Items of interest to beekeepers 18 May 2018

Fran Bach, (former) Western Apicultural Society Journal and Washington State Beekeepers newsletter editor

A LITTLE HISTORY: WORLD BEE DAY May 20

YOUNG BEEKEEPER AWARD DEADLINE EXTENDED

FEED A BEE PROGRAM GROWS GRANT INITIATIVES

NEW COVER LETS IN ONLY RED LIGHT, AND KEEPS SMALL HIVE BEETLES OUT

COLD STORAGE FOR HONEY BEE COLONIES BREAKS THE BROOD CYCLE AND MAKES VARROA TREATMENTS MORE EFFECTIVE. HOW COOL!

SUPPLEMENTING BEES WITH ACAI POWDER: MY UPCOMING SUMMER TRIAL SMART BEEHIVES AND HEAT TREATMENTS COULD PROTECT BEES FROM DECLINE

EU TO BAN PESTICIDES THAT HARM BEES

HERBICIDES MAY HAVE INDIRECT EFFECTS ON BEES

AFGHANISTAN HAS CAPACITY OF PRODUCING 11,000 TONS OF HONEY A YEAR

BEE JOBS

WAX/HONEY SEPARATOR FOR SALE

CATCH THE BUZZ
From the Alameda County (CA) Beekeepers online newsletter: A LITTLE HISTORY: WORLD BEE DAY MAY 20 New York, 20 December 2017– Today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution declaring 20 May as World Bee Day. Every year on this day, the attention of the global public will be drawn to the importance of preserving bees and other pollinators. People will be reminded of the importance of bees for the entire humanity and invited to take concrete action to preserve and protect them. The resolution was co-sponsored by 115 UN Member States, including the USA, Canada, China, the Russian Federation, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and all the European Union Member States. For more info check out http://worldbeeday.org —– YOUNG BEEKEEPER AWARD DEADLINE EXTENDED We recently contacted you about the Bayer Bee Care Young Beekeeper Award, which recognizes young people who support honey bee-focused initiatives in their schools and communities. We wanted to let you know that Bayer has now extended the deadline for the Young Beekeeper Award to Thursday, May 31. This will ensure applicants have time to showcase their projects and passion for pollinators, and with the end of school approaching, students are often busy bees themselves! We are choosing three winners this year to win $3,000 (1st place), $2,000 (2nd place) or $1,000 (3rd place), which can be used to continue their work with pollinators or towards their college tuition. More information at https://beehealth.bayer.us/young-beekeeper-award. Lee Redding Assistant Account Executive Corporate and Consumer Porter Novelli on behalf of Bayer CropScience —– FEED A BEE PROGRAM GROWS GRANT INITIATIVES RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The Bayer Bee Care Program today announced $250,000 in additional funding to support its Feed a Bee 50-state pollinator health initiative through the end of the year. With only three grant cycles remaining in 2018, and the initial $500,000 funding already pledged to projects in 45 of the 50-state goal, the funding boost aims to encourage additional entries nationally and to reach organizations in the five states that have yet to be funded: Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming. The latest round of funding awarded grants to 14 new projects committed to providing diverse forage and habitat for honey bees and other important pollinators. https://www.morningagclips.com/feed-a-bee-program-grows-grant-initiatives/ —– NEW COVER LETS IN ONLY RED LIGHT, AND KEEPS SMALL HIVE BEETLES OUT – By Sydni Moore At their worst, honey bees are known for delivering painful stings, ripping apart their own tiny bodies in the process, just to protect their own hive. At their best, however, honey bees are much more impressive — not to mention, way less gruesome. According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, honey bees’ pollination is responsible for over $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables. With 2.5 million colonies in the United States, nearly every American citizen should be thankful for honey bees and their keepers. “Growers depend increasingly on beekeepers from other states to transport honey bee colonies across the county to meet the pollination demand (a practice known as migratory beekeeping),” the USDA’s website reads. But human behavior also puts the insects in danger. According to the website for the Natural Resources Defense Council, pesticides, the loss of habitat and climate change are all factors that have contributed to the loss of honey bees. Some disease has, too. Pathogens carried by mites, often known as varroa destructors are known to weaken bees. Locally, a pest known as the small hive beetle affects bees in many parts of the country. Two area businessmen, however, are working to change that. Protective product “For about 22 years, we’ve had a problem with small hive beetles,” Superior Hive Solutions’ Michael Richardson tells a group of roughly 50 people. He’s speaking at a networking event at the Springfield Art Museum, known as 1 Million Cups. “They eat the bees.” Richardson tells the audience the beetles were first found in 1996 in Charleston, South Carolina, where they were most likely imported on a loaded fruit from South Africa. He moves on to explain his company’s idea: a transparent, red piece of acrylic shaped like a lid. It fits over a honey bee box hive, known professionally as a Langstroth hive, which almost looks like a small set of drawers. As sunlight shines through the acrylic, it creates red light inside the hive that disturbs small hive beetles and deters them away. He calls the product the Beetle Banisher.  Working like a charm Later, at local beekeeper John Raleigh’s residence, Richardson and business partner Joseph Bennett explain how their idea was discovered. After using a white light to build and repair honey bee hives at night, the partners went home covered in stings. “The bees don’t like white lights, so they got really angry and we got stung a lot through our suits,” Bennett says. “We were wondering if we even wanted to be messing with bees from then on.” Later, Bennett and Richardson learned through another beekeeping friend that while white light is troublesome to bees, red light doesn’t bother them. “We did some research and found bees see red as black, so we got some lights and went out at night and started working on the hives, and we didn’t get stung,” Bennett said. “They just didn’t care.” The discovery led them back to the small hive beetle — a pest they were growing tired of dealing with, Bennett says. They wanted to test whether the parasite had an aversion the red light. “Sure enough, they couldn’t stand it,” Bennett said. “So, we decided to make a top.” Once prototypes for Bennett and Richardson’s product came in, several were sent to beekeepers in Florida, where small hive beetles are a year-round concern. “I must admit I was skeptical at first as everyone seems to have the absolute answer with their theories and gimmicks,” one testimonial on the Beetle Banisher’s website reads. “Bottom line … I’m impressed. I think this is really a step in the right direction for a minimally-invasive, chemical-free process for reducing or eliminating small hive beetle presence in the hive.” One prototype went to Raleigh, too.   “I put the lid on a hive and I left it there for six days,” John said. “I went back and looked at the hive and in the top box, there were no beetles. The second box had a few, in the third box there was a few—you get less light as you go through there—but I put it back on four more days, and I came back and looked, and basically, they were gone.”  All in the numbers Of course, there are similar tools in the beekeeping world that protect bees from the pests, but Richardson and Bennett say they have yet to find a product that works as well. “Beetle Banishers are the safest, easiest, most effective way to eliminate the threat (of) Small Hive Beetles,” the product’s description reads on its website. The product is currently available for order online, but Richardson says the pricing is hefty. “They’re expensive, because I’m having to have them made in the United States,” Richardson says, noting the price at $65. They soon hope to find commercial beekeepers interested in placing a significant order, so the company can work with China, where Beetle Banishers can be manufactured for a cheaper price. All in all, however, the pair just want to protect as many bees from beetles as possible. “It started south and two years ago, there was the first real infestation here,” Raleigh says. “And then last year, was just about as bad, if not worse.” Richardson says the truth lies in the numbers. “From spring of 2016, they claimed there were 2.6 million bee hives in the United States at that time,” he says, quoting a U.S. Department of Agriculture statistic. “For their same count in Spring 2017, they recorded it down to 2.5 million. They lost 100,000.” He says the beetles are just as responsible for killing bees as any other factor. The three want people to know the seriousness of the situation. “If you think about 100,000 beehives multiplied by 80,000 bees per hive, you’ve lost that many bees in a year,” Richardson says. “It’s been a steady decline.” http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-new-cover-lets-in-only-red-light-and-keeps-small-hive-beetles-out —– COLD STORAGE FOR HONEY BEE COLONIES BREAKS THE BROOD CYCLE AND MAKES VARROA TREATMENTS MORE EFFECTIVE. HOW COOL! By Scott Weybright –  College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences      PULLMAN, Wash. – Saving honey bees is easier when varroa mite infestation is reduced. WSU researchers are hoping mid-season hibernation can help in the fight against the mighty mites. Varroa mites are pests that weaken bees’ immune systems, transmit viruses and siphon off nutrients. They’re a huge factor in colony collapse around the country. “Most treatments only kill varroa on adult bees, and are generally only effective for three days,” said Brandon Hopkins, assistant professor of entomology and manager of the WSU bee program. “But a lot of mites live in the brood, which are under a wax cap that treatments can’t touch. Those bees hatch out and are already afflicted.”        Currently, treating for mites requires three treatments over a 21-day period to make sure you treat all the new bees that come out infested with mites.        These treatments are difficult and expensive because beekeepers must treat all their colonies on a specific schedule. It’s very labor intensive to treat thousands of colonies by hand three times at precise timing cycles, Hopkins said. Cold storage Bees don’t truly hibernate, but they do change their behavior in winter. Queens stop laying eggs, so no new ‘brood’ is created at that time. Last August, WSU researchers put 200 honey bee colonies into refrigerated storage. This is a time when bees are still active, but have finished making honey for the season, and there are no crops that require pollination. It’s also when beekeepers normally do a round of mite treatments. By placing colonies in refrigerators, the queen stops laying new eggs, which stops the production of brood. When the bees come out of refrigeration, there is no ‘capped brood’. At that point, Hopkins and his team apply a varroa treatment on the adult bees. The initial results were overwhelmingly positive. Researchers found an average of five mites per 100 bees on the control colonies (not refrigerated) one month after the normal three-cycle mite treatment. The refrigerated colonies had an average of 0.2 mites per 100 bees one month after the single mite treatment. “That’s a significant decrease,” Hopkins said. “Refrigeration is expensive, so we need to do more work to prove the cost is worth it for beekeepers, but we’re really excited so far.” Additionally, the infestation levels varied tremendously from colony to colony in the control samples. That’s because of the difficulty in treating colonies consistently over three cycles. The colonies that had the refrigeration treatment had consistent mite numbers with little variation. Doubling down After hearing about this research, a few beekeepers approached the WSU scientists about doing a similar round of refrigeration in the early spring. Most commercial beekeepers in the U.S. take their colonies to California for almond pollination in February and March. But there’s a time gap between the end of the almond pollination season and the start of pollination season in the northwest. “Beekeepers generally have two periods of time for mite treatments, before the bees make honey and after,” Hopkins said. Once bees have mites, the infestation increases during the pollination and honey production months. “But if they can start with low mite numbers, the bees are healthier during the honey production period,” Hopkins said. “A lot of varroa damage comes while the bees are making honey.” Calculated risk with 100 colonies This spring, Belliston Bros., a commercial Idaho beekeeper, donated 100 honey bee colonies to do a refrigeration study just like the one done in August last year. “It’s a big risk for them,” Hopkins said. “But if it works, beekeepers would have significantly better varroa control while using fewer chemicals. And they’ll have better colony survival during the following pollinating season. It’s a win all-around.” Nobody really knows how bees will react to being put back into their winter mode in what is normally the middle of their active season, he said. But that’s what science is all about. And if this works, it could be a major and environmentally sound victory in the great varroa mite battle that beekeepers have been waging for decades. “We’re hopeful,” Hopkins said. “We won’t have results back for several months, but we’re excited we may have a way to help beekeepers keep their colonies strong and stable.” http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-cold-storage-for-honey-bee-colonies-breaks-the-brood-cycle-and-makes-varroa-treatments-more-effective-how-cool

The newest Bee Informed blog – SUPPLEMENTING BEES WITH ACAI POWDER: MY UPCOMING SUMMER TRIAL By Garett Slater I have a few perks working with Bee Informed Partnership out of the University of Minnesota: 1)I get to build relationships with many commercial beekeepers,  2)I have access to the University of Minnesota lab equipment and 3) I get to utilize Marla Spivak’s great mind along with other members of the lab. Because I have been fortunate enough to have this type of access, I can now test this idea I have had for many years: Can we feed bees antioxidants to improve health?  Before I chat about the actual experimental design, I want to give you more background information. By the way, I am excited about writing this blog because I can finally do this experiment after all these years! Sorry if I ramble HA Why are antioxidants important? I am sure most, if not all,  have heard the term superfood. I think superfood is something we hear a lot about, but really know nothing about. When I think of the term, I envision my time working part-time at target where I would overhear interesting conversations. “I am buying kale so I can live longer” ” Why kale, it’s nasty…” ” It’s a superfood Doug… Don’t you read”. This was just one of many, but a very funny conversations I overheard. Anyway, I digress. But if you ask how a food qualifies as a superfood, many doctors and physicians will say “superfoods are high in antioxidants”.  So why are antioxidants so important? Antioxidants are important for many physiological processes for both human and bee health. This much we know. Antioxidants are known to reduce Reactive Oxygen Species, which cause degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease (Ames, Shigenaga, & Hagen, 1993; Aruoma, 1998). I want you to imagine Reactive Oxygen Species like this: they are highly charged molecules that steal electrons from lipid membranes. As you can imagine, stealing electrons can be highly damaging. Because of this, Reactive oxygen Species have been linked to many types of cancer. Reactive Oxygen Species can be beneficial, which is why we need them, however, if too many Reactive Oxygen Species build up in your body, it can be very damaging. Furthermore, oxygen inhalation produces these Reactive Oxygen species, so it is tough for either humans and and bees to truly control its production. However, humans and bees use antioxidants to control Reactive Oxygen Species production, which is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants can inhibit oxidation of other molecules, which basically means, they inhibit production Reactive Oxygen Species like free radicals. Thus, antioxidants can reduce substantial damage. Our bodies can naturally produce these antioxidants, but oftentimes we get them through our diet. While more research is needed, antioxidants seem promising. Yes, we see antioxidants are important for humans, but what about bees? Complete article at https://beeinformed.org/2018/05/03/supplementing-bees-with-acai-powder-my-upcoming-summer-trial/ —– SMART BEEHIVES AND HEAT TREATMENTS COULD PROTECT BEES FROM DECLINE May 4, 2018 by Catherine Collins in Horizon, the EU Research & Innovation Magazine Since the mid-1980s, the number of bees in Europe has been in decline. Threatened by pesticides, insecticides and climate change, they are also being struck by infestations of mites and a crippling virus that deforms their wings. But new technology aims to take the sting out of the situation. The number of Varroa mites, a bee parasite, has been steadily increasing due to warming weather conditions throughout Europe. The mites are a double threat to beehives because, in addition to feeding on baby bees, they also carry diseases, like the deformed wing virus. Beekeepers first noticed this virus about thirty years ago in Japan. Researchers observed that bees were being born without wings, and subsequently kicked out of the hive, where they starved to death. Up until now, the only way to combat the virus has been to keep Varroa mite levels low, and many beekeepers use chemical solutions for this. These chemicals can only be applied after the honey harvest, however, which poses a problem. Each year, the bee breeding season is starting earlier and earlier due to climate change, which gives the mites more time to reproduce. Beekeepers can be left with a dilemma if they need to put chemicals into the hive to exterminate the mites but still haven’t harvested the honey. According to Professor Wolfgang Wimmer of Austrian company ECODESIGN, chemicals like this can also affect the quality of wax and the taste of honey. However, he says there is an alternative. ‘One can do a chemical-free treatment early in the year, leaving the mites and the virus with no chance of survival.’ Prof. Wimmer has been working on such a chemical-free solution that uses heat to rid the hives of Varroa mites. To develop his idea, he studied the work of other experts, which showed that when bees were in a state of metamorphosis called the pupal stage – transforming from larvae into fully grown bees – they could survive very high temperatures. His question was, could the parasites also handle the heat? Metamorphosis Bees go through a metamorphosis process not unlike that of the caterpillar and butterfly. Baby bees, called larvae, live in special cells of the beehive after birth, and are fed by the other bees. When they get fat enough, the older bees seal the cell, trapping the larvae inside where they spin a cocoon and begin to transform into adults. However, the Varroa mites also get trapped in these sealed cells. Prof. Wimmer found that if the sealed cells were exposed to high temperatures, the Varroamites died off while the larval bees survived unscathed. He has used this finding to develop a machine, the Varroa Controller, which can apply heat treatment to 20 hive frames of sealed cells at a time, and kill the mites in two hours. ‘We are now in the market eight years with our product. We know beekeepers who started their hive seven years ago, and they have never lost a single hive due to Varroa. From day one they started with our technology,’ said Prof. Wimmer. The company is now scaling up the business to help reach new markets. Beehives have to be continuously monitored to ensure that Varroa mite levels are not critical. The maximum threshold for the number of Varroa mites within a healthy hive is 1,000. Any more, and the hive is under threat of collapse. However, mites are not the only threat to a hive’s health – weather, chemicals and human activities are all potential threats. Countries in the EU are losing up to a third of their bee populations every year, and beekeepers need to be increasingly vigilant to ensure the bees will survive. To tackle this, French start-up company Bee Angels has designed a new remote monitoring system which sends real-time alerts to beekeepers via a smartphone app if anything is amiss in the hive, allowing them to react instantly to problems. Parasite presence is just one of the factors that the device monitors. It also has environmental sensors to provide beekeepers with constant, up-to-date information about the weather, atmospheric pressure and light intensity. Temperature and moisture measurements of a hive determine the bees’ level of fatigue, while a video monitor highlights the presence of parasites. Bee Angels is now working on validating new sensors, implementing solar panels to power the system, and developing a market study confirming Bee Label’s positioning. According to the start-up, beekeepers who are already using the first-generation device say it can reduce overall bee mortality by 40%, and save up to €1,500 per year. Theft An alarm will also notify the beekeeper if the hive is on the move. According to Bertrand Laurentin, founder of Bee Angels, beehive theft is a growing issue. Earlier this year, forty beehives containing up to a million bees were stolen in one heist in the UK. As beekeeping has become more popular, and bee colonies are suffering from decline, the value of good quality beehives has increased significantly, with queen bees alone selling for as much as €200. ‘It’s a very big problem, everywhere in Europe,’ Laurentin said. ‘But if the hive moves, you know where and what time. You have all the information.’ https://horizon.scienceblog.com/264/smart-beehives-and-heat-treatments-could-protect-bees-from-decline —– EU TO BAN PESTICIDES THAT HARM BEES By Raf Casert , Associated Press Decision, made April 27th, builds on a limited ban which has been in effect since 2013. BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union made a key breakthrough on Friday to completely ban pesticides that harm bees and their crop pollination. The 28 member states got a large majority, representing some three-quarters of its population, backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year. The decision builds on a limited ban which has been in effect since 2013. Antonia Staats of the Avaaz campaign group called it a “beacon of hope for bees. Finally our governments are listening.” Over the past several years, there’s been an alarming drop in bee populations and there were fears it would start to seriously affect crop production since bees are necessary for the spread of pollen and reproduction. The EU says it used a scientific review to identify pesticides as one of the factors causing the decline along with disease and climate change among others. Swiss agribusiness company Syngenta called the decision “disappointing” and added that “evidence clearly shows that neonicotinoids pose a minimum threat to bee health compared to a lack of food, diseases and cold weather.” Others disagree. “There is abundant evidence from lab and field studies that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, and a growing body of evidence linking them to declines of butterflies, aquatic insects and insect-eating birds,” said Dave Goulson, biology professor at the University of Sussex. “The EU decision is a logical one,” he said. The European Commission is set to adopt the decision in the next few weeks and the ban will kick in by the end of the year. The three pesticides will only be allowed for use in greenhouses where there is no contact with bees. EU nations, environment groups and industry have been bickering over the issue for almost a decade now. https://www.morningagclips.com/eu-to-ban-pesticides-that-harm-bees/ —– Last issue’s comments from Peter Borst elicited a rebuttal from Steve Dreistadt of the uhttp://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-cold-storage-for-honey-bee-colonies-breaks-the-brood-cycle-and-makes-varroa-treatments-more-effective-how-coolUC-Davis Statewide IPM Program, then further comments from Peter. The continued discussion is interesting and thought-provoking, and so is included here. HERBICIDES MAY HAVE INDIRECT EFFECTS ON BEES Regarding herbicides generally having indirect effects, those are the conclusions from four published reviews as quoted below. 1. Mainly indirect effects as herbicides reduce plant resources bees need.     “chemicals can also eliminate nectar sources for pollinators… and deplete nesting materials for bees… it may be that plant losses from chronic herbicide use are, in fact, driving losses of pollinator species.. the use of herbicides have indirectly reduced the presence of pollinators… by decreasing diversity of pollen-nectar resources and, by eliminating required plant resources that are utilized by various wild-non-Apis bees. Most tests have shown this class of materials [Defoliants, Desiccants, and Herbicides] to be nonhazardous to bees, except for their removal of the food source.” Abrol DP 2011 Pollination Biology Springer 2. Herbicide tolerant crop management effects plant resources, indirectly effecting bees.     “We evaluated the effects of the herbicide management associated with genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) winter oilseed rape (WOSR) on weed and invertebrate abundance… bee counts were significantly lower in the GMHT treatment, at 42% of the conventional in July, after the WOSR crop had flowered. The lower count of bees in the GMHT treatment was, in the main, due to effects on bumblebees.” Bohan DA, CWH Boffey et al 2005 Proc. Royal Soc. B 272, 463–474 3. Fewer bee-preferred pollen plants in non-target vegetation adjacent to herbicide- sprayed crops. An original study in Canada and Denmark and literature review.     “The overall plant composition in a community can be modified with repeated use of sublethal doses of herbicides reaching seminatural habitats at the margins of cropfields… Our work showed that herbicides can cause marked delays in flowering times and reductions in flower production in many species… In comparing the phenology of species present in organic and conventional hedgerows, remarkable differences were noticed in the current study. Herbicide use was one of the most important differences between the studied organic and conventional hedgerows in Denmark, although other agricultural practices [e.g., fertilization] differed. Nevertheless, organic farming promoted not only plant diversity but also plant flowering capacity whereas conventional farming inhibited flower production of the fewer plants found in adjacent hedgerows and… [resulted in a reduction of] plants preferably used by pollinators… Drift from cropfields into adjacent non-target habitats is the most likely scenario for exposing non-target plants to herbicides.” Boutin C, B Strandberg et al 2013 Environ Pollution 185, 295e306 4. Bees likely suffer the greatest harm from herbicides through an indirect route—the loss of flowering plants producing nectar and pollen.     “Development of efficient herbicides led to severe reduction in bee forage plants on both cultivated and wild lands. This not only involves direct removal, such as elimination of sweetclover from wheat fields, but also treatments which cause displacement of bee plants by herbicide-tolerant, non-bee plants… There can also be a conflict noxious weeds–e. g. yellow starthistle, Russian knapweed, hounds-tongue, and Canada thistle-are excellent pollen and nectar sources. Ever-increasing monocultures of crops and the associated removal of fencerows and wild strips have reduced both bee forage and nest sites for wild bees. These developments have caused greater dependency upon honey bees for pollination of crops and simultaneously forced beekeepers to pasture their bees on insecticide-treated fields.” Johansen CA 1977. Pesticides and pollinators. Annu Rev Entomol 22, 177-192 Herbicide effects are mostly the reduction in plant resources bees need. “Bees likely suffer the greatest harm from herbicides through an indirect route—the loss of flowering plants producing nectar and pollen.” Johnson RM 2014 Annu Rev Entomol 60, 415-434 (Steve Dreistadt) I don’t think I made myself clear. These so-called studies rest on the assumption that there is a finite amount of forage, and that it is maximized by foragers; therefore if the forage is reduced, the foragers will be harmed. The assumption is never proved, therefore whatever follows is pure conjecture. What I am saying is that controlling weeds on farms has no quantifiable effect. Nobody shows an effect. I used Roundup around beehives when I worked as Senior Apiarist at Cornell University. I used it to keep the weeds down around the hives where the mower couldn’t reach and also along the electric fencing to keep weeds off the wires. Roundup doesn’t hurt bees. Quote from Steve: “Herbicides primarily harm bees indirectly, by reducing the availability of flowering plants that produce nectar, pollen, and bee nesting material.” The idea that controlling weeds causes indirect harm to bees is a very flimsy argument. First, it posits plants that would have been used by bees, for which there is no evidence. Next, it ignores the fact that if there isn’t adequate bee forage, beekeepers won’t bring bees there — they go somewhere else. Finally, having weeds in a field crop tends to attract native bees, which are actually more likely to be harmed by insecticides than herbicides. It would be better for them to stay in wild areas than to forage in cropland. Growers shouldn’t be enticing wild bees into crops at all, except to pollinate those crops. I think it is a grave mistake for the beekeeping community to take an adversarial position against agriculture. We are already not welcome in some natural areas, where the honey bee is now regarded as invasive. To be unwelcome in agricultural areas would add to bees’ problems. We have to promote compatibility with agriculture, with natural areas, with communities. Not try to force our way into places where we aren’t really needed. If they really need us, they will be amenable to our needs too. (Peter Borst)

AFGHANISTAN HAS CAPACITY OF PRODUCING 11,000 TONS OF HONEY A YEAR KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MALI) on APRIL 17th stressed on improving the honey business, quality and quantity, saying Afghanistan had the capacity of producing 11,000 tons of honey annually. Nasir Ahmad Durani, agriculture minister, talking to a ceremony marking World Honey Bee Day, said that 214,000 bee boxes were currently put for honey collection in 32 provinces of the country. Talking to beekeepers, he said, “Our honey production should be upgraded to international standards, we are cooperating with you in this area, our honey should be offered to international markets and its quality should be further improved,” He said that a meeting to review beekeepers problems and finding solutions to them would be organized in the near future. MALI has programs for finding markets for honey, increasing its production, encouraging the private sector for honey exports and providing modern facilities for beekeepers, Durani added without giving details. He said the quality of Afghanistan honey was better compared to the foreign one, stressing Afghans should use domestic honey. “Using domestic honey would help improve its production and quality and encourage more people for investment in this area,” However, a number of beekeepers complained about limited services in the beekeeping area by the government and honey in the market offered by unknown sources. Abdul Rab Hamidi, Afghanistan Beekeepers Union head, said that sales of honey offered by unknown source to the market and with low quality faced beekeepers with problems. Such honey should be banned in the market. He said the union in cooperation with the government and donor organizations would take steps for improvement of beekeeping and resolve problems in the regard. Mohammad Edress Rauf, in charge of beekeeping project at MALI, said currently 6,100 beekeepers including 550 of them women in framework of eight cooperatives and 28 unions were busy across the country. He said a large number of other people were individually busy in this industry. In today’s ceremony, different types of honey were put on display in MALI exhibition hall. https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2018/04/17/%E2%80%98afghanistan-has-capacity-producing-11000-tons-honey-year (Pajhwok Afghan News is Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency, delivering articles in Pashto, Daru and English.) —– BEE JOBS 1. Postdoctoral positions available in Ecology and Evolution Postdoctoral scholarships are available for North American scientists of US or Canadian citizenship. Candidates are invited to apply for a position in any of the research groups in the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology and the Institute of Evolution at the University of Haifa: http://sciences.haifa.ac.il/newsci/main/index.php/en/faculty-orig The Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology and the Institute of Evolution offer a diverse, interdisciplinary, international, and multilingual work environment. The various research groups offer a diverse range of projects involving lab experiments and field studies, behavioral, developmental, cellular, molecular, and genetic essays, genomic/transcriptomic/microbiome analyses, and bioinformatics. Postdocs will have opportunities for collaboration with research groups working in various fields, with organisms ranging from bacteria to mammals and agricultural crops, and employing complementary techniques from tracking animal flight to evolutionary genomics. Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in biology and have experience in advanced techniques in their respective field. Candidates from adjacent or complementary fields will also be considered (for example, conservation ecology or evolutionary modelling). Preference will be given to candidates with a strong publication record and research productivity. The Department and the Institute aim at a higher proportion of women in science. Qualified female scientists are encouraged to apply. Female scientists will be preferentially considered in case of equivalent qualification, competence and achievements. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. degree, or must submit their Ph.D. thesis by October 1, 2018. To apply, candidates must obtain the support of a potential supervisor. The start date is flexible but anticipated to be in Fall 2018. Candidates should first obtain the support of a potential supervisor (PI) and then submit an application to Ms. Gali Levy: glevy3@univ.haifa.ac.il Application deadline: May 26, 2018. Informal inquiries are welcome. 2. Postdoctoral Position at Arizona State University: Bio-inspired Sensing and Control Using Social Insects as Models The Social Insect Research Group in the School of Life Sciences  at Arizona State University (https://sols.asu.edu/research/social-insect-research-group) invites applications for a postdoctoral research position. This position is part of a DARPA-funded investigation of eusocial insects to inspire novel control strategies for heterogeneous swarms. The successful candidate will be responsible for designing and carrying out lab and field experiments on organizational strategies of social insect colonies in foraging, aggression, and other contexts. The project is supervised by Stephen C. Pratt (http://pratt.lab.asu.edu/) in collaboration with engineers at Scientific Systems Company Inc. The successful candidate will also help to coordinate with these collaborators to use experimental results for development of new control policies. The expected start date is mid-2018 for an initial one-year appointment with renewal for an additional year. Applicants should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a statement of research interests to Stephen Pratt (stephen.pratt@asu.edu). They should also arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to the same address. The priority deadline for applications is May 15th, 2018, but we will continue reviewing applications every week thereafter, until the position is filled. Application materials should be sent in PDF format. Further inquiries should be emailed directly to Stephen Pratt. 3. Pre-annoucement for a Research Entomologist Position at the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Center in Arizona! The USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Carl Hayden Research Center in Tucson, AZ is seeking a full time, permanent Research Entomologist (announcement number ARS-D18W-0076). The salary for this position is at the GS-12 level, $73,884.00 – $96,049.00 per year. The mission of this Unit is to conduct research to optimize the health of honey bee colonies, through improved nutrition and control of Varroa mites in order to maximize production of honey bee pollinated crops. This vacancy is limited to the first 50 applicants. This announcement will open 06/04/2018 and close on 06/08/2018 OR on the day we received the 50th application. If you have any questions regarding this position please contact Amanda Wilkerson, Human Resources Specialist, at 301-504-7266 or amanda.wilkerson@ars.usda.gov. To apply for this position please click on the following link: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/499618100 4. Assistant Professor position in Extension Apiculture, Knoxville, Tennessee. https://extension.tennessee.edu/employment/Positions/X1817%20Assistant%20Professor,%20Apiculturist,%20Department%20of%20Entomology%20and%20Plant%20Pathology.pdf 5. Insect Biologist position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The focus is on undergraduate education with a minor extension apportionment providing undergraduate training and experiences in science literacy. To view the details and make application, search for F_180056 on http://employment.unl.edu. The announcement is also available on our web site: http://entomology.unl.edu.  Review of applications will begin on June 15, 2018. —– WAX/HONEY SEPARATOR FOR SALE As I still have that wax/honey separator for sale on Craigslist (Olympic Peninsula), I was wondering if it would be possible to re post the link on your beekeeping newsletter? Here is the link:   https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/bfs/d/custom-built-honey-wax/6549222578.html Bob Purvis —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. The Great British Wildflower Hunt – To Pick, or Not To Pick. That is the Question – The British wild flower conservation grou0p has a new policy that is leaving beekeepers more than a little riled. Plantlife launched its annual Great British Wildflower Hunt with a new code of conduct that says it’s okay to pick some of them. The hunt, in its second year, sees participants finding wild flower varieties and checking them off a list. Vice president Rachel de Thame says there is a prevalent sense that picking flowers is a bad thing. “Many of us are unsure what’s OK and what’s not and so err on the safe side,” she says. “Plantlife’s new code of conduct shows us that wild flowers don’t have to be out of bounds – and out of our lives. “We are very used to picking some species – daisies, dandelions and wild garlic – but there are other wild flowers that are commonplace and even increasing in number.” There are 68 species on the list for this summer’s Great British Wildflower Hunt and 12 of these can be picked. It remains illegal to dig up any wildflower on a legislated endangered species list. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-the-great-british-wildflower-hunt-to-pick-or-not-to-pick-that-is-the-question 2. The Dry, Arid West Is Moving East – By Christina Cooke  from https://civileats.com/ In 1878, noted geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell observed that the 100th Meridian, the longitudinal line that slices north-to-south through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, represented a distinct boundary between the humid Eastern United States and the arid western plains. The invisible but distinct climactic divide, Powell said, should influence how people on either side settle, manage, and farm the land. Nearly a century and a half later, a Columbia University study published in the April issue of the journal Earth Interactions re-examined the boundary line—and presented two central findings: first, that the boundary is real, and second, that climate change is causing it to migrate east, expanding the dry part of the country. Despite the fact that many farmers still don’t acknowledge the link between human activity and climate change, only 18 states have climate mitigation plans in place, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed numerous climate-related documents from its own website, the resulting changes to agriculture will likely be hard to deny. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-the-dry-arid-west-is-moving-east 3. There was Garbage Everywhere! Why are Bears Prowling Oregon Neighborhoods? By Kristin Goodwillie EUGENE, Ore. – David Hawkins woke up when he heard noises outside his house. “I got up to look outside, it was perfectly black outside,” he said. “It was like 4:30 in the morning.” It wasn’t until first light that residents on Kimberly Circle saw what had happened the night before. “There was garbage everywhere,” said Joseph Cowles. “I looked out my side window and saw the neighbor’s garbage everywhere. I looked out my front window and it was more of the same.” Residents of a neighborhood between 30th Avenue and Spring Boulevard say a bear rummaged through a curbside garbage can this week. It didn’t take long to figure out who made the mess. Staff at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife say they’ve had an increase in reports of bears moving around the area. Since the berry crops aren’t out yet, food options for the bears are limited. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-there-was-garbage-everywhere-why-are-bears-prowling-oregon-neighborhoods 4. Over a Little More Than a Decade, Diseases from Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Fleas Have Tripled in The U.S.  Beekeepers, Bee Careful Out There! Over a little more than a decade, diseases from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas have tripled in the U.S.—from about 27,000 cases in 2004 to more than 96,000 in 2016. That’s according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published May 1. Scientists cite warmer weather as the driving force behind the increase.      “It enables these ticks to expand to new areas. Where there are ticks, there comes diseases,” Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, tells Reuters. Neither Petersen nor the report say whether the data reflect the effects of climate change or global warming, The New York Times reports.      Although the incidence of vector-borne diseases rose steadily since 2004, 2016 experienced a huge spike in mosquito-borne disease compared to previous years because of the appearance of Zika, with 41,680 cases alone that year. Tickborne illnesses went from around 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016. Lyme disease is the most common sickness transmitted by ticks, accounting for more than 36,000 tickborne diseases in 2016. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-over-a-little-more-than-a-decade-diseases-from-mosquitoes-ticks-and-fleas-have-tripled-in-the-u-s-beekeepers-bee-careful-out-there 5. The Texas A&M University Natural Resources Institute (NRI) is Promoting Statewide Land Stewardship Relating To Pollinators. By Alan Harman The Texas A&M University Natural Resources Institute (NRI) is working with other organizations to promote statewide land stewardship relating to pollinators. NRI associate director Jim Cathey says Soil and Water Stewardship Week is from April 28 through May 6. “Like-minded organizations are collaborating to bring awareness to the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas through a statewide campaign emphasizing the role of pollinators in the environment,” he says. Some of these organizations include the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Wildlife Association and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers’ Association. They will work to show how pollinators – birds, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths and even small mammals – play a vital role in production agriculture, ensuring the food supply and preserving natural resources. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-the-texas-am-university-natural-resources-institute-nri-is-promoting-statewide-land-stewardship-relating-to-pollinators 6. National Honey Board and Disney Partner To Educate International Flower and Garden Festival Goers About Honey Bees – The National Honey Board (NHB) is excited to bring honey’s beautiful story to the magical world of Disney in the way of a sweet partnership. From February 28th to May 28th the NHB is participating in the annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival to educate festival goers about honey bees and how honey is made. The NHB area, sweetly known as the “Honey Bee-stro,” will feature beautifully designed educational posters that highlight honey’s journey from bee to bottle, focusing on how bees make the honey, how beekeepers harvest and prepare the honey, and finally the delicious varietals offered with honey including clover, orange blossom and buckwheat. In addition to the educational element, the Honey Bee-stro will also have honey-inspired food and beverage item available for purchase including…. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-national-honey-board-and-disney-partner-to-educate-international-flower-and-garden-festival-goers-about-honey-bees

7.  Almond Acreage in California Grows to Record Total – 1.3 Million Acres – California’s almond acreage grew 7 percent last year to a record 1.3 million acres, as the state continued its dominance as the world’s leading producer of almonds. The state grows more than 80 percent of the world’s supply. In 2016, California’s almond crop was valued at more than $5 billion. Of the state’s total almond acres, 1 million acres are producing almonds and 330,000 acres of trees are still maturing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s almond acreage report. The report shows that five counties in the San Joaquin Valley – Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera – grow more almonds than any other county in the state. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-almond-acreage-in-california-grows-to-record-total-1-3-million-acres 8. Farm Bill Abandons Endangered Wildlife – By Jamie Rappaport Clare The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the farm bill, H.R. 2, this week. The legislation contains numerous provisions disastrous to wildlife, our environment and our economy. Title IX, the “Poisoned Pollinators Provision,” would exempt pesticide registrations from key requirements to protect imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Title VIII would weaken species protections and other safeguards on national forestlands. Title II would shortchange critical conservation programs that depend on farm bill funding and implementation which benefit wildlife in every state. http://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-farm-bill-abandons-endangered-wildlife