Browsing For Breeder Queens-Part 2

Last July 2021, I published the BIP blog "Browsing For Breeder Queens-Part 1" where I discussed what a breeder queen is and the various ways that you can obtain them. So now let's dive deeper into how to test bees for desirable traits to improve your stock. What To Look For In a Breeder Queen There are a number of traits that queen breeders evaluate when selecting breeder queens - color, gentleness, honey production, hygienic behavior, population size and growth rate. However, the weight given to these traits varies by queen breeder, and even by the region or state where the beekeeper is located. Color…

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United States Honey Bee Colony Losses 2021-2022: Preliminary Results From The Bee Informed Partnership

Note: This is a preliminary analysis. Sample sizes and estimates are likely to change. A more detailed final report is being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date. Download .pdf version here Dan Aurell1, Selina Bruckner1, Mikayla Wilson2, 3, Nathalie Steinhauer2, 3, *, Geoffrey Williams1, * 1Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA 2Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA 3Bee Informed Partnership, College Park, MD, USA *Joint last authors Corresponding Authors: nsteinha@umd.edu (NS) & williams@auburn.edu (GW) The Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org) is a non-profit organization that works alongside beekeepers to improve honey bee…

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The 2022 Sentinel Apiary Program – Pesticide Testing Is On The Menu

This year's Sentinel Apiary Program has got some new flavor! If you are a returning Sentinel participant, you will have noticed a big change in the Sentinel program protocol this year. In 2022, instead of testing Nosema levels at six monthly intervals, you received two months of Nosema results tested from samples collected in the early part of the season. You also received one composite pesticide sample. As in past years, you continue to receive six months of Varroa lab results to keep you updated on your current mite loads. And more good news! These results are now provided to you at a faster pace…

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How To Cure Bee Fever

Sometimes I get bee fever from overexposure to bees. Symptoms include back aches, honey bees scurrying across the comb hidden behind my eyelids (only detectable when closed at night and sleep is attempted) and an ever-present buzzing where the sound of silence once resided. As BIP’s North Central Tech Transfer Team Field Specialist, I spend what seems like eons behind the wheel of my Chevy truck, commuting from one bee yard to the next. Three times a year I venture out on a three-week pilgrimage from my home base in the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul MN, to North Dakota to…

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Ticked Off

What is the most hated parasite in beekeeping? Well, if you answered Varroa, you would surely not be alone. Varroa is the bane of the beekeeper’s existence all year round, and deserve the number one spot on the most-hated greatest hits list. But there is another parasite that comes in at a close second - ticks. And this year especially, they seem to be everywhere. Experts at the University of Minnesota hoped that last year’s drought and this year’s cold, wet, late spring would reduce this year's tick population. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case. BIP's Tech Team Field Specialists on the ground…

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One More Week To Complete The Survey!

If you have already taken the 2022 Loss and Management Survey, THANK YOU! Please consider sharing this with all the beekeepers in your life! If you haven't, please take a few moments to take the survey now! TAKE THE SURVEY You’ve heard a lot from us in the last couple of weeks. Thank you for your … patience? In this final week, we thought we would take a step back and let some other folks do the talking. We’re very thankful for the help and support we’re receiving from the whole community. Thank you all, and we’ll be in touch around June to share the…

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Add Your Data Point To The Map: Take The BIP Survey!

Written By Dan Aurell, Selina Bruckner, Geoff Williams, and Nathalie Steinhauer You may have heard the statement “all beekeeping is local”. This means that, depending on where you keep bees, your beekeeping actions for a particular month could be drastically different than what is appropriate for beekeepers located elsewhere! During April, some beekeepers might be busy with tasks like installing packages and raising queens, while others might be using the mild days to crack lids on their colonies even while there’s snow on the ground. Regardless of what other tasks you are trying to accomplish this April, we hope you will find time to fill…

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Join us for a new season of Survey!

The 2021-2022 Annual Loss and Management Survey is live on April 1st. New season, new survey! Our team is so excited to share with you our brand new survey. The survey is open from April 1 to April 30, 2022. Take the Survey Here! The Loss and Management Survey is a national effort that tracks long-term trends of U.S. honey bee colony health. The survey’s main objective is to monitor colony loss rates that beekeepers experience each year, the management actions that beekeepers take, and to compare these losses and practices among all types of beekeeping operations − from backyard hobbyists managing fewer than 50…

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Working Honey Bees in Hawai’i

Working bees in November in Hawai’i? YES, PLEASE! BIP Tech Team Field Specialist Ben Sallmann and I pounced on the opportunity to leave Minnesota and Michigan's dreary November weather. We tackled all of the logistical challenges and hopped on a plane to Hawai'i to conduct fieldwork for the state's contribution to the National Honey Bee Disease Survey (NHBS) . National Honey Bee Disease Survey The National Honey Bee Disease Survey (NHBS) is a federally-funded, nationwide, annual honey bee survey. This survey has been conducted since 2010 and is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and…

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Bee Lawns – Conserve Pollinators And Natural Resources In Your Own Home Lawn

Guest Blog Written By James Wolfin The turfgrass lawn has become a staple of American culture.  To many, the desired lawn is a lush, green carpet that is cut low and weed free; maintained to draw the admiration of neighbors.  We often go to great lengths to curate this aesthetic. Weekly mowing. Weekly watering. Herbicide applications to keep out undesirable weeds.  Spreading fertilizer a few times per year to ensure the pristine green color that has become an expectation in some communities.  But have we stopped to consider the ecological and environmental consequences of how we manage our lawns, and what alternatives there may be?…

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