specific cytochrome P450s in bees or in other pollinating insects that contribute to pyrethroid tolerance, Berenbaum said.

In a series of experiments, the team identified three cytochrome P450s in the honey bee midgut that metabolize tau-fluvalinate. They discovered that these enzymes also detoxify coumaphos, a structurally different organophosphate pesticide that also is used to kill mites in bee hives.

"This suggests that these honey bee cytochrome P450s are not particularly specialized," Berenbaum said. "That raises the possibility that a nontoxic dose of tau-fluvalinate may become toxic if an enzyme that is principally involved in its detoxification is otherwise occupied with a different chemical."

The evidence also suggests that honey bees were "pre-adapted" to detoxify pyrethroid pesticides, Berenbaum said. Pyrethroids are similar in structure to naturally occurring defensive compounds, called pyrethrins, produced by some flowering plants. Honey bees have likely had a long history of contact with pyrethrins, which are found even in some flowers in the daisy family. It appears that the same enzymes that helped the honey bees detoxify the pyrethrins in nature may also help them tolerate this relatively new pesticide exposure.

The new findings should enhance efforts to develop mite control methods that are even less toxic to bees, Berenbaum said.

New Apiculturist at UC Davis; Brian Johnson, UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley

DAVIS, CA--Honey bee researcher and apiculturist Brian R. Johnson, a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, has joined the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He is based at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road and at 396 Briggs Hall. Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, welcomed the new assistant professor.

'The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility has been the site of very innovative bee research over the years that have contributed to the facility's national and international reputation," Parrella said. "We are excited about hiring Brian Johnson as the new apiculturist at UC Davis as Brian is committed to moving the science of apiculture forward, as well as to conducting problem-solving research to help beekeepers, bee breeders and those stakeholders who rely on pollination services provided by honey bees."

As a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Johnson worked with Neil Tsutsui of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) from 2009 until this spring. Earlier, from 2006 to 2009, he served as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at UC San Diego and the University of Bristol, UK.

 Johnson received his doctorate in 2004 from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology (thesis: "Organization of Work in the Honey Bee"). He obtained his bachelor's degree in 1998 from the UC San Diego, where he majored in ecology, behavior and evolution.

As a candidate for the UC Davis apicultural position, Johnson presented a lecture at a Department of Entomology seminar in February 2011 on "Organization and Evolution of Honey Bee Societies: Experimental, Theoretical, and Computational Approaches."

"Although I've been studying bees for over 12 years, I still learn something unexpected and important with every new study," Johnson said. "The colony is like a hugely complex puzzle, with many pieces fitting together in functionally cohesive ways. This brain-teaser aspect of figuring out how a honey bee colony works is I think what first attracted me to bee research."

A native of Hartford, Conn., Johnson grew up primarily in San Jose but also lived in Omaha, Neb. He has broad interests in evolution, ecology, behavior, genetics, and theoretical biology.

"Basically, I'm interested in integrative biology, which is biological research on a trait at all levels from genes to ecology and behavior," Johnson said.

"In the past (prior to the 1980s) bees were more or less healthy, so little effort went into understanding their basic epidemiology," Johnson said. "When tracheal mites, and then Varroa moved in, great effort went into controlling these pests, but still little effort went into basic bee epidemiology. Now with colony collapse disorder (CCD), the emphasis is finally transitioning from trying to put out fires--by which I mean control nasty pests of current concern--to both trying to put out fires and understand what causes them in the first place."

"My hope is that Davis can be at the forefront of this endeavor to both control CCD,"
Johnson said, "and to understand what factors underlie a healthy or unhealthy population of honey bees."

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Department of Entomology
372 Briggs Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

The Beekeeper's Handbook, Fourth Edition

Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile
Foreward by Dewey Caron

Since 1973, tens of thousands of first-time and experienced beekeepers alike have relied on The Beekeeper's Handbook as the best single-volume guide to the hobby and profession of beekeeping. Featuring clear descriptions and authoritative content, this handbook provides step-by-step directions accompanied by more than 100 illustrations for setting up an apiary, handling bees, and working throughout the season to maintain a healthy colony of bees and a generous supply of honey. This book explains the various colony care options and techniques, noting advantages and disadvantages, so that beekeepers can make the best choices for their own hives.

This fourth edition has been thoroughly redesigned, expanded, updated, and revised to incorporate the latest information on Colony Collapse Disorder, green IPM methods, regional overwintering protocols, and procedures for handling bees and managing diseases and pests such as African honey bees and bee mites. The book explains not only how but also why each step is part of the transformative process that results in the magnificent creation of honey. This essential guide is a beekeeper's most valuable resource.

Colony Collapse Disorder has renewed our recognition of the importance of small-scale beekeeping and the critical role of bees in the production of our food supply. For the growing number of beekeepers looking to set up hives for either a rewarding hobby or a profitable commercial enterprise, this updated and revised essential how-to guide includes:

  • step-by-step directions for all stages from setting up an apiary to harvesting honey;
  • approximately 100 illustrations featuring techniques, equipment, and bee biology;
  • information about how to manage new pests and diseases including Colony Collapse Disorder;
  • coverage of new trends and changes in beekeeping including green IPM techniques and new laws for urban beekeeping;
  • the most up-to-date bibliography and list of resources on the topic; and
  • a new user-friendly book design that clearly highlights instructions and other important features.

To order this book, contact the Cornell University Press, 512 East State St., Ithaca, NY 14850. Web: www.cornellpress.cornell.edu


The book is available either paperbound ($29.95) or clothbound ($65.00). It has 320 pages and the ISBN is 978-0-8014-4981-9.

 


Honey, Nature's Golden Healer

by gloria havenhand

With increasing numbers of people ditching drugs for natural healing, Honey: Nature's Golden Healer is a timely look at how the beehive can help us look and feel better. Highlighted with hundreds of vivid color photographs, the book explains how honey is made and describes the complex lives of honeybees, beehive architecture and the sophisticated social structure of beehives. Novice beekeepers will find enough reliable information to get started on a small scale.

Honey examines the beneficial properties of honey and other bee products, such as propolis, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax, and explains how to collect and use them. The book includes recipes for homemade remedies, luxurious beauty formulas and delicious treats.

  • The critical role of honey bees in agriculture
  • The many types and colors of honey
  • Raw honey
  • How honey compares to sugar
  • Preserving with honey
  • Honey's antibacterial properties and how they work
  • Honey as a neutraceutical (a foodstuff with medicinal properties)
  • Bee sting therapy
  • Super-honeys
  • The benefits of propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly
  • Honey in cooking and baking.

This informative and illuminating book shows the links between honey and good health and why protecting the threatened populations of honeybees is important not only for their own survival, but for human longevity.

Gloria Havenhand is a beekeeper with hive populations in the millions. Her company, Medibee, produces bee products. She lives in Derbyshire, England.

This book sells for $19.95 plus shipping. For ordering information contact Firefly Books Ltd., (416) 499-8412. Web: www.fireflybooks.com. ISBN 13:978-1-55407-915-5. 16 pages, paperback.

 

Newsnotes - August 2011

Pollinators Make Critical Cotribution to Healthy Diets

Fruits and vegetables that provide the highest levels of vitamins and minerals to the human diet globally depend heavily on bees and other pollinating animals, according to a new study published in the international online journal PLoS ONE.

The new study was carried out by an interdisciplinary research team, comprised of pollination ecologists and a nutrition expert, based at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the University of Berlin in Germany, and the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. The research team showed that globally "animal-pollinated crops contain the majority of the available dietary lipid, vitamin A, C and E, and a large portion of the minerals calcium, fluoride, and iron worldwide. The yield increase attributable to animal-dependent pollination of these crops is significant and could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition if jeopardized."

More specifically, the team showed that in the global crop supply, several key vitamins and other nutrients related to lower risk for cancer and heart disease are present predominantly in crops propagated by pollinators. These include the carotenoids lycopene and ß-cryptoxanthin, which are found in brightly colored red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Other important antioxidants, including several forms of vitamin E and more than 90% of the available vitamin C, are provided by crops that are pollinated by bees and other animals.

Key minerals for the development of bones and teeth, including more than 50% of calcium and fluoride available in the global food supply, are present in crops produced with pollinators. Plant sources of calcium, such as sesame seed, almond or spinach, are particularly important in regions of the world where dairy production is often not culturally, environmentally or financially feasible.

The animal-pollinated crops included in this study vary in the extent of their dependence on animal pollinators, with many able to propagate via alternative mechanisms, such as wind or self pollination. Despite this, the researchers estimate that up to 40% of some essential nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables could be lost without pollinators.

Bees and other animal pollinators are experiencing declines in many parts of the globe. Many farmers around the world depend on the European honey bee, importing them seasonally to pollinate their fields. However, the European honey bee has suffered massive overwintering losses, proposed causes of which include disease, pesticides and lack of nutritional (floral) resources. Wild pollinators that provide pollination services "for free" are also declining rapidly as habitat is destroyed by intensive farming practices such as agrochemical-based monoculture. The results of this study demonstrate the potential impact of this pollinator decline on human health.

UCSF Finds New Bee Viruses, Offers Baseline to Study Clony Collapse

A 10-month study of healthy honey bees by University of California, San Francisco scientists has identified four new viruses that infect bees, while revealing that each of the viruses or bacteria previously linked to colony collapse is present in healthy hives as well.

The study followed 20 colonies in a commercial beekeeping operation of more than 70,000 hives as they were transported across the country pollinating crops, to answer one basic question: what viruses and bacteria exist in a normal colony throughout the year?

The results depict a distinct pattern of infections through the seasons and provide a normal baseline for researchers studying a colony - the bee population within a hive - that has collapsed. Findings are reported in the June 7 issue of the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE) at www.PLoSone.org.

The study tracked 27 unique viruses that afflict honey bees, including four that previously were unknown and others proposed as causes of the Colony Collapse Disorder that has been wiping out colonies for the past five years, according to senior author Joe DeRisi, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.

"We brought a quantitative view of what real migrating populations look like in terms of disease," DeRisi said. "You can't begin to understand colony die-off without understanding what normal is."

Because the colonies in this study remained healthy despite these pathogens, the research supports the theory that colony collapse may be caused by factors working alone or in combination, said Michelle Flenniken, PhD, who jointly led the research.

"Clearly, there is more than just exposure involved," said Flenniken, a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of UCSF microbiologist Raul Andino, PhD. "We noticed that specific viruses dominated in some seasons, but also found that not all of the colonies tested positively for a virus at the same time, even after long-distance transport in close proximity."

Honey bees are critical to U.S. agriculture, which depends upon them to pollinate 130 different crops, representing more than $15 billion in crop value each year and roughly one-third of the human diet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For the California almond crop to be successfully pollinated, DeRisi said, roughly half of the honeybees in the country - about 1.3 million honeybee colonies - must be in the Central Valley by the first week in February, when the trees begin to bloom. That need is echoed throughout the country, as different crops come due for pollination, resulting in semis traversing the nation for most of the year, each bearing hundreds of hives.

Since 2006, however, the bee industry has reported a mysterious phenomenon involving the sudden disappearance of most of a hive's worker bees, which leaves the queen and young bees without enough workers to support them. The disorder is one factor in the growing decline of U.S. honey bees - an estimated 30 percent of the population is lost each year and some beekeeping operations cite 90 percent losses, the USDA reports.

Researchers nationwide have identified various possible causes of that collapse, mainly based on pathogens found in the affected hives. While this study did not identify the cause of colony collapse, it did offer a measurement of the normal levels of pathogens.

In addition to viruses, the research revealed six species each of bacteria and fungi, four types of mites and a parasitic fly called a phorid, which had not been seen in honey bees outside California. One of the new viruses, a strain of the Lake Sinai virus, turned out to be the primary element of the honey bee biome, or community of bacteria and viruses.

"Here's a virus that's the single most abundant component of the bee biome and no one knew it was there," DeRisi said, noting that hundreds of millions of these viral cells were found in each bee in otherwise healthy colonies at certain times of the year.

Flenniken jointly led the work with doctoral student Charles Runckel, in DeRisi's lab. The team used a broad range of molecular detection tools for the study, including gene sequencing and a custom-designed microarray to detect insect pathogens. The microarray was designed using the same principles used for detecting human viruses, which DeRisi pioneered with UCSF professor Donald Ganem, MD. It was built in the Center for Advanced Technology on the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

The research was primarily funded by Project Apis m., which includes members of the American Honey Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, the National Honey Board, California State Beekeepers Association and California almond farmers. DeRisi is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Flenniken's research was supported by the Häagen Dazs post-doctoral fellowship in honey bee biology, through University of California, Davis. Other funding sources and data can be found in the full paper.

Co-authors include Andino, in the UCSF Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Juan C. Engel, in the UCSF Sandler Center for Drug Discovery and UCSF Department of Pathology; and J. Graham Ruby and Donald Ganem, in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and UCSF departments of Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Microbiology.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information, visit www.ucsf.edu.

Wild Pollinators Worth Up to $2.4 Billion to California Farmers, Study Finds

By Ann Brody Guy,
College of Natural Resources

BERKELEY -California agriculture reaps $937 million to $2.4 billion per year in economic value from wild, free-living bee species that serve the critical function of pollinating crops, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, published this week in the June issue of the journal Rangelands.

About one-third of the value of California agriculture comes from pollinator-dependent crops, representing a net value of $11.7 billion per year, according to the study. Currently, many farmers rent European honeybees to ensure crop pollination, and it has been widely assumed that wild pollinators were not a significant source of crop pollination. However, the new study estimated that wild pollinators residing in California's natural habitats, chiefly rangelands, provide 35-39 percent, or more than one-third, of all pollination "services" to the state's crops.
"This means that preserving rangelands has significant economic value, not only to the ranchers who graze their cattle there, but also to farmers who need the pollinators," said Claire Kremen, UC Berkeley associate professor of environmental science, policy and management, and senior author of the study.

The study is the first to calculate the percentage of crop pollinators that are wild, free-living species based on their proximity to natural habitats, and thus to identify the economic value of the pollination service due to wild pollinators.

Researchers said both rented European honeybees and wild pollinator bee species are currently experiencing supply problems. More than 1 million honeybee colonies are imported to California each year, chiefly for almond pollination. Recently, beekeepers have suffered high rates of colony losses due to diseases, pesticides and management factors, increasing the uncertainty of both supply and rental prices.

Wild pollinator species also show declines in abundance and diversity on farmlands, most likely due to habitat loss from the intensive monoculture, or single crop, production system that typifies much of California's agricultural lands.

"Currently, wild pollinators are least abundant in intensive monoculture production areas such as sunflowers, almonds and melons, where demand for pollination services is largest," said Kremen, who was named a 2007 MacArthur Fellow for her work in ecology, biodiversity and agriculture.

Wild Pollinators Key to Sustainability

Kremen said the findings suggest that if farmers paid ranchers to stay on the land and maintain the habitat, the farmers would be increasing their sources of pollination and developing critical diversification to support their agricultural practices.

"We would never invest all of our retirement savings in just one stock, but this is essentially what farmers do when they rely solely on the European honeybee for pollination," said Kremen. She said this is exactly what is occurring in California agriculture right now.

"Diversifying their monetary investment in pollinators to include wild, rangeland-dwelling species is the same idea as diversifying a stock portfolio," she said, adding that the unpredictability associated with climate change amplifies the importance of diversification.

"Some insect species will thrive in changed climate conditions, and others won't. Maintaining a biodiverse stock of pollinators is like the insurance that a diversified stock portfolio brings: some will be up, some will be down, but having a portfolio of many different species ensures viability into the future," Kremen said.

Placing a value on ecosystem services is an established part of conservation science and helps scientists understand the contributions of various elements of an ecosystem and how they influence each other.

The UC Berkeley researchers estimated the current contribution of wild pollinators to California agriculture by integrating their knowledge of the relationship between natural habitat and wild pollination services with the added dimension of location-specific data.

"Essentially, we identified where wild pollinators were living in relation to crops. When we put it all on a map, we got a highly informative picture of how the pollinators could be impacting crop production," Kremen said. She said they used data from the National Agriculture Statistics Service on crop production and value to help calculate the monetary value.

Changing Perspective on Role of Rangeland
Lynn Huntsinger, a professor of rangeland management at UC Berkeley who is not affiliated with the study, said that the findings are significant because the study is the first to discover that conserving rangelands enhances crop production.

"This evidence of economic symbiosis makes it clear that rangeland conservation cannot be separated from the needs of agriculture, whether it is farming or ranching," Huntsinger said.
She said that precisely because rangelands have been used for ranching - livestock grazing - ranchers have kept the land conserved and stewarded it in ways that result in habitat that sustains wild bee species as well as other wildlife.

"Studies in some ecosystems have shown that well-managed grazing can keep invasive grasses from shading out the flowering herbs that native pollinators rely on," Huntsinger said.

The state's rangelands have been decreasing steadily, as the foothills and oak-dotted grasslands can be highly desirable for residential development, Huntsinger said. California lost 105,000 acres of grazing lands to urbanization between 1990 and 2004, according to the state Department of Conservation. The California Oak Foundation projects that the state could lose another 750,000 acres by 2040.

She said the vast majority of rangelands are privately owned, and income from ranching is usually small compared to the price the land can command in the real estate market, so when cash is needed for college, retirement or other major expenses, ranchers face strong pressure to sell.

"This new finding about pollinators is important because not only does it tell us something we need to know to maintain our ability to grow food, it also provides a statewide value for the service of providing pollinator habitat. Ranchers need to get that value and other rangeland values recognized in order to sustain their ranches," Huntsinger said.

The finding comes at a time when there is growing interest within the ranching community in providing ecosystem services, Huntsinger said. For example, as part of conservation efforts, California ranchers have been asked to maintain flowers for endangered butterflies and to keep small spring wetlands known as vernal pools healthy - using grazing as a tool to manipulate the grassland.

Darrel Sweet, a fifth generation cattle rancher from Livermore and a former president of the California Cattlemen's Association, said that placing a dollar value on rangelands pollination services lends powerful support to these efforts."The value of grazing and other land stewardship practices of California's ranchers is being increasingly acknowledged as not only a preferred land use, but also as an essential resource management tool," said Sweet. "I hope this study is just the beginning of comparable findings that show how ranching is a critical - and multifaceted - element of California agriculture."

Calling to mind the classic "Oklahoma!" song "The Farmer and Cowman Should Be Friends," the study's findings suggest a host of ways farmers might work with ranchers to their mutual benefit, Kremen said.

While the study issues the caveat that the exact value of pollination services from natural habitats is difficult to pin down using currently available data, Kremen said the findings highlight from a biophysical perspective how important this value is.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

High-mountain wildflower season
reduced, affecting pollinators like bees, hummingbirds

It's summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color.

But for how long?

Once, wildflower season in montane meadow ecosystems extended throughout the summer months. But now scientists have found a fall-off in wildflowers at mid-season.

They published their results, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the current issue of the Journal of Ecology.

"Shifts in flowering in mountain meadows could in turn affect the resources available to pollinators like bees," says David Inouye of the University of Maryland, currently on leave in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

Inouye and colleagues George Aldridge and William Barr of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Jessica Forrest of the University of California at Davis, and Abraham Miller-Rushing of the USA National Phenology Network in Tucson, Ariz., found that such changes could become more common as climate change progresses.

"Some pollinators with short periods of activity may require only a single flower species," write the ecologists in their paper, "but pollinators active all season must have flowers available in sufficient numbers through the season."

For example, bumblebees, important pollinators in many regions, need a pollen and nectar supply throughout the growing season to allow the queen bee to produce a colony.

As mid-summer temperatures have warmed in places like the Elk Mountains of Colorado, the researchers have found that the mid-season decline in flowering totals is ecosystem-wide.
"These meadows are heavily affected by snowmelt and temperature," says Inouye. "Wildflowers use information from these natural cues to 'know' when it's time to unfurl their petals."
The early-season climate is becoming warmer and drier in the high altitudes of the southern Rocky Mountains.

These changing conditions are altering moisture availability and hence flowering timing in sub-alpine meadows, says Inouye. The result is a mid-season decline in number of wildflowers in bloom.

Such changes in seasonal flower availability across large areas, or in individual habitats, could have serious consequences for entire pollinator populations, says Inouye, which include not only bees, but hummingbirds and others that feed on pollen and nectar.

Over the long term, he and colleagues believe, the changes could affect animal-pollinated plants.
If bees and hummingbirds need flowers, flowers need hummingbirds and bees.

And they all need a high-meadow ecosystem that changes at its own pace, say the scientists, not one moving in fast-forward in tandem with warmer temperatures.

Otherwise those sultry days and nights, especially in high summer, may leave Colorado mountain meadows empty, along with their wildflowers, and the pollinators that depend on them, vanished in the shimmering heat.

Entomologists Launch the 5,000 Insect Genome Pproject (i5k)

Researchers aim to sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects and other arthropods over the next five years

It's been called "the Manhattan Project of Entomology," an undertaking that has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about insects.
The i5k Initiative, also known as the 5,000 Insect Genome Project, was recently launched with a letter to Science (http://www.science
mag.org/content/331/6023/1386.citation) from ten signers known as the i5K Ad Hoc Launch Group. Now the latest issue of American Entomologist features an interview (http://entsoc.org/PDF/2011/AE-15k.pdf) with four of the signers about the project's origins, purpose, and goals.
The Initiative aims to sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects and other arthropods over the next five years in order to "improve our lives by contributing to a better understanding of insect biology and transforming our ability to manage arthropods that threaten our health, food supply, and economic security."
"We hope that generating this data will lead to better models for insecticide resistance, better models for developing new pesticides, better models for understanding transmission of disease, or for control of agricultural pests," said Daniel Lawson, a coordinator at the European Bioinformatics Institute. "Moving into the genetics era revolutionizes what you can do, what you can try to assay in your species, what you can infer from your experiments."
According to Gene E. Robinson, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "This will provide information that breeders would need to look for ways of dealing with insect resistance to pesticides. It would also provide geneticists with information on what might be vulnerable points in an insect's makeup, which could be used for novel control strategies."
As the costs of genomic sequencing continue to fall due to technological improvements, it will soon become feasible to cheaply sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects of medical and agricultural importance, and then to mine the genomes for data which could lead to better insect control and management products and techniques.
"For example, we could mine data for cytochrome p450 detox genes. Those genes are involved with detoxifying chemicals that are inside insects, so if we know about those genes from one insect to another, we can use that information to actually kill the insects," said Kevin J. Hackett, a national program leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. "Or if you take beneficial insects like honey bees, which do not have as many detoxifying genes and are more susceptible to chemicals, that kind of information could be used to help protect bees."
The leaders of the i5K Initiative invite entomologists around the world to sign up and to create wiki pages at http://arthropod
genomes.org/wiki/i5K in order to recommend which insect genomes should be sequenced in the future, report which insect genomes are already being sequenced, and to start conversations with other scientists who are working on similar projects.
"We're trying to find out who's working on what insects, and if they feel that having genomic information about their insects would help," said Susan J. Brown, a professor at Kansas State University. "Quite a few researchers are probably working on transcriptomics, looking at the genes that are transcribed under certain contexts, environmental conditions or life stages. Looking at the whole genome will help us understand these comparatively and not just in one organism."

"We want this to be a broad-based, inclusive effort," said Dr. Robinson. "We want all people to be involved, we want all insects of agricultural importance, all insects of medical importance, and so forth. Workshops will be organized and held, and there will be opportunities for further input, interactions, and the ability to shape the project."
To find out more, read the interview in American Entomologist at http://entsoc.
org/PDF/2011/AE-15k.pdf, and to participate, visit the i5k wiki website at http://
arthropodgenomes.org/wiki/i5K.
American Entomologist (http://entsoc.

org/Pubs/Periodicals/AE) is a quarterly magazine published by the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Founded in 1889, ESA is a non-profit organization committed to serving the scientific and professional needs of more than 6,000 entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.


Honey Stinger Announces Pink Lemonade and Lime-ade Organic Chew Flavors

Honey Stinger, the leading manufacturer of honey-based nutritional products, is pleased to announce the addition of Pink Lemonade and caffeinated Lime-Ade flavors to its product line. The new offerings add to Honey Stinger's popular USDA-certified organic line, bringing the total number of flavor varieties to six.

"Our chews have found a loyal following among runners, cyclists, triathletes and health conscious consumers. The new flavors will only build upon that," states Bill Gamber, Honey Stinger president and co-founder. "The combination of size, taste and consistency of our chews makes them an ideal energy snack. It doesn't hurt that they're also delicious."

All Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews feature the following:

  • A great tasting enjoyable snack or source for energy during any athletic activity
  • Made with USDA certified Organic ingredients
  • 100% Organic tapioca syrup and honey - Pink Lemonade flavor
  • 95% Organic ingredients- Lime-Ade flavor
  • 160 calories per 50g (1.8 oz) package
  • 100% RDA Vitamin C
  • 1g protein per packet
  • 1g fiber per packet
  • Lime-Ade flavor offers 32mg of caffeine from white tea extract
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free and non-GMO ingredients
  • 0g Trans Fats and no partially hydrogenated oils
  • Multiple carbohydrate source: glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose
  • Pure natural energy, truly great taste
  • Available May 24, 2011
  • MSRP $1.99 per packet

Available from specialty retail and nutrition outlets nationwide and retailing for $1.99 per package, the new chew flavors are in stock and offered in single serving, box or case quantities.

About Honey Stinger
Located in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Honey Stinger makes convenient, nutritious and great tasting honey-based foods including energy bars, organic chews and Stinger Waffles. Fueling some of the country's  top cyclists, runners, triathletes and teams, Honey Stinger welcomed Lance Armstrong to its ownership team in early 2010. Honey Stinger products are available at specialty sporting goods retailers, natural food grocers and www.honeystinger.com.

Newsnotes - July 2011

USDA/AIA Survey Reports 2010/2011 Winter Honey Bee Losses

By Kim Kaplan
USDA, ARS News Service

WASHINGTON - Total losses from managed honey bee colonies nationwide were 30 percent from all causes for the 2010/2011 winter, according to the annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA).

This is roughly similar to total losses reported in similar surveys done in the
four previous years: 34 percent for the 2009/2010 winter, 29 percent for 2008/2009; 36 percent for 2007/2008, and 32 percent for 2006/2007.

"The lack of increase in losses is marginally encouraging in the sense that the problem does not appear to be getting worse for honey bees and beekeepers," said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) who helped conduct the study. "But continued losses of this size put tremendous pressure on the economic sustainability of commercial beekeeping." Pettis is the leader of the Bee Research Laboratory operated in Beltsville, Md., by ARS, the chief scientific research agency of USDA.

The survey, which covered the period from October 2010 to April 2011, was led by Pettis and by AIA past presidents Dennis vanEngelsdorp and Jerry Hayes.

Beekeepers reported that, on average, they felt losses of 13 percent would be economically acceptable. Sixty-one percent of responding beekeepers reported having losses greater than this.

Average colony loss for an individual beekeeper's operation was 38.4 percent. This compares to an average loss of 42.2 percent for individual beekeepers' operations in 2009/2010.

Average loss by operation represents the percentage of loss in each operation added together and divided by the number of beekeeping operations that responded to the survey. This number is affected more by small beekeeping operations, which may only have 10 or fewer colonies, so a loss of just five colonies in a 10-colony operation would represent a 50 percent loss. Total losses were calculated as all colonies reported lost in the survey divided by the total number of bee colonies reported in the survey. This number is affected more by larger operations, which might have 10,000 or more colonies, so a loss of five colonies in a 10,000-colony operation would equal only a 0.05 percent loss.

Among surveyed beekeepers who lost any colonies, 31 percent reported losing at least some of their colonies without finding dead bee bodies-one of the symptoms that defines Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). As this was an interview-based survey, it was not possible to differentiate between verifiable cases of CCD and colonies lost as the result of other causes that share the "absence of dead bees" as a symptom. The cause of CCD is still unknown.

The beekeepers who reported colony losses with no dead bee bodies present also reported higher average colony losses (61 percent), compared to beekeepers who lost colonies but did not report the absence of dead bees (34 percent in losses).

A total of 5,572 beekeepers, who manage more than 15 percent of the country's estimated 2.68 million colonies, responded to the survey.

A complete analysis of the survey data will be published later this year. The abstract can be found at http://www.extension.org/pages/58013/honey-bee-winter-loss-survey

More information about CCD can be found at  http://www.ars.usda.gov/ccd.

Penn State Leads in Honey Bee Health Initiative

University Park, Pa. -- A nationwide network to monitor and maintain honeybee health is the aim of the Bee Informed Partnership, a five-year, $5 million program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by Penn State.

The Bee Informed Partnership will use an epidemiological approach to identify bee common management practices and use them to develop best practices on a regional and operationally appropriate level. The Partnership will include many institutions already involved in pollinator work, but will also strive to include citizens involved in beekeeping or other aspects of the problem for data collection and integration.

"We would like to reduce honey bee mortality, increase beekeeper profitability and enhance adoption of sustainable management systems in beekeeping," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, senior extension associate, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, who will lead the project. "At the same time we want to increase the reliability of production in pollinator dependent crops and increase the profitability of pollinator-dependent producers."

Project partners will create and maintain a dynamic Honey Bee Health database with an interactive web-based interface. Penn State and partners will also survey colony mortality, pathogens and parasites, as well as beekeeping management strategies, costs and outputs. They will create a pollinator quality and availability reporting system and an emerging-issues alert system.

Some of the surveys planned by the Partnership include the continuation of the colony winter loss survey, an annual survey of management practices and a survey of pollinator availability. Other surveys will focus on determining colony mortality, parasite loads and socioeconomic factors.

"By surveying beekeepers about their management practices, as well as their colonies' overwintering success, we can use epidemiological methods to tell beekeepers which practices work and which do not."

The multistate team hopes that their work and especially their educational efforts to introduce the best management practices will reduce national losses in honeybee populations by 50 percent in the next five years, according to vanEngelsdorp.

Co-investigators on the project are the University of California -- California Cooperative Extension, University of Illinois, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University, Appalachian State University, Lincoln University, USDA-ARS and the Florida Department of Agriculture. Other collaborators include NASA and USDA-Animal and Plant Health Service.

For more information visit www.beeinformed.org.

Former UC Davis Department Chair Named Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University

Honey bee geneticist Robert E. Page Jr., emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, is the newly appointed vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University.

ASU Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth D. Capaldi announced the appointment May 11. The appointment is effective July 1.

Page's responsibilities will encompass student academic affairs, faculty development, promotion of research, and the planning and implementation of degree programs for a college that has nearly 18,000 undergraduate and more than 2,500 graduate students, according to an ASU news release. He also will be responsible for budgeting, planning, fundraising and personnel decisions.

Page, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 1980, served as an assistant professor at  Ohio State University before joining the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1989. He chaired the department for five years, from 1999 to 2004.

Page's specialized genetic stock of honey bees is based at UC Davis. Bee breeder-geneticist Michael "Kim" Fondrk, who worked with Page at Ohio State University, UC Davis and ASU, manages the stock.

In 2004--the year Page retired from UC Davis--ASU recruited him as the founding director and dean of the School of Life Sciences, an academic unit within CLAS. At the time, his duties included organizing three departments-biology, microbiology and botany, totaling more than 600 faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff--into one unified school. 

As its founding director, Page established the school as a platform for discovery in the biomedical, genomic and evolutionary and environmental sciences. He also established ASU's Honey Bee Research Facility.

In a news release written by ASU's Carol Hughes, ASU president Michael M. Crow praised him as  "ideally suited to head the university's core academic unit."

"Rob Page has a track record of academic, scientific and administrative excellence and has exhibited strategic vision in organizing faculties into a school without disciplinary boundaries," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "That is the type of experience and achievement that makes him ideally suited to head the university's core academic unit."

"Rob has been a strong leader of one of the largest units in CLAS," said Provost Capaldi, "and has shown he can bridge many disciplines, bring faculty together, innovate in curriculum and instruction, and build excellence." (Kathy Keatley Garvey, Dept. of Entomology, University of California)

Vita Research Prize 2011

Vita (Europe) Ltd is calling for applications for its 2011 Vita Research award for honeybee health research. Application information for the prize, valued at up to Euros 10,000, is available on the Vita website www.vita-europe.com. The closing date is 1 July 2011.

The biannual Vita research award was  launched in 2005 with well-known beekeeper Pres. Viktor Yuschenko of the Ukraine as patron. Awards have been made for research into chalkbrood control, molecular (DNA) techniques to detect honeybee viruses, and the optimum way to introduce varroa-controlling fungi into a hive. Award winners have been based in Greece, Jordan and Italy.

Jeremy Owen, sales director of Vita (Europe) Ltd said: "The international Vita Research award series has been a great success and we would like to encourage even more entries. As the largest dedicated honeybee health company in the world, we are eager to foster much-needed new research to combat threats to honeybees. The winner of the 2011 Award will be announced at Apimondia in Buenos Aires in September this year.

Website: www.vita-europe.com
Facebook: "Vita (Europe) Ltd"
Twitter@vitaeuropeltd

Honey Recipes From a Welsh Kitchen

Jones, J. IBRA. 2011. Spiral bound. 112pp. ISBN:978-0-86098-268-5. Price £9.50 Contact IBRA at www.ibrastore.org.uk

Inspired by the versatility and potential of honey as a cooking ingredient, Jane has produced over 100 delicious recipes in this attractive book. With step-by-step instructions and color photographs throughout, cooking with honey is easy!

For convenience the recipes are grouped into the following chapters: Meat / Fish / Vegetarian and Salads / Desserts / Cakes / Biscuits / Christmas. The dishes range from spicy beef medallions to mouth-watering Glamorgan sausages, and from traditional Welsh cakes to fabulous honey walnut biscuits.

This book is aimed at those who want to use one of the oldest ingredients in the world! A product that is so versatile it should not be ignored in the kitchen! It is a book for expert and novice alike with a page of ‘Useful tips for cooking with honey' to help you on your way.

Obituary

Bennie Lou Franks Weaver

Bennie Lou Franks Weaver was born Jan. 9, 1923, to Dovey Lucille Barnett Franks and Robert Ingram Franks in Del Rio, Texas.  Bennie Lou passed away May 16, 2011 at home in Lynn Grove, with Binford Weaver, her husband of 52 years and 9 months, by her side.

Bennie Lou spent her early years ranching in West Texas, losing her father, Bob, to an auto accident in 1930. Bennie Lou and Dovey persevered, ranching a 26 section place between Fort Stockton and Iraan until moving to another large ranch outside McCamey, where Bennie Lou graduated as Salutatorian of the 1941 class. Bennie Lou entered Baylor University on a scholarship in the fall of 1941, taking a leave of absence during the first years of World War II to help her mother on the ranch. Bennie Lou returned to Baylor and graduated in 1946, majoring in English with a minor in Music. After graduation, she married Phillip Renstrom, moved to California and taught High School in the San Francisco Bay area, and later at Kearney, Nebraska. Her first marriage ended in divorce, and she returned to Waco, Texas, teaching English while earning her Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling at Baylor.
Bennie Lou remained close to her former roommate at Baylor, Reba Lou Weaver Campbell, and Reba's family, especially Reba's brother, Binford. Bennie Lou and Binford were married on Aug. 9, 1958, and afterward she made a loving home in Lynn Grove.

Bennie Lou served as a guidance counselor and teacher at Navasota High School in the late 1960s and early 1970s, where she joyfully influenced the development and success of many young people.  Bennie was also a certified Red Cross swimming and lifeguard instructor, and for many years shared responsibilities for the summer swimming program at the Navasota pool with her good friends, Jackie Baker, Carol Coleman, Anne Largent, Diane Moore and others.  She supported her husband as an active member and leader of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF), attending every meeting of the ABF from 1969 until 2009. She was active in the Navasota Music Study club and the Navasota Garden club, serving as president of each, and an avid bridge player. Bennie Lou was a founding member of the Grimes County Republican Party and an early supporter of George H. W. Bush in his campaigns for Congress and the Senate in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bennie Lou grew up in the Baptist Church, became a member of the Lynn Grove Methodist Church after marriage, and subsequently, the First Presbyterian Church in Navasota, where she remained a faithful attendee until failing health intervened.

Bennie Lou was preceded in death by her father, Robert (August 30, 1930); her mother, Dovey (March 28, 1972); her adopted sister, Barbara Robinson, and Bennie Lou's beloved son, Robert Roy Weaver (January 15, 1995).  She is survived by her husband, Binford, of Lynn Grove, a son, Daniel Binford Weaver and daughter-in-law, Laura Gregory Weaver, and three grandsons, Travis Binford Weaver, Dylan Gregory Weaver and Stone Barnett Weaver, all of Austin, Texas.

Bennie Lou never met a stranger, regardless of origin; could find a fellow Texan in the dark on a new moon anywhere she roamed, but folks from west of the Nueces were her favorites; she was always quick with a smile but ready to speak her mind. Bennie Lou was a master of Southwestern cooking and a lover of Classical, Big Band and Jazz music; a fierce protector of right over might, and compassionate to those in need. Mostly, she was one of a kind.

 

Newsnotes - June 2011

 

Mite-Away Quick Strip Questions & Answers

(From David VanderDussen
NOD Apiary Products)

MAQS has been in the marketplace in Hawaii for 18 month, and now parts of the US for 2 months. There has been a lot of interest and many phone calls. Here is a Top-10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for MAQS:

1) Subject: The paper wrap on the gel strip.
Q) I removed the outer plastic wrap, should I peel the inner paper wrap off of the of the gel?
A) The paper wrap stays on. It works as a wick to help control the vapor release.

2) Subject: Examining the colony and then treating.
Q) The label says to disturb the colony as little as possible at time of application. Can I do a full colony exam and then treat immediately, or should I wait and come back and treat?
A) The bees need to have their affairs in order when treated. When running trials it was found out that the colony assessments were best done 3 days in advance of the application. If the colonies were taken apart, assessed, reassembled and then treated shortly after we saw some absconding. It also increased the risk of queen loss. After an exam it would be best to wait at least until the next day to apply MAQS.
 
3) Subject: Treating with honey supers on.
Q) Can I really treat with honey supers on? Why does it not flavor the honey?
A) Formic acid naturally occurs in honey at levels ranging up to over 2,000 parts per million (ppm). The formic acid concentration in hive air during MAQS treatment remains well below 100 ppm, so the levels in the honey do not go outside of naturally occurring levels.
 
4) Subject: Screen Bottom Boards
Q) Should I leave the Screen Bottom open or close it off?
A) There was only one trial run so far with screen bottom boards open, by Randy Oliver (www.scientificbeekeeping.com). He published the results in the February 2011 issue of American Bee Journal. There was a 4 to 5 % reduction in efficacy over a solid bottom board, however, both open screen and solid bottom boards saw over 90% drop in mite loads, so it is basically up to the beekeeper.
 
5)  Subject: Additional entrances, cracks in the equipment.
Q) Should I close off all entrances except the fully open bottom board entrance?
A) The fully open bottom entrance should be seen as meeting the minimum ventilation need. Having additional entrances does not seem to affect the efficacy of the treatment. Adequate ventilation is critical with this product. For 2 brood chamber colonies some beekeepers slide back the second story to create a temporary full width entrance, and then slide the boxes back square sometime after the first 3 days.
 
6) Subject: Colony response - bees bearding on the hive.
Q) It looks like most of the bees in the hive are bearding out on hive. Is this normal?
A) It is normal for the bees to beard out for the first day, especially under warmer conditions. See the University of Hawaii photos in their report from 2009, found at: http://www.miteaway.com/V1-wright -varroa.pdf. There may be an increase in adult bee mortality in the first three days after application. Remember natural loss of bees occurs at about the same rate as egg-laying; with the formic treatment the bees may not be able to clean away the bees as quickly as usual.
 
7) Subject: Field bee activity.
Q) Will the bees continue to forage during the treatment?
A) Yes, the bees continue to forage.
 
8) Subject: Impact on brood - reducing dose?
Q) What is impact on the brood? Can I reduce the dose?
A) Studies have shown that reducing the dose reduces the effectiveness, and may still cause some brood damage. What we know from trials conducted so far is that MAQS works best by the 2-strip dose. Any brood damage that occurs is quickly made up, the queen is laying throughout the cluster area by Day +7. There are often lots of eggs by Day+4 although they may be as far away from the strips as possible. Any damage is cleaned up by Day +7. The field bees can continue to get pollen through the whole treatment, so there are good protein reserves when all the larva need feeding. The next time that MAQS is used, even if it is months later, the bees somehow know how to cope better.
 
9) Subject: Moving bee hives during treatment.
Q) Can I move the bees during the 7-day treatment period?
A) The bees should not be disturbed during the treatment period.
 
10) Subject: Removing the strip residue after treatment.
Q) The bees chewed up some of the strips, but did not remove it all. How do I dispose of the residue?
A) The residue from MAQS will simply compost over time. It can be handled the same way as any other organic yard-waste material.

USDA PROVIDES EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO PRODUCERS OF HONEYBEES, LIVESTOCK AND FARM-RAISED FISH FOR 2010

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than $8 million in disaster assistance will be issued starting immediately to livestock, honeybee and farm-raised fish producers that suffered losses in 2010 because of disease, adverse weather or other conditions. The aid will come from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP).

"ELAP is an important tool to help producers of America's livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish stay in business after they experience significant losses because of natural disasters," Vilsack said. "A healthy livestock, honeybee and fish industry is vital to America's food supply and economy."

Included in the $8 million is more than $5 million to compensate beekeepers for 2010 losses. Under ELAP, producers are compensated for losses that are not covered through other disaster assistance programs established by the 2008 Farm Bill, specifically the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.

ELAP sign-up for 2011 losses is under way. Producers with 2011 losses must file an ELAP application no later than Jan. 30, 2012. They also must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent to the producer or Oct. 31, 2011, whichever date is earlier. ELAP benefits related to 2011 losses are expected to be issued in early 2012.
For more information about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, please visit a nearby FSA service center or online at http://www.fsa.usda.
gov/elap.

HONEY CAN REVERSE ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

Manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate.
Prof. Rose Cooper from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is looking at how manuka honey interacts with three types of bacteria that commonly infest wounds: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Her group has found that honey can interfere with the growth of these bacteria in a variety of ways and suggests that honey is an attractive option for the treatment of drug-resistant wound infections.

Honey has long been acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties. Traditional remedies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by diverse ancient civilizations. Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand and is included in modern licensed wound-care products around the world. However, the antimicrobial properties of honey have not been fully exploited by modern medicine as its mechanisms of action are not yet known.

Prof. Cooper's group is helping to solve this problem by investigating at a molecular level the ways in which manuka honey inhibits wound-infecting bacteria. "Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections. Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," explained Prof. Cooper. "Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin - effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey."
This research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective antimicrobial options. "We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria," said Professor Cooper. At present, most antimicrobial interventions for patients are with systemic antibiotics. "The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonized wounds to susceptible patients."

National Honey Board Works on Honey Purity Test

Firestone, Colo. - The National Honey Board (NHB) has contracted with two different laboratories to develop a test that could help to differentiate pure honey from honey pretenders.

"The National Honey Board believes honey pretenders have a negative impact on the honey industry," said Buddy Ashurst, NHB Chairman. "The industry can't compete with low-priced products misrepresented as honey. We need to improve on current tests or develop new tests."

After conducting an extensive survey of food testing laboratories in 2010, the Board recently committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to this effort by contracting with the two laboratories. The goal is to have a simple, cost effective test that can widely be used by the honey industry, honey users and consumers to advance the image and marketability of honey.

The projects are intended to develop new procedures or improve upon current established testing procedures that could better the sensitivity, simplify, or lower the cost of currently accepted tests.

The Board is hopeful that these projects will be successful and provide the honey industry and honey users with additional, lower cost methods to ensure honey purity.

The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey. The National Honey Board is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Genetic Study Offers Insight into the Social Lives of Bees

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Most people have trouble telling them apart, but bumble bees, honey bees, stingless bees and solitary bees have home lives that are as different from one another as a monarch's palace is from a hippie commune or a hermit's cabin in the woods. A new study of these bees offers a first look at the genetic underpinnings of their differences in lifestyle.
The study focuses on the evolution of "eusociality," a system of collective living in which most members of a female-centric colony forego their reproductive rights and instead devote themselves to specialized tasks - such as hunting for food, defending the nest or caring for the young - that enhance the survival of the group. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Eusociality is a rarity in the animal world, said Gene Robinson, a University of Illinois entomology professor and the director of the Institute for Genomic Biology, who led the study. Ants, termites, some bees and wasps, a few other arthropods and a couple of mole rat species are the only animals known to be eusocial.

Among bees, there are the "highly eusocial" honey bees and stingless bees, with a caste of sterile workers and a queen that functions primarily as a "giant, egg-laying machine," Robinson said. And there are other, so-called "primitively eusocial" insects, usually involving a single mom who starts a nest from scratch and then, once she has raised enough workers, "kicks back and becomes a queen," he said.

Illinois entomology professor Sydney Cameron, a collaborator on the study and a social insect evolution expert, dislikes the term "primitively eusocial" because it suggests that these bees are on their way to becoming more like stingless bees or honey bees. Eusociality is not a progressive evolution from the "primitive" to the "advanced" stage, she said.
"They're not striving to become highly eusocial," Cameron said. "They don't say to themselves, 'If only I could become a honey bee!' "
"People talk about the evolution of eusociality," Robinson said. "But we want to emphasize that these were independent evolutionary events. And we wanted to trace the independent stories of each."

To accomplish this, the researchers worked with Roche Diagnostic Corp. to sequence active genes (those transcribed for translation into proteins) in nine species of bees representing every lifestyle from the solitary leaf-cutter bee, Megachile rotundata, to the highly eusocial dwarf honey bee, Apis florea. Then Illinois crop sciences professor and co-author Matt Hudson used the only available bee genome, that of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, as a guide to help assemble and identify the sequenced genes in the other species, and the team looked for patterns of genetic change that coincided with the evolution of the differing social systems.

"Are there genes that are unique to the primitively eusocial bees that aren't found in the highly eusocial bees?" Cameron said. "Or if you lump all the eusocial bees together, are there unique genes that unite those groups compared to the solitaries?"

The analysis did find significant differences in gene sequence between the eusocial and solitary bees. The researchers also saw patterns of genetic change unique to either the highly eusocial or primitively eusocial bees. The frequency and pattern of these changes in gene sequence suggest "signatures of accelerated evolution" specific to each type of eusociality, and to eusociality in general, the researchers reported.

"What we find is that there are some genes that show signatures of selection across the different independent evolutions (of eusocial bees)," Robinson said. "They might be representatives of the 'gotta have it' genes if you're going to evolve eusociality. But others are more lineage-specific."

This study was made possible with a one-gigabyte sequencing grant from 454 Life Sciences (Roche Diagnostics Corp.) by way of the Roche 1GB contest. The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health also supported the research.
The study team also included researchers from Cornell University and from the Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology and the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.

Varroa - Still a Problem In the 21st Century?

On April 16, 2011 the International Bee Research Association launched an important new book on the major problem affecting bees worldwide, the parasitic mite Varroa destructor at the British Beekeepers Association Spring Convention.

One of the book's authors, Prof. Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia, USA, was a key speaker at the convention. He said: "it is simply non controversial among the world's practicing bee scientists that Varroa destructor is problem #1."

In recent years, the world's headlines have been full of stories of mass deaths of honey bee colonies, but scientific consensus suggests that there is no single cause, and that different interacting factors may be occurring in different regions. It is inescapable, however, that varroa is present in all regions where recent colony losses have occurred, and the mite is known to interact with other pests and diseases, principally viruses. Varroa is, however, not a new problem. It was first identified as a serious pest more than half a century ago, and chemical and other control methods have been available for decades. It remains a problem because conventional approaches to control have failed, with the mite becoming resistant to many of the chemicals used. Other problems affecting bees have diverted attention away from the search for more effective methods for control of varroa.

In this new book, a team of international scientists addresses all aspects of the varroa problem, with chapters on: mite biology; varroa and viruses; chemical control; Integrated Pest Management; biological control and breeding bees for varroa tolerance. The final chapter looks forward at prospects for improved control and innovative ways to tackle the problem.

IBRA Scientific Director Norman Carreck says: "This book brings together current knowledge of how the global varroa crisis can be tackled".


Beekeepers Enter the Cloud

Web-based Online Record Keeping Empowers Beekeepers with
Information for More Efficient and Effective Hive Management

Boone, North Carolina, January 19, 2011. Maintaining useful beekeeping records is a never ending struggle for beekeepers, including the founders of Hive Tracks. Immersed in the world of high technology and beekeeping, Hive Tracks founders Mark Henson and James Wilkes have created a powerful tool to assist the beekeeping community in the challenging area of record keeping. Designed according to real beekeeping experience, utilizing cloud computing technology, and adopting Google's business model for free tools, www.hivetracks.com offers an intuitive, accessible, secure, useful, and free record keeping system to beekeepers of all stripes. Internet access is all that is required to begin using the service.

Recordkeeping is an important aspect of effectively managing honeybee colonies, but most beekeepers agree there is always room for improvement. Many recordkeeping methods have been employed historically: beekeeper memory, physical objects such as rocks on top of hives, writing directly on hives, notebooks, and more recently software. All of these are useful to some degree, but also have their own drawbacks including preservation of data, recall of data, organization of data, and ease of use. Hivetracks.com is designed to mitigate each of these challenges by storing data on a reliable, secure server, making data accessible through a desktop, wireless, or cell phone internet connection, organizing data according to how beekeepers think, and providing an intuitive, visual interface.

Hive Tracks co-founder Mark Henson is a professional software engineer with over 25 years experience in the software industry and is a hobby beekeeper. Co-founder James Wilkes is a University Professor with a PhD in Computer Science and is a sideline beekeeper. Living in the same community in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, these two men came to the same conclusion that there had to be a better way of keeping up with hive data and thus began the development of Hive Tracks. After several years of thinking about the idea and another year of development and testing, the first version of hivetracks.com was released at the Eastern Apiculture Society Annual Meeting in early August 2010. The web-based nature of Hive Tracks allows new features to be added seamlessly on an ongoing basis in response to user feedback. In addition, version two introduced major changes and was just released at the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference in Galveston.

The founders of hivetracks.com are committed to keeping the service free and protecting your data. James Wilkes said, "We guarantee that any functionality you currently use will always be free!" Many people question the sincerity of this statement, but there are other successful ways to generate revenue, and Hive Tracks is pursuing those models, much like Google with revenue from advertising. In addition, hivetracks.com will not abuse, sell, or disclose member location or contact information. Data entered by members of Hive Tracks may be used for internal research purposes to discover trends, best practices, and other meaningful information. Results of the research may be published to help the beekeeping community or be combined with other honeybee research projects. In any case, users will be given an option to allow their information to be used for these purposes.

Hivetracks.com was founded to satisfy the record keeping needs of the beekeeping community, from hobby to sideline to commercial to research. More than just a web site, Hive Tracks is a powerful application making beekeeping records accessible and secure and is unmatched in ease of use and value.

Royal Hawaiian Honey Brand Wins Sustainability Leadership Award

Oakland, CA-Tropical Traders Specialty Foods, LLC- the company behind the Royal Hawaiian Honey brand- is a 2011 recipient of a CoolCalifornia Small Business Award, administered by the California Air Resources Board. The program recognizes small California businesses (under 100 employees) that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and taken action to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and made notable, voluntary achievements towards reducing their climate impact.

In 2007, in partnership with Carbonfund.org, Tropical Traders performed a product life-cycle CO2 analysis on its Royal Hawaiian Honey line to determine its carbon footprint. This calculates how much energy is consumed in the production, shipping and distribution of all of the components that go into each container of Royal Hawaiian Honey; including glass jars and plastic tubs, the production and printing of its label, the amount of energy used in bottling the honey, and shipping from the Big Island to markets on the U.S. mainland. Once this figure was determined, the energy used is off-set by investing in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

By taking responsibility for its carbon footprint and neutralizing its emissions, the Royal Hawaiian Honey label is working within its industry to make a difference.

About Royal Hawaiian Honeys
The Royal Hawaiian Honey brand is comprised of three single-origin varietals, all harvested on the Big Island of Hawaii: Organic Christmas Berry Honey, Organic Lehua Honey, and Macadamia Nut Blossom Honey. The honeys are available is 12oz. glass jars and 44oz. PP containers. Royal Hawaiian Honeys are:  

  • 100% raw  
  • Certified organic (two SKUs)  
  • Certified CarbonfreeTM  
  • From a family-owned and operated apiary, 100% Hawaii-made
  • Single-origin varietals- honeys are from particular blooms and distinctive in color, flavor and aroma.

About Royal Hawaiian Honeys
Tropical Traders Specialty Foods, LLC is a second-generation, family-owned business. In 2005 they launched the Royal Hawaiian Honey brand, produced by beekeeper Michael Krones. His daughter, Rebeca Krones, and her husband, Luis Zevallos, distribute and market the honeys out of Captain Cook, HI and Oakland, California. The honeys are available nation-wide at www.shop.royalhawaiianhoney.com.

Newsnotes May 2011

Federal Seizure of 10,560 Gallons of Counterfeit Honey
from Warehouse in NE Salem, Oregon

United States Attourney's Office
District of Oregon News Release

192 Fifty-Five Gallon Drums of Counterfeit Honey Seized in NE Salem Allegedly Falsely and Fraudulently Identified as "Thai Honey"

PORTLAND, Ore. - On March 11, 2011 the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Dwight C. Holton, announced the seizure of approximately 192 fifty-five gallon drums (10,560 gallons) of counterfeit honey from a warehouse in N.E. Salem, Oregon. This seizure is part of an ongoing joint investigation conducted by the United States Attorney's Office in Oregon, the United States Attorney's Office in Chicago, Illinois, and United States Homeland Security Investigations.
A company called Eastern Commodity Company allegedly imported the counterfeit honey, namely compound malt sweetener, from Hong Kong in October 2009, then shipped the merchandise to a warehouse in Wisconsin. According to the affidavit, (attached) the warehouse received a series of emails directing it to remove Chinese inspection stickers from the drums, apparently to conceal their Chinese origin. The affidavit alleges that the drums were eventually shipped to two different honey packers in the Midwest, along with paperwork falsely describing the compound malt sweetener as honey from Thailand. The honey packers rejected the drums, which were then eventually shipped to a warehouse in Salem, Oregon.


Leading Entomologist and Bee Expert Awarded Prestigious 2011 Tyler
Environmental Prize

May Berenbaum, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, joins a distinguished group of laureates for her groundbreaking work on the science behind the bee population collapse and on the genetics of coevolution between plants and insects
Los Angeles, CA (March 22, 2011) - One of the world's leading entomologists and foremost experts on the evolutionary relationship between insects and plants, May R. Berenbaum, PhD, will receive the 2011 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Since its inception in 1973 as one of the world's first international environmental awards, the Tyler Prize is the premier award for environmental science, environmental health and energy, given to those who confer great benefit upon humankind through environmental restoration and achievement.
"I'm absolutely humbled to receive the Tyler Prize," said Berenbaum, the head of the entomology department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "All of my scientific heroes are Tyler Prize alumni."
Previous laureates include Edward O. Wilson, recognized for his early work on the theory of island biogeography; Jane Goodall, selected for her seminal studies on the behavior and ecology of chimpanzees and her impact on wildlife awareness and environmental conservation; Jared Diamond, a renowned author who gave birth to the discipline of conservation biology; and Thomas Lovejoy, a central figure in alerting the world to the critical problem of dwindling tropical forests.
"Professor Berenbaum has done more to advance the field of entomology and explain its significance than nearly any other researcher today," said Tyler Prize Executive Committee Chair Owen T. Lind, Professor of Biology, Baylor University. "Her expertise on bees and the causes behind declining bee populations has further positioned her as a leading resource for the media, policymakers and peers."
The Tyler Prize, consisting of a $200,000 cash prize and a gold medal, honors exceptional foresight and dedication in the environmental sciences-qualities that mirror the prescience of the Prize's founders, John and Alice Tyler, who established it while the environmental debate was still in its infancy.
"I was afraid of insects and didn't fall in love with them until college. I placed out of introductory biology and the only course that fit my schedule was 'Terrestrial Arthropods,' and I figured, fear stems from ignorance, so here I go," recalls Berenbaum. "That's one reason I do so much outreach and public understanding because I know what it's like to fear insects."

Coevolution
Berenbaum's groundbreaking research in the field of chemical ecology has led to an understanding of the relationships between insects and the plants on a genetic level. Through a combination of genetic analysis and experimentation, Berenbaum has shown that plants evolve to create natural defenses, like chemical toxins to ward off pests, and that insects in turn evolve to overcome these defenses. Understanding this coevolution, or "arms race," between plants and insects has been fundamental to a better understanding of pesticide resistance, insects and genetically modified crops.
"Someone has got to stick up for the little guy," said Berenbaum. "This world, this planet, would not function without insects. Our lives would be miserable without insects and people don't realize that."

The Decline of Bees
Berenbaum's research has also been central to understanding the decline of bee populations in North America and around the world, known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
"Bees serve a unique role as partners to plants because they are pollinators and required for reproduction," explains Berenbaum. "With roughly one third of the US diet dependent on one species of bee for pollination, it's essential to understand what is happening to bees and correct course."
As an author of numerous research studies and articles, and of six books for the general public, Berenbaum has long focused on engaging the public and increasing understanding of insects and the valuable role they play. Her most recent book, a cookbook called Honey, I'm Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World, aims to inform people about the importance of bees in an interesting and engaging way.

About the Tyler Prize
The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement is one of the first international premier awards for environmental science, environmental health and energy.
It was established by the late John and Alice Tyler in 1973 and has been awarded annually to sixty-one individuals and four organizations associated with world-class environmental accomplishments. Recipients encompass the spectrum of environmental concerns including environmental policy, environmental health, air and water pollution, ecosystem disruption and loss of biodiversity, and energy resources.
For more information on the Tyler Prize and its recipients, go to: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/tylerprize


New Technique Could Help Solve Mystery of Vanishing Bees

Ecologists have developed a better way of rearing bee larvae in the laboratory that could help discover why honey bee populations worldwide are declining. The technique, together with details of how statistics adapted from other areas of ecology can aid bee research, was published in March in the British Ecological Society's journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
Human food security depends on bees because they pollinate so many of our crop plants. As a result, worldwide declines in both honey bee colonies and solitary bees are causing widespread concern. But faced with declines that seem due to the combination of several factors, including diseases, agricultural chemicals and loss of habitat, researchers urgently need better ways of studying bees in the laboratory.
Now, a team of ecologists from the University of Würzburg, Germany has devised a better way of rearing honey bee larvae in the laboratory that should make it easier to study the causes of their decline.
The current method of rearing bees in the laboratory has major drawbacks. It involves a process known as "grafting", where the tiny first instar bee larvae around 1mm long are collected using feathers, brushes or needles. As well as being time consuming and demanding considerable skill, the mechanical stress involved in handling causes mortality among the tiny larvae.
To avoid handling the larvae, the researchers allowed honey bee queens to lay eggs directly into an artificial plastic honeycomb about the size of a cigar box. The plastic honeycomb is widely used by professional honey bee queen breeders, and by using it in the laboratory the team found rearing bee larvae much easier and more successful.
According to lead author and keen bee-keeper Harmen Hendriksma: "The artificial comb has a hexagonal pattern with 110 holes the size of wax cells. The queen lays her eggs directly into these small plastic cells. Because the back of each cell has a small plastic cup, we can collect the larvae without handling them."
Before starting his PhD in 2008, Hendriksma spent four years working with a new Dutch company producing honey for medical uses. Seeing it used by queen breeders, he decided to try out the plastic honeycomb in the laboratory.
"Like many people I am a bit lazy and wanted to find a quicker, easier way of rearing honey bees in the laboratory. When I tried using the plastic honeycomb system I found it was just perfect," he says.
Hendriksma and his colleagues found that when using the plastic honeycomb, almost all (97%) larvae survived. And because it is straightforward and simple to use, researchers were able to collect more than 1,000 larvae in 90 minutes.
By introducing a robust, standardized way of rearing larvae the technique should also help improve the quality of bee research because the results of experiments conducted in different laboratories will be more directly comparable.
The study also shows that applying statistical approaches used in other areas of ecological science can help bee researchers to better analyse their results.
Says Hendriksma: "Bee research is like an arms race, where researchers try and keep up with monitoring emerging new risks to bees. Because so many factors - such as environmental pollution, new agricultural pesticides, bee diseases, changing habitats and bees' genes - may be playing a part in the loss of our bees we need better ways of analysing our results."

National Honey Board Selects New Honey Bee Research
Projects Focusing on Honey Bee Health

Firestone, Colo.-The National Honey Board (NHB) will fund in 2011 eight new research projects focusing on honey bee health.  The Board's Research Committee, with input from a panel of experts, selected the projects from 12 proposals it received by the December 15, 2010, deadline. 
The Board is required to budget 5 percent of its anticipated assessment revenues to production research, which includes projects that help producers maintain colony health while assuring the maintenance of honey quality. Due to fewer research proposals in 2010, there were additional funds available that boosted this year's budget for new bee research.
"When funds are committed to production research, they cannot be used for another purpose," said Clint Walker III, chairman of the National Honey Board Research Committee. "We keep that money committed to production research until we find suitable research projects to fund." 
The Board had a total of $223,000 in its 2011 budget for new projects, but the eight projects selected required a commitment of more than $241,000. Since some of the projects extend into 2012, payments in 2011 will be within the $223,000 budget.
"We're pleased we received more proposals this year," Walker said. "We want to put this money to good use, and do it responsibly."  New projects approved for funding in 2011 include:

1. "Comprehensive evaluation of role of nutrition in honey bee colony losses," Ramesh Sagili, Ph.D., Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University.
2. "A long-term plan to improve honey bee genetics: formation of a tech transfer team (continuation)," Susan Donohue, University of California, Cooperative Extension Office; Dr. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota.
3. "Improving honey bee health and productivity by optimizing hive solar absorption," Michael P. Steinkampf, MD, Sandhurst Bee Company, Alabama.
4. "Sustainability of VSH-based Varroa resistance using colonies selected within commercial beekeeping operations," Robert G. Danka, Research Entomologist, USDA, ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
5. "From subtle to substantial: a stage-structured matrix population model for predicting combined roles of nutrition and pesticides on honey bee colony health," James L. Frazier, Ph.D.; Wanyi Zhu, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University.
6. "Are workers previously exposed as larvae to pesticides more susceptible to Nosema ceranae?" Zachary Huang, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Michigan State University.
7. "Using RNAi as a method for controlling Varroa destructor," Zachary Huang, Ph.D., Zhiyong Xi, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Michigan State University.
8. "Effects of pesticides in beeswax on honeybee behavior," Louisa A. Hooven, Ph.D., Department of Zoology, Oregon State University.

The National Honey Board conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey. The National Honey Board is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

IBRA Welcomes UN Report on Global Bee Threats

Members of the COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COLony LOSSes) Network, which currently consists of 246 scientists from 54 countries, have recently contributed to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report "Global honey bee disorders and other threats to insect pollinators".
One of the report's authors, IBRA Trustee Dr Peter Neumann says: "The transformation of the countryside and rural areas in the past half century or so has triggered a decline in wild-living bees and other pollinators. Society is increasingly investing in ‘industrial-scale' hives and managed colonies to make up the shortfall and going so far as to truck bees around to farms and fields in order to maintain our food supplies".
The UNEP report shows that media perceptions of colony loss are now supported by reliable survey data showing extensive losses in Europe, North America and Asia. It discusses a range of possible causes, from the well established and understood, such as habitat loss and pests and diseases, to others including climate change and electromagnetic radiation. The effect of agricultural pesticides and the use of chemicals within bee hives for pest control, and husbandry factors such as the long distance transport of colonies for crop pollination are also highlighted.
Despite some controversy, the scientific consensus is that there is no single cause of honey bee colony losses, but pests and diseases, especially the parasitic varroa mite, are the most important. Varroa is especially damaging because it transmits a range of otherwise benign viruses, causing the rapid death of colonies. Varroa is present in all countries where extensive colony losses have been reported, and is notably absent in Australia, where unexplained losses have not occurred.
IBRA's Scientific Director, Norman Carreck says: "Less clear, however, is the solution for these problems. Undoubtedly, habitat conservation is of primary importance in redressing the shortage of suitable forage for bees, but novel methods of control of varroa and other pests and diseases, including biological control agents or breeding disease resistant bees, will all have a role in providing long-term solutions."

Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper

CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BEEKEEPER: What Not to Do When Keeping Bees (With Apologies to My Own) (The Experiment, dist. by Workman Publishing/May 2011/$13.95) tells of the catastrophes, marvels-and countless bee stings-that resulted when Bill Turnbull's raw enthusiasm met the reality of backyard beekeeping. Bill finds the humor in every beekeeping misstep as he recounts the many indignities his bees have suffered at his hand-and the indignities they have inflicted on him-and why they all keep trying in spite of his really (really) bad beekeeping.
BILL TURNBULL is the longtime cohost of BBC Breakfast, the UK's most-watched morning TV show. Over his career in journalism, he has reported from more than 30 countries, including the U.S., where he was based in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent for the BBC.
Turnbull stumbled into beekeeping when a swarm of honey bees landed in his backyard; he quickly learned that there can be no adventure without a little risk. He made mistakes, and he was-quite literally-sorely punished. But through the stings and arrows of outrageous beekeeping, Bill came to love the fascinating-yet-infuriating honey bee, and even learned a few lessons about fortitude, thrift, and endurance along the way.
CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BEEKEEPER is both Turnbull's introduction to the world of backyard beekeeping and a story about the transformative power of doing what you love-even if you're a bit bad at it. It's a book for experienced and aspiring beekeepers, but also for everyone whose consciousness was raised five years ago by the arrival of Colony Collapse Disorder and the still-mysterious widespread death and disappearance of honey bees that came with it.
Bill Turnbull serves as President of the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers and as a public ambassador for the British Beekeepers' Association. Highlights from his professional and personal life include reporting on werewolves in Haiti, competing on Strictly Come Dancing (the British version of Dancing with the Stars), and completing the London Marathon while fully attired in a beekeeper's suit.
Bill Turnbull will be visiting various beekeeping associations in the U.S. in late July/early August 2011.
To order this book, go to www.theexperimentpublishing.com

A New Beekeeping Film

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?

Directed by Taggart Siegel
Produced by Jon Betz

QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, acclaimed director of the grass-roots hit THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.
QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? runs for 83 minutes, is a Collective Eye Films release, is in English and is not yet MPAA rated.

In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honey bees would collapse. Now, beekeepers around the United States and around the world are reporting an incredible loss of honey bees, a phenomenon deemed "Colony Collapse Disorder." This "pandemic" is indicated by bees disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. The queen is there, honey is there, but the bees are gone.
For the first time, in an alarming inquiry into the insights behind Steiner's prediction QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? investigates the long-term causes behind the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, commercial beekeepers, scientists and philosophers. QUEEN OF THE SUN features world renowned biodynamic beekeeper Gunther Hauk, New York Times bestselling-author Michael Pollan, Indian Activist Vandana Shiva, and a compelling cast of characters from around the world. Together they take us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and into the mysterious world of the beehive. The film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, illuminating the deep link between humans and bees and how that historic and sacred relationship has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. Beekeeper Gunther Hauk calls the crisis, "More important even than global warming. We could call it Colony Collapse of the human being too."
Bees are the engines that keep the earth in bloom. QUEEN OF THE SUN presents the bee crisis as a global wake-up call and illuminates a growing movement of beekeepers, community activists and scientists who are committed to renewing a culture in balance with nature.

AWARDS
QUEEN OF THE SUN has won nine international film festival awards, including a prestigious award from the International Documentary Association

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
An independent filmmaker since the mid-1980's, Taggart Siegel is best known as the director of the 2006 grass-roots hit THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. This critically acclaimed feature documentary about a maverick visionary farmer, won 31 international film festivals awards and was released theatrically around the world. Siegel is also known for his award-winning films THE SPLIT HORN: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS and BLUE COLLAR AND BUDDHA which capture the struggle of refugees in America. He is the co-founder of Collective Eye, Inc., a non-profit media production and distribution organization based in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.

 

Newsnotes - April 2011

 

Chinese Honey Importer Arrested for Allegedly Evading U.S. Import Duties

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement News Release

CHICAGO - A Chinese business agent for several honey import companies was arrested in Los Angeles Feb. 15, 2011 on federal charges filed in Chicago for allegedly conspiring to illegally import Chinese-origin honey that was falsely identified to avoid U.S. anti-dumping duties. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Shu Bei Yuan, 44, was arrested in Los Angeles Feb. 15 for allegedly conspiring between 2004 and 2006 to illegally import Chinese-origin honey that was falsely identified as originating in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand to avoid U.S. antidumping duties. Yuan appeared late Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Yuan, aka "Kathy Yuan," of the Republic of China, was an employee of Blue Action Enterprise Inc., a California-based honey import company. She was also employed at other related companies - including 7 Tiger Enterprises Inc. and Honey World Enterprise Inc., which are now defunct - which she allegedly used to fraudulently import Chinese-origin honey into the United States.

According to the indictment, Yuan worked with Hung Ta Fan, aka Michael Fan, who owned and operated Blue Action, 7 Tiger, and Honey World, to fraudulently import Chinese honey into the United States. Fan was arrested on April 1, 2010. He pleaded guilty in federal district court in Chicago in August 2010 to conspiring to illegally import Chinese honey to avoid more than $5 million in U.S. anti-dumping duties. Fan was sentenced to 30 months in prison in November 2010.

Between March 2005 and June 2006, the indictment alleges that Yuan and others allegedly caused Blue Action and 7 Tiger to fraudulently import about six shipments of Chinese honey falsely declared as originating in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. The six honey shipments had a total declared value of about $290,464, and avoided anti-dumping duties applicable to Chinese honey totaling about $533,872. In total, the indictment charges Yuan with five criminal counts.

"Ms. Yuan allegedly mislabeled Chinese honey shipments to avoid paying import tariffs, in essence defrauding the U.S. government of hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Gary Hartwig. "The stability of our domestic honey industry is potentially threatened when importers illegally dump low-cost Chinese honey into the U.S. marketplace. ICE HSI will continue to aggressively investigate importing schemes that circumvent government regulations and put law-abiding businesses at a disadvantage."

According to the indictment, the charges against Yuan relate to an ongoing investigation of the honey importing practices of Alfred L. Wolff Inc. (ALW), and other corporate affiliates of Wolff & Olsen, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, including ALW Germany, ALW Honey, ALW Beijing, and ALW Hong Kong. In September 2010, a federal grand jury sitting in Chicago indicted 10 ALW executives and five ALW companies in an $80 million honey fraud importation ring. In total, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago has charged 20 individuals and companies following the honey-related investigations.

In December 2001, the U.S. Commerce Department determined that Chinese honey was being sold in the United States at artificially low prices and imposed anti-dumping duties. Between June 2004 and October 2005 anti-dumping duties on Chinese-origin honey was about 183 percent. In June 2006, the rate changed to about 212 percent. However, honey originating in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand was not subject to any anti-dumping duties.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew S. Boutros and William R. Hogan Jr., Northern District of Illinois, are prosecuting this case.

If convicted, the most serious charge in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Court, however, determines a reasonable sentence to be imposed under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Australian Group Seeks Funding to Continue Asian Honey Bee Eradication Program

FOOD SECURITY NEEDS BEE SECURITY

Why do we need the campaign?
The Department of Agricultural Forestry and Fisheries announced at the end of January 2011 that it is giving up on the eradication program for the Asian honey bee. The Asian honey bee presents a range of threats to European honey bees which will result in fewer plants being pollinated, which means potentially less food and fewer food varieties. In addition, the findings of the 2008 Parliamentary Inquiry into the honey industry stated that $50million should be spent annually to address the urgent issues of the industry - this has not materialized. This report is known as the "More than Honey Report".

What's to be achieved?
We are seeking commitments from the Australian government to:
1. Immediately allocate $10million over two years to eradicate the Asian honey bee in Australia.
2. Implement the recommendations of the 2008 More than Honey report by allocating an additional $50m annually to maintain healthy bee populations to secure pollination services.
3. Provide funding for the establishment and operation of the Co-operative Research Centre for Bee Research and Food Security.

www.securefoodsavebees.com

Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) Receive Federal Registration in United States

The US beekeeping industry will welcome a versatile new product to the varroa mite control tool box. Mite Away Quick StripsTM (MAQSTM) was officially federally registered by EPA in the United States as of February 4, 2011, obtaining the Section 3 registration.

The product will be gradually available over the next few months as production ramps up and pesticide registrations are obtained in each state.

MAQSTM is a formic acid gel strip product. Two strips are placed on the top bars in the brood area of the hive. The treatment period is seven days and can be used during the honey flow at temperatures up to 93 degrees F. No extra equipment is required. MAQSTM achieves up to 95% mite kill and penetrates the capping to destroy the male mite and immature female mites, as well as the phoretic female mites on the adult bees.
For more information, visit the website at www.miteaway.com

New Mite Zapper Offers Chemical-Free Mite Control

Mite Zapper, LLC is pleased to announce its product, the MiteZapper® is ready for sale April 2011. The MiteZapper is an extremely effective CHEMICAL FREE treatment for the varroa mites. In laboratory and field testing, over five years, the MiteZapper® killed 85-95% of Varroa Mites.

The MiteZapper® offers tremendous advantages over chemicals:
 Treatment is Quick and Cost Effective. Simply connect and let the MiteZapper® do the work, 4-6 minutes per colony; treatment is done every 23-25 days during the drone rearing season (approximately 4 times per year).
 Does not contaminate bee products with harmful chemical residues.
 Can be used under any temperature conditions.
 Ideal for Organic bee farms.
 As chemicals become less useful due to mite resistance, the MiteZapper® will remain effective year after year - through its patented heat technology.
 Can be used when the honey supers are in place.
 No special equipment is needed; NO gloves, NO safety glasses, NO MESS!
 The MiteZapper® does not interfere with beekeeping practices as the beekeeper does not have to disturb the colony.
 The MiteZapper® can be left in the colony year round.

The MiteZapper® is a device that combines mite biology with simple physics in order to treat one of the most serious threats to honey bees and agriculture; Varroa mite infestation. Unlike competing chemical treatments available today, the MiteZapper® can be used any time during the drone rearing season. Resembling a heating element, the MiteZapper® is a frame that is built as a drone foundation (industry wide research has proven that varroa mites prefer drone cells) and is installed into the super as easily as a regular frame. The beekeeper connects the frame wire harness to the control box, which is then connected to a 12 volt battery for 4-6 minutes. The electricity produces enough heat to kill both the pupae and the mites. The bees then remove the dead mites within 24-36 hours. The MiteZapper® is then ready for the queen to lay eggs again. The zapping process should be done every 23-25 days during the drone rearing season.

Beekeepers are faced with many challenges with regards to controlling varroa mites. Today beekeepers do have a choice for the treatment of varroa mites - WITHOUT CHEMICALS. The MiteZapper® is extremely effective and cost competitive. The MiteZapper® is already patented and patents are pending.

Visit us at www.mitezapper.com

Pheromone Increases Foraging Honey Bees, Leads to Healthier Hives


CORVALLIS, Ore. - The application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall, according to a new study conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and Texas A&M University.
The study, which appeared this week in the journal, PLoS ONE, comes amid national concern over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - a combination of events that result in the death of a bee colony. The causes behind CCD remain unknown, but researchers are focusing on four possible contributing factors: disease, pests, environmental conditions and nutrition.

According to Ramesh Sagili, coauthor on the study, "Division of labor associated with brood rearing in the honey bee: how does it translate to colony fitness?" resiliency to CCD may be increased through better hive management and the use of optimal dose of brood pheromone -- a chemical released by honey bee larvae that communicates the presence of larvae in the colony to adult bees. The optimal dose of brood pheromone that can stimulate colony growth may vary depending on the colony size, time of application and several other factors.

The number of larvae present in the hive affects the ratio of adult foraging bees to non-foragers in favor of foragers, said Sagili. In the study, when low levels of brood pheromone were introduced to experimental hives foragers collected more pollen, said Sagili.

Nectar is a carbohydrate source for both adults and larvae, while pollen is the primary source of protein. Nurse bees utilize pollen to produce brood food that is provisioned to the growing larvae in the colony. More pollen is equitable to better overall nutrition, one of the areas of concern in the appearance of CCD.

"The low brood pheromone treatment triggered higher pollen collection in the study," said Sagili, who holds an OSU Extension Service appointment and studies honey bee health, nutrition, pheromone biology and pollination in OSU's Department of Horticulture. "Colonies exposed to low levels of synthetic brood pheromone exhibited higher foraging populations, a decrease in the age of first foraging and greater foraging effort. The result is increased colony growth - an indicator of colony fitness."

The researchers also treated colonies with high levels of brood pheromone. They found the higher treatments were ineffective in increasing the number of foraging bees present in the colony, and in changing the amount of pollen an individual bee brought back to the hive.
"It's logical to assume that a higher dose of pheromone would result in higher pollen collection within the colonies as it would signify more larvae to rear," said Sagili. "Our results did not support that assumption."

An upper threshold for the pheromone may exist and when that threshold is reached a negative feedback might kick in, said Sagili. Colonies may try to balance the ratio of adults to larvae, and that in turn may lead to higher number of adults remaining in the nest for brood care and less bees foraging for resources.

Brood pheromone is not currently used in commercial beekeeping, however its application in research may result in the uncovering of mechanisms related to the division of labor, foraging strategies and colony fitness.

 

Newsnotes - March 2011

 

 

APHIS Aussie Bee Ban Officially Announced

FEDERAL IMPORT ORDER

Prohibit Importation of Adult Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) from Australia

December 21, 2010
The purpose of this Federal Order is to prevent the entry or introduction of harmful honey bee diseases and/or parasites from Australia into the United States including the territories. The Administrator of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that it is necessary to prohibit the entry of adult honey bees Apis mellifera from Australia due to concerns with exotic honey bee pathogens or parasites associated with exotic bee species, particularly Apis cerana, an invasive species that has not been reported in the United States.
This Federal Order is issued pursuant to the authority provided by the Honey Bee Act (7 USC Chapter 11) which authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to prohibit or restrict the importation or entry of honey bees into or through the United States in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases and parasites harmful to honey bees or the introduction and spread of undesirable species or subspecies of honey bees within the United States. This Federal Order is likewise issued pursuant to the regulations found at 7 CFR Part 322.
This Federal Order, effective December 21, 2010, removes Australia from the list of approved regions for the importation of adult honey bees. This action is necessary because the Administrator has determined that the introduction and establishment of exotic bee diseases and/or parasites that may be associated with Australian bee species including Apis cerana pose a serious threat to the United States agriculture including almonds, apples, blueberries, and other crops grown in the United States. This action is necessary and warranted to prevent the introduction and establishment of exotic bee diseases and parasites associated with exotic bee species including Apis cerana.

Following the May 2007 discovery of colonies of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, near Cairns, Queensland in Australia, concerns were raised that exotic honey bee pathogens or parasites may have been introduced into Australia with the arrival of this foreign bee. An evaluation of pest risks associated with imported honey bees from Australia raised questions regarding viruses that are either not present in the United States or are rare and their introduction in commercial consignments of bees from Australia. Viruses once thought to be inconsequential are now being reevaluated in light of transmission by Varroa mite, interactions with Nosema ceranae, and further complications from Colony Collapse Disorder. We are concerned that these viruses and other diseases may be introduced into the United States in consignments of bees from Australia.

Approximately one half of the honey bees in the United States are present in California for almond pollination and are moved around the nation at the conclusion of almond pollination. If a pest or disease that is not widespread is brought in with these imported bees, it could rapidly spread throughout the United States.

True Source HoneyTM Launches Certified Honey Traceability Program To Protect Honey Consumers and Customers


(Galveston, Texas January 11, 2011)  The True Source HoneyTM Initiative enthusiastically announces the launch of a Certified Honey Traceability Program beginning in January 2011. The program officially known as True Source CertifiedTM was unveiled at the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference in Galveston this past week. Details were revealed regarding the program, which is designed to certify the origin of honey being distributed and consumed within North America, resulting in better food safety and product purity assurances for quality-minded customers and consumers. Further details of the program have been posted at www.TrueSourceHoney.com.

This new voluntary program is open to all interested honey companies (packers, beekeepers, importers and exporters) who desire True Source Certification. It was developed by a multi-disciplined group of industry participants who want to maximize industry participation in solving the problem of illegally sourced honey. Intertek, an internationally recognized third party audit firm, will begin conducting audits for any interested candidates starting this month. The program will help create transparency within the industry, going beyond current certification expectations and federal regulations while adding an additional layer of traceability beginning at the hive. For those applying for certification, Intertek will conduct unannounced inspections, review documents and collect samples for country-of-origin verification.

There are a number of honey companies in North America that have resolved to purchase only legal, properly sourced honey from legitimate sources.  These companies now have an opportunity to certify their purchasing practices through an independent third party auditor, enhancing customer and consumer confidence while clearly demonstrating the value which they have been providing.

Most imported and domestic honey is from high-quality, legal sources. However, some importers and honey packers have been illegally importing honey by misrepresenting the true country-of-origin, in order to circumvent dumping duties of $1.20 per pound that have been assessed against certain countries. This results in honey being sold to companies and consumers that is of questionable origin. In addition to creating food safety issues for consumers, this practice threatens the honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey's reputation for quality and safety.

"Cheap illegal imports hurt all legitimate U.S. packers and beekeepers," said David Mendes, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. "I applaud the efforts of the True Source Honey Initiative to create a "bottom up" solution to illegal transshipment. I would encourage U.S. beekeepers to support this effort."

The new certification system is consistent with the latest food safety reforms, including the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.  The new law is designed to change the mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that the agency is focused on preventing food-borne illnesses and implementing new import requirements that provide for tighter controls. Since these new food safety-related traceability requirements are now statutory law, the True Source Certified system has been designed to accommodate these new mandates.

The True Source Honey Initiative is an effort by a number of honey companies and importers to call attention to the problem of illegally sourced honey; to encourage action to protect consumers and customers from these practices; and to highlight and support legal, transparent and ethical sourcing. The initiative seeks to help maintain the reputation of honey as a high-quality, highly valued food and further sustain the U.S. honey sector. For more information, visit www.TrueSourceHoney.com and follow us on Twitter and at Facebook.

Pollinators and Pesticides 2011

Fundamental Flaws of Pesticide Policy in the United States-Opinion paper of the National Honey bee Advisory Board-January 2011, Galveston, Texas

It is the strongly held opinion of the NHBAB that pollinator injury from pesticide use in the United States is a serious problem in need of much greater attention by all concerned partes. Two years worth of NHBAB meetings with environmental groups, representatives of the chemical industry, EPA and USDA have helped shed light on some specific areas of concern. We share these concerns with you in this brief paper.

Pollinator protection is divided into two main areas of focus: Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Broadly speaking, Risk Assessment consists of testing done before registration to identify toxic effects. Risk Management is the process of monitoring, investigating and preventing injury from occurring related to product use. EPA is charged under FIFRA to "protect the environment, including pollinators, from potential effects of pesticides."
Risk Assessment in the United States relies heavily on industry funded and directed studies. Companies developing new active ingredients conduct toxicity testing and submit the results to EPA at the time of application for registration. EPA evaluates these tests, and makes a determination to either grant or deny conditional or full registration. Chemical company toxicity studies are then considered "proprietary" information associated with registration and not required to be made publicly available.

Fundamental shortcomings of the Risk Assessment process include:
Conflict of interests (toxicity studies paid for by companies with vested financial interest in getting the product registered).
Overreliance on acute LD 50 measure of toxicity has resulted in overlooking potential sub lethal and chronic exposure issues.
No appropriate risk assessment testing exists to evaluate the "systemic" mode of action, and determine "safe" exposure levels. Yet products with this mode of action have been approved for use for 18 years.
EPA only requires manufacturers to test "active" ingredients. Product formulations contain many other ingredients. "Inerts" are not tested, and tank mixing of multiple products is currently permitted without additional testing of these mixtures.
Conditional Registrations are granted to new pesticides over 67% of the time. Such "Conditional" Registrations permit known data gaps allowing additional safety testing to be conducted after the product is labeled and approved. In many cases this allows for the marketing and use of products that are efficacious, but may not be safe for bees or the environment in general.

Risk management in the United States relies on "state primacy partners" to oversee enforcement of laws related to FIFRA on a state-by-state basis. US EPA promulgates the rules and approves legal directives for use, and issues environmental cautions which are written by pesticide manufacturers for pesticide products. These label directives define legal and illegal uses and procedures for the product. The label is the law. States perform risk management, usually through their department of agriculture, who conduct investigations of pesticide injury complaints. The states decide if incidents are to be reported to the EIIS National Incident Data Base.

Fundamental short comings of the risk management process include:
Many states claim that the label directives are vague and unenforceable, and therefore take no enforcement action.
No mechanism short of court action exists for beekeepers to be reimbursed for losses related to pesticide injury. Pursuing legal actions can be lengthy and costly.
Currently, many exceptions is labels are being allowed. For example, the current Sevin EXR Plus label reads, "Do not apply to blooming crops or weeds, except corn or soybeans." We feel this trend of exemptions must be changed.
Many beekeepers have reported uncooperative-even "hostile"-attitudes from state pesticide officers when they attempt to report honey bee poisoning from pesticides. Currently, most pesticide poisonings of honey bees go unreported and add to the unrecognized burden on beekeepers from pesticide misuse.
 Lab sampling to detect pesticide residues is often discouraged by state pesticide officers, citing the limited labs offering testing services and the high costs associated with testing.
 Pesticide poisoning incidents investigated by individual states are not required to be reported to the National Incident Data Base. Obviously, this critical piece of the feedback loop as information does not reach EPA regulators.

The National Honey Bee Advisory Board believes these fundamental shortcomings of our national pesticide policy need immediate attention. We need beekeepers to be an active part of the solution by:
 Reporting all suspected pesticide poisonings. This is very important. Insist on chemical lab analysis. Insist that the report is entered into the National EIIS data base. If you encounter problems with the system in your state please contact us with the details.
 Supporting additional funding of independent toxicity research.
 Contacting your Representatives in Washington and explain that pollinators require greater protections from pesticides injury.

Harmful levels of pesticides must be kept "off of" and "out of" bloom. Pollinators must be allowed safe pastures. If "economic poisons" are permitted into or onto pollen and nectar, pollinator poisoning should be expected.

2011 wisconsin honey queen

The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association is proud to announce that Danielle Dale was selected as the 2011 Wisconsin Honey Queen at their convention in November. Danielle is the 18-year-old daughter of Rich and Lorie Dale of Sparta, Wisconsin. She is the granddaughter of Harold and Nancy Dale of Stoddard, Wisconsin and Emily Livangood of Cataract, Wisconsin. A 2010 graduate of Sparta High School in Sparta, Wisconsin, Danielle is currently a freshman at Western Technical College, where she is pursuing an Associate's Degree. Danielle is a hobbyist beekeeper in Monroe County.

Prior to being selected as the Wisconsin Honey Queen Danielle served as the 2010 LaCrosse Area Honey Queen. In this role, she promoted the honey industry at local fairs and in schools.

Danielle will spend the next year promoting the beekeeping industry in Wisconsin. She is available to speak and appear at fairs, festivals, and farmers markets. She will also give presentations in elementary schools about honeybees and the beekeeping industry. In January 2012, Danielle will represent Wisconsin at the American Honey Queen competition at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To schedule an appearance with Wisconsin Honey Queen Danielle Dale, contact Becky Behringer at 920-220-1026 or wihoneyqueen
program@gmail.com. All appearances are free of charge.

Apimondia 2011

ARGENTINA hosts APIMONDIA 2011: a meeting point for beekeepers
from all over the world.

From September 21st to 25th 2011 the biggest event in the apicultural world will take place in La Rural, Predio Ferial de Buenos Aires, Argentina: the 42nd International Apicultural Congress APIMONDIA 2011.

APIMONDIA is an event that takes place every two years in different countries around the world. This event gathers all the members of the apicultural sector: producers, apicultural companies, scientists, suppliers, exporters and the general public. This Congress is an outstanding opportunity to exchange products, knowledge and scientific information of each apicultural region worldwide.

In Argentina, APIMONDIA 2011 will present an important ApiExpo where national and international companies from the apicultural sector will present their products, supplies and services so the beekeepers get to know the best and latest for their practice. The space of 2,700 square meters, where the exposition will take place, is one of the biggest Congress sites ever of all its 41 previous conventions, and is now being taken by different companies with numerous stands. This will be the best opportunity to experience all the apicultural diversity in only one country. Within this Congress we will be able to experience the convergence of an advanced system of scientific investigation, the development of groundbreaking techniques and the beekeepers' practices. A large and innovative Scientific Program will be exhibit in three rooms arranged for this occasion.

Bee Biology: Nutrition, Biodiversity, Behavior, Physiology
Bee Health: Latest news in diagnostics and control of the bee diseases. Monitoring and veterinary services
Pollination and Bee Flora: Pollination of crops. Conservation of the environment, Stingless bees
Beekeeping Technology and Quality: Residues, Queen rearing, Quality of living material, Quality of products, Alternative Productions
Apitherapy: Production protocols. Products use protocols.
Beekeeping for Rural Development: Quality Management, Cooperatives and producer organizations, Organic Honey
Beekeeping Economy: Markets trends. Products diversification

In addition, APIMONDIA 2011 Buenos Aires, will have a fourth room, a debate and communication room, with round tables to discuss many problems affecting worldwide apiculture, to explain each country's apiculture characteristics and current situation, and to present relevant Scientific Research.

For the first time in an APIMONDIA Congress you will be able to attend any symposium organized by more than one Scientific Commission. This certainly becomes an innovative proposal with a comprehensive approach.

On September 26th and 27th, as closure of this great experience, the organizational team of APIMONDIA 2011 have organized several itineraries that mix apiculture and tourism, so everyone can appreciate the different areas of our country and our apicultural practices. There will be different options for all the participants: One day Technical tours. Two days Technical and Touristic tours and Touristic tours with apicultural visits in each region.
This great meeting between beekeepers, technicians, scientists and traders is the key to achieve an apiculture that is sustainable and that generates development.

The Beekeeper's Bible

By Richard A. Jones and
Sharon Sweeney-Lynch

Part almanac, part guide-book, part cookbook, The Beekeeper's Bible (April 2011) is the ultimate beekeeping resource for seasoned professionals and home gardeners alike.
With backyard enthusiasts and urban gardeners taking on everything from canning to growing heirloom tomatoes, beekeeping is experiencing a renaissance. In the spirit of the new DIY movement, The Beekeeper's Bible is the perfect how-to book for bee-enthusiasts everywhere.

With The Beekeeper's Bible readers can find a recipe for a honeyed ham or learn how to make their own moisturizing hand cream. The book also includes a fascinating historical account of beekeeping, and encourages a new generation of gardeners to secure a future for the honey bee - an insect whose numbers have dropped to record lows in recent years.
The Beekeeper's Bible is fully illustrated and includes beautiful photographs that will make it a treasured household object as well as the perfect gift for nature and craft enthusiasts.
To order, contact www.abramsbooks.com. Phone (212) 229-7188.

 

Bees Know More Than Beekeepers: Getting the Best from Your Bees

Published by Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press announces the latest highly anticipated crafts and hobbies
reference book from Lexington, SC,
authors David MacFawn and Chris Slade.

January 14, 2011. Denver, CO, and Lexington, SC - Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Getting The Best From Your Bees by David MacFawn and Chris Slade.  The authors' most recent book to date is a 6 x 9 paperback in the crafts and hobbies reference category and is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The webpage at www.outskirtspress.com/gettingthebestfromyourbees was launched simultaneously with the book's publication.

Beekeeping programs in the United States have historically focused on theoretical test questions and answers, but have not included extensive practical hive manipulation techniques. This book explores practical in-hive techniques that should be learned by at least an advanced beginner level, beekeeping year 2, and should be fully utilized by the Master Beekeeping level. Other techniques exist, but the authors listed what they thought were the most important techniques.

This advanced beginner book is international in scope. The authors are from the South Eastern United States and the United Kingdom. They hope they bring both diversity and beekeeping commonality to this text.

The concept for this book was born at the Virginia Tech, Winchester, Virginia Research Center, USA, while looking for ways to improve the management of the research colonies. One of the overall themes is that one needs to go with the natural tendency of the bees to be successful. One has to learn what "normal" is for a beehive.

"All beekeeping is local," the authors point out. What might work in Alaska may not apply in Australia. Beekeepers are therefore advised to join their local Beekeepers' Association and apply the techniques described in this book after discussion with more experienced members. The association will also be able to advise on the current state of the local law.
One of the authors learned years ago from Dr. John Ambrose, apiarist at North Carolina State University, that to be successful with bees, "You need to understand enough about their nature that you do things supportive of their nature and not against their nature. The bees know better what they are doing than the beekeeper. Watch and listen to the bees."
153 pages, Getting The Best From Your Bees is being aggressively promoted to appropriate markets with a focus on the crafts and hobbies reference category. With U.S. wholesale distribution through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and pervasive online availability through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and elsewhere, Getting The Best From Your Bees meets consumer demand through both retail and library markets with a suggested retail price of $18.95.
Additionally, Getting The Best From Your Bees can be ordered by retailers or wholesalers for the maximum trade discount price set by the author in quantities of ten or more from the Outskirts Press Direct bookstore at www.outskirtspress.com/bookstore.

ISBN: 9781432766467
Format: 6 x 9 paperback cream
SRP: $18.95

For more information or to contact the author, visit www.outskirtspress.com/gettingthebestfromyourbees.

Obituary - Jacob A. "Jake" Hall

Jacob Hall was born June 18, 1933 by midwife, in the hills of Carter County, Kentucky, the son of Benjamin and Nora (Davis) Hall. The midwife, who was paid for her help with the delivery with two chickens, didn't get to the courthouse of the rural southern Carter county until August 1st 1933 and thus Jake's birth certificate officially listed his birthday as such. He spent his younger years working for his father's saw mill deep up a Kentucky "Holler" before moving on to his lifelong love and family tradition of beekeeping.

His work as a beekeeper defined him and this labor of love drove him to operate his bee busines across the breadbasket of this country from Ohio to California in six differnt states. He was a professional beekeeper, who never missed a weather report, for 47 years before retiring in 2008 at the age of 75.

Along the way he enjoyed bowling, playing cards, and throwing horseshoes with friends and family. Snowmobiling anywhere in the woods of Wisconsin was a favorite winter pastime when the beekeeping work was done. He belonged to the Moose lodge where he often volunteered and liked to dance and play cards with friends and family. He enjoyed spending spare time as a trained volunteer firefighter for the Wasta Fire Dept. where he was the assistant chief for several years.

Jake is survived by his wife Wanda of Wasta; five children Donald Hall of Ohio, Curtis Hall and his wife Patty of Florida, Leah Foley of Wisconsin, Mike Hall and his wife Nicole of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Margie Pascual and her husband Pete of California; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; two sisters Susie Weisenberg of Wisconsin, and Diane Myers of California; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Jake is preceded in death by his parents; a daughter Judy; a son Mike; and siblings Aaron, Harold, Georgia, Thelma, Olive, Alberta, Bill and Thomas.

Newsnotes - February 2011

 

Sleepless Honey Bees Miscommunicate, Too, Research at the University of Texas at Austin Shows
AUSTIN, Texas-In the busy world of a honey bee hive, worker bees need their rest in order to best communicate the location of food to their hive mates, research from The University of Texas at Austin shows.

"When deprived of sleep, humans typically experience a diminished ability to perform a variety of tasks, including communicating as clearly or as precisely," said Dr. Barrett Klein, a former ecology, evolution and behavior graduate student at the university. "We found that sleep-deprived honey bees also experienced communication problems. They advertised the direction to a food site less precisely to their fellow bees."

For humans, imprecise communication can reduce efficiency, cost money, and in some cases, cost lives. For honey bees, Klein says it could affect their success in locating food, which could lead to a less competitive colony.

"While the importance of sleep has been studied in Drosophila flies for several years," said Dr. Ulrich Mueller, professor of biology and study coauthor, "Barrett's study is the first to address the function of sleep in a social insect in the context of its society, and the first to show that sleep deprivation impairs precision of communication in an insect."

The research was published in PNAS Early Edition this week.

There are various ways to poke and prod humans to force them to stay awake prior to measuring the effects of sleep deprivation. But how to make bees in a hive lose sleep?
Klein invented a magnetic machine aptly named the "insominator," a contraption he passed over quietly resting bees during the night to deprive them of sleep. The bees, outfitted with small metallic backpacks, were jostled into activity by magnets in the insominator, and this was repeated over the course of normal sleep time.

Barrett then recorded the behaviors of the sleepless bees and discovered they weren't able to communicate as well the direction of nectar-filled flower patches to their sisters through their usual waggle dance.

"The dance was not necessarily wrong, but it was less precise than dances performed by bees that were not sleep-deprived," says Klein. "We expect that a less precise dance would lead to fewer followers making it to the food source, and we hope to test this in the future."
Klein is a researcher at Universität Würzburg in Germany. His coauthors include Arno Klein from Columbia University, Margaret Wray and Thomas Seeley from Cornell University and Ulrich Mueller at The University of Texas at Austin.

New Product to Detect Honey Adulteration
Polarmetrics' vIRtuous Analyzer Utilized for Rapid Determination of Adulteration
Percentages in Honey and Maple Syrup

SUMMARY: The practice of "adulterating" honey or maple syrup for economic reasons has long been known and is a severe problem in the industry. Unscrupulous dealers will add a low cost syrup (cane, corn, beet, rice, tapioca or others) and resell this mixture as pure honey or maple syrup. This has a devastating economic effect on those that are distributing pure products as they will be at a price disadvantage compared to those that are distributing low cost mixtures and mislabeling the product as pure. Purchasers of these products can inadvertently believe they have received a good price on what they thought to be pure a product. Food manufacturers who purchase these ingredients can mistakenly label their product(s) as containing pure honey or maple syrup when in fact it may contain various other ingredients the consumer is not aware of nor desires to ingest.

An analytical technique that has proven to detect these adulterants is infrared spectroscopy. Unfortunately, the calibration and mathematical techniques are quite complex to employ and have typically been beyond the scope of people in the industry to readily apply. Polarmetrics Corporation has developed a complete analyzer which has proven to detect adulterants accurately and timely. Advantages of this technique are:

  • Requires less then 5 minutes to produce a result from any sample
  • Requires no sample preparation
  • Does not require expensive consumables (chemicals, gases, columns, and energy to operate the analyzer)
  • The unit is pre-calibrated so users are not tasked with this complex process
  •  Software interface can be learned in a matter of minutes

 

Experimental
1. Numerous honey samples were adulterated with a variety of known adulterants at different percent levels to build a calibration database. This process was repeated for maple syrup with the exception that cane and corn syrups were modeled as the adulterants.
2. A drop of sample was placed on the temperature controlled sampling interface of the Polarmetrics vIRtuous infrared analyzer. All samples were evaluated in duplicate
3. Sophisticated mathematical treatments were applied to the data sets for calibration and verification.

Conclusion
The Polarmetrics vIRtuous adulteration analyzer accurately, rapidly and easily measures the purity of honey along with the concentration of the adulterant syrup.

The user is not required to calibrate the unit nor burdened with the task of learning sophisticated algorithms or spectroscopy techniques. The unit is complete and can be used by anyone with only minutes of training. Distributors, blenders, food manufactures, testing labs and governmental bodies can now easily test for adulterations in honey and maple syrup deterring the illegal act of mislabeling and adulteration of these products.

Polarmetrics Corporation, 3510 Parmenter St., Middleton, WI 53562, Tel.: 608.831.2360 www.polarmetricscorp.com

FReD Can Help Explain How a Bee Sees!
Bees can see colors, but they perceive the world differently to us, including variations in hue that we cannot ourselves distinguish.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and Imperial College London have developed FReD - the Floral Reflectance Database - which holds data on what colors flowers appear to be, to bees. The development of the catalog, which has involved a collaborative effort between researchers at two Schools at Queen Mary is reported in the journal PLoS ONE.

The work addresses the existing issue that records of flower colors do not take the visual systems of pollinator insects into account. Bees - for example - have evolved completely different color detection mechanisms to humans, and can see colors outside our own capabilities in the ultra-violet range. Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said: "This research highlights that the world we see is not the physical or the 'real' world - different animals have very different senses, depending on the environment the animals operate in."

Professor Chittka and his team have measured the spectral reflectance of a number of flowers in different locations and analyzed what bumblebees perceive, including different shades of ultra-violet. The image below shows a photograph of a creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) using a UV filter, giving just one example of the colors that are 'hidden' to us. Queen Mary PhD student Sarah Arnold, who is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), was also involved with the project, she said: "We have created a database in which the colors of flowers are indexed from this vitally important pollinator's point of view. For the first time, this database will allow us to analyze global trends in flower color, for example how flower colors might change in areas with high UV radiation. There are many possible applications for scientists from different fields."
Co-author Professor Vincent Savolainen, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, who holds a joint post at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, adds: "We hope this work can help biologists understand how plants have evolved in different habitats - from biodiversity hotspots in South Africa to the cold habitats of northern Europe. FReD's global records may show how flower color could have changed over time, and how this relates to the different insects that pollinate them, and other factors in their local environment."
Samia Faruq from the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science is assisting Professor Chittka on an EPSRC funded PhD studentship, and is an expert in the computer modelling side of the project: "FReD provides over 2,000 records with the colors that the bee sees presented in a very simple way. A successful flower has to be 'noticed' by the bee, and FReD provides a better understanding of the strategy flowers attain.

"Color patterns emerging from the location or altitude in which flowers are found may in turn increase our understanding of the plant-pollinator relationship. We will also be able to determine if flower colors in a given location are converging or diverging in order to give themselves the best chance of reproducing."

Professor Peter McOwan, a computer scientist who helped in developing the technical side of the project, commented: "This combination of biology and computer science, allowing scientists to collaboratively access important data in new ways, shows the power of combining these two scientific disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach can produce significant new applications that will help make a real impact in better understanding the natural world."

The database is freely searchable and open for international contribution, and will inform future ecological studies. "The records can be used to link flowers together by color, although they appear different to us. On a global scale we will be able to identify the colors preferred by pollinators and see how this varies. This is very significant in terms of the global food supply, which relies on these insects and bees in particular" added Professor Chittka.  

Where Have all the Flowers Gone? Pollination Ecologist Working to Find Out
DAVIS--Katharina Ullmann is on a mission. "Where have all the flowers gone?" she asks.
Ullmann, a pollination ecologist seeking a master's degree in entomology at the University of California, Davis, wants to enhance floral resources for honey bees and native bees in agricultural landscapes.

"Pollinators play an important role in crop production and in maintaining wildflower populations," said Ullmann, who studies with major professor and native pollinator specialist Neal Williams. "However, habitat destruction and agricultural intensification has modified the floral resources available in agricultural landscapes. Ensuring that pollen and nectar resources are available throughout the year is important for both honey bees and wild native bees."

As part of her research, she and her colleagues from the Williams' lab are seasonally monitoring floral visitors and floral resources at three experimental sites in Yolo County and developing wildflower mixes that attract pollinators. She wants to know what native flowers are most visited by honey bees, pests and natural enemies; when they bloom, and what resources the flowers are providing.

The results will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and made accessible to California beekeepers and land managers.

"An estimated 30 percent of our global crop production is at least partially dependent on animal pollinators," said Ullmann. "The European honey bee (also called the Western honey bee) remains the most relied upon crop pollinator. However, managed honey bees have declined by more than 50 percent since the 1950s."

"Supplemental plantings with native pollen and nectar-rich plants in agricultural areas may benefit honey bees by relieving floral resource scarcity and thus reducing bee nutritional stress at critical times of the season," she said. "However, floral resources may also attract pests."

Ullmann said that intensive agriculture "transforms complex, heterogeneous landscapes with nature mixtures of natural habitat and diverse cropping systems into simple, homogenous landscapes consisting of large monocultures and little natural habitat."
Floral resources used by bees do not persist throughout the flight season of most bees, particularly the honey bee, she said. "As a result, there are times in the year where few flowering plant species provide pollen and nectar. During these times, bees experience nutritional stress which beekeepers combat by supplementing colonies with artificial diets."
Ullmann and her colleagues are monitoring 18 native annual and perennial forb species. Forbs, herbaceous flowering plants, include clover, lupine and California poppies.
The pollination ecologist recently received three scholarships to fund her research: the George H. Vansell Scholarship for $4,435, the John S. Harbison Scholarship for $1000; and the Teledyne Entomology Fellowship for $1000.

A 2002 graduate of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Ullmann received her bachelor of science degree in environmental biology, with honors, and a minor in French, with honors. In 2001, she was involved in a six-month study program on the ecology and conservation of Madagascar.

Ullmann coordinated the California Pollinator Conservation Program for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation from January 2007 to October 2008. Her work involved research in restoring native bee habitat with conservation biologist Claire Kremen at UC Berkeley; presenting native bee workshops throughout northern California to growers, agricultural professionals and resource management specialist; and teaching citizen scientists how to identify native bees.

She also did pollinator research at Princeton University under the guidance of pollination ecologists/conservation biologists Rachael Winfree and Neal Williams.

Ullmann is a 2007 graduate of The Bee Course, a bee identification field course affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History and held in the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Ariz., an area considered the richest bee fauna in North America. One of the instructors is native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.

Two of the three scholarships Ullmann received memorialize influential agriculturists. Vansell, who died in 1954, taught entomology and apiculture at UC Davis from 1922 to 1931 and later served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research led to a better understanding of the role of bees in crop pollination and to improvements in the nation's supply of alfalfa and other legume seeds.

John Stewart Harbison (1826-1912), was considered California's first modern beekeeper. He brought 67 colonies of bees to San Francisco aboard the steamer Sonora on Nov. 30, 1857 and then transferred them to his home in the Sacramento area. Harbison later settled in San Diego and by 1875 was recognized as the world's largest beekeeper and producer of honey, according to former UC Davis apiarist Lee Watkins in "John S. Harbison: California's First Modern Beekeeper," published in the April 1969 edition of Agricultural History.
The Teledyne Scholarship, from the Teledyne corporation, also supports apiculture research for UC Davis students.

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Department of Entomology
396A Briggs Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Honey Bee Expert Norman Gary Sets the Records Straight
DAVIS--Honey bee expert Norman Gary, emeritus professor of apiculture at the University of California, Davis, is the author of a newly published book on beginning beekeeping titled "Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees."

"Keeping bees is far more challenging than caring for common pets," said Gary, who retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career. "Beginning beekeepers become confused by conflicted information they find in books written by amateurs or inaccurate advice on the internet."

"The book," he said, "will ensure the success of beekeepers who take their hobby seriously."
The 174-page paperback, published by BowTie Press, is intended to be "entertaining, authoritative and easy-to-understand," said Gary, who shares his extensive beekeeping knowledge spanning more than six decades. "It dispels many beekeeping myths and provides new insights based more on science than on tradition."

For example, "most people have an exaggerated sense of dread concerning bee stings due to a wealth of misleading negative information in the media," Gary writes. "With more knowledge and firsthand experience, these fears rapidly vanish."

"An occasional bee sting comes with the territory, comparable to the small risks associated with most pets," Gary writes. "Cats scratch, dogs bite, horses kick, and birds peck-just to name a few."

The book is available online on Amazon, eBay and other websites, and at a number of bee supply companies and bookstores.

The chapters include "To Beekeep or Not to Beekeep," "The World of Honey Bees," "The Bees' Home," "Getting Started," "Honey Bee Reproduction," "Activity Inside the Hive," "Activity Outside the Hive," "Colony Defense and Sting Prevention," "How to Manage Colonies," "Honey and Other Hive Products" and "Fun Things to Do with Bees."

Gary trains bees to perform action scenes in movies, television shows and commercials. His credits over the last 35 years include 18 films, including "Fried Green Tomatoes"; more than 70 television shows, including the Johnny Carson and Jay Leno shows; six commercials, and hundreds of live Thriller Bee Shows in the Western states.

He once trained bees to fly into his mouth to collect food from a small sponge saturated with his patented artificial nectar. He holds the Guinness World record (109 bees inside his closed mouth for 10 seconds) for the stunt.

Gary dedicated the book "to everyone who supported my career with bees: beekeepers, professors, scientists, students, research assistants, movie directors, Hollywood stars, photographers and family-especially Mom, who never complained about stray bees or tracked honey inside the kitchen-and to my dog, who led me to the bee tree that started it all."

Among those contributing to the book were several "bee people" affiliated with the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. They include Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty; bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey; communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey; and graduate student-artist Emily Bzdyk. Garvey provided many of the photos, and Bzdyk drew the illustrations.

Gary, who received a doctorate in apiculture at age 26 from Cornell University in 1959, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1962. He developed and taught the first insect behavior course at UC Davis, and developed and taught a graduate course on the use of television for research and teaching.

A native of Florida, Gary turned a fascination for bugs at age 4 into hobby beekeeping at age 15 when his dog led him to a dead tree containing a wild honey bee nest. He transferred them to a modern hive where they became his "pets."
Gary, who now lives in the Sacramento area, maintains a website at
www.normangary.com/

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Communications Specialist
Department of Entomology
396A Briggs Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 9561

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Appoints New Members to National Honey Board
Firestone, CO., Dec. 13, 2010-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack has made the following appointments to the National Honey Board. The appointments are to replace those Board members and alternates whose term ends on Dec. 31, 2010. The newly appointed Board members will be seated during the Feb. 24-25, 2011, Board meeting in Denver, Colorado. The appointments were made from a list of nominations provided by the qualified national organizations in accordance with the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order.

First Handler Member
Brent Barkman, Hillsboro, Kansas
First Handler Alternate
Brian Nipper, Phoenix, Arizona

Importer Member
Candace Trussler, Winnipeg, MB Canada
Importer Alternate
Ron Phipps, Bayville, New York

Marketing Cooperative Member
Mark Mammen, Sioux City, Iowa
Marketing Cooperative Alternate
Bob Brandi, Los Banos, California

Producer Member
Zac Browning, Jamestown, North Dakota
Producer Alternate
David W. Ellingson, Ortonville, Minnesota

The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.

USDA Releases 2010 Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder Progress Report
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released the 2010 Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Progress Report highlighting current research on this still mysterious disease affecting the nation's honey bees.

The report, which was mandated by Congress in 2008, summarizes research by federal agencies, state departments of agriculture, universities and private organizations to find the cause of CCD and how to stop or mitigate its impact. The report was produced by USDA's Agricultural Research Service(ARS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

"Honey bees are critical to U.S. agriculture, with about 130 crops depending on pollination to add more than $15 billion in crop value annually. It is vital that we find a way to deal with CCD," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "This report is an important measure of what we are learning about this serious problem."

CCD, a syndrome characterized by the sudden disappearance of all adult honey bees in a colony, was first recognized in 2006. Since then, surveys of beekeepers indicate that the industry is suffering losses of more than 30 percent annually. Before the appearance of CCD, losses averaged 15-20 percent annually from a variety of factors such as varroa mites and other pests and pathogens.
During the past three years, numerous causes for CCD have been proposed and investigated. Although the cause or causes of CCD are still unknown, research summarized in the report supports the hypothesis that CCD may be a syndrome caused by many different factors, that work individually or in combination. The sequence and combination may not even be the same in every case, explained Kevin Hackett, ARS national program leader for pollination and co-chair of the USDA CCD Steering Committee.

 The 2010 CCD Progress Report is available online at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/br
/ccd/ccdprogressreport2010.pdf
More information about CCD can be found at http://www.ars.usda.gov/CCD.
(Courtesy of Kim Kaplan, USDA)

Seattle Businessman Who Imported Tainted Chinese Honey Sentenced

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement News Release

SEATTLE - The former president of a Seattle-area import company was sentenced to one year plus one day in prison and ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution after an investigation by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) revealed he imported contaminated honey from China.

Chung Po Liu, 70, of Bellevue, Wash., pleaded guilty in August guilty to federal charges of entry of goods by means of false statements, and introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. At the conclusion of his prison sentence, Liu will also be required to serve six months of home detention as part of a one-year term of supervised release.

Liu was a corporate officer and former president of Rainier Cascade, an import company registered with the U.S. government, as well as the president of Evergreen Produce Inc., a business that sells and transports honey imported by Rainier Cascade. Over a three-year period starting in late 2005, Liu admitted to importing 22 shipments of honey from Changge Jixiang Bee Products Company Limited, a honey factory in Henan, China.
The ICE HSI investigation revealed that Liu purchased honey from Changge Jixiang and had it shipped to the Philippines or Thailand. The honey was re-labeled there to make it appear it was a product from these countries.

When the honey arrived in the United States, Liu submitted documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) falsely claiming that the imported honey was produced in Thailand or the Philippines, when in fact it originated in China. In April 2008, federal authorities seized several of Liu's honey shipments at three locations, including the Port of Seattle, a Seattle warehouse and a honey processing plant in Sultan, Wash.

Subsequent tests by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined much of the honey was adulterated with the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. This antibiotic, often found in Chinese honey, is an unsafe additive and is banned from the U.S. food supply.

According to the plea agreement, Liu admits that he avoided paying in excess of $2.9 million in anti-dumping duties over three years. The duty on Chinese honey was 183 percent in 2001 and was raised to 221 percent in 2007.

"In an attempt to avoid paying millions of dollars in anti-dumping import duties, the defendant not only misled the federal government, he knowingly deceived the American public by allowing shipments of tainted Chinese honey, which contained banned substances, to enter our nation's food supply," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Seattle. "Today's prison sentence is a fitting end to an investigation that required dedicated investigative work in Seattle and the collaboration of several countries half-way around the world. HSI will continue its efforts to deter this type of illegal activity in the future."

Liu is named, but not charged, in a parallel investigation in the Northern District of Illinois. An indictment in that case alleges that the German-based food conglomerate Alfred L. Wolff GmbH was among five other German and Chinese companies whose employees conspired to avoid paying more than $80 million in Chinese honey customs duties.

During the course of these HSI investigations, federal authorities have seized more than 3,200 drums of honey in Seattle, Tacoma, Wash., Minneapolis and the Chicago area.
ICE HSI was assisted in this investigation by the Port of Seattle Police Department, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, CBP Office of Field Operations, and the ICE attache offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Manila.

Newsnotes - January 2011

 

Chinese Honey Manufacturer Sentenced to 18 Months for Iillegal Import Scheme

Nov. 9, 2010 - CHICAGO - The former president of a Chinese honey manufacturer was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for conspiring to smuggle Chinese-origin honey into the U.S. - some of which was tainted with antibiotics - to avoid nearly $4 million in anti-dumping duties. This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Yong Xiang Yan, 61, was sentenced Nov. 9 in the Northern District of Illinois to 18 months in prison and was ordered to pay $3,953,515 in restitution. After serving his sentence, Yan will be turned over to ICE and placed into deportation proceedings.
Yan pleaded guilty in October 2009 to conspiring to smuggle 15 full container loads of Chinese honey into the United States that was falsely identified as originating in the Philippines, thereby avoiding anti-dumping duties of $635,515. Between 2005 and February 2008 Yan conspired with others - including nine individuals in the U.S., Germany and Asia, and a German trading company and its subsidiaries in the United States, Beijing and Hong Kong - to illegally import Chinese honey, including adulterated honey, into the United States.
Yan acknowledged that he authorized an additional 21 shipments of Chinese honey through the Philippines and Thailand, which entered the United States in the state of Washington. An additional $3.3 million in anti-dumping duties were avoided on these shipments, bringing the total figure avoided to about $3,953,515.
"Mr. Yan defrauded the U.S. government and the American people by illegally importing mislabeled honey into this country," said ICE Director John Morton. "Some of these products were tainted with antibiotics - all in an effort to make illegal profits. ICE will continue to aggressively investigate these criminals who try to circumvent the U.S. customs laws that were designed to protect the American public and U.S. businesses."
Yan was the president of Changge City Jixiang Bee Product Co. Ltd., a honey manufacturing company located in Henan, China. He was arrested May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles on federal charges filed in Chicago. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest.
According to court documents, some of the Chinese honey Yan shipped to the U.S. was adulterated with antibiotics, specifically Norfloxacin and Ciprofloxacin, which are banned from domestic foods.
Neither the charges nor the plea agreement indicate any instances of illness or other public health consequences attributed to consuming the honey. Also, no specific store brands or domestic supply chains of honey that was illegally imported or adulterated were identified in any court documents.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew S. Boutros and William R. Hogan, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted this case.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) News Release

Taiwanese Honey Importer Sentenced to 30 Months for Conspiring to Evade U.S. Import Duties

Nov. 5, 2010 - CHICAGO - A Taiwanese executive of several honey import companies was sentenced to 30 months in prison Friday for conspiring to avoid more than $5 million in U.S. anti-dumping duties by illegally importing Chinese-origin honey that was falsely identified as coming from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and India. This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Hung Ta Fan, aka Michael Fan, 40, was sentenced Nov. 5 in the Northern District of Illinois to 30 months in prison and was ordered to pay $5,378,370 in restitution. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August, pursuant to a cooperation agreement with the government.
Fan, a Taiwanese national, owned and operated multiple California-based honey import companies, including Blue Action Enterprise, 7 Tiger Enterprises, Kashaka USA, and Honey World Enterprise. He used these companies to fraudulently import Chinese honey into the United States. Fan admitted that between 2005 and 2006 he conspired with others to illegally bring into the United States 98 shipments of Chinese honey to avoid paying anti-dumping duties of about $5,378,370 due to the U.S. government.
"Mr. Fan and others deliberately mislabeled 98 shipments of honey in an effort to rob the U.S. government of more than $5 million in tariffs," said ICE Director John Morton. "Our domestic honey industry is economically threatened when importers illegally dump low-cost Chinese honey into the U.S. marketplace. This prison sentence sends a strong message domestically and internationally that ICE's Homeland Security Investigations aggressively investigates criminals who conceal the true origins of their products in the name of greed."
In his plea, Fan further admitted that in 2009 he conspired with others to fraudulently import about $8 million of honey that was diluted and blended with 20 to 30 percent artificial sugar. He admitted to adding artificial sugar to the honey in an effort to obtain a higher price and profit margin than if the shipments contained pure honey. Fan used his company Kashaka USA to bring in the diluted, blended honey.
Fan was arrested April 1 in Los Angeles as he arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest. After serving his sentence, Fan will be turned over to ICE and placed into deportation proceedings.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew S. Boutros and William R. Hogan, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted this case.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) News Release

True Source HoneyTM Will Launch Certification Program to Help Stem the Tide of Illegal Honey

The True Source HoneyTM Initiative is pleased to announce that it is launching a Certified True Source HoneyTM Traceability Program starting in 2011. The program, which will be formally launched at the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference in January, is designed to certify the origin, food safety and purity of the honey being distributed and consumed within North America.
The new voluntary standard is open to interested honey companies (packers, producers, importers and exporters) under the True Source Honey program. It was developed by a multi-disciplined group of industry participants, including honey companies (packers, producers, importers and exporters), that want to ramp up industry participation in solving the problem of illegally sourced honey. An internationally recognized third party audit firm will begin conducting audits for honey companies, producers, exporters and importers starting in 2011. For those applying for certification, the firm will conduct unannounced inspections, review documents and collect samples for country of origin verification.
Every honey company is invited to become a member of the True Source Honey program. This will help create transparency within the industry and go beyond the current expectations of certifications and federal regulations with an additional layer of traceability that starts at the hive. Those who want to help eliminate illegally sourced honey and maintain honey's natural reputation of quality and safety are encouraged to participate.
Most imported and domestic honey is from high-quality, legal sources. However, some importers, brokers and honey companies are illegally circumventing tariffs and quality controls, selling honey to companies and consumers that is of questionable origin. In addition to creating food safety issues for consumers, this threatens the honey industry by undercutting fair market prices and damaging honey's reputation for quality and safety.
For example, in September of this year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice indicted 11 German and Chinese individuals and six corporations for allegedly participating in an international conspiracy to illegally import Chinese honey. Federal officials said the defendants allegedly imported more than $40 million of Chinese honey, including honey that was adulterated with unapproved antibiotics. This indictment is the largest in a string of federal actions in the past two years directed at stopping illegal honey trade.
While these federal actions are critical, further action is needed by the industry itself. The Certified True Source Honey Traceability Program will allow all interested parties along the honey chain to join together in stopping these illegal practices. Additional details of this exciting new program will be announced at the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference, a joint convention of the American Honey Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation and the Canadian Honey Council in Galveston, Texas, at the San Luis Resort, January 3-9, 2011.
Watch for further information at http://www.TrueSourceHoney.com.
The True Source Honey Initiative is an effort by a number of honey companies and importers to call attention to the problem of illegally sourced honey; to encourage action to protect consumers and customers from these practices; and to highlight and support legal, transparent and ethical sourcing. The initiative seeks to help maintain the reputation of honey as a high-quality, highly valued food and further sustain the U.S. honey sector. Learn more at www.TrueSourceHoney.com.

Bayer Cropscience Acquires Varroa Mite Product from Exosect ltd

from Georgina Donovan
Exosect Ltd

Bayer CropScience AG acquires innovative product for the control of varroa mites in honey bees from Exosect Ltd. (Editor's note: This product is not currently registered for use in the United States.)
Exosect- leading provider of Intelligent Pest Management solutions -has announced the recent acquisition of its unique product for the control of varroa mites in honey bees by Bayer CropScience.
The acquisition was made for an undisclosed figure and gives Bayer CropScience worldwide rights to sell the product* and to further develop a portfolio of bee health products for the control of mites (including varroa mites and tracheal mites) using Exosect's platform technology, EntostatTM*.
Martin Brown, Exosect's Managing Director, comments, "After 5 years we are delighted to have finalized the research and trials required for a regulatory data package." Brown continues, "Our platform technology, Entostat powder, has such huge potential in all sectors of pest control that despite our interest in the bee health sector we are unable to give the launch of this product the resources that it deserves. This is an incredibly important sector and we believe that Bayer is very well placed to bring the product to market".
"Bayer is aware of its responsibility as a producer both of crop protection products and of bee health products," said Dr. Franz-Josef Placke, head of development at Bayer CropScience. "Therefore, we are investing in research and development to provide beekeepers with sustainable solutions to improve the health of their bees and beehives."

Background information
*The product, developed by Exosect Ltd., is for the efficient and cost effective control of varroa mites in honey bees. It is based on Entostat powder, Exosects' patented platform technology and the active ingredient thymol. The EntostatTM powder, which is derived from a natural ‘food grade' wax, develops an electrostatic charge, even through very slight movement. When placed in contact with bees, the powder adheres to them and can be passed from one bee to another through direct contact. The technology means that only minute quantities of thymol are required, which reduces the potential for thymol residues in honey crops and has the potential to provide beekeepers with an invaluable tool during honey flow when varroa mites are reproducing and when there are limited options for varroa control.
 *Entostat powder is the platform technology for Exosect's entire range of products. Derived from a natural ‘food grade' wax which is sustainably harvested from palm trees, Entostat powder acts as a delivery system for a wide range of chemistry.
As the name suggests "Entostat" powder exhibits electrostatic properties. Even through very slight movement, it develops an electrostatic charge. Insects similarly develop an electrostatic charge as they fly through air or walk across physical surfaces. When placed in contact with insects, the powder adheres to them and can be passed from one insect to another through direct contact. This platform enables the use of very low doses of natural or synthetic active ingredients (ai) which helps reduce the use of ai's in wide range of sectors.

Bees Reveal Nature-Nurture Secrets
The nature-nurture debate is a "giant step" closer to being resolved after scientists studying bees documented how environmental inputs can modify our genetic hardware. The researchers uncovered extensive molecular differences in the brains of worker bees and queen bees which develop along very different paths when put on different diets The research was led by Professor Ryszard Maleszka of The Australian National University's College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, working with colleagues from the German Cancer Institute in Heidelberg, Germany and will be published in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology
Their work reveals for the first time the intricacies of the environmentally-influenced chemical 'marking of DNA' called DNA methylation, which has the capacity to alter gene expression without affecting the genetic code - a process referred to as 'epigenetic', or above the genome.
"This marking determines which genes are to be fine-tuned in the brains of workers and queens to produce their extraordinarily different behaviours. This finding is not only crucial, but far reaching, because the enzymes that mark DNA in the bee are also the enzymes that mark DNA in human brains," said Professor Maleszka.
"In the bees, more than 550 genes are differentially marked between the brain of the queen and the brain of the worker, which contributes to their profound divergence in behaviour. This study provides the first documentation of extensive molecular differences that may allow honey bees to generate different reproductive and behavioural outcomes as a result of differential feeding with royal jelly."
Professor Maleszka said that the work goes a long way to answering one of life's biggest questions.
"This study represents a giant step towards answering one of the big questions in the nature-nurture debate, because it shows how the outside world is linked to DNA via diet, and how environmental inputs can transiently modify our genetic hardware," he said.
"Similar studies are impossible to do on human brains, so the humble honey bees are the pioneers in this fascinating area."
http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-ocument&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.1000506

Newsnotes - January 2011

 

Beekeeping Scholarship Announced

The Lorain County Beekeeper's Association is announcing its 2011 Educational Scholarship Competition.  Students ages 9-13 and 14-18 can compete to win a scholarship package in each age category which includes a beginner's beekeeping kit, four beekeeping classes, membership to the Lorain County Beekeeper's Association, and one year of mentoring.  The scholarship package is worth $235.

Entry requirements include a 500 word essay entitled Why I Want To Be A Beekeeper and completion of the entry form, which can be downloaded from http://www.loraincountybeekeepers.org/.  Two references and parent or guardian signature are required for scholarship applicants.

Scholarship winners must attend all four beginner beekeeping class sessions in March, complete an educational booth at the 2011 Lorain County Fair, and enter honey from their apiary for judging in the 2011 Lorain County Fair.

All entry materials must be submitted to LCBA Essay Contest, OSU Extension-Lorain County, 42110 Russia Road, Elyria, OH 44035 by Friday, February 18, 2011.  For entry form and complete details, visit http://www.loraincountybeekeepers.org/.

LCBA is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization committed to educating the public about the value of honeybees and the impact honeybees have on our world.  LCBA members provide educational appearances for schools, boy scouts and girl scouts, 4H clubs, metro parks programs, nature centers, and more.