Items of interest to beekeepers April 2 2017

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




Two from the Pollination Stewardship Council –

Dr. May Berenbaum, University of Illinois

Dr. Berenbaum will re-present her award presentation as the 2016 Sterling B. Hendricks Lectureship Awardee.  Dr. Berenbaum is an entomologist whose research has focused on the chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their host plants. Insects produce a wide variety of chemical compounds for combating predators, detoxifying poisonous substances, securing and preserving food, and otherwise exerting control over their environment.  Along with her path-breaking scientific discoveries, Dr. Berenbaum has had a major impact on the environmental sciences through her public engagement. With her commitment to making complicated scientific subjects, especially entomology, accessible for the public, she has become one of the leading public authoritative sources for information on insects in the country.

View the presentation at


Julia D. Fine1, Diana L. Cox-Foster1,2 & Christopher A. Mullin1

Honey bees are highly valued for their pollination services in agricultural settings, and recent declines in managed populations have caused concern. Colony losses following a major pollination event in the United States, almond pollination, have been characterized by brood mortality with specific symptoms, followed by eventual colony loss weeks later. In this study, we demonstrate that these symptoms can be produced by chronically exposing brood to both an organosilicone surfactant adjuvant (OSS) commonly used on many agricultural crops including wine grapes, tree nuts and tree fruits and exogenous viral pathogens by simulating a horizontal transmission event. Observed synergistic mortality occurred during the larval-pupal molt. Using q-PCR techniques to measure gene expression and viral levels in larvae taken prior to observed mortality at metamorphosis, we found that exposure to OSS and exogenous virus resulted in significantly heightened Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) titers and lower expression of a Toll 7-like-receptor associated with autophagic viral defense (Am18w). These results demonstrate that organosilicone spray adjuvants that are considered biologically inert potentiate viral pathogenicity in honey bee larvae, and guidelines for OSS use may be warranted.

More at


And in the category of “Not necessarily bee-related but a good read anyway” –

By Alex Berezow, Senior Fellow of Biomedical Science, American Council on Science and Health

The war on expertise is not a new phenomenon. Nearly 60 years before Tom Nichols published his bestselling book, The Death of Expertise, author C.S. Lewis wrote about it in an essay titled “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” a follow-up to his internationally renowned book The Screwtape Letters.

In the novel, a senior devil, Screwtape, writes a series of letters to a junior devil, Wormwood, on how to be a good tempter. Thus, every moral pronouncement in the book is precisely the opposite of how humans ought to behave. The Enemy, to whom Screwtape refers constantly, is God.

In his toast, Screwtape explains to a large gathering of “gentledevils” how the concept of democracy can be perverted to undermine a society:

Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose… You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It is a name they venerate. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated. You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal.

Mr. Lewis says that this belief leads people to another: “I’m as good as you.” In other words, democracy not only leads people to believe that all humans are of equal value (which is true), but all humans are equal in their abilities, thoughts, and behaviors (which is completely false). Yet, many people in a democracy believe the latter. And it leads to a very bad outcome:

What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence — moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods?

How incredibly prescient. This passage could have been written in 2017, but it was published six decades ago by a man who fought in World War I. Expertise dies in a democracy.

Consider scientific knowledge. The public rejects any notion of “consensus,” despite the fact it is a crucial part of the scientific method. On a whole host of issues — from GMOs and vaccines to nuclear power and climate change — the public believes it knows better than PhDs and MDs who have spent their entire lives studying these topics. Besides, citizens say, scientists telling people what to believe is fundamentally undemocratic.

Mr. Lewis warned us years ago. Will we listen?

The Know-Nothing “March for Science”

Probably not. The organizers of the “March for Science,” the latest misguided manifestation of democracy, have culturally appropriated science to push a purely political agenda. We were among the march’s early critics because it was clear to us that science had taken a back seat to partisanship.

Others are finally taking notice. The Mad Virologist, in a blog post, writes:

I have to join the growing number of scientists who won’t be participating in the march. Part of my problem with the group and the movement stems from the fact that it is disorganized and has become co-opted by those advocating for pseudoscience.

Who are some of those groups? Center for Biological Diversity (anti-GMO), Union of Concerned Scientists (anti-GMO, anti-nuclear), Center for Science in the Public Interest (fearmongering about “chemicals”), and Earth Day Network (anti-GMO). So, the Mad Virologist is calling it quits.

Protesters in 2017 are fond of shouting, “This is what democracy looks like.” Uneducated and scientifically illiterate? Let’s hope not.

How Do We Fix This?

I have been asked, over and over again, “How do we educate the public about science?” Unfortunately, simply stating the facts won’t work, as psychology research has shown. The best solution, perhaps, is the cliché, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Until the public is convinced that scientists and journalists care about truth and society, then I fear all of our labors will be in vain.


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

Woodland, CALIF.- 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. The first-ever map tracking U.S. wild bees suggests they are disappearing and if this continues, it could hurt U.S. crop production and raise farmers’ costs.

Each year $3 billion of the U.S. economy depends on pollination from native pollinators such as wild bees.

Taylor Ricketts, a conservation ecologist at the University of Vermont, tells the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting that the bees are disappearing from the country’s most important farmlands – including California’s Central Valley, the Midwest’s corn belt and the Mississippi River valley.

“This study provides the first national picture of wild bees and their impacts on pollination,” says Ricketts, director of UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

3. Fungicides commonly used in almond orchards can be harmful to almond growers’ best friends – honey bees.

Texas A&M University researchers say the fungicide iprodione, when used alone or in combination with other common fungicides, leads to a significant reduction in the 10-day survival rate of honey bees (Apis mellifera) when they are exposed at rates usually used on the almond crops.

“Given that these fungicides may be applied when honey bees are present in almond orchards, our findings suggest that bees may face significant danger from chemical applications even when responsibly applied,” says Juliana Rangel, Texas A&M assistant professor of apiculture.

Rangel and colleagues report in the journal Economic Entomology that they tested the effects of fungicides on honey bees through a wind-tunnel experiment, in which groups of honey bees were exposed to various dosage levels and combinations of fungicides, sprayed and carried through the wind tunnel at speeds simulating aerial crop dusting.

4. Brussels urges full ban on pesticides suspected of killing bees. Green groups praise decision but call for loopholes to be closed –

The European Commission has proposed a full ban on pesticide substances suspected of having a negative impact on bee colonies in the EU, inflicting a major upset on two of the world’s largest agri-chemical businesses.

Although EU member countries must still vote on the Commission’s proposal, the decision by Brussels will send shockwaves through the farming industry which is fearful that a ban on the substances could deplete crop yields across Europe.

The Commission’s decision comes amid an intense scientific battle over the impact of three neonicotinoid pesticides produced by Bayer and Syngenta on bees. The three substances — Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam — are already partially restricted in the European Union pending further scientific study because they have been shown to contribute to bee deaths.

Draft documents seen by POLITICO show that the Commission has proposed taking all seed and plant protection products containing the three substances off the market unless they are used inside permanent greenhouses. Member countries will still be able to obtain permission to use a neonicotinoid if the situation is considered to be an emergency and farmers can show that they have no alternative other than resorting to neonicotinoids though.



Apr 8: Olivarez Bees 9th Annual Hobby/Sideliner Day, Orland CA. Pre-ordered packages will be ready for pick-up. Info https//

Apr 18: World of Honey Tasting Series (International). Info

Apr 19 – 20, and Apr 22 – 23 (two courses) Honey 101: Introduction to Honey Tasting, 9:30 AM – 5 PM, light lunch included. Weston, Connecticut (one hour outside NYC). Cost $595 per person ($545 if payment received on or before March 23 – use coupon code EARLYBIRD). Info

Apr 22-23: Wild West Gardening conference. Cheyenne, Wyoming. Taking gardeners and specialty crop growers to a new level of success.  Featuring; Neil Diboll, Kathy Kimbrough, Jeff Lowenfels plus many more.  Workshops and programs. Registration is $85 on For more information call Catherine at 307-633-4383.

May 5 – 6: California Honey Festival (Main Street, Downtown Woodland, CA). NOW ACCEPTING VENDOR APPLICATIONS  – by March 31st.

May 7: 2017 Bee Symposium. Info

May 19: Deadline for applications for 2017 Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award and Young Beekeeper Award. Winners notified June 16. Awards ceremony week of June 19. Info and forms,

June 24: Ruhl Bee Supply/Brushy Mountain Bee Farm 2017 Field Day, 29600 SW Seely Ave, Suite B, Wilsonville OR. Special guest speakers Dr. Juliana Rangel, George Hansen and Sons. $40 per person; lunch and refreshments provided. Call 1-800-233-7929 to reserve.

Jun 24-25: Tour de Hives is a self-guided tour of backyard apiaries in and around Portland, Oregon. Tickets go on sale Apr 26.

July 8: Colorado Professional Beekeeping Association Summer meeting, The Steam Plant, 220 West Sackett Ave, Salida CO 81201. Conference hotel – Hampton Inn ( Make your reservations using the code BKP. Info

• July 13 – 15: 16th Annual Heartland Apicultural Society Conference, Evansville, Indiana. Keynote speakers Dr. Ernesto Guzman, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; Dr. Jeff Harris, Mississippi State University; and Judge Dan O’Hanlon who led the effort to pass a bill in West Virginia granting immunity to beekeepers, the first in the nation.  Registration for vendors and attendees is online at

Aug 19: 4th Annual Oregon Honey Festival, Ashland OR. If you would like to be an exhibitor/vendor, please get in touch with us at or take a look at our webpage:

Sept 5 – 8: Western Apicultural Society of North America 2017 40th Anniversary Conference, UC-Davis, CA. Info

Sept 9: The Northwest District Beekeepers Association is proud to announce that Randy Oliver of will be speaking at the Everett PUD Auditoriom in Everett, WA. Doors will open at 12:30 PM and the talk will run from 1-5 PM. Only 300 seats available, so please buy your tickets early (on sale April 15th).  Price: $25, available through by searching for Randy Oliver.

Nov 14 – 16: California State Beekeepers Association annual convention, Harrah’s/Harveys in Lake Tahoe, CA. Info



These links will take you to important websites. Reprinting the items gets too voluminous, so I encourage you to visit the originals for some good reading any time.

Fundraising sites:

Penn State pollinator news

If you are interested in receiving daily science articles on a multitude of issues, check out this websites. You can sign up for daily reports on several topics  (

2 great bee videos by Mukibrain – “Morning Bees”:
And his latest “Insects Before Winter”:

Beargrass Press – books, guides and cards –

Bee Certain Hive Monitoring System –
Video –
Technical papers –

Dr. Malcolm Sanford’s Apis Information Resource News website and newsletter

Washington State University info on bees and New Bee Lab building fund –

Bee Diverse – about bees and pollination, particularly mason bees – how to mange them using homes and mason bee tools

Winnie the Pooh Guide to helping British bees: E2463_BeeBooklet_Web.pdf

From Julie, an after-school child care worker: Looking for a good information site to teach children and beginning beekeepers? Try

UC-Davis on-line Newsletter:

Apis Information Resource News – PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE from Apis Newsletter by Dr. Malcolm Sanford. The newsletter is still found at
It can also be accessed through

California State Department of Food and Agriculture blog –

Genetic literacy –

Randy Oliver website –

Honey Bee Health Coalition –

Pollinator Stewardship Council –, with the most recent one posting at the top of the page

Project Apis m. –

Washington State University on bee health –

WSU ‘Green Times’ newsletter –

Colorado State University Pollinator Protection office –

Infographics on beekeeping stats, facts, management and honey labels –