My comments in last month's newsletter contrasting the events of 9/11 where the U.S. was attacked and use of the atomic bomb by this country to bring World War II to a close brought several responses, including the following from email@example.com: "Dear Mr. Sanford, Thank you for this month's newsletter. You made me think, when you opened with a short reference to 9/11 and Hiroshima. I believe you are right to draw a comparison between these two horrendous events, and to allow your readers to consider how our actions can be interpreted by others on the receiving end."
The passing of Steve Jobs allows for reflection on how far we computer pioneers have come in a few short years. I still remember trudging across to campus to enter the Apis newsletter into a mainframe on the University of Florida Campus in the early 1980s; I did the same thing, publishing the newsletter from The University of Bologna Italy in 1989 while on sabbatical using Bitnet. I was one of the first on the campus to own a Zenith dual floppy drive personal computer running DOS. Nirvana at was a 10 megabyte hard drive and I carted around one of the first computer generated presentations along with projector, which I attempted to deliver to audiences across the land. Beginning in 1983, APIS-Apicultural Information and Issues became available worldwide as one of the first linked databases concentrating on beekeeping information. I started writing using linked references, while learning html, which I continue today in this newsletter. And in 1994, the story of the APIS Newsletter was featured in the FARNET publication, 51 Reasons: How We Use the Internet and What it Says About the Information Superhighway. This lobbying document educated the U.S. Congress about the value of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), finally resulting in the Internet and World Wide Web. Little did we realize that this technology would blossom as it has into the "social networking" environment we find ourselves in today. Not to be left out, Apis now finds itself with a Facebook presence.
The golden raintrees here in Gainesville, Florida are late this year. This is a flamboyant plant, but is an invasive in some areas, being a native of eastern Asia. It sure has a fabulous blossom. Many exotics are great honey bee plants. This stands to reason since Apis is no doubt one of the first invasive insects on this continent. We had a nice rain event this week with a soaking from a semi-tropical system in the Gulf. This was not a high wind event. We need more just like it.
The Florida State Beekeepers Association convention, like many other state meetings occurs this month. It is hosted by the Orange Blossom Beekeepers Associatin in Orlando. There will be an interesting presentation on tupleo tree ring growth and the event will also feature a business meeting the Thursday night prior to the convention. The Association features a facebook presence and there is an Ezine that is distributed to all members. I continue to place as many events as possible around the world, including Florida, on the global beekeeping calendar. The Association has grown dramatically in the last few years, tripling its membership as a great many new folks have heeded the cry that more honey bees are needed and have taken up beekeeping. This is good news for anyone like myself who has published information catering to newcomers to the craft. 249 copies of Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees were sold on Amazon.com between August 15, 2011 and October 9, 2011.
Because I missed Apimondia, I did not hear much about the event. If any reader would send me a report of their attendance and observations about the congress, I would be glad to publish it in the Apis newsletter. Thanks to my friends at Apinews, some photos have been published and an all to brief resume: "Having completed the conference program, according the schedule and with the assistance of more than 5,000 people, was adjourned this new edition of Apimondia in Buenos Aires. The winner of the APIMONDIA 2015 organizing was South Korea, after fierce competition with China. The curtain was closed for another two years in Kiev, Ukraine." Finally, a snipped entitled "Apimdondia 2011 by the Numbers" by William Blomsted is worth reading.
The debate about genetically modified plants (GMOs) and honey continues. Some UK beekeepers appear to have stated, "I told ya so." There
was discussion of the topic in Buenos Aires at Apimondia as there should have been, but no strict conclusions were developed according to honey reporter Ron Phipps . He also stated: "Honey, like tea, does well in a recessionary economy. Purchases of food, unlike purchases of cars and homes, cannot be delayed for long periods. Indeed, 'small luxuries' do especially well during periods of national economic stress, like the Great Recession facing advanced western countries, which are riddled with mounting deficits and debt. A good indication of the fact that current demand for honey exceeds supply is provided by the fact that as American beekeepers complete the extraction of the 2011 honey crop, that crop is being sold to eager buyers."
As I noted last month, Varroa continues to be found in Africa. Diana Sammataro and colleagues have developed a map showing the mite's inexorable march across the globe since 1904 when it was then called Varroa jacobsoni. I note some interesting areas where according to the map, Varroa is not found, but clearly are a reporting anomaly. It is difficult to believe that Ecuador and Colombia are mite free according to this resource.
Coloradoan Tom Theobold is interviewed by Dan Rather. Read the scoop on the EPA's pesticide approval procedure and how it affects beekeepers and honey bees. The report focuses on the neonicotinoids and their approval process. Unfortunately, the message is quite mixed when looking at details of research on honey bee colonies and bee health in Europe. A summary by Peter Borst on the Bee-L network concludes: "So far, none of the pesticide-related bee monitoring approaches found a clear connection between bee colony mortality as a general phenomenon and the exposure of bees to pesticides. However, regionally limited bee issues with pesticides that were mostly related to specific local conditions and/ or an inappropriate application of the respective product could be detected by monitoring approaches, whereby the underlying problem could later on be resolved by appropriate mitigation or stewardship measures."
Lots going on at Editor Flottum's Catch the Buzz this month. A most interesting post concerns weather forecasting and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Also read about a new concept of food identity theft, the assertion that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is natural and is indistinguishable from the sugar extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets.
Finally, there are two related articles on Remebee (Beelogics) being purchased by Monsanto. This might raise some eyebrows since the product was developed for beekeeping applications. Beelogics' Nitzan Paldi attempted to explain the situation: "Several years ago (Nov. 2008, pp. 15-17), readers of Bee Culture first learned about RNAi, and more particularly about Remebee®, a product that shows promise in helping bees and their colonies avoid infection from viruses that may cause CCD. It is currently being used under an investigational use permit from the FDA as we gather data for our final submission.
"As a beekeeper, I know the next step of bringing an approved product to market is essential in putting the science to work and realizing its full potential. It’s one of the reasons why our announcement last week that Monsanto purchased Beeologics is coming at a good time. While I recognize that some people may have concerns about Monsanto getting involved in bees, I can assure you that Monsanto’s leadership team and scientists recognize the value of Beeologics’ research to the global bee community and are committed to continuing our work in advancing bee health. I’ve found them to be just as passionate about helping growers and agriculture as we are, and the work we’ve been doing fits well with their commitment to sustainable agriculture."
Selected links for this issue of Apis found at publish2.com include: More on the beelogics deal, how older pesticides are being replaced, the European Union's activities with respect to bee health, several articles about honey and the tentative link found between diesel fumes and honey bee decline.
Gleanings from the October 2011 edition of Bee Culture http://beeculture.com :
A "charles" writes asking us not to use the "vile practice" of using "legal precedence" as law. Envious from the UK commented on the stack of supers on the July Cover at the White House. Bruce Sabuda, Pickney, Michigan adds an "amen" to the use of snail mail addresses. Ray Hicks, San Jose, CA suggests pictures on pp. 80 and 81 of ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture capture bee flight in a correct manner. Sondra Brooks, Spicewood, TX asks that a reference to feeding mountain laurel honey to dogs be clarified as an inhuman (indog?) act. Louis Lyell liked Peter Seiling's essay asking what would the bee population be like if bees were as "improvident" as human politicians. Quite a number of letters came in regarding Dr. Jim Tew's retirement and how he will be missed, especially on the lecture circuit. Bill Bartlett from Maryland provides more anecdotal information that prolific nectar plants are not as productive as they once were. He probably should be part of Dr. Wayne Esaias' Honey Bee Net. Alan Buckley, Portola Valley, CA found a rattlesnake in an almond orchard. He warns beekeepers to look at bee hives moved in for pollination for unXwanted hitchhikers. Carl Webb, Clarkesville, GA gives an impassioned defense of Russian bees as a breeder, providing tips on maintaining successful genetic diversity.
Good reading and new equipment includes The Healing Power of Honey; Honey, Nature's Golden Healer, Urban Homesteading and Editor Flottum's new tome, Better Beekeeping. The latter is reviewed by Gary Shilling. Check out KB Farms carved wooden hive parts; the ultimate hive stand; and the ez-pry hive tool.
In the Inner Cover, Editor Flottum says winter is "hard." Read his analysis. Also learn why it's good to have a backup plan (plan b) for public relations value in case something goes wrong in an urban setting (and it will!). The front cover says it all.
Steve Sheppard reviews a paper suggesting bees have emotions, specifically "pessimistic cognitive biases." Yikes! Coming back to earth, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence of this, but it's probably what humans bring to the situation. I am often guilty of this. For example, I inform the bees of their beekeepers' passing during memorial ceremonies and suggest others do the same.
Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at division of labor. Those that think drones are somehow superfluous to colony activity would do well to read this analysis.
Reed Johnson along with Dr. Jamie Ellis report on miticide and fungicide interactions. There are many and they can be complex. Read their tips on using chemicals in beehives and volunteer some time at http://broodmapper.com. Two articles on winter preparations reveal that this season is just around the corner. The first from SW Arkansas provides a good winter preparation list and the most important advice of keeping mites under control as well as looking at effects of wind and moisture. The Second from Ontario, Canada also adds information on keeping black bears at bay.
James Lien reflects on a swarm story in October in the 1950s. Read how a family in Wisconsin was over run by honey bees and what they did about it.
Marcia Neely describes using an old upright freezer to keep honey from crystallizing. Read how this was done using only light bulbs. The key is slow increase and decrease in temperature.
Jim Tew (not yet retired!) describes what he calls "queen production systems." Read about his reflections on this and related topics.
Larry Connor feasts on edible sunflowers (sunchokes) Helianthus tuberosus this time of the year. Read about these plants and how they provide food for bees and humans.
Duane Waid lists a few good honey house ideas. He suggests developing a to-scale replica before beginning any big time honey house project. Read more about tips like double the size of what you expect to build and plan the work flow ahead of time.
Ross Conrad provides ways to improve both summer and winter ventilation for beehives. "Back door bees" is generally a good idea.
Jennifer Berry compares certified naturally grown beef and bees. Turns out there's an alternative to the USDA Organic certification, which hardly any honey bee colony would be able to get. It's called Certified Naturally Grown (CNG). Read about her adventures in this area and recent
association with a local certified cattle breeder.
Read pages that describe the Bee Culture Blog (Kim Flottum) and the Beekeeper Mind (M.E.A. McNeil). Also see plans for Jeanne Hansen's extended "Tew" observation hive and chuckle at Peter Seiling's trip to the Amish mall accompanied by his human GPS.
Ann Harman describes a friendly competition between the East Cupcake Beekeepers Association and West Gumshoe Beekeepers Association. What better than an informal, educational honey show. Read her advice on this activity, perfectly timed as the honey harvest has probably concluded in most areas.
In All The News That Fits, there are articles on GM Pollen and Honey, the North American Beekeeping Conference and Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2012 and how an outfit called Rapid Refill donates toward bee friendly projects. Also read how Prince Edward Island, Canada got a C$100,000 grant to aid recovery of the honey bee industry and its pollination potential. Finally, we see that both Kim Flottum and Jennifer Berry of Bee Culture find themselves on the pages of Pcelarski Zurnal, the Serbian beekeeping journal.
Ed Colby receives a personal invitation from Victor Yushchenko to visit Eukraine for Apimondia 2013. Read about his seminar and how he met "the world's most famous beekeeper" in Colorado. See you in Kiev Ed!
Bee sure to subscribe to Catch the Buzz, Bee Culture's latest releases of importance to beekeepers. Also access the Apis Information Resource Center , which contains archived articles, listing of posts on blogs, web sites, and links to related materials. .