I didn’t realize I was writing this on National Honey Bee Day. Not well publicized, I could have missed it entirely.
My recovery from oral surgery continues. Still have mouth issues, but the G-tube is gone and I am able to eat regular food. Exploring the next issue; implanting replacement teeth that were removed along with my jaw to eliminate the cancer. The hyperthyroidism seems to be minor; the endocrinologist has me on a low dose of methimazole, which hopefully will bring my numbers down to a reasonable level.
It is hot here as usual in August; almost impossible to work outside for any period of time. The bees are washboarding big time as is their wont. A superficial check yesterday in the early morning hours showed a couple of colonies low on food. We put in some frames of honey harvested in early summer to tide them over. A honey flow in the fall of the year is possible here in Gainesville, FL, but its not a sure thing, and the timing is critical to ensure the bees ready for late fall and winter.
I continue working on my website along with a local outfit helping me with the complexities of various topics like search engine optimization or (SEO), Google analytics, custom search, and most effective ways to incorporate something called “AdSense” into the site. This delivers advertising revenue to small websites that do not have the resources for developing advertising sales programs and hiring sales people to generate revenue.”
A relevant issue is whether ads turn off readers such that they don’t return. Many web sites include donate buttons in an attempt to gain a little income. So far, I haven’t gone that route; my education on all this continues.
Joe Traynor’s August newsletter discusses the 2017 almond crop and likely pollination prices, Varroa history and treatment., Canadian Varroa control (Apivar registered), protein content of canola, and at least one example of how human immigration has helped the U.S. and Canadian beekeeping industry. Here’s Joe’s take on what have been declared “Varroa bombs”:
“Dr. Dennis van Englesdorp and his BIP team at the University of Maryland have done a great job gathering and disseminating information on bee problems, esp. Varroa. Dennis emphasizes that just one bee colony with high Varroa populations can spread mites through a multi-colony apiary (and neighboring apiaries). Randy Oliver, and others, have taken this to heart and isolated these ‘Varroa Bombs’ from their other colonies. Dennis and others propose a Community Treatment Day three times a year – possibly subsidized by the government.”
Hold it! Wouldn’t this be another government boondoggle without much upside like the pollinator health task force where the taxpayer got stung by beekeepers? What did $82 million get us for this program? Not much is the conclusion . Honey bees are doing fine thank you and don’t need government help. It looks like the author needs to read the full report. It is 53 pages long and considers a lot more than just honey bees.
Adding to the discussion on government funding, the most important government office you never heard of is The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) and includes Honey Bee Health Decline among its Interactive Public Dockets (IPD) :
“The Bee Health Decline IPD is devoted to an interactive discussion of EPA’s handling of bee health issues. CRE will cover and report on significant news items related to bee health issues. We will also research, write and post articles examining various factual, scientific, legal and policy issues on this subject. We welcome and will post all points of view, including those opposing and critical of our own.”
CRE liked my short history of Varroa so much they tweeted it out. I don’t know whether to be glad or sad. “The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) was established in 1996, after the passage of the Congressional Review Act, to provide Congress with independent analyses of agency regulations. From this initial organizing concept, CRE has grown into a nationally recognized clearinghouse for methods to improve the federal regulatory process.
If you would like the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness to consider including your site on TheCRE.com’s links page, please send an e-mail to email@example.com, with the Internet address and a description of your site.” Those not interested in more regulations by Uncle Sam might like this agency to disappear along with many others, if certain politicians get their way.
Transeair is organizing another trip to Cuba from December 1 to 11, 2016 to include 1 night in Miami, 4 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Vinales (Pinar del Rio) and 3 nights in Cienfuegos ( and Trinidad). “You will be visiting Bee Farms, Packaging plants, Bee Research Center, Wine making with Honey, and other productions using honey (candles etc).” Stay tuned for more details. I have seen a lot of images and/or concepts using the honey bee, but this is the best rendition so far. The idea that this New Zealand coin incorporates resin as part of its story is unique. Resin and/or amber are responsible for most existent fossils of insects, including Apis mellifera. I would have included a queen honey bee image on one side of the coin so the human queen on the obverse would have company. It costs $149.
Instead of purchasing the coin above, I bought a square foot of the proposed new Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab at the University of Florida. This would perhaps be a southern answer to the new lab at the University of Minnesota. Both of these are expected to also have a non-Apis focus, studying native pollinators. It doesn’t look like funding for this kind of endeavor is in the cards via the pollinator health task force discussed above, but maybe should be in the future.
Fran Bach continues to be hard at work publishing her newsletter from the Western Apicultural Society, which will meet in Hawaii, October 13-15, 2016 and by all accounts should not be missed. Here’s what’s on tap for August 7, 2016:
WAS CONFERENCE HAWAII UPDATE 7th ANNUAL HAWAIIAN HONEY CHALLENGE IMPORTING FROZEN HONEY BEE SPERM IS KEY TO CONSERVATION POST-DOC POSITION AVAILABLE AT U OF PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION FOR PRESERVATION OF HONEY BEES 2017 SCHOLARSHIPS HONEY BEE DEATHS PREDATE AG CHEMICALS HERE’S THE COLONY-KILLING MISTAKE BACKYARD BEEKEEPERS MAKE CREATIVE MARKETING – CHINESE FARMER’S MELONS SELL OUT AFTER HE CARVES AUSPICIOUS CALLIGRAPHY IN SKINS and August 14, 2016: CORRECTION – WAS CONFERENCE HOTEL RESERVATIONS REVELATIONS OF BEE GUT BACTERIA CANNIBALIZING HONEY BEES TARGET DEADLY MITE THAT KILLS COLONIES THE COLONY-KILLING MISTAKE BACKYARD BEEKEEPERS ARE MAKING
I am most interested in the honey bee gut bacteria information. The microbiome is getting a lot of good press recently and not just for honey bees. The 2016 edition of the human gut microbiome conference will be held in September in Huntington Beach, California.
Back to honey bees, as summarized from a recent USDA release:
“Because young honey bees don’t have gut bacteria, entomologist Jay Evans and post-doc Ryan Schwarz at ARS’ Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, and University of Texas at Austin professor Nancy Moran conducted tests to determine the impact different combinations of a common bacterium and a common parasite had on honey bee health. The scientists hypothesized that increasing the gut bacterium would make the bees more resistant to the parasite, but instead it lead to surprising results.
” ‘This was 180 degrees opposite of our original hypothesis,’ said Schwarz. ‘We suspected introduction of the bacterium would promote a resistance to the parasite, but the opposite occurred.’ ”
“If the gut of the young bees were colonized by parasites and/or by an unusually large number of the gut bacterium, they would have a much different gut make-up (microbiome) in later life than normal bees.
“Bees treated with combinations of the bacterium and/or parasites showed greater key detoxification gene activity when placed in a stressed (low-protein diet) condition. This is significant as these genes affect a bee’s ability to breakdown foreign molecules, including insecticides.
“Bees with greater parasite infestations might spend more time in the hive as workers and thus increase the likelihood of parasite transmission within the colony and impact the ability of the bees to gather food.
These results highlight how shifts in the bees’ gut make-up might play a crucial role in the health of the honey bee colony.
” ‘Bee keepers need to be more mindful of what goes into their hives whether antibiotic, probiotic, or parasite,’ said ARS entomologist Jay Evans. ‘Eight types of bacteria usually inhabit a bee’s gut. It’s clear that more research is needed in order to gain a better understanding of these microbes and their impact on bee health.’ ” Amen.
New Nosema research concludes: “Though selective breeding of Nosema-resistant or tolerant bees may offer a long-term, sustainable solution to Nosema management, other treatments are needed in the interim. Furthermore, the validation of alternative treatment efficacy in field settings is needed along with toxicology assays to ensure that treatments do not have unintended, adverse effects on honey bees or humans.
“Finally, given variation in Nosema virulence, development of regional management guidelines, rather than universal guidelines, may provide optimal and cost-effective Nosema management, though more research is needed before regional plans can be developed.” Read the full paper linked the the bottom of this page.
As always, check the latest extension efforts at the Bee Health Extension site. See a response to a question about the number of beehives per acre recommended in the Texas hill country.
Forty four units of Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees were sold on Amazon.com July 18 to August 14 Seattle – Tacoma, Washington continue to lead the way.
Malcolm T. Sanford