Items of interest to beekeepers 24 June 2017

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






From Dewey Caron – HONEY BEE NUTRITION COMPETITION This summer, the Honey Bee Health Coalition  (HBHC) will launch a competition to find the most innovative ideas to tackle honey bee nutrition challenges. Anyone with an idea for a creative new solution to advance, disrupt, or pioneer the field of honey bee nutrition is invited to apply. Finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to leaders in the beekeeping industry, and a chance to win prize money to implement their projects. The competition will open for applications in August – stay tuned for more information. —– POLLINATOR EXTINCTIONS ALTER STRUCTURE OF ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system — from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show. Biology Letters published the research, which may have implications for the survival of both rare wild plants and major food crops as many pollinator species are in decline. “We see an ecological cascade of effects across the whole pollinator community, fundamentally changing the structure of plant-pollinator interaction networks,” says Berry Brosi, a biologist at Emory University and lead author of the study. “We can see this shift in who visits which plant even in pollinators that are not closely related to the bumblebee species that we remove from the system.” If a single, dominant species of bumblebee mainly visits an alpine sunflower, for instance, other pollinators — including other species of bumblebees — are less likely to visit alpine sunflowers. If the dominant bumblebee is removed, however, the dynamic changes. “When the sunflowers became less crowded and more available, a broader range of pollinators chose to visit them,” Brosi says. The field experiments, based in the Colorado Rockies, also showed that the removal of a dominant bumblebee species led to fewer plant species being visited on average. “That was a surprise,” Brosi says. “If a nectar resource is abundant and highly rewarding, more types of pollinators will go for it, leaving out some of the rarer plants that some of the other pollinator species normally specialize in.” —– Sent by Dr. Christina Grozinger , POLLINATOR – L – LAND USE, LAND COVER, AND POLLINATOR HEALTH: A REVIEW AND TREND ANALYSIS (A New Report from the Economic Research Service) Crops that depend on pollinators account for up to one-third of total U.S. food consumption. However, honey bees and other pollinators face a variety of stressors, including diseases, insect pests, pesticide exposure, and changing landscapes. Over the last decade, annual losses of managed honey bee colonies have been high, according to Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis, a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). This study reviews literature on the effects of land use on pollinator health and examines trends in pollinator forage quality as land uses and land covers have changed in the U.S. over the last 30 years. Key findings: • Honey bee mortality, as measured by the loss of a honey bee colony, is higher than in previous decades. Annual losses varied between 29 and 45 percent of colonies from 2010-11 to 2015-16.      • Evidence points to population decline for several wild bee species (notably bumblebees) and some butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds.      • A variety of stressors affect the health of honey bee colonies. Beekeepers reported that in spring 2015, nearly 45 percent of colonies were affected by varroa mites, 20 percent were affected by other pests, and 17 percent were affected by pesticides. For more information, please view the report. If you have any questions, you can contact me or the lead author, Daniel Hellerstein at (202) 694-5613 or Kellie Burdette Mendonca Public Affairs Specialist Economic Research Service, USDA (202) 694-5245 —– GROWTH & GRATITUDE – COLLEGE OF THE MELISSAE So much to share with all of you! New Farm for the College of the Melissae in Southern Oregon! Findhorn Scotland Aug 5-11: Join us? AND…drum roll please…. Laura Bee has been accepted as a Presenter at Apimondia: International Apicultural Conference in Istanbul, Turkey Sept 29 – Oct 4 2017! Findhorn, Forres, Scotland Aug. 5-11, 2017 Corwin Bell joins Laura Bee in her second annual Sacred Bee Immersion and Symposium at historical Findhorn on the Northern Coast of Scotland. Beekeeping meditations, methodologies, practices, history/herstory, Bee Doctor basics and the Cathedral Hive will be some of the topics covered in this week-long Symposium. New digs! An unexpected move created a once in a lifetime opportunity for the College of the Melissae and Laura Bee’s friends and family! Proudly they have been granted long term tenancy on a 1/2 acred farmette!  With outbuildings, free water and loads of space, Laura Bee is working on creating a bunk house, a guest room and an outdoor canning kitchen for her long range food production and miso and Apple Cider Vinegar business.   Keep an eye out over the next few months for a new product line including hive cloths and all natural wasp repellant among other exciting medicines and hive products! http:// —– CATCH THE BUZZ

1. Scientists kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes with genetically engineered fungi that’s safe for bees! Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-14 04:16:42|Editor: Mu Xuequan WASHINGTON, June 13 (Xinhua) — A genetically engineered fungus, designed to produce toxins from spiders and scorpions, could effectively kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, according to a new study released Tuesday. The fungus does not pose a risk to humans and early test results showed it’s also safe for honey bees and other insects, according to the study from the University of Maryland (UMD) and colleagues from Burkina Faso, China and Australia. The fungus involved in the study is known as Metarhizium pingshaensei, a natural killer of mosquitoes that was originally isolated from a mosquito. Previous evidence suggests that the fungus is specific to disease-carrying mosquito species, including Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti. When spores of the fungus come into contact with a mosquito’s body, the spores germinate and penetrate the insect’s exoskeleton, eventually killing the insect host from the inside out. However, the fungus requires fairly high doses of spores and a large amount of time to have lethal effects. To boost its deadly power, researchers engineered the fungus with several genes that express neurotoxins from spider and scorpion venom — both alone and in combination with other toxins. Then, they tested the engineered fungal strains on wild-caught, insecticide-resistant mosquitoes in Burkina Faso.

2. The USDA Is In General Looking For Creative New Strategies To Improve Pollinator Health Over The Next 10 Years, And We Feel That We Have Something To Offer Wild sunflower, Helianthus annuus, in a tent at the South Deerfield Agricultural Research Station operated by UMass Amherst. Researchers use the tents to study honey bees collecting the pollen for biology professor Lynn Adler’s experiments. She recently received a three-year, $1 million grant from a special pollinator health program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the role that sunflower pollen may play in bee health. Biology professor Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an expert in pollination and plant-insect interactions, recently received a three-year, $1 million grant from a special “pollinator health” program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the role that sunflower pollen may play in improving bee health. In addition to basic research, the grant emphasizes extension outreach to the public and stakeholders such as amateur beekeepers, commercial bumblebee producers, vegetable and fruit growers, commercial seed producers and others to make the most useful results and new knowledge available to them. According to the USDA, pollinator populations have suffered serious losses for a number of reasons over the past 30 years, estimated at more than 40 percent in 2015. The grant will also support hiring an extension bee educator for three years with an expected start date of summer 2018. Adler says, “Right now there are no university extension educators in Massachusetts that beekeepers can go to with questions and concerns about their bees’ health and well-being, which is something the USDA is interested in addressing.”

3. To Bee, Or Not To Bee? The Summer Months When Bees Are Buzzing Is A Busy Time For A Pollination Ecologist, But Not In The Way You Might Think – “Are you off now for the summer?” As a university professor, I get asked this question a lot at this time of year. People are often surprised when I tell them that this is when things are at their busiest! I’m a pollination ecologist, which means that I study the interactions between plants and insects, especially bees. Since bees hibernate during the winter and flowers only bloom in the summer, these brief months when the students are off campus and the bees are buzzing around are the only time of year I can get outdoors and actually do some science first hand. Except these days I don’t get the chance very often. The higher you get in academia, the less you get your hands dirty. Most of my research time is spent in the office planning experiments and applying for funding, managing the researchers who are actually outdoors conducting them, writing and talking about the findings, and occasionally gazing wistfully out of my office window and remembering the halcyon days of my PhD studies, when I spent my time in flowery meadows, chasing insects with my trusty net. Ah, those were the good times . . . Every now and then, though, I do get the opportunity to go back to my field ecology roots. The last time was in Burkina Faso – a landlocked and extremely poor West African country. It was 38 degrees C in the shade and dry as a bone, and while it’s about as unlike Ireland as it’s possible to get, I was there to study a situation not unlike ours at home: how land management and agricultural intensification affected populations of bees, and how this in turn has affected the pollination of an economically significant crop.

4. As B.C. Gets Hotter, Crops Grown In Warmer Climates Would Become Successful Further North. With a warmer climate, fruits like cherries and peaches will be able to be grown at higher latitudes and altitudes in B.C. Can you imagine fresh avocado — from the Okanagan? According to some climate reports, southern B.C.’s climate will be more like central California’s in a few decades. In terms of agriculture, as California grows drier and hotter, B.C. will grow warmer with longer growing seasons and less frost. Denise Neilsen, a research scientist with the federal government’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says there has already been a northward movement of certain fruit crops over the past 40 years with more to come. “We expect to see, in the future, northward movement of crops like sweet cherries and wine grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, all of those things that are less hardy,” she said.

5. ‘Amazing Change’ For Montreal Homeless Men Taking Part In Urban Beekeeping Program. Accueil Bonneau Program Yields Positive Results For Participants Building Job Skills, Confidence – Accueil Bonneau’s beekeeping program has been running for the last four years. Helping homeless people in Montreal reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees may seem like an unusual approach, but organizers of the Accueil Bonneau honey program say it’s been a real success story. “When they get to be hands on, they see that it’s all about being confident and being at peace with the bees,” said Geneviève Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects. Accueil Bonneau, a local group that offers a drop-in day centre and variety of services for homeless men, partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago. The program is partnered with Alvéole and has seven different locations of hives across the city. Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city. 6. FDA Delays Revamped Nutrition Facts Panel. Added Sugars One Of The Sticking Points –  A revamped nutrition facts panel designed to make it easier for Americans to see how many calories and added sugars are in packaged foods and drinks is being delayed. The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it plans to push back the deadline for a rule requiring food companies to use the new label. It’s the Trump administration’s latest delay of the Obama administration’s rules intended to improve food labeling and make foods healthier and safer. The revised nutrition facts panel would make the calorie counts on packaged food and drinks more prominent, adjust serving sizes to be more realistic and specify the amount of added sugars in products. The labels currently list how many total sugars are in a product, including those that are naturally occurring, such as in fruit and milk. Previously, the FDA had given companies until July 26, 2018, to comply, with smaller food makers getting an extra year. On Tuesday, the FDA said it intends to give companies additional time to be in compliance. It did not provide a specific deadline. Spokeswoman Deborah Kotz said in an email that details will be released at a later date.