Items of interest to beekeepers 3 December 2017

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







HELP PUERTO RICO Adopt A Pallet To Help Beekeepers On Puerto Rico & USVI Recover. CAMPAIGN GOAL: 1,000 Langstroth hives to help replace hives destroyed by hurricanes. DONATION: $1,500 ‘Adopts’ a Pallet containing components for 50 Hives. Your generous contribution will leverage other Campaign funds to pay full costs. WHEN: ASAP! Pallets are being assembled, ready for adoption. Beekeepers on Puerto Rico & USVI need your help! Go to for photos and updates from Puerto Rico & the USVI on the Campaign. —– ANIMAL HAULERS, INCLUDING MIGRATORY BEEKEEPERS, CAN WAIT 90 DAYS BEFORE COMPLYING WITH ELECTRONIC LOGGING REQUIREMENTS 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. —– From Joe Traynor in California – 10,000 TIMES MORE PESTICIDES ‘NATURALLY’ IN PLANTS THAN SYNTHETIC RESIDUE ON FOOD The word pesticide is misunderstood, nearly to the same extent as the word chemical. People have been led to believe, largely by the organic food industry and environmental activists, that pesticides are unnatural, dangerous, and do not belong in the food supply. But this defies a basic understanding of biology. A pesticide is any chemical, natural or human-made, that is designed to kill another organism. Using that broad definition, there are probably hundreds of thousands of pesticides in the natural environment. As it turns out, biological warfare was invented and perfected by Mother Nature. … And guess what? When we eat plants, we’re eating those pesticides, too. A paper co-authored in 1990 by the venerable Bruce Ames found that 99.99% of the pesticides we consume in our diet are produced by the plants themselves … According to Dr. Ames’s team, every plant produces roughly a few dozen toxins, some of which (at a high enough dose) would be toxic to humans. Cabbage produces at least 49 known pesticides. Given the ubiquity of natural pesticides, Dr. Ames estimates that “Americans eat about 1.5 g of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than they eat of synthetic pesticide residues.” Furthermore, Dr. Ames estimates that we consume 5,000 to 10,000 different natural pesticides every day, many of which cause cancer when tested in lab animals. Read full, original post: 99.99% Of Pesticides We Eat Are Produced By Plants Themselves at —– NEW BUTTERFLY SPECIES DISCOVERED IN RUSSIA WITH AN UNUSUAL SET OF 46 CHROMOSOMES What looked like a population of a common butterfly species turned out to be a whole new organism, and, moreover – one with a very peculiar genome organisation. Discovered by Vladimir Lukhtanov, entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Alexander Dantchenko, entomologist and chemist at the Moscow State University, the startling discovery was named South-Russian blue (Polyommatus australorossicus). It was found flying over the northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains in southern Russia. The study is published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics. “This publication is the long-awaited completion of a twenty-year history,” says Vladimir Lukhtanov. In the mid-nineties, Vladimir Lukhtanov, together with his students and collaborators, started an exhaustive study of Russian butterflies using an array of modern and traditional research techniques. In 1997, Alexander Dantchenko who was mostly focused on butterfly ecology, sampled a few blue butterfly specimens from northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains. These blues looked typical at first glance and were identified as Azerbaijani blue (Polyommatus aserbeidschanus). However, when the scientists looked at them under a microscope, it became clear that they had 46 chromosomes – a very unusual number for this group of the blue butterflies and exactly the same count as in humans. Having spent twenty years studying the chromosomes of more than a hundred blue butterfly species and sequencing DNA from all closely related species, the researchers were ready to ascertain the uniqueness of the discovered butterfly and its chromosome set. Throughout the years of investigation, it has become clear that caterpillars of genetically related species in the studied butterfly group feed on different, but similar plants. This discovery enables entomologists to not only discover new butterfly species with the help of botanic information, but also protect them. “We are proud of our research,” says Vladimir Lukhtanov. “It contributes greatly to both the study of biodiversity and understanding the mechanisms of biological evolution.” —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger at POLLINATOR-L – RESEARCH JOBS Pollinator Restoration Ecology Postdocs (2 positions) The Cariveau Lab ( at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in the Department of Entomology is hiring 2 postdoctoral research associates to study pollinator restoration ecology. We are also part of the Bee Lab (, a vibrant group of more than 30 researchers, extension specialists, and educators dedicated to the research and conservation of pollinators. These postdoctoral researchers will find a supportive environment of collaboration, high caliber science from molecular to landscape scales, and research dedicated to important conservation challenges. Plant Ecology & Seed Mix Design Postdoc – One position will explore optimization of seed mixes to maximize pollinator diversity while minimizing economic costs. Seed mixes are becoming increasingly expensive and little is known about how seeding rate, diversity and plant composition influence success of pollinator plantings. This researcher will apply and revise optimization models regarding seed mixes and design seed mixes that will be implemented at field locations and monitored for use by pollinators. This position will be co-advised by Eric Lonsdorf (UMN – Institute on the Environment and Natural Capital Project) and will involve collaboration with Neal Williams (UC Davis) and Dan Larkin (UMN). This researcher will combine modeling approaches with seed mixture experiments. Responsibilities include: developing, applying and/or revising quantitative models, designing and conducting seeding experiments, managing a small field crew, collecting data, ensuring data quality, data analysis, and managing a relational database. Required qualifications are: PhD in ecology, evolution, entomology botany or related field, independence in developing research questions, statistical or modeling experience using R, Python or Matlab, record of publication in high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and valid driver’s license at time by start of the position. Preferred qualifications include: experience building relational databases (e.g. MySQL), restoration or botanical field experience such as plant propagation, entomological experience particularly with pollinators, experience working with conservation practitioners, and an interest in mentoring undergraduates. Native Bee – Prairie Restoration Postdoc – This research will contribute to understanding how landscape context influences native bee community composition in restored and remnant prairies as well as the role of native bees in pollination of native plants in restoration. This postdoc will work with data from a large-scale landscape study of twenty sites in western Minnesota initiated in 2017. Responsibilities include: analyzing and interpreting complex ecological data such as plant and pollinator community composition, writing and co-writing manuscripts, helping manage a field crew, collecting data, ensuring data quality, and analyzing data. S/he will independently develop research questions while also collaborating with graduate students working on the project. This postdoc will spend the summer (May – September) in western Minnesota. Field housing will be provided. Required qualifications are: PhD in ecology, evolution, entomology or related field, independence in developing research questions, ability to analyze complex data using mixed models and multivariate techniques, record of publication in high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and valid driver’s license at time by start of the position. Preferred qualifications include: bee identification, prairie research experience, experience building or maintaining relational databases (e.g. MySQL), ArcGIS or similar spatial analyses in R and/or Python, experience working with conservation practitioners, and an interest in mentoring undergraduates. For both positions, we expect successful candidates to engage with a highly interactive group of graduate students, research scientists and undergraduates. There will be numerous opportunities to collaborate and develop projects with other lab members and to collaborate with the PI and others on existing data sets. Postdoctoral associates will be full time with benefits. Minimum salary will be the base postdoctoral research associate salary of $47,500 plus benefits. Initial appointment is for 1 year with extensions dependent on job performance. To apply: Send a single pdf including a CV, cover letter, and names and contact information to Dan Cariveau at: In the subject line, write PollinatorPostdoc. In your cover letter, please note whether you are interested in the prairie restoration position, plant ecology-seed mix position or both. Review of applications will begin December 19th but applications will be accepted until position is filled. Start date can be as soon as possible. For the prairie restoration postdoc, a spring 2018 start date is preferred. —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. The new rule from the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) disallows many applications within a quarter-mile radius of many schools from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Honey bees, not yet – The new pesticide regulations regarding the use of agricultural pesticides near public K-12 school sites and licensed daycare facilities will take effect January 1, 2018.  The new rule from the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) disallows many applications within a quarter-mile radius from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Western Agricultural Processors Association was one of many groups opposing the new restrictions when the proposal was open for public comment.  President and CEO Roger Isom stated “the fact is, it’s not justified.  The data that they put out there doesn’t show there’s a need for this.” The new rules will require farmers that are within a quarter-mile to produce a notification letter no later than April 30th each year, listing all the pesticides they anticipate using between July 1st of the current year, through June 30th of the following year. Isom expressed the frustration felt by many growers who will be affected by the new pesticide regulations.  “If you go back and look at the data, there’s more danger from the chemicals that the schools apply on the ground for insect and weed control than anything we’re applying out there,” said Isom. 2. New Christchurch Housing Development Finds Itself Under The Flight Path Of Nearby Bees – Home owners in a new Christchurch (New Zealand) housing development are being bombed by yellow poo. Bee poo. The Highsted development houses are getting covered in little yellow streaks thanks to thousands of bees flying overhead who prefer to do their daily business on the wing and away from the hive. Residents say the poo streaks land on their roofs, windows, cars parked outside, and washing on the line. Even more annoying, the waxy sticky bee poo is difficult to wash off – not that cleaning helps much because the streaks are quickly back again. Highsted Rd home owner Michael Geare said the bees were coming from hives in paddocks just over the road about 100m away. The bees’ flight path to and from the hives takes them over the new homes. “I’d never heard of bee poo before,” he said. “We wondered what it was.” Geare said other home owners were also complaining about bee poo on windows, washing and cars. He had spoken to the beekeeper, who is breeding queen bees at the site. Geare said he asked him if something could be done. “I even offered to put on a bee suit and help him move the hives farther away,” Geare said. 3. Tips to Maximize Almond Yield in a Wet Year. More Bees, and A Plant Growth Regulator – California growers enjoyed some welcome rain this past winter, but because it had been two full decades since such a super soaker, many growers were caught off guard. Clinton Bowman, a Pest Control Adviser (PCA) with Salida Ag Chem, says the chief lesson learned is that you don’t get as many opportunities to get in and spray pesticides and other crop inputs as you could in previous years. “Growers really had limited abilities – because the windows of opportunity were so small – to get in and apply fungicides as ideally as what we’d like to,” he says. “Some blocks we had to fly in with aerial applications because the soils in the fields were so wet, we didn’t feel comfortable dragging ground rigs through.” 4. How Climate Change May Reshape Subalpine Wild Flower Communities – With climate change, Mount Rainier floral communities could ‘reassemble’ with new species relationships, interactions Central to the field of ecology is the mantra that species do not exist in isolation: They assemble in communities — and within these communities, species interact. Predators hunt prey. Parasites exploit hosts. Pollinators find flowers. Yet these interactions are built on more than just serendipity, because species adapt over generations to environmental cues. But when conditions shift due to climate change, species might change markedly in response — creating “reassembled” communities that might show disrupted interactions among species. Recently, a trio of ecologists from the University of Washington witnessed such reassembly. It was by accident: They were collecting data on the subalpine wildflowers that bloom each summer on the slopes of Mount Rainier, a volcano stretching 14,411 feet high (4,932 meters) in the Cascade Range of Washington state. As they report in a paper published online on Oct. 11 in the journal Ecology, an unseasonably warm, dry summer in 2015 caused reassembly among these subalpine wildflower communities.