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New BIP Team Perspective

Forward: For my first blog post I was asked to write about my perspective of joining BIP as a tech transfer team member.  I have been in the field so much that I am just now getting around to it. I hope this blog accurately captures both the factual and emotional aspects of becoming a BIP tech team member.  So here it goes... It’s About The Bees! As one of the rookies on the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) tech transfer team, I feel incredibly lucky to have joined BIP at such an interesting time for the organization, and for the beekeeping industry itself.  On the first…

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Sentinel Apiary Monthly Memo: August Issue

We’re back again with another monthly update from the Sentinel Apiary Program! Let’s take a look at what’s been going on with mites, drones, honey, and more over the past month. Throughout the month of July, Sentinel participants submitted 378 samples from 71 apiaries across 27 states! July finally showed us a big increase in mite loads, with the average Sentinel apiary now at the treatment threshold of 3 mites/100 bees. This July Sentinel apiary mite loads are higher than the historic national average, and much higher than the mite loads from last year’s Sentinel apiaries. This could mean we’re having especially high Varroa pressure…

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Sentinel Apiary Monthly Memo: July Issue

We’re here to help you beat the heat with your second monthly Sentinel Monthly Memo of the year. It has been hotter than Hades out there, so hopefully you and your bees are keeping cool. We’re another month into the 2019 Sentinel Apiary Program, and here’s what we’re seeing. In the month of June, we received a record 417 samples from 70 Sentinel Apiaries in 28 states. To put that into perspective, that’s over 125,000 bees, enough to comprise 2-3 full colonies. Our undergraduate lab technicians are certainly being put to good use! Congratulations to the state with the lowest June mite load: New Hampshire…

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Donate to BIP when you shop at Amazon!

Today and tomorrow are Amazon Prime shopping days and if you have been waiting to purchase those early (or late) Christmas presents or treat yourself to some much needed items, it is easy to make supporting the Bee Informed Partnership part of all your Amazon shopping. Through Amazon Smile, you can build in a small donation to BIP every time you shop at no additional cost to yourself. With each purchase on Amazon Smile, 0.5% of the sale to a will go to an organization of your choice, and we hope that The Bee Informed Partnership is your non-profit of choice! To add BIP as…

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Empty Calories

Somewhere early on in a “Beekeeping 101” class you’ll learn that honey bees forage for 4 things: nectar, pollen, propolis, and water. The nectar and pollen become honey and bee bread to provide sustenance. Propolis is used as a structural component and also contributes to colony health through immunological activity. Previous blog posts about propolis here and here provide more information. Water is necessary for a variety of purposes including preparation of brood food and evaporative cooling. So in addition to water, bees need 3 substances produced by plants. But do they collect anything else? Of course they do. If you’ve ever seen open syrup…

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Sentinel Apiary Monthly Memo: June Issue

  I don’t know about you, but my back hurts, which must mean the peak beekeeping season is officially well underway. The honey is flowing and supers are filling up. Do you know what your mite loads are? If not, Sentinel Apiaries are here to help. Sentinel Apiary participants sample 4 or 8 colonies for Varroa every month during the peak beekeeping season. This year marks the largest year of the Sentinel Apiary Program to date with 102 registered Sentinel Apiaries! If there’s a Sentinel Apiary near you, check their mite loads at bip2.beeinformed.org/sentinel. This can help show you what mites are doing in your…

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Latest Loss Survey Results 2018-2019

Dear BIP Survey participants, You might have been wondering when the preliminary results of the 2018-2019 Bee Informed Partnership Colony Loss and Management Survey will be posted. Well, today is the day. Thanks for your patience! The “traditional” abstract is now posted on the BIP webpage here, while the Press Release issued by the University of Maryland can be read here. We want to thank all of you – whether you are a long-term respondent or a new-Bee to the survey – for participating this year. The information you provided is critical to building a long-term data set that we can now use to develop…

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2019 California Spring Update

Many California beekeepers reported that the start of this year was the worst in 20+ years. Several factors contributed to this year’s issues, starting with the numerous fires last year causing nearly 3 months of smoke in the area. Once the days got longer, queens started laying but the temperatures dropped again and egg laying stopped once more resulting in smaller colonies after almonds. In fact, most colonies were 2-3 weeks or even a month behind, which delayed the start of queen production. Many producers had to source bulk bees from beekeepers further south to begin starters, builders and nucs. Once queen producers started generating…

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Honey Bee Caste Systems: Part 2 – How Genetics and the Environment Shape Honey Bee Workers and Queens

Author: Garett Slater, Former Midwest Tech Transfer Team In part 1 of my blog series, I wrote about how genetics can shape reproductive males (drones) and both reproductive (queens) and non-reproductive (workers) females within a colony. However, genetics only explains part of the story. I will describe why that is in the second installment of my 3-part series: Part 1: The Genetic Book of Life-The basics to honey bee genetics (for Part 1 click here) Part 2: How Genetics and the Environment Shape Honey Bee Workers and Queens Part 3: The Differences Between Queens and Workers Queen determination has always fascinated researchers and beekeepers. This…

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Flame in the Bee Yard: Relighting a Smoker the Easy Way

The Scenario We’ve all experienced a smoker going out just when we need it. Sometimes we may simply forget to pump the bellows for too long while we are getting some other things ready; sometimes we may make the mistake of stuffing the fire chamber too tightly with fuel before the fire has a good chance to catch. At other times our smoker may go out during travel between bee yards. Any of these scenarios sound familiar? The Traditional Method So, when your smoker goes out for the umpteenth time, what do you typically do? You could re-open the smoker, dig in there, take out…

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