Apis Newsletter, August 22, 2015
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Dear Subscribers, 

We are back to four (4) colonies with our re-queening efforts justified after the demise of our colony headed by a Russian queen I brought from the Greek Orthodox Monastery in Williston, FL . The idea of making nuclei from strong colonies, the new-old way to ensure there are enough resources in case of issues in the apiary worked in this case. Now comes a critical time of the year in north central Florida.  We are going to feed in the hopes of getting a round of brood and vital winter bees produced before cold weather.  We may need more population this year as the strong El Niño in the Pacific  means a potentially colder-than-average winter.

I have been selected to be listed on the Fulbright Specialist roster.  This is completely different program in many ways from the standard Fulbright grants that are handed out to academics, one of which I received in Ecuador in 2000 while on the faculty at the University of Florida.  It's up to folks in countries requesting a specialist (entomology/beekeeping/apiculture) to come up with a suitable program/project and then request a  specialist from the roster, usually by contacting their local U.S. Embassy.  The projects are short term (up to six weeks) and the in-country costs of the specialist are paid by the host.  For further information, contact Katrin DeWindt, Assistant Director, U.S. Scholars Programs, at (202) 686-6254.

I have put up several beekeeping-related Ted talks featuring Marla Spivak among others on a new web site I'm developing.   I sent an e-mail to Al Summers on this after he brought my attention to Dr. Spivak's talk on “Pollinators in Peril.”  I responded to his remarks: “The overall story of Varroa tolerance so far needs to be told (yugo bees, Russian bees, SMR, hygienic behavior, etc.) although it can be found in bits and pieces via the web.  I think comparison with Brother Adam's work is a good journalistic "hook," to start the conversation.  

“Another spin off story is that concerning development of hygienic behavior in general; you mention Basil Furgala, but Walter Rothenbuhler was the guy who got the ball rolling .  Randy Oliver has put a lot of the material out there on this as well. This remains the “holy grail' for beekeeping.  See the discussion later in this newsletter concerning Randy's podcast interview.

Fran Bach is hard at work again on her periodic information from the Western Apicultural Society.  

IN THIS ISSUE --- August 8, 2015

Editor Flottum at Bee Culture continues to publish entries in his “Catch the Buzz” series.  One of the latest has to do with how non-lethal stressors, especially Nosema might be affecting individual bees:

“Using the RFID tags in combination with observations at the hives and artificial flowers, the researchers were able to see how hard the bees worked and what kind of material they gathered.

“The species of nosema used in the study (Nosema apis) has long been thought to be benign compared to the many other parasites and pathogens that infect honey bees, and no one had previously looked for the effect of nosema on behavior with such a low dose.

“ 'We knew dead bees couldn’t forage or pollinate,' said Dr Lach. 'But what we wanted to investigate was the behavior of live bees that are affected by non-lethal stressors.' ”

“In a just published paper, researchers say infected bees were 4.3 times less likely to be carrying pollen than uninfected bees, and carried less pollen when they did. Infected bees also started working later, stopped working sooner and died younger.  Dr Lach said nosema-infected bees look just like non-infected bees, so it’s important to understand the behavioral changes the parasite may be causing.”

Check out the “Buzz Archives” for other postings accessible from the newly revamped home page

What is more and more apparent about honey bee research is that a wider range of study is being conducted by researchers in academic organizations using honey bees as the experimental organism.  This is leading to a plethora of postings across the Internet from many sources, often duplicated, that is not necessarily organized in any kind of logical way.  I am working on something that I believe will help beekeepers find information in a more organized manner.  In “Internet speak” this is called “curation.”   This is found at the latest rendition of the Apis Information Resource Center .  I emphasize on the home page that this is “experimental” on my part at the moment, and not really ready to go “prime time,” thus my reaching out to the Apis Newsletter readership for its collective reflection.  Note that the newsletter also contains RSS feeds from the site listing recent posts.  This may be a bit much, but am publishing these  again as part of my experiment.

Another interesting area is developing what are being called “digital assets.”   One is the world of “podcasting.”  There is an increasing number of podcasts related to beekeeping  beginning to pop up across the Internet.  The Ohio State Beekeepers Association has produced some for its members.
My favorite so far is the new zealand site Kiwimana.  One of its featured podcasts is an interview with Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping in December of 2014.  It lasts over an hour, but is really worth spending the time to take in this program .  You can download it and/or listen to it on the site.  It also comes with a full text transcription   Here's what's in store for anyone listening to this podcast as found in the “show notes”:

What does Randy enjoy about beekeeping?
The Internet doesn’t have any editors.
Don’t give up on a new treatment that you have only use once. Check that you are using it correctly for your conditions.
What are Randy’s Top three ways to control varroa mites?
Stay away from the CheckMite treatment, it’s nasty stuff.
Does America have a true Varroa resistant bee yet?
How Randy keeps his combs fresh.
Randy’s thoughts on what causes ‘CCD’.
Randy’s thoughts about neonicotinoid pesticides
According to Randy, why is the Anti-GMO movement misguided.
Randy’s plans for next season.

As always, check the latest extension efforts at the Bee Health Extension site.  Dr. Cynthia Loftin at The University of Maine is featured looking at pollinator security in northeastern crops like blueberries. reports 74 units of Storey's Guide to keeping Honey Bees were sold July 12  through August 16, 2015..  Vermont and New York led the way this month
Gleanings from the August 2015 Bee Culture: 

Remember that Bee Culture now has a digital edition.   .  Also, it's worth periodically checking out the new web site  for the magazine as it matures and develops.

Randy Oliver mentioned before in this newsletter and others are featured at Bee Culture's next signature event, The Four Pillars of Honey Bee Management October 24 and 25th in Medina, OH.  Registration is $150 and “filling up.”  Register on the web site.

Al Avitable, Bethlehem, CT, takes issue with the effectiveness of “tanging”  as related in other letters to the editor.  His analysis that it is a “false premise” in Latin, hoc ergo propter hoc also has a more modern translation; "correlation does not mean causality."  Joe Traynor, Bakersfield, CA looks at the value of canola pollen in bee nutrition, comparing this to corn pollen, and suggesting possibly using farm subsidies for pollinator habitat to improve nutrition in the agricultural landscape.  Mark Winston, Vancouver, BC calls for developing a new and “audacious” beekeeping manifesto, mostly going against conventional beekeeping wisdom.  This continues an evolving discussion on apicentric beekeeping.

Randy Oliver (there's that name again!) looks at the variables in sampling for Varroa, concluding that mite numbers (and their effects on colonies) vary throughout the year and that often colonies succumb to associated viruses rather the mites themselves.  Tim Arnheit, Ohio State Beekeepers Association writes of the Association's support for Ohio's stronger enforcement of code 909.05, which includes mandatory registration for beekeepers and permitting for honey bees entering the state.  Editor Flottum takes a closer look at this in his Inner Cover.  Read his rant on how the state of Ohio is supporting its beekeepers.  

New books for the summer are Honey: Everyday recipes for cooking and baking, by Angelo Prosperi-Porta (Greystone Books), Simple, Smart Beekeeping by Kristen and Michael Traynor (Image Design Publishing) and Beekeeping for Dummies in its third edition by Howland Blackiston.

In the inner cover see what Editor Flottum is doing about removing old comb from plastic foundation, not an easy task.  He asks those with experience to send him some of their experiences.  

It's Summers Time reports on trips out west and returning home to challenges with the feathered charges (chickens and ducks) left behind just before departing again for England and then Northern Ireland.  We'll read about that next month.

Vaughn Bryant is searching for an answer to filter honey without taking out the pollen.  He's looking for a few good beekeepers to assist by sending him samples, etc.  For details, e-mail and in the subject line, use “FILTER TEST.

Clarence Collison takes a closer look at honey bee vision.  This is a  complex topic with the honey bee having five (5) eyes in two (2) specific configurations.  Yikes!

Michelle Colopy asks if your state has a “Pollinator Protection Plan (MP3).”  She says this cannot be done from the federal level.  Each state must have it own MP3 plan, like Colorado.  For more information on this contact the Pollinator Stewardship Council

Kaitlin Newcombe provides tips on beating the heat while working honey bees and beeing outdoors.  Read the five (5) steps every beekeeper should know.

Terry Lieberman-Smith recounts the challenges of developing a  “perpetual motion change of behavior” by the Ohio State Beekeepers Association.  Read about how this is taking shape and what it might mean for your local association.

Ian Everett looks at the issues surrounding “crowd funding”    Some of this  comes from the incredible success of the so-called “Flow Hive” idea, raising over $12,000,000.  See what it might take to get your idea off the ground.  This is not without risk.  How will those producing the flow hive comply with their promises of shipping these beehives as advertised.  

Larry Connor looks at what makes a sustainable apiary.  Read one key to this; getting replacement bees from different sources.

Urike Lampe writes that formic acid (MAQs) is the treatment of choice in the fall to get a  maximum winter bee population.  Location is the biggest variable however and it turns out Ms. Lampe is writing for Scottish conditions, but appears to be also part of the Ontario Beekeepers Association in Canada. She does provide a calculator of sorts based on climate, etc., but readers will have to figure out what this might mean for their specific area.

Roy Hendrickson is writing in July for the August issue of Bee Culture, declaring that “winter starts today.”  Read his good advice for Ohio conditions.  Then make adjustments for where you might be located.

Jim Tew has more observations and thoughts on his beeyard.  Read about his challenges of no bee buddy, pricy queens, raising your own stock and other topics.

Alan Harman visits Canadian blueberry grower Trevor Laing who is importing honey bees for pollination.  Read the history of this and what might be the effects of rapid climate change in this part of the world.

Rick Andrews provides a description of making a triangular bee escape.  Read why he says to make one for every colony.

Phil Craft continues to answer questions.  A beekeeper writes from Kentucky about capturing a swarm and another in Ohio asks about winter preparation.

Jessica Louque discusses the “berry business of bees.”  Turns out it's not easy often to figure out what is a berry and what isn't.  Oh well, honey bees pollinate most of them and in general humans find them “delicious.”

William Hesbach is on the colony splitting bandwagon  to control Varroa.  He provides suggested specific dates for his location, Cheshire, CT.

Ann Harman looks back at her first honey harvest.  Read what she learned.

Ross Conrad examines in some detail a recent paper entitled:  Beepocalypse Not:.........”  Read his analysis of the points made by the author and his conclusions, resulting in what he calls “The Constitutional Freedom  of Misinformation.”

In all the news that fits, read about auctioning beeyard sites  and the great drought in Australia (OZ).  See the obituary of Stanford Brown and what Clemson University is doing to save pollinators in South Carolina.

Ed Colby in the Bottom Board reflects on his observation of an age-old dance between a spider and potential worker honey bee prey on his truck windshield.  Seems he was almost mesmerized by the scene, but in the end couldn't stay to the end of the scuffle was left to wonder how it might have turned out.


Malcolm T. Sanford
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