President’s Address to AIA 2011

Below is an address I recently gave to the AIA First off, I would like to thank the people who worked hard to arrange this meeting. You have all noticed that we are a bit decentralized out here, and I’m sure you can imagine the logistics to organize shuttles, security, catering, in addition to planning a great program were not easy. Planning required a lot of effort and time. AIA Vice President Paul Cappy, USDA-APHIS Honey Bee Program Manager Robyn Rose and USDA-ARS Entomologist Bart Smith have done an extraordinary amount of work to plan this joint meeting with AAPA and ABRC. They deserve our…

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Bees in bare almonds

Right now, beekeepers are pretty much done with moving bees across the country and into the almonds. The beekeepers we work with are doing the same thing - moving colonies from their different yard locations across Northern California into the almonds. Now, everyone is anxiously awaiting bloom. The Blue Diamond Almond company has a website to estimate bloom time. Almonds are so dependent on bees to get a crop and beekeepers are paid a premium price for their colonies (why some beekeepers come in from the east coast), so this is a really anxious time for both parties. Everyone just hopes for good enough weather…

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Worldwide Honey Bee Colony Losses Continue

http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/US-honey-bee-winter-colony-losses-2010-11 International Bee Research Association The world's longest established apicultural research publishers  Press Release[embargoed until  00:01 GMT on 1/2/12] Worldwide honey bee colony losses continue Since 2006 there has been concern worldwide about losses of honey bee colonies, especially the phenomenon of “Colony Collapse Disorder” in the USA. Information about the extent of these losses has,to date, been patchy, unsystematic and difficult to compare year on year and from country to country. Today, for the first time, the results of systematic surveys in Europe, north America, China, Israel and Turkey are published together in the Journal of Apicultural Research. The research has been carried out…

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Testing for Hygienic Behavior

Last Thursday we started with our first two days of breeder sampling at Pendell-Apiaries in Stonyford, CA. Breeder sampling includes colony assessments, hygienic, Varroa, Nosema, and virus testing. Katie did a tremendous job in the field explaining and guiding the team through the tasks that needed to be completed during the two days we spent in Stonyford, CA. We will continue the breeder sampling through the month of February and into March until we visit all 16 beekeepers participating in the project. Click on the pictures below for a description of what was going on in each.  

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Pesticide Cost-Share

Dr. Maryann Frazier at Penn State received funding from Project Apis mellifera (PAm) to run pesticide samples for interested beekeepers at a 50% discount of $80 for each samples for miticides or $142 per sample for the full screen of 171 pesticides, compared to $160 for miticides or $284 for the full 171 pesticide analysis without the cost-share. Beekeepers can send samples of wax, pollen, adult bees, brood, or nectar for analysis. In two to three weeks after the samples are sent in, the beekeeper will be provided with a report of the pesticides in samples, along with information about how those levels compare to…

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Insect Flight

When you think of a honey bee, one adaptation that stands out is its ability to fly. Without flight, the honey bee would not be able to accomplish any of the tasks that allow its existence. There are two mechanisms of flight, one primitive and the other more advanced from evolutionary pressures to survive. The primitive flight is termed “Direct Flight.” There are two insect orders within this class of flight, Ephemeroptera (Mayflies) and Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies). All following orders of insect’s flight mechanisms are termed “Indirect Flight.” The difference between the two flight mechanisms is the insertion and origin of the flight muscles…

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American Beekeeping Federation Conference

I spent the last week in Las Vegas at the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) annual conference. Some years the American Honey Producers, the Apiary Inspectors of America, the American Beekeeping Research Conference, and the ABF all meet together. Joint meetings are the best meetings since so many people make it out. If the meetings are separate, then you either have to choose one meeting or spend more than one week traveling. This was not a joint meeting, so attendance was down, but there were some fantastic talks. I am going to give a quick summary of some the talks I saw and summarize what I…

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Moisture Control

In some locations in the United States moisture can kill honey bee colonies over the winter months. This moisture is caused by the condensation of the water vapor as it rises from the cluster and cools at the interface between the warmer and colder air. This interface is usually at the inner cover in most hives. Bees can be killed by moisture if it builds on the inner cover and rains down onto the bees when clustered. The bees can tolerate the cold but not when they are wet. Many beekeepers will place an empty hive body above the inner cover for added protection against…

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Convergent Lady Beetle Congregation

A few weeks ago in December, Mike and I ventured into the woods to fish the Butte Creek. After a few hours of fishing and hiking rough terrain we stumbled onto a Ladybug congregation area. There is an image above of the convergent ladybugs. After a few minutes of photographing the beetles, we noticed that they started to rise from the leaf-litter. Ladybugs or Ladybird beetles usually overwinter in leaf-litter, crevices in rocks, tall grass areas, cracks and crevices in trees and many other locations including nearby homes. The leaf-litter is most desirable for the beetles since it insulates and protects them from the elements.…

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