Items of interest to beekeepers April 15 2017

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



From Bee Girl, Sarah Red-Laird –


Call for study participants:

In 2014 the Bee Girl organization partnered with the Western Apicultural Society to hold a breakout session for “Next Generation” beekeepers at the WAS Conference in Missoula, MT.  We brainstormed the major issues beekeepers are facing in this country, and then envisioned solutions.  One of the issues was a lack of baseline data of honey bee health.  We all want to know what went wrong when our colony dies, but often don’t “sample” our bees while they are alive and thriving.

Present and listening at the breakout was Dave Wick, CEO of BVS Inc.  Mr. Wick had launched a “honey bee virus mapping project” in the years prior using Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS).  This is unique approach, pioneered by the U.S. military, but now being used by civilian scientists in a number of disciplines.  This invention analyzes the physical properties of virus, virus-like and other nanometer (nm) particles to determine a concentration, distribution and information for discrimination and characterization of nanometer particles (1 nm equals one billionth of a meter).  The analysis can identify many known virus types pathogenic to honey bees, as well as a new means for detecting unknown and emerging viruses.

Mr. Wick and I began to brainstorm on how to provide more “healthy bee baseline data” for researchers in the beekeeping community.  Analysis of a beekeeper’s honey bee health can run into the hundreds, or thousands, of dollars, which can be prohibitive.  Thanks to support from BVS, the Bee Girl organization is able to help run a study in Southern Oregon to map the health of living bees.

We are accepting participation from a handful of beekeepers in Jackson and Josephine counties.  You provide the samples, and cover the cost of shipping, we cover the cost of your sample analysis;  then you get useful and fascinating virus and Nosema data on your bees, and also assist researchers in understanding bee health.

Please submit your application by May 5th.  We will notify you if you have been selected to participate in the project by May 10th.  Participants will be chosen on geographic location, experience and number of hives congruent with others in the study, and your ability to collect and ship samples.

Basic requirements for study participation are:
– You manage at least 5 hives,
– You can participate for at least the next three years,
– You can sample your test hive in May, August, and January,
– You can ship samples, priority 2 day to the lab in Montana.

For more information, please visit or contact Sarah Red-Laird with any questions @ 541-708-1127 or



From “The story of an Irish sept” by Dr. N.C. Macnamara, published 1896

…a large part of one of the volumes of the Brehon code (the ancient Irish laws) should be occupied with this subject; but bees were important beings in former times, honey being used by our ancestors in place of sugar until well into the 16th century. Under these laws, an owner of bees was obliged every three years to distribute a portion of his honey to his neighbors, because his bees must have gathered some of the honey off their lands. One of the chief difficulties that arose regarding bees was with respect to swarms which had wandered beyond the land of their owners. It was assumed that the bees, to a large extent, fed on the farms to which they belonged, and that consequently a swarm, if it passed from its own grounds to a neighbors, belonged by right to the latter; but cases of this kind were very complicated, and gave rise to all manner of hypothetical and actual judgments, which fill many pages of the Brehon law tracts.


From Morning AgClips –


Researchers have examined the visual acuity of the honey bee eye

Research conducted at the University of Adelaide has discovered that bees have much better vision than was previously known, offering new insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision.

The findings come from “eye tests” given to western honey bees (also known as European honey bees, Apis mellifera) by postdoctoral researcher Dr Elisa Rigosi (Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden) in the Adelaide Medical School, under the supervision of Dr Steven Wiederman (Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide) and Professor David O’Carroll (Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden).

The results of their work were published April  9th in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.



Have you seen the Spring 2017 issue of “In Good Tilth” magazine out of Corvallis, Oregon? It is devoted to pollinators and their place in our increasingly complex world. Find it at


From Dr. Christina Grozinger at POLLINATOR-L –


1. Faculty Research Assistant – Bee Informed Partnership
The Department of Horticulture is seeking a Faculty Research Assistant, as a member of the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) Technical Transfer Team and the research will support the Beekeepers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho with field work in California.  This is a full-time (1.0 FTE), 12-month, fixed term professional faculty position.  Posting #P01173UF  To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by April 14, 2017.  The closing date is April 23, 2017.

2. Outreach Specialist, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC
18 month Temporary Position



1. National Honey Board CEO to Speak at California Honey Festival May 6th, 2017 –

Beekeepers and packers across the country have long relied on the National Honey Board (NHB) to promote honey and communicate the latest industry developments.  NHB CEO Margaret Lombard is especially focused on increasing successful honey marketing.

With the inaugural California Honey Festival on May 6th in Woodland, CA, the National Honey Board and Director Lombard will have another platform to promote honey and teach the public about this extraordinary product.

The California Honey Festival is a day-long celebration of the honey and pollination industry and is delighted to announce that Director Lombard will be speaking on the dedicated Beekeeper stage.

2. Providing as many learning experiences about bees, pollination, and honey as possible in one place!

We have some great presenters coming to the California Honey Festival- people like Margaret Lombard, CEO of the national Honey Board, Gene Brandi of the ABF, Billy Synck of Project Apis M., Pollinator Partnership, Planet Bee Foundation, Marie Simmons who wrote the cookbook ‘Taste of Honey’, and so many more.

This free family friendly street festival is being held on the Disney-esque historic Downtown Main Street in Woodland, CA. It has something for everyone with great food, live music, carnival rides, art and craft vendors, and incredible bee & honey related entertainment.

A large part of our mission at the Honey Festival is providing as many learning experiences about bees, pollination, and honey as possible. To help make that happen, we have some festival elements I want to tell you about that I think you’ll really love:

3. Neonics in drinking water. Is anybody surprised? But wait! You can remove them. Saved by the filter –

Researchers are finding neonicotinoid pesticides in rivers and streams – and in drinking water – in agricultural areas, but they have found that one treatment method can remove most of the pesticides.

Neonicotinoid insecticides that are used widely around the world are often applied to seed coatings of crops and some research has associated the compounds in certain cases with harm to bees.

Other studies have suggested that chronic exposure to the compounds can also cause developmental or neurological problems in other animals.

The University of Iowa study, reported in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, finds the pesticides are so commonly used in agriculture that surveys of streams in farming-intensive regions in the U.S. have found that neonicotinoids are widespread in surface waters.

4. A new University of Illinois study puts climate change predictions in terms that farmers are used to: field working days –

Scientists the world over are working to predict how climate change will affect our planet. It is an extremely complex puzzle with many moving parts, but a few patterns have been consistent, including the prediction that farming as we know it will become more difficult.

Scientists infer the impact on agriculture based on predictions of rainfall, drought intensity, and weather volatility. Until now, however, the average farmer may not have been able to put predictions like these into practice. A new University of Illinois study puts climate change predictions in terms that farmers are used to: field working days.

“Everything else flows from field working days,” says U of I and USDA Agricultural Research Service ecologist Adam Davis. “If you’re not able to work, everything else gets backed up. Workable days will determine the cultivars, the cropping system, and the types of pest management practices you can use. We’re simply asking, ‘Can you get in to plant your crop?’”

5. Sweetener manufacturers are faced with a double whammy— more consumers want to cut the amount of sugars they consume, and the inclusion of added sugars to the nutrition facts panel will impact consumer perception and purchase decisions –

“When consumers are asked an open-ended question, ‘What are you trying to avoid,’ the top three out of four answers are related to a sweetener,” Andy Ohmes, global director of high intensity sweeteners at Cargill, told FoodNavigator-USA.

He was citing Cargill’s proprietary consumer research, IngredientTracker, conducted May 2016 with a sample size of 5,000 consumers. Among grocery shoppers in the packaged food aisles, “sweeteners are certainly top of mind and a hot topic,” he added.

Today, sweetener manufacturers are faced with a double whammy—firstly, more consumers want to cut the amount of sugars they consume, leading to manufacturers reducing sugar in their products . The inclusion of added sugars to the nutrition facts panel will also have an impact on consumer perception and purchase decisions, according to Cargill principal food scientist Wade Schmelzer.

On the other hand, there’s increasing demand for ‘clean label,’ a marketing term that is largely undefined and differs from one consumer to the next, but is often boiled down to ‘naturally derived ingredients’ that are ‘easy to pronounce’ and, often times, not genetically engineered, in a way narrowing the parameters of how manufacturers innovate in the sugar-alternative space.