Monthly Archives: July 2012

2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/2012-smithsonian-folklife-festival/

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an annual festival held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. that celebrates cultural diversity and traditions. The USDA Bee Research Lab was asked to participate this year as part of the theme “Campus and Community”. The festival commemorated the 150th anniversary of USDA and land-grant universities. Abraham Lincoln signed…

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Tropilaelaps Mites

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/tropilaelaps-mites/

Among the many diseases and pests that the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey samples are analyzed for is the exotic parasite, the Tropilaelaps mite. These mites are native to tropical Asia and are a serious threat to the honey bee. While they naturally use the giant honey bee (Apis dorsata) as their host, Tropilaelaps mites…

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Sorting Insect Specimens

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/sorting-insect-specimens/

In previous blogs I have talked about catching, pinning, labeling and storing insects. I am going to talk about how I process the samples to conserve space. This process is simple but takes time. I started out with a bug case with a few different series of bees and other insects. There is an image…

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It’s Raining Frass!

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/its-raining-frass/

In early June I experienced an outbreak of forest tent caterpillars (FTC), Malacosoma disstria, while sampling at an apiary in west-central Minnesota. Not only were the hive lids covered with frass, the technical term for insect feces, but the caterpillars themselves were falling on both the lids and my shoulders as I worked. According to…

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Four Leaf Clovers

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/four-leaf-clovers/

While processing honey bee samples for Varroa mites at the Bee Research Lab, I came across a sample with a large amount of white eyed as well as red eyed drones. After literally thousands of samples, I have never come across white eyed drones much less red eyed. This sample contained four white, seven red…

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Observing retinue behavior.

On Thursday, Mike and I attempted to observe retinue behavior. So what is retinue behavior? Retinue behavior is the action of worker bees towards the queen including antennating, grooming and trophallaxis. A substance produced by the mandibular glands of the queen is thought to be the trigger for this retinue behavior. Antennating is the tapping…

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Wax Moth Damage

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/wax-moth-damage/

One of this summer’s projects involves documenting a frame that is succumbing to a wax moth infestation. As I am finding out, through this documentation, wax moths are a highly destructive moth that attack honey bee frames, chewing their way through comb and wood and devastating an already weak colony. The damage is rapid, dirty,…

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Cycle of a Northern CA Bee Breeder

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/cycle-of-a-northern-ca-bee-breeder/

Most commercial beekeepers will tell you that beekeeping has changed dramatically in the last 30 years coinciding with the arrival of Varroa mites in the late 80’s. It seems as though things have been in a constant state of change since then as beekeepers and scientists scramble to understand the complexities of Varroa, viruses, Nosema…

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Smoker Plug

http://beeinformed.org/2012/07/smoker-plug/

It has been really busy out in the Midwest recently. Liz and I visited nine beekeepers in North Dakota the past week. Once I catch up with the work, I will write more about the experience. But for now, here is something on smokers. Having your smoker puff billows of smoke out of your truck…

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