We are eagerly looking forward to the New Year here in North Central Florida. Today was fabulous, sunny in the 50s
. My partner reports all hives flying. A bout of wetter weather is about to engulf us. If these warmer temperatures continue, we can look for our harbinger of Spring, perhaps early, the swamp maple, Acer rubrum
. That doesn't rule out an unseasonable cold snap of course, but hope springs eternal that we are on the back side of this winter. Stay tuned.
A great Christmas gift for all those subscribing to this “free” newsletter and interested in receiving complete information about beekeeping and related topics would be a contribution to Wikipedia.org
. Login to any page, several of which you will see linked here to donate. I use this resource all the time and have for many years
, and it generally doesn't fail me. My gift is in the mail. It reminds me of another public resource I donate to, PBS.
Honeybeesuite.com got a query from Joe about some mysterious honey in East Texas. The conclusion about the sweet with a pine taste and no pollen content. Probably honeydew
. This is not a great source of marketable sweet in the U.S., although in some localized areas bees may use it for winter (Florida panhandle oaks). The area with the most honeydew production I have visited is the site of Apimondia 2017, Turkey. Read my reflections on the Mugla honey bee congress I attended some years ago discussing production from pines and the scale insect Marchalina Hellenica. New Zealand also produces honeydew from several species of beech trees.
A Catch the Buzz
reports research from the University of Guelph on controlling American foulbrood
. A toxin, C3larvin
, believed to be necessary for the AFB bacteria to colonize a hive has been identified and characterized Researchers conclude: "We don't yet know how important C3larvin
is as a virulence factor in P. larvae in infecting honeybee larvae. Once we know what it does, we can inhibit it and that will help protect the bees from this bacterium that is killing their larvae."The Guelph team plans to begin field studies on honeybees next spring with the Institute of Bee Research in Hohen Neuendorf
, Germany. This would be a good tool for beekeepers to control this disease for which antibiotics are becoming less effective. Note that last month's Apis
reported on the possible uses of “bacteriophages”
in controlling American foulbrood
is in the process of shifting from Ezezine.com
to Mailchimp.com. The Apis
newsletter will probably follow in the next few months, but remains on Ezezine.com
for this month at least.
Are transgenic Apis mellifera
on the horizon? It looks like a possibility
: “Schulte et al. (2014) have ...successfully delivered piggyBac-based
gene vectors that integrated efficiently and resulted in transgenics
. They have not established colonies of transgenic
honeybees but were able to show that G0
queens produced transgenic
drones. Of the 15 and 10 fertile queens produced in two reported experiments 4 and 2 produced transgenic
progeny, respectively.” Let's hope when this variety of insect comes around at the least it will be appropriately termed a “honey bee” (two words). For a background on GMOs
read my series
on the subject published some time ago and if you still have time during this busy season, read how the debate continues as the next generation of spuds
becomes a reality as mentioned in last month's edition of this newsletter.
The latest on the neonic
controversy is dissected at part one
and part two
of this lengthy post suggests that these insecticides may contribute to bee health: “This is not the first time a neonic
study has shown that bee health might improve when crops are treated with new generation insecticides. In a 2013 PLOS
ONE study, a team led by vanEngelsdorp
and Jeffrey Pettis
studied the real world impact of 35 pesticides including three neonics
—by examining hives from seven major crops. Intriguingly, bee health improved although the results would need to be confirmed with follow up research. This study remains the only lab research to date that has evaluated how real world pollen-pesticide blends affect honey bee health.
“The researchers found a striking reduction in the risk from Nosema infection when neonics were used--bee health improved. Why would that be? It seems neonics may suppress the parasite associated with the disease. vanEngelsdorp and Pettis are not yet sure this is a real effect; good science requires that results be confirmed in multiple studies. That said, the intriguing but startling finding directly challenges the belief that neonics pose an unusually unique danger to bees.
Finally, read about how a team of entomology graduate students from the University of California, Davis, successfully argued
at the Entomological Society of America's recent student debates that a ban on these insecticides in agriculture will not improve pollinator health or restore populations, based on current science. They conclude: “Neonicotinoids
are important for control of many significant agricultural and veterinary pests. Part of the solution is to develop better regulations that will protect the health of pollinators and retain the use of an important IPM
Loyal reader Al Summers has brought to my attention the following: “I wanted to share with you the link to a recently developed on-line magazine called BEENOW
, .which.provides some excellent resources and information about honey bees. The website/magazine is sponsored by Bayer (yes..the Aspirin and Alka-Seltzer
people) which I suggest should not be the main reason to either accept or reject the information in the magazine. It’s mainly common sense explanations which are supported by sound scientific information. Anything that brings reason and common sense back to the discussion at this point..is a good thing I suggest. "Al" Summers, Ichiban
Apiculture & Honey Co. Summers@IchibanEnterprises.org
When Jerry Bromenshenk
recommends something, I pay attention. He posted the following to the Bee-L network December 10, 2014. “Everyone on this list needs to buy a hard copy or an electronic version from Wicwas
Press of the 1990 Pollinator Handbook
, A Bee and Pesticide Handbook by Carl Johansen
and Daniel Mayer. They summarize their life-time experience and knowledge, along with that of Larry Atkins. You'll find what real bee kills were like in the past - what we see today is a shadow of what happened years ago - when kills were reported as colonies (not a made up guess as to numbers of bees). You will also find that a lot of 'new' research is re-inventing what these three men knew and included in their handbook and the concepts and principles, as well as the tables for many pesticides still in use appear here, in one place. Larry Conner re-printed this book at my request, and I use it as a required text for our on-line bee courses
. Some sniff and balk at buying an 'old book', but of those who do and read it, many report that they have read it multiple times, include it as an essential reference, and BUY copies to give to growers and beekeepers.
“It's Black and White, no color pictures, but it contains a wealth of information. Buy it, read it, you're likely to be surprised at how much information is encapsulated in an easy to read book; and at how much you didn't know.” Unfortunately, it does not appear to be available in an electronic edition
Gleanings from the December 2014 Bee Culture:
Remember that Bee Culture now has a digital edition
. Also, it's worth periodically checking out the new web site http://www.beeculture.com/ for the magazine as it matures and develops.
Happ E. Raccoon of the American Association of Procyonids responds to Kathy Summers concerning the decimating of her corn crop. He is most apologetic. Randy Oliver, Grass Valley, CA writes a long letter to Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator concerning pesticide labeling and protecting all pollinators. Jim Cowan, Aberdeen, WA says that the commercial pollination business is somewhat responsible for a lot of issues with honey bees at the present time.
Kim Flottum in his Inner Cover urges speakers to be prepared during bee meetings and reviews his October event on Russian honey bees. T'his tradition is likely to continue into the future.
In “It's Summers Time,” Kathy discusses the growth of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association and the Russian queen event in Medina. Read what winter is really like in Ohio.
Clarence Collison takes a closer look at the alarm pheromone, 2-heptanone. Read what this substance does for a bee colony and why it's important for colony health.
Larry Connor interviews Gudrn and Nikolaus Koeniger. This husband and wife team remains one of the most involved in bee research. The pair plans to come to Florida in 2015 for a stint at the University of Florida.
Huw Evans describes the Arnia remote hive monitoring system. Read the history of this technology and where it might go from here; what beekeeper would not like to have remote access to all the goings on in their beehive.
Jennifer Berry interviews Shane Gebauer, new general manager of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Read Shane's remarkable history and why he seems perfect for the job.
interviews Peggy Garnes
Ohio queen producer. Read her approach to raising queens. Read how she brought training as an animal handler and botanist to arguably one of the most challenging activities in beekeeping. See some of her activities on Youtube.c
Jessica Louque interviews commercial beekeeper Jack Tapp. Read about what he means to her as a mentor.
The 12 days of Christmas using beekeeping lyrics inhabits this month's magazine. Twenty one contributions are reprinted for the 2014 season.
Marina Marchese spent a weekend at the recent Good Food Awards event.
There are no winners listed for honey in 2014
, so perhaps in response to his Ms. Marchese
is launching The American Honey Tasting Society http://americanhoneytastingsociety.com/ in an effort to get more interest in the concept of honey and terroir
. A take away image is the Honey Connoisseur Aroma and Tasting Wheel
M.E.A McNeil interviews Mike Burgett, emeritus professor at Oregon State University. Read about Dr. Burgett's career and travels over 40 years on all the world's continents studying the genus Apis.
Dewey Caron interviews Jan Lohman, one of the “movers” and “shakers” of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association. Read how she helped keep the Oregon Bee Research program online with the retirement of Dr. Burgett (noted above).
Toni Burnham interviews the Bee Informed Partnership. http://beeinformed.org/ Read why she urges all to become informed and inspired by this project.
David Edwards looks at the Hetheringtons of Cherry Valley, yet another famous New York beekeeping family. Read this remarkable history of folks living during the last part of the 1800s and their contributions to the beekeeping craft.
Ross Conrad interviews Kirk Webster. Mr. Webster tours the country with his message that bees can be kept without chemical treatments. See him at a beekeepers meeting near you.
Ann Harman interviews Dewey Caron, Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. Read about his career and how it continues on the “left” coast at Oregon State University.
Ed Colby on the bottom board discusses his treatment options. He reflects on why things work better on weak colonies and says it's time he took a vacation from beekeeping. Like many beekeepers, he does things his way, including having a beer every night.