Items of interest to beekeepers 2 March 2018

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






EXTENT OF ALMOND FREEZE DAMAGE WILL TAKE TIME TO REVEAL ITSELF By Todd Fitchette Just how much of California’s almond crop was killed by freezing temperatures won’t be known for at least a month . Impacts of the mid-February freeze that damaged California almonds won’t be fully known until about the end of March, according to industry leaders. Almonds from Arvin to Red Bluff were exposed to freezing temperatures that in some areas were reported in the upper teens. Two reports of temperatures as low as 19 degrees – one in eastern Stanislaus County, the other east of Madera – suggest the possibility of complete damage in some orchards. Rich Kreps, a crop consultant with Ultra Gro Plant Food, said he knows of areas in Delano, east of Madera, and Cantua Creek in western Fresno County that were hit particularly hard with freezing temperatures that lingered for several hours. After visiting farms in Madera County, Kreps said younger orchards – those 3-7 years old – appeared to fare worse than older orchards, particularly older ones  that still had access to flood irrigation, which can give farmers the greatest protection against freezing temperatures when used effectively. —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger, Pollinator-L — BEE JOBS 1. Apiary Inspector, College Station, Texas My name is Mary Reed and I am the current Chief Apiary Inspector for Texas.  My office is currently looking to hire a new apiary inspector and I thought I would reach out to you to see if there were any students in your department that would be interested in applying.  This is a full-time position located in College Station, TX and prior beekeeping knowledge is not required.  Currently the posting will be open until the end of this week, but there is a possibility that it will remain open after this weekend.  Below is a link to the job posting where applicants can submit their information: 2. Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Available in Honey Bee Molecular Biology/Bioinformatics, University of Florida, Gainesville The position is full-time for one year. This is a non-tenure accruing position. Pay Rate: $48,000 – $50,000/year. A review of applications will begin 19 March 2018 and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Email Dr. James Ellis ( with questions. Submit applications to Ms. Emily Helton ( 3. Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in Honey Bee Husbandry Research, University of Florida, Gainesville The position is full-time for one year with multiple years of funding support possible. This is a non-tenure accruing position. Pay Rate: $60,000 – $65,000/year. A review of applications will begin 19 March 2018 and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Email Dr. James Ellis ( with questions. Submit applications to Ms. Emily Helton ( —– GOOD READS, NOT NECESSARILY BEE-ORIENTED This article, reprinted from Forbes magazine, is running because of the depth of research the author has done before putting forward his expert opinion. Knee-jerk reactions not welcome. He serves a thoughtful and careful consideration, whether or not you agree with him at the end. The Environmentalist Case In Favor Of GMO Food – By Dr. Omri Ben-Shahar, law professor at the University of Chicago, editor of a leading academic journal, and a global expert on contract law and consumer market regulation with doctoral degrees in economics and in law from Harvard University. Consumers are deeply suspicious of GMO foods–products made from genetically modified agricultural crops. They are told that growing such crops may have adverse health effects. They are warned that the transfer of genes across species amounts to an “unnatural” global experiment in human beings. They are led to believe that GMO cultivation techniques have disastrous environmental effects, due to  heavy use of pesticides and insecticides. And they worry about crop biodiversity and about the unintended effects on other species that live in GMO fields. I used to worry about these things too. I was concerned about the environmental impact and the integrity of the food production. But then I decided to teach a class on “Food Law” at the University of Chicago, and in preparation I read the literature—not the pamphlets, but rather the underlying science. I was astonished to discover that my prior suspicions were deeply misguided. I have since witnessed the same “aha” moment among numerous audiences, realizing that their GMO environmental fears are refuted by the evidence. And yet, outside the narrow confines of the informed public, GMO paranoia continues to rage. Now, a new report published in Nature’s “Scientific Reports” has the potential to help put a categorical end to these worries. The report compiles the entire body of science that previously examined the impact of genetically modified corn—over 6,000(!) published articles—and distills the essential findings of that massive research. The conclusion of the report is clear cut. It is a dramatic account of how big the benefit and small the risk is from GMO crops. Complete article at —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Famous Sidr Honey Featured At The Muscat Festival In Yemen. Muscat: The much-awaited annual Muscat Festival, which offers people unique attractions, including exhilarating rides and authentic food, has entered its third week now. As always, the extravaganza has a sweet gift to offer its visitors – the Yemeni honey. Yemeni honey is world-renowned for its health benefits. For centuries, it has been used not just as a sweetener, but also as a medicine. A group of stalls are displaying and selling this fresh “elixir of life” at Naseem Gardens. The variety of honey on display has been painstakingly collected from different trees with varying properties. Sidr honey, the most common form of Yemeni honey, is raw, organic and pure, harvested from bees that feed solely on nectar from Sidr flowers. This honey is known to protect the liver and kidney, help heal wounds and bruises, and cure stomach ulcers, respiratory disorders, and all types of inflammations. Another popular mix available is the Black Seed honey. Darker and grainier, this miracle honey is known for curing asthma, improving immunity, and as a source of healthy nutrition. The Yemeni Sumar honey, which resembles caramel, cures coughs, colds and throat problems. Also on display is the Yemeni Sidr Wasabi, green in colour, because of the area and soil it comes from, with great health benefits. These delicious and surprisingly distinct varieties of honey, an important part of Yemeni culture and religion as mentioned in the Holy Quran, can be found, tasted, and bought at the Yemeni honey stalls at the Muscat Festival. 2. When It’s Dry by the Hives, Handle Your Smoker with Care. Fires Happen – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Fire investigators say a beekeeper using a smoker sparked a grass fire near I-25 and W. Fontanero Street Friday afternoon. Firefighters told our 11 News crew on scene that some of the heat got onto the grass and the fire quickly spread through the dry brush. Colorado Springs fire crews were called to the scene on Broadview Place around 1:30 p.m. Friday. Smoke could be seen for miles, but crews were able to quickly contain the flames. “What was in our favor today, was 31 percent relative humidity,” said Captain Brian Vaughn with the fire department. “Depending on what’s going on with the wind, and of course we are super dry, this could’ve run really quickly, but we had a little bit of a reprieve from what we had two days ago with the red flag warning.” Fire officials say four acres were burned. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported. The flames came close to spreading to Dora Gonzales’s house, but the rocks and concrete surrounding her home stopped the fire in its tracks. Gonzales tells 11 News her housekeeper saw the flames and called her. Gonzales rushed home and could see the smoke while driving toward her home. 3. Colony Health and Pathogen Composition in Migratory Operations Involved in California Almond Pollination – Abstract – Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops. Pathogens and other factors have been implicated in high annual losses of honey bee colonies in North America and some European countries. To further investigate the relationship between multiple factors, including pathogen prevalence and abundance and colony health, we monitored commercially managed migratory honey bee colonies involved in California almond pollination in 2014. At each sampling event, honey bee colony health was assessed, using colony population size as a proxy for health, and the prevalence and abundance of seven honey bee pathogens was evaluated using PCR and quantitative PCR, respectively. In this sample cohort, pathogen prevalence and abundance did not correlate with colony health, but did correlate with the date of sampling. In general, pathogen prevalence (i.e., the number of specific pathogens harbored within a colony) was lower early in the year (January—March) and was greater in the summer, with peak prevalence occurring in June. Pathogen abundance in individual honey bee colonies varied throughout the year and was strongly associated with the sampling date, and was influenced by beekeeping operation, colony health, and mite infestation level. Together, data from this and other observational cohort studies that monitor individual honey bee colonies and precisely account for sampling date (i.e., day of year) will lead to a better understanding of the influence of pathogens on colony mortality and the effects of other factors on these associations. Read the entire study here. 4. Barbados Want to Ramp Up Honey Production and Begin Exporting Instead of Importing – The Barbados Apiculture Association says the Caribbean country is poised to develop a thriving honey industry. Association vice president Damien Hinds says he wants to see investment in the sector, The Barbados Advocate newspaper report Hinds says rather than continuing to import thousands of pounds of honey every year, Barbados can become a producer, to not only meet local needs, but perhaps to export to other countries in the Caribbean. Barbados Agricultural Society chief executive not only agrees, he suggests not only developing a local honey industry in Barbados, but also creating specialty honey for local and overseas markets. 5. BC apple grower aims at billion dollar harvest – Okanagan Specialty Fruits president Neal Carter founded his company in the Okanagan before selling it to U.S. biotechnology giant Intrexon. Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ target to generate US$1 billion in sales by 2030 moved a small step closer on January 30, when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada cleared the way for the B.C. company’s third variety of genetically modified apple, the Arctic Fuji apple, to be sold on Canadian grocery shelves. In 2015 and 2016, the two government organizations approved domestic sales for two other Okanagan Specialty Fruits varieties of non-browning apple: the Arctic Golden and the Arctic Granny.