Items of interest to beekeepers 30 July 2017

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






WESTERN APICULTURAL SOCIETY CONFERENCE EARLYBIRD DEADLINE IS JULY 31ST Last call if you want to save $50 on the registration fee for the 40th Anniversary WAS Conference? Bookings must be postmarked or recorded on the website Paypal account by 11:59 PM Monday, July 31st. On August 1st, the $175 fee goes to $225, a significant increase. Information and downloadable registration form are all on the website, as is the Paypal online registration. Go to —– From the Pollinator Partnership – THE MITE-A-THON The first annual Mite-A-Thon will take place Saturday, September 9 to Saturday, September 16, 2017 and we invite you to participate! FORWARD THIS NOTICE – Local beekeeping clubs and associations are key to making Mite-A-Thon a success! The Mite-A-Thon is a national effort to collect mite infestation data and to visualize varroa infestations in honey bee colonies across North America within a one week window.  All beekeepers will be asked to participate, creating a rich distribution of sampling sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  Their varroa monitoring data will be uploaded to OBJECTIVE: 1) Raise awareness about honey bee colony varroa infestations in North America through effective monitoring methods. 2) Management strategies will be made available for discussion within bee organizations utilizing Mite-A-Thon partner developed information and outreach materials. PARTICIPANTS: All beekeepers are welcome to participate – we need bee associations to help lead this effort! WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:    1. Encourage your members to participate in September, through meetings, newsletters, emails, social media etc. –    2. Teach new beekeepers how to monitor for mites in August.    3. Help your members prepare their monitoring materials.    4. Support your members in making sure they are able to monitor mites effectively and report their data. DATA COLLECTION: Participants will monitor the level of mites (number of mites per 100 bees) using a standardized protocol utilizing two common methods of assessment (powdered sugar roll or alcohol wash) and then enter data, including location, total number of hives, number of hives tested, local habitat, and the number of varroa mites counted from each hive. The published information will not identify individual participants. COST: There is no cost. You can create your own test materials or kits can be purchased online. Some scholarships are available ( CONTACT: or 415-362-1137. Learn more and stay up to date at! —– From Beth Roden’s weekly newsletter from Bayer – WWF, FFAR, WALMART CREATES TEAM TO ID FOOD RESCUE OPPORTUNITIES ON FARMS The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Walmart Foundation are joining forces to create a research program to maximize crop utilization and edible food recovery. WWF, with help from FFAR and the Walmart Foundation’s two grants totaling $1.3 million, will work with research teams across the nation to identify practical opportunities for producers to increase the proportion of crops that are harvested and delivered to the highest value destinations. “Our nation’s producers work hard every harvest to provide food, fuel and fiber to our economy, but they don’t always see the same return on investment,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., FFAR executive director, in a statement. “This on-farm research will uncover opportunities for growers to do more with the same resources. I look forward to practical results that will bolster bottom lines for farmers and deliver more nutritious food to dinner tables.” For the program’s first phase, researchers at University of California, Davis (UC Davis), will work with farmers to gather their input on strategies and opportunities for maximizing crop harvest and use. Their research will primarily focus on crops like leafy greens, peaches and tomatoes. In addition, UC Davis will quantify the environmental impacts from seed to harvest for each of the crops involved in the research. The first phase will also include assistance from the Global Cold Chain Alliance, which will collect qualitative and quantitative data and organize field studies to estimate on-farm and postharvest losses, and identify the current destinations of produce that never makes it onto a dinner plate or another end use. Initial research will focus on the harvesting of potatoes in Idaho and Eastern Oregon, tomatoes in Florida, romaine lettuce in Arizona and peaches in New Jersey. “The best way to feed people without putting more stress on our environment is to increase the availability of food that has already been produced,” said Jason Clay, WWF’s senior vice president of markets and food, in a statement. “Each bite that doesn’t reach consumers represents a loss of the natural resources—and money—used to produce it. We’re grateful to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Walmart Foundation for supporting research that can help promote more efficient use of land, water, energy and natural resources, and deliver more crops to the highest value destinations.” Researchers will use well-established systems, such as the Community System Assessment Methodology, Life Cycle Assessment and World Resource Institute’s Food Loss and Waste Standard, to ensure consistent reporting across a variety of in-field and supply chain measurement methods, and to facilitate collaborative research and interventions. “We’re proud to support this research to find ways to deliver more crops from field to plate,” said Eileen Hyde, director for Walmart Giving, in a press release. “This program aligns with the Walmart Foundation’s philanthropic work to address gaps in the food system upstream to prevent food waste.” —– More good reading, not necessarily bee-related – STUDIES HELP UNDERSTAND WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE SO SURE THEY’E RIGHT Dogmatic individuals hold confidently to their beliefs, even when experts disagree and evidence contradicts them. New research from Case Western Reserve University may help explain the extreme perspectives, on religion, politics and more, that seem increasingly prevalent in society. Two studies examine the personality characteristics that drive dogmatism in the religious and nonreligious. They show there are both similarities and important differences in what drives dogmatism in these two groups. In both groups, higher critical reasoning skills were associated with lower levels of dogmatism. But these two groups diverge in how moral concern influences their dogmatic thinking. “It suggests that religious individuals may cling to certain beliefs, especially those which seem at odds with analytic reasoning, because those beliefs resonate with their moral sentiments,” said Jared Friedman, a PhD student in organizational behavior and co-author of the studies. “Emotional resonance helps religious people to feel more certain – the more moral correctness they see in something, the more it affirms their thinking,” said Anthony Jack, associate professor of philosophy and co-author of the research. “In contrast, moral concerns make nonreligious people feel less certain.” This understanding may suggest a way to effectively communicate with the extremes, the researchers say. Appealing to a religious dogmatist’s sense of moral concern and to an anti-religious dogmatist’s unemotional logic may increase the chances of getting a message through – or at least some consideration from them. The research is published in the Journal of Religion and Health. Extreme positions While more empathy may sound desirable, untempered empathy can be dangerous, Jack said. “Terrorists, within their bubble, believe it’s a highly moral thing they’re doing. They believe they are righting wrongs and protecting something sacred.” In today’s politics, Jack said, “with all this talk about fake news, the Trump administration, by emotionally resonating with people, appeals to members of its base while ignoring facts.” Trump’s base includes a large percentage of self-declared religious men and women. At the other extreme, despite organizing their life around critical thinking, militant atheists, “may lack the insight to see anything positive about religion; they can only see that it contradicts their scientific, analytical thinking,” Jack said. The studies, based on surveys of more than 900 people, also found some similarities between religious and non-religious people. In both groups the most dogmatic are less adept at analytical thinking, and also less likely to look at issues from other’s perspectives. In the first study, 209 participants identified as Christian, 153 as nonreligious, nine Jewish, five Buddhist, four Hindu, one Muslim and 24 another religion. Each completed tests assessing dogmatism, empathetic concern, aspects of analytical reasoning, and prosocial intentions. The results showed religious participants as a whole had a higher level of dogmatism, empathetic concern and prosocial intentions, while the nonreligious performed better on the measure of analytic reasoning. Decreasing empathy among the nonreligious corresponded to increasing dogmatism. The second study, which included 210 participants who identified as Christian, 202 nonreligious, 63 Hindu, 12 Buddhist, 11 Jewish, 10 Muslim and 19 other religions, repeated much of the first but added measures of perspective-taking and religious fundamentalism. The more rigid the individual, whether religious or not, the less likely he or she would consider the perspective of others. Religious fundamentalism was highly correlated with empathetic concern among the religious. Two brain networks The researchers say the results of the surveys lend further support to their earlier work showing people have two brain networks – one for empathy and one for analytic thinking – that are in tension with each other. In healthy people, their thought process cycles between the two, choosing the appropriate network for different issues they consider. But in the religious dogmatist’s mind, the empathetic network appears to dominate while in the nonreligious dogmatist’s mind, the analytic network appears to rule. While the studies examined how differences in worldview of the religious vs. the nonreligious influence dogmatism, the research is broadly applicable, the researchers say. Dogmatism applies to any core beliefs, from eating habits – whether to be a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore – to political opinions and beliefs about evolution and climate change. The authors hope this and further research will help improve the divide in opinions that seems increasingly prevalent. —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Fish or Farms? A New Battle Rages Over California Water. If It’s Fish, What Happens To Almond Pollination? The House in July will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists. It plans to vote on a Republican-authored plan aimed at sending more of northern California’s water to the Central Valley farmers who say they badly need it. But California’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, vow to block the bill in that chamber, saying it would bypass environmental safeguards and override state law. Gov. Jerry Brown also opposes the bill. The bill, said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in an interview, “does not strike the right balance because there’s no reason that we have to accept a false choice and somehow weaken the Endangered Species Act in order to be smarter with water policy.” As far as we can tell, if this thing were to become law it would probably be the end of salmon in California. John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association In the middle of this political brawl are growers who have long felt that the state’s water policies prioritize fish over farms. Surplus water is allowed to flow out into the Pacific Ocean in order to protect the ecosystems of fish like salmon and steelhead. They want it flowing to their land instead. 2. Pesticide Drift Can Harm Bees, Wildlife, and Other Farm Crops – With summer crop production in full swing, pesticide spray drift can cause damage to neighboring property owners, but they aren’t without recourse, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist says. “It is important for landowners to understand the rules and to know what to do before applying pesticides or in the event they suffer damages due to spray drift,” says agricultural law specialist Tiffany Dowell Lashmet. “Farmers on both sides of the issue – those applying pesticides and those neighboring landowners – should take care to understand the rules and responsibilities involved with pesticide application,” she says. “In almost every instance, both farmers and neighbors have the same goal – avoiding drift issues and ensuring that everyone can harvest a good crop.” 3. USDA Announces More Than $8 Million to Address Shifting Environmental Conditions and Impact on Agriculture – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced nine grants totaling more than $8 million to study and develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. “We have to develop robust plants, animals, and management systems that can flourish under challenging environmental conditions,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “We expect the outcomes of these investments will support American farmers and producers, and ensure their profitability.” AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area aims to provide risk management information and tools to enable land managers to stay viable and productive, and reduce the use of energy, nitrogen, water, and greenhouse gas emissions. 4. Explaining Massachusetts’ Attempt to Protect Bees, but Farmers and Farm Bureau Cannot Support Knee-Jerk Reactions Not Backed By Scientific Data – The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation has a long history of backing and lobbying for bills that are based on science and use a refined review process to come to consensus. Farm Bureau does not support H.2113, an act to protect Massachusetts pollinators. But that doesn’t mean the organization does not support beekeepers. The bill, as written, restricts the use of neonicotinoids, a commonly used pesticide, without proper scientific review. Furthermore, research has been inconclusive on bee kills. In fact, the USDA states there are multiple causes of bee death with mites being the most serious problem. There are also viruses and poor nutrition. Many of these issues can be combated with education and training for novice and hobby beekeepers. However, farmers continue to come under attack in Massachusetts for their use of neonicotinoids. It is important to note that farmers go through numerous hours of testing and training on how to use pesticides, including neonics. This education helps farmers limit the use of pesticides and creates a forum for them to discuss record keeping. 5. New Sivanto Insecticide Safe For Bees, Hard On Pests, Good For Crops – A recent CATCH THE BUZZ blog about Bayer’s new insecticide product Sivanto® Prime (flupyradifurone) discussed the decision by officials in Kentucky to allow emergency use of this product to protect the sorghum crop from the devastating losses that otherwise are expected to occur later this year from sugarcane aphid outbreaks. The question was raised: that’s all well and good for sorghum farmers, but could use of Sivanto affect bees? The good news is that Sivanto was selected for development by Bayer’s Crop Science Division specifically because of its low toxicity to honey bees.  According to Dr. David Fischer, Bayer’s director of pollinator safety in the US, the low toxicity found in honey bees has also been shown for bumble bees and several other native bee species.  In fact, Fischer said “no new insecticide has been as thoroughly tested with respect to bee safety prior to registration.” 6. Ghana Want’s A Piece of The Global Honey Export Business, and Intends to Fund The Growth – The industry’s value, globally, was estimated at US$2.2billion in 2016. With healthy living campaigners advocating it as a healthier replacement for sugar, global demand for honey is on the rise, but lack of investment has kept gains out of the reach of Ghana’s beekeepers. Ghana is an English speaking nation on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. The industry’s value, globally, was estimated at US$2.2billion in 2016, up by an average 27.1percent for all exporting countries since 2012, when natural honey shipments were valued at US$1.8 billion. Whilst a lot of multinationals use honey to make cosmetic products such as skin care lotions, soaps, and lip balms, a lot health conscious people are replacing sugar with honey in their tea and other meals. The Ghana Beekeepers Association (GBA) says it has the solution to how Ghana can profitably tap into the multibillion dollar honey industry, whilst creating jobs for thousands of its desperate youth. The association, in February 2017, presented a proposal to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture which outlines in detail the level of investment needed and the returns thereof.