Happy New Year from the Apis newsletter and thanks for supporting this publication as we begin a brand new beekeeping season. Let's hope 2013 brings better health to honey bee colonies around the world.
It turned cold in Gainesville, Florida right after Christmas and we had some unseasonable rainfall (winter is usually the dry season in most of the state). This is the time of year we wait in anticipation of the red sometimes called “swamp” maple (Acer rubrum) blooms, which usually signals the first pollen available to honey bees in the spring. I say “usually” because things sometimes can change quickly for unknown reasons. For example, a colleague just received video notice on his smart phone that the citrus in central Florida has begun to bloom! Again “usually” this happens around the 15th (ides) of March. If this not an anomaly, this could play havoc with beekeepers timing in terms of the traditional move to “orange.”
I write this issue of the Apis newsletter from Hershey, PA, where the North American Beekeeping Conference and Trade Show is taking place. The estimate at the moment is that around 600 beekeepers will be in attendance, celebrating 70 years of The Federation's service to the U.S. beekeeping community. Again, the Hershey event is dividing its attendance with the American Honey Producers Association, meeting at the same time in San Diego (see last month's issue on this topic) . The audience in Hershey is expected to be somewhat different from traditional one at Federation conventions, consisting generally of is being called the “small scale” beekeeper, where most of the membership growth has come in recent years. However, a gain in the small-scale membership does not necessarily mean much increase in the coffers of the Federation, which has an ambitious legislative agenda that inevitably costs much more to service than it brings in. Thus, the board of directors is making a pitch to the membership in attendance that its time to consider increasing dues on all membership types.
Another discussion has to do with whether a printed (hard copy) newsletter now mailed six times per year to the membership should give way to an electronic-only publication. The Federation in fact already has one of those kinds of information organs, its E-Buzz, which is not considered so much a membership perk, as a marketing tool to increase awareness of the Federation's outreach to its membership. By contrast, the electronic version of the actual mailed newsletter is a perk and can only be accessed in the “members only” section of http://abfnet.org, along with the popular “Conversation With A Beekeeper” webinar series by Drs. Marion Ellis (U. of Nebraska) and Roger Hoopingarner (Professor Emeritus- Michigan State University), which also mostly caters to small-scale beekeepers. Readers with an interest in these issues are encouraged to contact the Board of Directors.
Speaking of newsletters, I urge readers to check out the following offerings as we start the new year. The Walter T. Kelley Company has published two copies of its new years greeting based on whether one has a high speed or slower Internet connection. Joe Traynor, has begun his yearly communications to beekeepers interested in the upcoming pollination season in California. He is much concerned about how climate change is likely to affect California Agriculture. He believes a carbon tax would be a good step in the right direction, but it is not on the radar of most citizens/politicians who are wedded to short-term thinking and results. There continue to be more and more studies on carbon the footprint of various agricultural activities, including beekeeping.
Dr. Eric Mussen University of California, Davis continues his messages From the UC Apiaries. The November/December 2012 is a must read for those interested in topics like the neonicotinoid pesticide Pristine, fipronil/nosema synergy effects on honey bees and the latest RNAi research. Originally, this technology targeted viruses, but now has moved on to a more intriguing organism, Varroa. "Synthetic RNA, if correctly coded, will be accepted and will perform a particular function. Used as a pest control, it will slip into the pest organism and do some sort of dirty work. RNA must be designed to target some important function in the pest, and then it must do the task reliably. Obviously, if it is ignored by the cell, it does nothing. And there are possible codings that could have unexpected effects. But remember: it is far easier to just make something stop working than it is to make a significant change.”
Don't forget the news from ProjectApisM, also here at the Trade Show, which has just selected a new Board Chairman, Dr. Gordon Wardell. Finally, there is word from Jennifer Berry University of Georgia in the Georgia Bee Letter concerning effects of long-term use of Terramycin ® and honey bee gut contents:
“We found that 50 years of using antibiotics in beekeeping in the United States has resulted in extensive tetracycline resistance in the gut microbiota. These bacteria, which form a distinctive community present in healthy honeybees worldwide, may function in protecting bees from disease and in providing nutrition. In countries that do not use antibiotics in beekeeping, bee gut bacteria contained far fewer resistance genes. The tetracycline resistance that we observed in American samples reflects the capture of mobile resistance genes closely related to those known from human pathogens and agricultural sites. Thus, long-term treatment to control a specific pathogen resulted in the accumulation of a stockpile of resistance capabilities in the microbiota of a healthy gut. This stockpile can, in turn, provide a source of resistance genes for pathogens themselves. The use of novel antibiotics in beekeeping may disrupt bee health, adding to the threats faced by these pollinators.”
Editor Flottum sends word from his “sick bed.” A compilation of stories accumulating while he as holed up in the hospital due to an operation for spinal stenosis. Not to worry though, he and Kathy showed up in Hershey, both on the mend from his surgery.
Most alarming news in this host of saved/sent of articles is the following:
"Large old trees are critical in many natural and human-dominated environments. Studiesof ecosystems around the world suggest populations of these trees are declining rapidly," he and colleagues Professor Bill Laurance of James Cook University, Australia, and Professor Jerry Franklin of Washington University, USA, say in their Science report.
"Research is urgently needed to identify the causes of rapid losses of large old trees and strategies for improved management. Without… policy changes, large old trees will diminish or disappear in many ecosystems, leading to losses of their associated biota and ecosystem functions."
The Canadian Pollination Initiative is a rather comprehensive look at pollinators. Significantly a rather large compilation of data is found on honey bees, not only in Canada but worldwide. This covers not only sustainability as part of apiculture, but also the economic consequences of beekeeping decisions.
Check out the articles for January, 2013 found at Publish2.com
They include ) Apinoticias, worth a look, especially if you are interested in activities outside the U.S., 2) A growing number of corrections institutions are training beekeepers, 3) Ramping up RNAi study in an effort to control Varroa mites in a novel way, 4)Get your veils out; beekeeping is becoming fashionable it seems, 5) pesticide applications affecting honey bees make the top to 10 environmental studies. A link is made to CCD, but this is not a smoking gun, and 6) in-depth discussion of Nosema and other pests found on the UKmaster beekeeper program blog
Thirty-three copies of Storey's Guide to Honey Bees were sold between 12/17/2012 and 12/30/2012 on http://amazon.com from November 12, 2012 - December 9, 2012. Plattsburg, NY, Detroit, MI and Spokane, WA led with the most volumes sold during that period.
Gleanings from the January, 2013 Bee Culture:
Check out the 2013 calendar with the theme, city beekeeping, mostly on roof tops in urban centers.
John McDonald describes the astonishment at seeing five (5) bears (a mother and four cubs) in a walnut tree in his back yard. Read what else was in the tree. Jason Burns writes that perhaps beekeepers are much of the problem when it comes to bee health. Dave K thinks the neonicotinoid pesticides are responsible for a scarcity of mosquitoes along with bees.
Editor Flottum provides his take on the recovery promised by his doc from spinal stenosis. He says that if the January issue of the magazine doesn't arrive on time, don't blame him. Mine didn't, so I don't. Also read about John Hardeman leaving a family business consisting of four generations, a legacy few have achieved in the beekeeping industry.
It's Summers Time finds Kathy again in the hen house doing winter chores. Medina lost a long-time bee fan it seems, Anne. She was 83 and left a saddened life partner.
Clarence Collison and Audrey Sheridan take a closer look at the brood food glands. Read about how they are stimulated, where located and time of most activity.
Jennifer Berry Revisits powdered sugar for Varroa control. Read why it's not a silver bullet, but nevertheless something a beekeeper can include in the arsenal of mite treatments.
Larry Connor, directing his yearly Serious Sideliner show here in Hershey, asks what a pheromone is. Read how this information can be included in a classroom series on honey bee biology.
Jim Tew reveals how he attempts to recover from an unexpected Varroa attack. Read about his cost analysis, including that of doing nothing, to get a handle on mite control. Most of all realize that even those with a lot of experience can be taken by surprise when it comes to Varroa infestation.
Phil Craft, erstwhile Kentucky State Apiarist, pens his first column. Read what “Dr. Phil” says about keeping colonies in the shade and other questions of note.
Jessica Lawrence discusses her planning for planting bee flowers in the Spring. Read how she plants a variety of things, including buckwheat to make pancakes.
Jack Blackford urges beekeepers to make mead. Read why he is nice to his honey and enjoys the fruits of his labor making black raspberry and dried elderberry meads.
Jerry Freeman provides information on small hive beetle biology; these insects make him sad, confused and wanting to cry. Read about the importance of reducing hive size to ensure the beetle/adult bee ratio doesn't get out of equilibrium.
Ed Simon suggests using the winter months to get ready for Spring. Read how to build a frame jig and use a gargoyle to help manipulate a hive.
Jessica Dally asks whether to blog or not to blog. Read about this new kind of communication and the tools necessary to do them well.
Connie Krochmal reveals the value of blueberries as bee plants. Read about planting blueberries, harvesting and the history of this native plant.
Ross Conrad describes when good bees turn bad. Read about every beekeeper's nemesis, robbing; what causes it and tips for catching robbers red-handed.
Toni Burnham continues her column on city bees. Read how one might bet up a big buzz in the city, fostering the craft and educating the generations about beekeeping.
Tom Peck is here in Hershey at the North American Beekeeping Conference and Trade Show. Beekeepers are lining up to look at his plastic foundation support pins and rods. Read about their multitude of uses in helping beekeepers get the best possible comb from foundation. You don't have to bee in Hershey to buy them.
Ann Harman asks if you want to buy this book? If so, read what she does during the selection process. I can help, but of course I'm biased, simply buy my book.
Jim Thompson looks at frame spacers and cappings scratchers. Read the uses of both these specialized tools.
In all the news that fits Alan Harman looks at analyses of New Zealand honeys and why many are not what they should be. He also reviews a student paper published by IBRA on Nosema and describes a new cuckoo bee species found on the Cape Verde Islands. Finally read his report on ground water and why pumping it for agriculture might be a bad idea. Finally, pesticide use in growing in the UK affecting bees and beekeepers in a multitude of ways.
Ed Colby in the bottom board reports on a bee meeting in colorado with Dr. Dennis Van Englesdorp. Read how he realized beekeepers are set in their ways and what might be done about it.
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. .