Items of interest to beekeepers 13 July 2017

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












Two items from the Mount Baker Beekeepers newsletter in Bellingham, Washington – 1. HONEYBEE CENTRE FESTIVAL JULY 15 & 16 – (Just) north of the border, the good folks at the Honeybee Centre in Surrey are throwing a party! From 10 – 4, rain or shine, enjoy bee beards, vendors and artisans, Boucy Castle, balloon animals, kids’ games, “Beestro BBQ”, beekeeping demos, face painting, urban safari and more. It all happens at the Centre, 7480 – 176th St, Surrey (from the US, take Highway 15 north across the border (Pacific Highway Crossing), where it becomes 176th St. Straight ahead to Fraser Highway. The Centre is on the northeast corner.) More info —– 2. NEW COMPETITION FOR EPIPEN U.S. regulators have approved new competition for EpiPen, the emergency allergy medicine that made Mylan a poster child for pharmaceutical company greed. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp.’s product, which should go on sale later this year. Symjepi is a syringe prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, which helps stop life-threatening allergic reactions from insect stings and bites, foods such as nuts and eggs, or certain medications. San Diego-based Adamis says its product is easier to use than Mylan’s EpiPen, a spring-loaded syringe filled with a set dose that comes with a training device. Symjepi also is smaller than EpiPen, so it’s easier to fit into a pocket or purse. Most children and adults with severe food or insect allergies carry a device wherever they go and leave a spare at home, school or work. Adamis said it is still lining up a distributor so it hasn’t set the exact price for its product, which will be sold in pairs like EpiPen. Adamis spokesman Mark Flather said Symjepi is intended to be a “low-cost alternative” to EpiPen and similar products, and the company is aiming to sell it for less than generic EpiPens. In a note to investors, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat wrote that Symjepi is not identical to EpiPen and so the price Adamis sets “will obviously be an important consideration.” Currently, EpiPens cost about $630 to $700 without insurance while the new generic version retails for about $225 to $425. Mylan, which has U.S. headquarters near Pittsburgh, launched generic EpiPens last December in an effort to deflect mounting criticism. Last summer, the company came under fire for repeatedly raising the price of EpiPens and CEO Heather Bresch was grilled by a Congressional panel. Mylan hiked the price of a pair of EpiPens from $94 in 2007, when the company acquired the product, to $608 last year. The devices need to be replaced each year, adding to the financial sting. EpiPen Rival Adrenaclick Costs $100. Analysts and others have estimated that it costs less than $20 to produce a pair of EpiPens. While EpiPen has other rival products, doctors tend to prescribe EpiPen because it’s so well known. Just three years ago, EpiPens accounted for nearly 90 percent of both revenue and prescriptions filled in the U.S. for epinephrine injectors and syringes, according to QuintilesIMS, a pharmaceutical analytics company. In the first quarter of this year, brand-name EpiPens only drew about 60 percent of epinephrine device prescriptions, while generic EpiPens – mostly Mylan’s – had captured 38 percent of prescriptions. Dr. Dennis J. Carlo, CEO of Adamis, said in a statement that his company is preparing to apply for FDA approval of a “junior version” of Symjepi. That would contain a lower epinephrine dose than Symjepi, and would compete with Mylan’s EpiPen Jr. —– “THE LAND OF BREAD AND HONEY” Bee Girl Sarah Red-Laird is looking forward to presenting “The Story of Honey” at the Grain Gathering on July 28th at the WSU Bread Lab at the Port of Skagit, WA. The annual three day conference brings together professional and home bakers, maltsters, brewers, distillers, millers, farmers, wheat breeders, chefs, food writers, community and food activists, and entrepreneurs from around the world. Attendees choose among 40 workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations that explore a range of topics which may include matching wheat varieties to end products, working with fresh milled flours, milling techniques, brewing and baking with non-commodity barleys, baking in a wood fired oven, starting a whole grain bakery on a budget, growing a regional grain network, the science of bread, poetry and art in our work places, sharing knowledge, the challenges of scale, and paths towards a more just food system. “I’m excited to pioneer a sweet twist in this year’s Grain Gathering and give a talk on bees, honey, beekeeping, and my buckwheat study tie-in with the Bread Lab”, says our Bee Girl. For more information and registration, click —– HOUSES FOR BEES Sarah has another great project underway. “Bee Girl” is happy to be Ten Reality Group’s charity of the month!  This means the Bee Girl organization will receive 10% of the real estate sales Ten makes this month (pre taxes, and before the realtor gets paid)! So, if you are thinking about buying, or selling, real estate in Southern Oregon in July, consider Ten!! Here is a bit more about their program: “After ten years as a local realtor, our founder, Adam Bogle started looking around for a way to make a bigger difference in the community where we live. He decided the best way was to start his own company based on the concept of tithing. TEN is actually giving ten percent of each month’s revenue to a different local charity every month.” Adam’s wife, Sophia, also wrote a great story on her bee hive tour with Bee Girl org Board President Ellen Wright. Read the Sneak Preview at —– GOOD FOOD AWARDS CALL FOR ENTRIES JULY 5-31 – The Good Food Awards invites food producers from across the country to submit their beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, honey, oils, pickles, preserves, preserved fish, spirits, pantry items and – new this year  — elixirs! (Elixirs, you ask?  We’re talking shrubs, syrups, and bitters!) A blind tasting with a judge panel composed of over 250 food crafters, chefs and food writers will determine which products become the 2018 Good Food Award Winners. The catch: everything must be produced with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility, supporting local economies and the planet. A short online entry form will be available at from July 5-31. The entry fee is $70, which covers the cost of processing, sorting, storing and transporting over 2,000 anticipated entries. Want a free entry? Become part of our network of tasty, authentic and responsible businesses, by joining the Good Food Merchants Guild. The Guild unites mission-driven craft food businesses, and provides a number of benefits, including an invitation to participate in the Good Food Mercantile in San Francisco and New York. To learn more, visit All winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony with food movement pioneers like Alice Waters, Carlo Petrini and Winonah LaDuke, sell their wares at the 5,000-person Good Food Awards Marketplace, and proudly display the Good Food Awards Seal all year long. Last year’s 193 winners also received some wonderful and well deserved media attention, with coverage in 200 national outlets, including Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Eater, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Winning businesses also reported significant sales increases, which in the case of one chocolatier soared 400%. —– NEW INFORMATION ABOUT NEONICOTINOIDS AND BEES Neonicotinoid insecticides and bees have been much in the news recently, with controversy due to laboratory based studies which suggest that they are harmful, and field studies which are much less clear cut. Two new papers published today in the Journal of Apicultural Research add to our knowledge of the effects that these chemicals may have on social behaviour and learning in honey bees. In the first paper, Nadège Forfert and Robin Moritz of Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, explore the effect of the neonicotinoid thiacloprid on social interactions among honey bee workers. They quantified interactions in experimental groups of workers to assess the effects of thiacloprid on social network structure, and the amount of food exchanged among worker individuals. They found that bees fed with thiacloprid significantly reduced their social interactions, suggesting that foraging bees which encounter high doses of insecticide in the field may be less likely to recruit others to these nectar sources, but they also exchanged more food to other group members, which resulted in a dilution of the contaminated food. The authors conclude that although thiacloprid may act to interfere with social network structure, it could also play a role in the dynamics of disease transmission in the colony if pathogens are transmitted via food exchange. In the second paper, Anna Papach and colleagues from the University of Poitier, France look at the effect of exposure of honey bee larvae to the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam and the honey bee brood disease American foulbrood on mortality and cognition. They exposed or co-exposed honey bee larvae to American foulbrood and to sub-lethal doses of thiamethoxam. They found no additive effect between the two stressors on larval mortality, but the results do provide the first evidence of impaired learning and memory in adult bees that had been fed thiamethoxam during the larval stage. They found no alterations in learning and memory in bees after infection with American foulbrood at the larval stage. IBRA Science Director Norman Carreck says: “These two new papers are significant because they fill in some gaps in our knowledge of the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on social behaviour and learning in honey bees. As with previous studies, however, the question remains as to whether bees actually experience these effects in the field”. Norman Carreck, Science Director, International Bee Research Association, Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 9QG, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 1273 872587 Mobile: +44 (0) 7918670169 Email: Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales. Reg. No. 463819 Registered Office: 91 Brinsea Road, Congresbury, Bristol, BS49 5JJ, UK. Registered Charity No: 209222 Web-site: Email: FaceBook: Twitter: —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger at POLLINATOR-L – YELLOW-BANDED BUMBLE BEE (BOMBUS TERRICOLA) SPECIES STATUS ASSESSMENT The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is responsible for identifying species in need of protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).  In 2015, we were petitioned to list the yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) under the Act by the Defenders of Wildlife. In 2016, we made an initial petition finding for the species indicating that listing may be warranted, and initiated a status review. In accordance with the Service’s National Listing Work plan, we will make a listing determination for the yellow-banded bumble bee in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.  In support of developing the status review, we will conduct a Species Status Assessment (SSA).  The SSA will use the best available scientific information to evaluate the species’ needs, as well as its past and current resiliency, redundancy, and representation, and future conditions. We request your assistance in completing the SSA for the yellow-banded bumble bee, as a thorough SSA analysis cannot be completed without input and expertise from the States and other partners. We request your assistance in gathering baseline data on the species distribution, biology, life history, habitat and threats. Specifically, we are seeking the following data: ● Updated yellow-banded bumble bee occurrence data and habitat information.  We already have access to information provided to Leif Richardson for the Bumble Bees of North America database as of May 2017. If your information is already incorporated into this database, you do not need to provide that information again.  If your data is not included in the Bumble Bees of North American, please provide us with the latitude/longitude of the occurrence, land ownership type, date and number of individuals observed, and ongoing or planned management of the site.  ● Data or reports for surveys that targeted bumble bees (e.g., historical location, suitable habitat), but during which no yellow-banded bumble bee was found (e.g., negative survey efforts). ● Species Experts – list individuals with expertise in critical biology aspects and habitat needs of this species. ● State/Provincial species status and brief rational for that status. ● Other relevant information.  ● Updated literature, reference materials, unpublished reports that describe the species habitat, behavior, or life history.  Attached is a list of the literature we already have, there is no need to provide this information. ● Shape files with metadata and projection information that addresses some of the above bullets instead of filling out portions of the Excel spreadsheet. We will accept new information throughout this process, but it would be most helpful if the information is provided by August 18, 2017.  All data and information submitted to us, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record. Upon completion of a draft SSA, we will seek peer review and comment on the analysis. Additional information about the yellow-banded bumble bee can be found by visiting the following website: Additional information on the Service’s SSA framework, National Work Plan, as well as the petition and listing processes can be found here: Species Status Assessment: National Listing Work plan is available at this link: Petition/Listing Processes: http:// . We thank you in advance for your time and assistance in developing a robust SSA for the yellow-banded bumble bee.  If you have any questions, please contact Sandra Lary at 207-781-8364 ext. 19 or via email at   —– More good reads – not necessarily bee-related – DON’T TRUST ME? LET’S DANCE Synchronized movement such as dancing or marching act as a kind of social glue, bringing people together and enhancing trust and cooperation. But scientifically measuring synchrony and trust is hard to do. Now, researchers report a new way to measure and manipulate behavioral synchrony. Their results in the June 6 issue of Biological Psychology shed new light on the mechanisms behind the magic of synchronized movement. “Sharing the dance floor with our friends can provoke a sense of unity, because we like people who look and behave similarly to us,” says Dimitris Xygalatas, assistant professor of anthropology at UConn. “They can become a powerful driver of our social behavior.” We might not think that such occasional activities would influence important decisions such as financial transactions. But they shape attitudes, which are then reinforced by the brain’s reward system, according to a research team made up of Xygalatas and former UConn graduate student Martin Lang (now at Harvard University) and their international colleagues. Quantifying exactly how much behavioral synchronization drives attitudes and behavior would help researchers understand the phenomenon better, and possibly understand the biological and psychological underpinnings of trust more broadly. Xygalatas, Lang, and colleagues at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the National University of Singapore, and the University of Otago in New Zealand devised an experiment to test how synchrony affects social attitudes and behaviors. The experiment allowed them to control precisely how synchronized two people were. The same experiment measured both their attitudes – how much someone liked the other person – and their actual behavior toward them. The researchers recruited 124 students from Masaryk University and had them learn a synchronized movement routine, guided by a rhythmic beat. The group was then divided into three subgroups. Two subgroups performed the routine while watching a partner perform it simultaneously via video feed. Unbeknownst to the participants, the ‘partner’ was actually prerecorded, and there were two versions; in one version, the partner performed the routine flawlessly, while in the other version he made several mistakes and had worse timing in general. The third subgroup performed the routine without watching the video. Afterward, all three groups played a trust game in which they could choose how much money to entrust to the partner, whom they were told was in another room. During the experiment, the researchers measured the participant’s pain tolerance both before and after they performed the synchronized routine. This method is used to assess the release of endorphins in the brain, because endorphins interact with opiate receptors to reduce pain sensitivity, similarly to drugs such as morphine. They also had participants rank how much they liked their video partner after performing the routine. But to make sure that these attitudes translated into real behavior, they also recorded how much money they entrusted to their partner in an economic transaction. The results were straightforward: the participants who performed with the well-synchronized partner had higher pain tolerance, liked their partner more, and trusted them with more money than the participants who performed with the badly synchronized partner and the control group who did not watch the partner at all. But when the researchers looked at more subtle relationships between these effects, they found that attitudes and behaviors are controlled through different mechanisms. That is, participants’ subjective sense of synchrony was a better predictor of their attitude (how much they liked their partners), but their actual trusting behavior was better predicted by their brain chemistry (endorphin release). This suggests that while our conscious assessment of other people surely influences how much we like them, when it comes to actually cooperating with others, our decisions are often influenced by more visceral factors, which may operate below our conscious awareness. Future research may be able to tease apart the relationships even more. But for now, it’s obvious that synchronizing behavior is a powerful way to influence people’s actions. “If our short, decontextualized manipulation of synchrony can have a significant effect on participants’ financial decisions, think about what it can do when it is enacted regularly and in a more meaningful context, such as when dancing in church, marching in a military parade, or chanting and clapping together with 10,000 Huskies fans,” Xygalatas says. “By triggering our evolved cognitive and neuro-chemical mechanisms, these rituals become social glue and play a fundamental role in building cooperative communities.” —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Roy Lewis practised large-animal veterinary medicine for more than 30 years and now works part time as a technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health – Donning his beekeeper suit, Charles Touchstone, of Arapaho, Oklahoma, stepped a few feet inside a buzzing 90-acre field of Silver River Sweet clover planted for seed production near Taloga, Oklahoma. Some of the lacy white flowered shoots busy with bees stretched above his 6-foot frame. Silver River Sweet clover is a new Texas A&M variety available through Turner Seed Co. in Breckenridge, and Justin Seed Co. in Justin. The variety was developed through cooperative efforts by researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension centers in Overton, Beeville and Uvalde with the help of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists in College Station. 2. Bees Are Starting To Evolve To Survive Destructive Varroa Mite, Researcher Says – Bees in the United States and Europe are starting to evolve through natural selection to survive a mite that has been decimating their populations. Professor Stephen Martin, chair of animal ecology at Salford University in the United Kingdom, said in some instances bees were living with varroa mites and an associated virus, without any other treatment. “We are trying to understand what is happening,” he said. Although the process of evolution is slow, it has given the industry hope and sparked an interest in better beekeeping methods, with people entering the industry to try and save the bees. 3. Neonics, Pollen, Fungicides, Dead Bees, All At Field Realistic Levels. It’s A Mess – Worker and queen honey bees exposed to field realistic levels of neonicotinoids die sooner, reducing the health of the entire colony and a common fungicide can interact with the insecticides to make them more dangerous, a new Canadian study finds. Biologists at Toronto’s York University biologists were also surprised to find that the neonicotinoid contaminated pollen collected by the honey bees came not from crops grown from neonicotinoid treated seeds, but plants growing in areas adjacent to those crops. 4. Kentucky Allows New Pesticide To Save Crops. Will It Hurt Or Help? Predicting the imminent arrival of an insect species that could devastate Kentucky’s sweet sorghum crops, the state Department of Agriculture has declared an emergency and is letting the commonwealth’s farmers apply a new pesticide to protect their plants. But the pesticide in question — Sivanto Prime — has come under fire from environmental groups who say it hasn’t been properly vetted and could pose a risk to bees and other animals. When a company wants to market a new kind of pesticide, it has to be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA doesn’t just register the pesticide itself, but issues an individual registration for different crops and insects the pesticide is authorized to treat. But when an issue crops up where a state would like to allow a usage that hasn’t been approved, it has to seek an emergency exemption. 5. The Key To A More Accurate Camera In Phones, Drones And Robots May Lie In The Brain Of The Honey Bee – Researchers from RMIT University, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and Deakin University have discovered a new mechanism in the bug’s brain for processing color information that could be used for digital cameras. “For a digital system like a camera or a robot the color of objects often changes,” Adrian Dyer, Ph.D., an associate professor from the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, said in a statement. “Currently this problem is dealt with by assuming the world is, on average, grey. “This means it’s difficult to identify the true color of ripe fruit or mineral rich sands, limiting outdoor color imaging solutions by drones, for example,” he added. Bees have three extra eyes on the top of their head, known as ocelli that look directly at the sky. They contain two color receptors that are perfectly tuned for sensing the color of ambient light whereas the other two appendages are the main compound eyes that sense the color of flowers residing in the surrounding environment.  “Physics suggests the ocelli sensing of the color of light could allow a brain to discount the naturally colored illumination which would otherwise confuse color perception,” lead author Jair Garcia, Ph.D., a research officer from RMIT, said in a statement. “But for this to be true the information from the ocelli would have to be integrated with colors seen by the compound eyes.”