Items of interest to beekeepers 1 January 2018

Supplied by Fran Bach Editor of both WAS and Washington State Beekeepers newsletters





This just released by the Canadian Honey Council – APIMONDIA 2019 IN MONTREAL, REGISTRATION & ACCOMMODATION INFORMATION The challenge is on! Montréal will be hosting the 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress September 8-12, 2019. As many of you know, APIMONDIA is the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations. Its major objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and discussions by organizing Congresses and Symposia where beekeepers, scientists, honey-traders, agents for development, technicians and legislators meet to listen, discuss and learn from one another. Apimondia meetings are fabulous events that offer great opportunities to learn about all the aspects of the beekeeping world. During these meetings, from morning until late evening, participants explore various exhibits and learn about cutting edge research from all parts of the world. The last Canadian Apimondia was the 36th Congress, “Apimondia 1999”, held in Vancouver. It was a spectacular success and many beekeepers consider it the best Apimondia in recent years! The Canadian Honey Council (CHC) also hosted an Apimondia Symposium in Québec on honeybee pathology and queen breeding in 2012. It was very well attended and a great experience for the local organising committee and the CHC. It is a great opportunity to promote and showcase our Canadian beekeeping industry and we have the expertise and the means to host such an event. Registration fees have just been announced and are being posted on the website now (

Other information – TECHNICAL TOURS TOUR 1 – Centre de recherche en sciences animales de Deschambault (CRSAD) Over a hundred years old, this beautiful research center is located in a waterfront setting on the north shore of the Saint-Lawrence River 200 km east of Montréal. The research center campus is spread over 1600 acres of land containing research facilities, working farm, greenhouses and 250 honey bee colonies. Research activities are done here in collaboration with Université Laval, Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University, and various beekeeping associations. The CRSAD honey bee research facility is equipped with modern beekeeping equipment and has an environmentally controlled wintering room.

TOUR 2 – Intermiel Intermiel is a large-scale farm that manages the production of 6,000 beehives, runs a 15,000 tap sugar bush and a 600 apple tree orchard. Intermiel is recognized provincially and across North America for the quality and diversity of its products, as well as for its educational visits. Thanks to its agri-tourism orientation, it attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year, of which 15,000 are students from Québec schools. A visit to Intermiel is a feast for all the senses. During your visit, you will try out a beehive opening with a beekeeper in an enchanting garden, you’ll discover how honey is made, and you’ll learn more about the benefits of bee products. The visit will end with a tasting of our delicious gourmet products and our artisanal beverages. Take advantage of nature in the tranquillity of our vast property, have a picnic with family or friends under the trees, and visit our mini-farm to admire and pet our animals.

Other Information – ACCOMMODATIONS Montreal offers a wide selection of hotels from Deluxe to cheap solutions; the best properties have been selected and good rates negotiated to host the APIMONDIA 2019 community. Information will be available from late 2017 on the website. For information and hotel reservations please contact us at All other information is, or soon will be, available at —–

MORE ON THE ELD SITUATION The federal government has granted truckers who haul live animals, including honeybees destined for tree fruit pollination duty, a 90-day reprieve from enforcement of electronic logging device requirements. Beekeepers had joined a group of livestock producers in asking for more time to comply with new laws that require all trucks to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs. ELDs are hardwired to commercial trucks to keep track of driving time, limited by federal safety laws. By Dec. 18 this year, they will become mandatory for all other drivers, replacing paper logs kept honor-code style by the drivers themselves. The new law would not change existing hours-of service rules, which limit truckers to 11 hours of driving following a 10-hour rest with a host of exemptions for agricultural drivers. Beekeepers and other livestock owners fear the devices could arbitrarily force a driver to stop driving in the middle of a hot day, putting the animals they carry at a health risk. Beekeepers already struggle to find enough drivers to haul bees from California orchards in the Northwest and Midwest in time for bloom. The groups had petitioned Congress for a year-long exemption through federal budget funding clauses. On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation, responding to those concerns, granted the 90-day waiver for all agricultural hauling to evaluate exemption requests and provide guidance on existing exemptions to hours-of-service. Concerned about the health of their already embattled honeybee colonies, the nation’s beekeepers have joined with livestock producers in asking the U.S. Congress for a year’s reprieve from regulations mandating the use of electronic logging devices on trucks. The new federal requirements are scheduled took effect Dec. 18. Usually called ELDs, the electronic devices wired to trucks automatically keep track of driving time, replacing paper logs kept by the drivers themselves. Many trucks already use ELDs. However, beekeepers fear the devices would force drivers to stop their trucks during warm periods of the day, putting the bees at risk. The breeze created by the moving trucks makes bees want to stay safe inside their hives during transport. The industry already sometimes has trouble finding drivers willing to haul loads of bee colonies from California to fruit orchards in the Northwest, Midwest and Northeast. Loads have been known to wait for a driver in California almond orchards for a week to 10 days, said Gene Brandi, a Los Banos, California, beekeeper and president of the American Beekeeping Federation. “We certainly hope it doesn’t get worse but it may.” Others fear losing drivers. “There are some two-person driver teams (including husband-wife teams), but some trucking outfits say they will no longer haul bees after (the change in rules),” said Joe Traynor, a Bakersfield, California, bee broker who sends hives to pollinate blueberry plots in Maine each year. “Others will likely raise their rates significantly.” The federation has joined pork, cattle and fish production organizations in asking the U.S. Congress to give them a year-long exemption from the ELD rule to make sure the devices allow the haulers enough flexibility to make sure their live animals stay alive during the haul. “We’re not pushing an exemption from the regulation, we’re just trying to get our folks a little more time to use it properly,” said Fran Boyd, a Washington D.C. lobbyist hired by the groups. The American Trucking Association supports the ELD mandate, but also supports granting the one-year waiver for the live animal haulers. The groups are waiting on Congress to pass a 2017-2018 federal budget. The House of Representatives has agreed to the extension in its version, the Senate had not yet decided as of press time. The ELD requirement changes nothing about how long drivers can be on the road, only the method of tracking those hours, said Duane DeBruyne of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The transportation safety board estimates the ELDs will prevent 26 fatal crashes and 562 injuries per year, most of them to people riding in passenger vehicles, DeBruyne said. Current rules limit the drivers to 11 hours following a minimum 10-hour rest but grant agricultural haulers a host of exemptions. The livestock groups worry the ELDs will trigger infractions automatically with no regard to those exemptions and have asked for the extra year to sort that out. “There’s going to be a lot of violations on those electronic logs because guys can’t do it,” said Dwight Price of Price Trucking in Yakima, Washington, which transports between 80 to 100 loads between Washington and California each year. If drivers stop in hot weather because their ELD tells them to, they’re going to end up with “$100,000 worth of dead bees,” he said. Bees will try to come out of their hive in any weather over 75 degrees, said Eric Olson, a Yakima orchardist and retired longtime beekeeper. Weather in March and April, when they make the trip from California for pollination, often gets that hot. “Hauling bees is really tough work,” he said. • —– GUT BACTERIA IN BEES SPREAD ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT GENES TO EACH OTHER It’s the kind of thing you might lose sleep over. How will humans survive serious infections in the future if we’re running out of tools today to fight them? Antibiotic resistance among disease-causing bacteria is of global concern, as some last-resort drugs can no longer cure common illnesses such as urinary tract infections. To make matters worse, researchers from Arizona State University and Norwegian University of Life Sciences have discovered that our very own gut bacteria may be perpetuating the resistance. Scientists uncovered this startling finding while investigating the microbial life in honey bee guts. “To our surprise, we found that instead of one gut bacterium acquiring resistance and outcompeting all the other gut bacteria in honey bees, the resistance genes spread in the bacterial community so that all strains of bacteria survived,” said Gro Amdam, a professor with ASU School of Life Sciences and co-author of the paper. The finding was published in a Nov. 23 article in the journal Molecular Ecology. In the study, scientists investigated gut bacteria in honey bees to explore the question, “What happens to gut bacteria when they are exposed to antibiotics over a long period of time?” While honey bees have a simpler microbial community in their guts compared to humans, they also have features in common. “There is an important similarity between honey bee and human gut bacteria, in that some bacteria are in symbiosis with the host — these are important for host health,” said Jane Ludvigsen, a doctoral student with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and lead author of the paper. “The bacteria we investigated are symbiotic for the honey bee, and they each have important functions. Because they must all be there for the host to be well, we think this is the reason that antibiotic-resistant genes have spread to all.” Overuse of antibiotics In this study, researchers focused on microbes that are resistant to tetracycline. In addition to use in human medicine, tetracycline is an antibiotic that has been widely used for decades to promote growth in animals — often in chicken, cattle and pig farming. It’s also commonly sprayed on plants, including apple and pear trees, to prevent diseases such as fire blight, which can devastate crops. In the U.S., tetracycline has been used even on organic farms. In Norway, rules on antibiotic use in farming of any kind are much stricter. The scientists compared the antibiotic-resistant genes in honey bee populations from Arizona and Norway. There were surprising geographic differences. “In the bees from Arizona, we saw that even though they have not been in contact with tetracycline for many years, the resistance genes are still there,” said Ludvigsen. “Also, in the Norwegian population, we found some antibiotic-resistant genes, but few. “I think that if there are more resistance genes in the environment, more transfer happens. Also, if the bees are exposed to tetracycline in their environment, they may need to get and keep the resistance genes. Tetracycline is used still in the U.S., so that might be a trigger. That deserves further study, as it was not the focus of this paper.” When the research team studied the antibiotic-resistant genes in the Arizona honey bee population, they found six different variants of this genetic resistance — each variant is the product of a mutation within the gene. In the bee population in Norway, the team found only one adaptation. Amdam said one way to think about it is this: Tetracycline-resistant microbes are everywhere. They are in the dirt, on plants and animals, and even inside us. But given enough time, without exposure to antibiotics, some of this resistance should go away. One factor needed for antibiotic resistance to remain prevalent is to keep the selective pressure on. This is why Amdam and Ludvigsen say it’s important to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics in both agriculture and farming, and limit unnecessary use in human health as much as possible. Antibiotic-resistant microbes in humans Many people believe that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are mainly found in places such as hospitals. And although dangerous microbes can be found there, they are also found in our everyday environments. “Our paper predicts that if there is already antibiotic resistance in your gut, then most or all of your gut microbes will also carry this resistance. Basically, we’ve become potent reservoirs for carrying antibiotic-resistant genes,” said Amdam. “This is not good news from an epidemiological point of view. If our paper is right, then from what we see in the U.S. and Norway, you can keep accumulating multiple versions of antibiotic-resistant genes. If pathogenic bacteria pass through your body, they can also pick up this resistance.” The researchers say one next step could be to study how the bees’ gut selects for certain kinds of bacteria, and not others. For example, in humans, we know that the immune system is involved in accommodating the “right” gut bacteria, but the role of the honey bee immune system is largely unknown. —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. The Value Of Maple And Honey Production Grew In 2017, Says Statistics Canada – Statistics Canada says maple syrup production increased three per cent this year to a record 12.5 million gallons as taps were added in most maple-producing provinces. Quebec produced 92 per cent of Canada’s maple syrup output, rising 2.8 per cent in the year. The total output follows a bumper crop in 2016, which saw production increase 36.5 per cent nationally. That was on a 38.3 per cent growth in Quebec due to favourable weather conditions that resulted in higher yields. ….Meanwhile, the value of honey produced in Canada increased 11.1 per cent to $169.3 million on higher prices even though production was down 2.6 per cent due to poor weather conditions in Eastern Canada. 2. Flowering Cover Crops Stimulate Bees and Helps the Soil – California Ag Today recently interviewed Billy Synk, director of pollination programs for Project Apis m and manager of the Seeds for Bees Project. The Project Apis m mission is to fund and direct research to enhance the health and vitality of honeybee colonies while improving crop production. He spoke on the benefits of cover crops for honeybee health. “It’s an amazing project and an exciting project to work on and manage because it’s doing two good things at once. It’s a win-win situation. It’s helping out the soil and helping out bees,” Synk said. When Synk speaks to growers, he mentions those two good reasons. “Do it to help the bees that are in your orchard become stronger, and do a better job pollinating, but then also help your soil with organic matter and improved water infiltration.” 3. Animals That Travel Between Multiple Destinations And Return To A Home Face The Traveling Salesman Problem – As bees gain foraging experience they continually refine both the order in which they visit flowers and the flight paths they take between flowers to generate better and better routes, according to researchers at Queen Mary University of London. Despite this, bees can be tricked into taking tempting shortcuts between flowers even at the cost of increasing the overall distance they have to fly. Animals that travel between multiple destinations and return to a home base – like bees, birds, primates and humans – face a predicament known to mathematicians as the Traveling Salesman Problem. The challenge is to find a route that visits each destination while traveling the shortest possible distance. Previous research, looking only at the order in which animals arrive at each destination, has shown that animals often find a good, or even optimal, solution but little is known about how they find that solution. Lead author Joseph Woodgate, from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: “Animals cannot simply inspect a map to find out where the best food sources are or plan how to get between them.”