Items of interest to beekeepers 9 October 2017

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






US WINTER FORECAST: LA NINA TO FUEL ABUNDANT SNOW IN ROCKIES; BITTERLY COLD AIR TO BLAST MIDWEST AccuWeather Global Headquarters – October 04, 2017 – AccuWeather reports  some chilly winter weather is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with January threatening to bring the coldest air of the season. Although however cold, low temperatures will pale in comparison to those in the northern Plains where the mercury is set to dip to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. Meanwhile, the southern Plains, Southwest and California can expect a milder and drier winter than last season. Cold and snow to strike Northeast, mid-Atlantic A chilly winter is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, particularly when compared to last year. For most of both regions, this will translate to an above-normal snow season. “Areas in the I-95 corridor will average close to normal, within a few inches,” AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said. “Areas away from the I-95 corridor have a better chance at a big snowfall.” New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, may be the exceptions to this, with early predictions calling for 6 inches of snowfall or more above normal in both cities. Areas prone to lake-effect snow will also see high totals, including Cleveland, Ohio; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Buffalo, New York. “I think this year is going to bring a good ski season in the Northeast,” Pastelok said. “And around the holidays we should have some snow for the interior Northeast.” Severe weather may threaten Southeast, Tennessee Valley Farther south, air temperatures will face an east-west divide. “The Southeast is going to run above normal, especially in Florida and Georgia,” Pastelok said. Both states will be at a lesser risk for a damaging freeze this year. Additionally, Florida will remain mostly dry – good news for those recovering from Irma’s impact in the fall. Meanwhile, western areas are more likely to receive bouts of colder weather. “We are expecting a few ice storms to develop based on the pattern we’re seeing right now,” Pastelok said. Two to three are predicted to hit from the Tennessee Valley to northeast Texas. Tornadoes are not out the question for either region. The area from Texas to Georgia was hit with 137 tornadoes last January. This year, frequent tornadic activity may spin up in February. Frigid air to take hold in northern Plains Arctic blasts are set to freeze the northern Plains this winter with temperatures sinking to subzero levels on a regular basis. Temperatures could plummet to minus 30 F at times in the Dakotas, Pastelok said. However, the frigid conditions are a trade-off for less snowfall. The winter of 2016/2017 spawned colossal storms, dropping 140 percent of normal snowfall over the northern Plains and northern Rockies, according to Pastelok. This year will feature much less snow and drier conditions overall. Temperatures to bounce back and forth across southern Plains The southern Plains will experience back-and-forth temperatures this season, with the middle of the winter being most likely to bring chilly conditions. “Colder air masses will bleed down and lead to freezes in later January,” Pastelok said. Though the wintry air will be memorable, a cold winter isn’t predicted overall. Some areas, such as southwest Texas, will average above normal for the season. Dry periods will dominate over stormy weather overall. “We do feel there are going to be some storms in northwest Texas at times,” he said. “Southwest Texas could see some but not as frequent as in past winters.” Dry periods will be welcomed by many following the havoc wreaked by Harvey near Houston. Abundant snowfall to bury Northwest, Rockies With a weak La Niña predicted to develop this winter, the Northwest and the Rockies are set to receive an abundance of precipitation. “I think the Bitterroot chain all the way down to the Wasatch region in the central and northern Rockies has a good shot to be above normal on snowfall this season,” Pastelok said. The Cascades are also predicted to benefit from abundant snowfall. “It’s a good area to head out to if you’re a big skier,” Pastelok said. Drier, less snowy season in the offing for California After a big season for snowfall in central and Northern California last year, both regions are predicted to be less wet and snowy in the upcoming months. However, it won’t spell bad news for ski season. Ski resorts will receive enough snowfall to create good conditions, but not so much that people struggle to get to them, he said. In the Southwest, drier and warmer weather will dominate. According to Pastelok, warmth will bookend the winter with temperatures capable of reaching into the 90s by early 2018. —– WORLD’S OLDEST BEEHIVES FARMED IN ISRAEL AT TIME OF PROPHET ELISHA By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz “My son, eat honey, for it is good; Let its sweet drops be on your palate.” Proverbs 24:13 (The Israel Bible™) Beeswax was found at the bottom of the ancient beehives excavated at Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley, the oldest ever discovered. An Israeli archaeologist made a remarkable and rare discovery to ensure that all of Israel has a year as sweet as honey, while helping understand the Bible just a little bit better. Hebrew University professor Amihai Mazar was exploring an archaeological dig at a site in the Jordan Valley called Tel Rehov when he found evidence of beekeeping 3,000 years ago, the oldest evidence of this industry ever discovered. “Beekeeping is not described in the Bible and Israel is not especially suited for beekeeping, no more or less than any other place with flowers,” Professor Mazar said. “But even today, if you go out to the fields in that region, there are hives in the field.” Biblical scholars believe that when the Bible mentions honey, it is usually referring to honey made from dates. Professor Mazar pointed to his discovery as evidence that the Bible could also be referring to honey from bees. Just last week, Jews around the world dipped apples in honey in hopes of a blessedly sweet New Year. This find may indicate that the link between Jews and honey is more ancient than previously thought. The archaeologists did not expect to find beehives while digging, but there was no other explanation for the discovery. “We found a long row of clay cylinders, each one of them approximately two and a half feet long and about one foot in diameter,” Professor Mazar told Breaking Israel News. The clay pots, made of unbaked clay mixed with straw, were piled three high. The researchers eventually concluded they had discovered the oldest beehives in the world. Sealed with removable lids at one end, the other end of the cylinder had a small hole for the bees to enter. The discovery was unprecedented, and no other ancient hives have been found in Israel. “This is the only archaeological dig in Israel at which beehives have been found,” Dr. Mazar said. “It was also unusual since normally, beehives are kept outside of the city. We were surprised when we found the hives where they were – inside a large and thriving city.” Many archaeologists believe the site is where the Prophet Elisha lived at approximately the same time bees were buzzing around. “Though it was not mentioned in the Bible, this was a very large and important city in the time of King Achav and Elijah the prophet,” Professor Mazar said. He estimated that at the time, the city was home to approximately 2,500 people. Researchers believe there were at least 180 hives housing more than a million bees, with each hive producing about 11 pounds of honey each year. The archaeologists also found remains of actual bees, identifying the breed as being native to Turkey. “These are the most ancient bees ever found in the world,” Professor Mazar said. “They did not arrive in Israel by themselves, so there had to be thriving trade between Israel and Turkey at the time.” —– From Karen Rennich, BIP – BEE INFORMED PARTNERSHIP AS A FAMILY WHEN DISASTER STRIKES It is when something happens to someone you care about that you pause and reflect. Our BIP Team is close, like family. Our lab, our IT team, our beekeepers, and our tech teams are, as we like to say, a large, happy, dysfunctional family. When something happens to this family, we close ranks and help. Rob Snyder, one of our first tech team members was severely injured in a mountain biking accident less than 2 weeks ago in California. He severed his vertebrae and broke several ribs. Doctors aren’t sure if he will walk again (we know that he will). He is in a rehabilitation unit now and they are working him hard. What really hit home was how our family responded; every tech team member offered help. The California bee breeders Rob has been serving for 6 years, jumped in and are helping Rob and his family in the 100 ways one would need help when something like this happens.  Rob was inundated with visitors, flowers, cards and well wishes. He was surrounded by his immediate and extended family. If you are a visitor to our website and have read any of Rob’s blogs (he’s written >60), you know what passion he has for this industry. One of my favorites is: His photos are legendary and he is one of the best teacher/trainers we have. We plan on having Rob back soon and he is looking forward to being back. But right now, we’re counting our blessings and are so thankful to be reminded we are all part of one big family. We may not have the same politics, world view or religion, but we are family bound not by blood but by bees and their keeping.   If you want to help Rob and his family by contributing, please mail donations to the California State Beekeepers Association (1521 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814) and mark “For Rob Snyder” on the check. You can also visit: —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger – MORE RESEARCH JOBS 1. Post-doc: Effect of Stress on bees, Milan, Italy – The University of Milan Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Science has a 2-year post doc position available with Dr. Daniela Lupi to examine the effect of different types of stress on bees. The position will fall under the research theme “Agrifood biotechnology: from micro- to macro-systems”. Application deadline is 16 October: candidates should prepare a small project to apply. For general information about this round of postdocs in Milan, and instructions for how to apply, please see: or email Dr. Lupi at 2. Apiculture Lecturer and Distance Education Coordinator, Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida – This is a 12-month, non-tenure position that will be 100% teaching in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  The primary focus of this position will be to develop a premiere apiculture education program. The successful candidate is expected to develop a robust certificate program under the entomology major and focused on apiculture. Furthermore, the successful candidate will be responsible for coordination of the distance education (self-funded) program for the Entomology and Nematology Department. Requires a  doctorate or M.S. (foreign equivalents acceptable) with significant teaching experiences in some combination of entomology, apiculture, or a closely related discipline and working knowledge of distance education and delivery of on-line education programs. Individuals wishing to apply should go online to For full consideration, candidates should apply and submit additional materials by November 1, 2017.  The position will remain open until a viable applicant pool is determined. 3. Two postdoc positions – genomic and neural basis of facial recognition in paper wasps, Cornell University The Sheehan lab ( at Cornell University is looking to recruit 2 postdocs to work on projects to understand the genomic and neural basis of individual facial recognition in paper wasps. Among its close relatives, the paper wasp Polistes fuscatus is unique in that it uses highly variable facial patterns to recognize individuals. The recent evolution of this complex behavior, coupled with small genomes and very high recombination rates make paper wasps an unusually tractable systems for investigating the genetic basis of behavioral and cognitive evolution. Those interested in a postdoctoral position in the lab should contact Michael Sheehan directly ( and send along your statement of your interests and a CV. There is no deadline per se, review will be rolling until positions are filled. 4. Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University seeks applicants for a the Chief Apiary Inspector position in the Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS). The duties and responsibilities of the Chief Apiary Inspector include overseeing all activities of TAIS including regulatory actions, supervising personnel and developing the educational aspects of the program. As the Chief of TAIS the incumbent has the statutory authority to propose rules that support enforcement of the Texas Administrative Code that governs TAIS activities ( The incumbent must maintain a good working relationship with the Texas Beekeeping Association (TBA), attending their meetings and providing updates on regulations and rules to enforce them.  Principal apiary inspection duties include overseeing the inspection of regulated honey bee colonies and issuing permits for import, export, and intrastate movement of colonies and issuing certificates of inspection. The incumbent is to work closely with TAMU faculty who are actively engaged in apicultural research. A complete position description and specific duties is available through the portal (GreatJobs) through which all applications must be received: Search and apply for NOV 10445. We anticipate keeping the GreatJobs portal open through mid-November, conducting interviews with an expectation that a new Chief inspector can begin by no later than 2 January 2018. All individuals must apply via this on-line application process. 5. Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion Manager (Supervisory Museum Specialist), Smithsonian Institution The Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion Manager will lead a 365-day-a-year operation of a complex exhibition featuring a living collection of aquatic and terrestrial arthropods and plants from around the world as well as a paid, immersive, walk-through butterfly environment. The Manager oversees animal acquisition, care and rearing, budgeting, and supervision of 6 staff and 140 volunteers ensuring the adequate and appropriate maintenance and staffing of the facilities. For additional information and to apply, please go to The announcement number is 17R-JW-300961. 6. Tenure Track Assistant Professorships Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder The Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado Boulder, invites applications for two tenure track Assistant Professorships with an academic appointment in one of the following departments: 1) Psychology and Neuroscience, 2) Integrative Physiology, 3) Computer Science, 4) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, or 5) Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. We anticipate that the appointments will begin August 2018. The Institute seeks to build on its strengths in human behavioral, quantitative, and statistical genetics. Successful candidates may include, but are not limited to, individuals whose research on human genetics utilizes whole-genome data in one or more of the following sub-disciplines: statistical genetics; behavioral/psychiatric genetics; genetic epidemiology; population genetics; computational biology. Appointees will participate in the research and teaching missions of both the Institute and their academic department. Minimum requirements are a PhD, MD, or equivalent terminal degree. Applicants should submit a Cover Letter, CV, a statement of research and teaching interests, 3 to 5 sample research papers, and names and contact information for 3 professional references. Application materials are accepted electronically at, (job posting number 10476). Application review will begin October 15, 2017, and we will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Please direct questions to Dr. Matthew Keller at , information about the Institute for Behavioral Genetics can be found at 7. Seeking: Monarch Habitat Coordinator – Location TBD The Pollinator Partnership (P2) seeks to hire a motivated and detail-oriented Monarch Habitat Coordinator for the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Region. The Monarch Habitat Coordinator will provide programmatic support for Monarch Wings Across Eastern Broadleaf Forest, a collaborative monarch habitat initiative with numerous partners across a 5 state region. MWAEBF is a multi-component project to address the alarming decline in monarchs and the fragmentation of the annual migration through seed collection, technical training, and long-term habitat establishment. The Monarch Habitat Coordinator should be comfortable working outside, willing and able to work across various habitat setting, and communicate directly with landowners. Details at Deadline to apply November 1, 2017 by 3 PM PST. —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Properly Designed, Modern Steel Buildings Allow Large Numbers Of Hives To Be Safely Stored – By John Miller, Project Apis m. Board of Directors, CFO Honey bees have been trying to train humans to keep them indoors over winter for thousands of years.  The early examples bees used were trees, hollow trees selected by the super-organism, the hive.  Trees provided cavities ideal for indoor wintering: well-insulated, controlled atmosphere, safely above ground.  Along came humans with their logs and skeps and rectangles.   Then came the moveable frame.  And then, keeping hives outdoors, shrouded in straw, tar paper, and chicken wire, slightly downward sloped, inner-cover for ventilation, southward facing, on the ground.   Science now confirms the validity of what the bee was attempting to train humans to do.  We now listen, applying our new understanding to what the honey bee knew all along.   In America, over 100,000 hives now winter indoors, mostly in Idaho.  Canadians have wintered most of their bees indoors for decades; and the knowledge accumulated is available for a  new generation of bee buildings. 2. New Option for Farm Risk Management: Whole Farm Revenue Protection, Includes Beekeeping – For many years, farmers across the country have purchased crop insurance policies as a way to manage the risk of a yield or income loss, and have done so for many years. However, crop insurance has stepped into the spotlight as the highest costing federal farm program, at about $8 billion a year. Despite the size of the program, crop insurance has not been available for many types of crops. In 2015 and 2016, 90 percent of crop insurance premiums covered only 10 crops, forcing commodity farmers who wished to experiment or diversify to do so without insurance. Other producers, such as farmers who grow vegetables or certain small grains, cannot buy insurance. Often, coverage is available for a crop only on a regional basis. For example, in 2017, a policy was available for apples in 10 counties in Missouri and two counties in Minnesota, but nowhere in Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska – even though each of those states reported apple production in the previous Census of Agriculture. Organic crop insurance is also limited, and many farmers have only been able to insure their higher-priced, organic commodities at the lower value of their conventional counterparts. This lack of availability often has to do with how crop insurance policies are calculated. As with other insurance, a crop is protected based on its value. 3.  “Our Aim Is To Simplify The Process Of Testing, So That All Honey Producers Can Ensure Their Products Reach The Highest Standards Of Food Safety” – Randox Food Diagnostics, experts in food screening technology, is showcasing advancements in antibiotic and pesticide testing at the 45th Apimondia International Apiculture conference September 29th – October 4th in Istanbul, Turkey. Randox Food Diagnostics, experts in food screening technology, is showcasing advancements in antibiotic and pesticide testing at the 45th Apimondia International Apiculture conference being held September 29th – October 4th in Istanbul, Turkey. Working with world-leading honey producers, Randox Food Diagnostics has developed a range of tests to detect antibiotics commonly used in Apiculture. They include Antimicrobial Array 1 Ultra and Antimicrobial Array II Plus. These enable detection of 15 sulphonamindes and Trimethoprim from a single sample, using the company’s unique multi-analyte screening transformational platform on its patented Biochip Array Technology. This can be used on the company’s benchtop immunoanalyser, the Evidence Investigator. 4. Do Lime Trees Kill Bees? The Earliest Proposed Explanations Pointed The Finger Of Blame At Nectar Toxins – Public interest in bees is intense. There’s rarely a week that goes by without a story in the press about populations plummeting. Although most of these stories focus on chemical pesticides, other factors may also be affecting bee survival. At Kew, we’ve been studying bees for years, and investigating how the plants they visit for nectar and pollen may play a part in their survival. Nectar and pollen are the main sources of protein, sugars and fats for bees, but these rewards that plants offer in return for the bee’s pollination service may contain other plant chemicals, some of which may be bioactive or toxic. We are particularly interested in these substances because while some may harm bees, others may be beneficial. For example, the nectar of monkshood (Aconitum) contains toxic alkaloids. We’ve shown that these toxins deter the buff-tailed bumblebee from robbing nectar from the flowers without pollinating, but the garden bumblebee, a legitimate pollinator, can tolerate higher concentrations of these substances and continues to visit and pollinate. Similarly, toxins in the nectar of Rhododendron species can deter or even kill honey bees, while bumblebees, who may be the preferred pollinators of rhododendrons, are not affected.