Items of interest to beekeepers 14 August 2018









NEW MEXICO SUMMER BEE CONFERENCE, “BEEKEEPING MYTHS, BELIEFS AND REALITIES”, AUGUST 18 Join us at South Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway SE, Albuquerque, NM from 1 – 5 pm for an afternoon with Jose Villa, Ph.D. Dr. Villa proposes a series of discussions title, “Separating Beekeeping Myths, Beliefs and Reality.” Dr. Villa will outline central points, and then invite audience participation and questions. Topics include: • Pitfalls of natural beekeeping after CCD • Where IPM fits and does not fit in beekeeping • Local queen production – costs, benefits, stocks, mating control • Breeding as a solution to pests and parasites Jose Villa will be joined by John Gagne of Santa Fe who will present his experience in over-wintering nucs in our region for the sustainable apiary. The ABQ Beeks Mites Panel will discuss their experiences with various treatment options for varroa mite control. Dr. Villa has conducted research on Africanized bees and on breeding bees that are resistant to tracheal and varroa mites. Formerly with the US Department of Agriculture’s Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Research Laboratory in Baton Rouge, LA, he is now retired and operates Cottonwood Creek Apiaries in Crestone, CO. Free for NMBKA members, $15 for non-members.  Info —– A BIT ABOUT WINGS – BIP BLOG By Dan Wyns, Bee Informed Partnership I spend a lot of time taking photographs of bees, particularly as they flit from flower to flower gathering pollen or nectar. All of this time spent stalking them through gardens has given me appreciation and wonder of their flight capabilities. Bees are capable of flying at speeds up to 15 mph and carrying nectar loads that approach their own body weight. In addition to these feats of strength, they are also capable of delicate maneuvering and hovering while they approach flowers. These amazing aerial abilities are of course made possible by their wings, which at a glance seem undersized for the task. At this point, a confession seems reasonable: I was several years into working with bees on a daily basis before I learned that they actually have four wings, not two.  In fairness to myself, I hadn’t had even the most basic course in entomology and only barely knew that bees weren’t technically bugs. Honey bees, like other winged Hymenopterans, have four wings, while insects of the order Diptera, including true flies and mosquitoes, have a single pair (remember, di = 2). For what it’s worth, only insects of the order Hemiptera can correctly be called true bugs. Bees possess a pair of forewings that are similar in length to the abdomen and a smaller pair of hindwings. The 2 vs. 4 ignorance is somewhat understandable when considering that when bees are not in flight the larger forewings cover the hindwings in the relaxed position along the abdomen, and the wings function as a single pair during flight activity.  This coupled movement is facilitated by a series of hooks, known as hamuli, on the leading edge of the hindwings that fit into grooves on trailing edge of the forewings allowing the forewings and hindwings on each side of the body to function as a single surface. The wings are powered by the longitudinal and vertical flight muscles in the thorax. Alternating contractions of the vertical and longitudinal muscles raise and lower the wings. In addition to propelling themselves through the air, the wings are also used to move air while remaining stationary. The ability to move air throughout the colony is critical to maintaining appropriate internal temperature and humidity as well as evaporating moisture from nectar and distributing pheromones within the colony. The wings themselves are composed of three layers: a transparent membrane on top and bottom supported by a network of veins that carry hemolymph (bee “blood”), nerves, and breathing tubes throughout the wings as well as provide structural support. Honey bee wings exhibit a relatively simple pattern of venation compared to other more primitive insects. Venation patterns can be used to distinguish between subspecies (or races) of honey bees. This requires precise measurements of different sections of the wing and is being increasingly done through automated image processing algorithms. Despite their durability, honey bee wings are only capable of a finite number of flight miles, with estimates of this upper bound being approximately 500 miles. Close observation of older bees in the colony will often reveal wings that are tattered around edges. As adult bees progress through their lifespan, they take on different tasks and roles in a process known as temporal polyethism with foraging typically being the last activity. When you see an older bee, which can be identified by diminished body hair in addition to tattered wing margins, you’re observing a bee that is near the end of its life. Individual bees only occupy the role of forager for 2-3 weeks, covering hundreds of collective miles in that time. When you see an old bee with tattered wings it is documentation that she has exhausted her physical capabilities in service to the colony and will soon be replaced by a younger bee that transitions from a house bee to a forager. —– SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE TO GRADUATE STUDENTS STUDYING HONEY BEES The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees is again offering four $2,000 scholarships to apiculture graduate students in 2019. The purpose of this scholarship program, now in its twelfth year, is to foster professional development of emerging apicultural scientists by allowing award recipients to attend the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow. This year’s event is scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center on January 8-12, 2019. Affiliated with the ABF, the foundation is a charitable organization focused on making funding available for research and educational endeavors within the beekeeping industry. It has benefited tremendously from many generous gifts, including the estates of Glenn and Gertrude Overturf and Margaret and Victor Thompson, and continues to be sustained by ongoing gifts from ABF members and other supportive donors. Graduate students currently enrolled in a university and studying any aspect of honey bees, bee husbandry and/or the apicultural industry are eligible to apply for one of the scholarships being offered. Each award recipient will receive a $2,000 scholarship check, and moreover, the foundation will reimburse conference travel and lodging expenses up to $750. During the ABF conference, graduate students will have the opportunity to meet the foundation board of trustees, as well as fellow researchers and beekeepers, and will be invited to present their research during the event’s foundation luncheon. Scholarships applications will be accepted through September 28, 2018. For questions or additional information about the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, contact executive director Molly Sausaman at 404-760-2875 or —– AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL APICULTURISTS (AAPA) AWARDS Deadline: midnight October 15, 2018 (US Pacific Time) in all cases. Full info at 1. AAPA Student Research Scholarship This award is to recognize and promote outstanding research by students in the field of apiculture. The scholarship consists of a $1000 stipend presented as a check to the student winner at the ABRC 2019. Current undergraduate or graduate students working in North America with Apis are eligible. Nominees or their advisors must be active members of the AAPA. Recipients will be ineligible for future AAPA Student Research Scholarships. Send your proposal electronically as a PDF to Ann W. Harman, 2. Postdoctoral Researcher Travel Award to ABRC AAPA will award UP TO $1000 to support travel for ONE Postdoctoral Researcher to ABRC in Phoenix, AZ. Funds will cover registration for AHPA (which also allows attendance at the American Beekeeping Federation), travel and lodging costs and reasonable per-diem expenses. AAPA will process complimentary registration upon announcement of the winner. All other expenses will be reimbursed by AAPA upon completion of the conference. The winner is expected to give an oral presentation of their submitted work and is mandated to attend the AAPA business meeting usually held the second day of the conference. Send your proposal electronically as a PDF to Elina Nino, 3. AAPA Extension Activities Award The goal of this award is to help support development of extension activities, outcomes of which are to reported to the American Association of Professional Apiculturists either via written report or at the American Beekeeping Research Conference in 2020. While it is clear that extension and outreach activities are crucial for providing research-based education to stakeholders and public, extension educators usually have limited opportunities to apply for smaller amounts of money they sometimes need to successfully complete their activities. AAPA will award UP TO $1000 to support purchase of supplies or for assistant salaries plus benefits for extension or outreach activities or development of extension and outreach materials. Travel will not be supported with this award. AAPA will award either one or multiple awards dependent on submitted applications (total amount disbursed for all awards will be $1000). Send your proposal electronically as PDF to Elina Nino, 4. Student Paper Awards (based on ABBRC presentations) This award is offered for the best student papers presented at the American Bee Research Conference (ABRC). AAPA will give a $200 award for every 6 students presenting. For example, if 6 or fewer students were presenting there would be only one $200 award. Both graduate students and undergraduates are eligible. The paper must involve the genus Apis. Students do not have to be members of AAPA, nor do their advisors need to be members. Any questions, email Ann W. Harman at: —– COLLEGE OF THE LIBERAL ARTS LAUNCHES MASTER OF PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM, PENN STATE U UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — People know more about the planet and themselves today than they have at any time in recorded history. Yet, even equipped with all this knowledge, we still find ourselves gridlocked when trying to resolve society’s most pressing problems. Whether it be fixing inadequate airports, bridges and other infrastructure; protecting cities from floods, hurricanes and other environmental disasters; or ensuring that more Americans have access to health care, leading research institutions such as Penn State have an obligation to help close the gap between what we know and what we do — which is what prompted the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts to launch a new two-year, on-campus Master of Public Policy (MPP) program. Just as an MBA provides individuals with the economic, financial and management skills to analyze business problems, the MPP program will equip students with the economic, analytic, ethics and management skills needed to address the world’s most complex public and social issues. And the program website is here: —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger of POLLINATOR-L – BEE JOBS 1. 2 ARS Research Entomologists in bee biology, UC Davis CA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit is seeking two full time Research Entomologists for permanent appointments in Davis, California.  A degree is required. The incumbents will conduct research on factors contributing to honey bee colony loss. The incumbents will develop long-term longitudinal studies of spatial and temporal changes in bee populations exposed to abiotic and biotic stresses and management practices. The incumbents will publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and give research presentations at national and international scientific meetings and conferences. Vacant research positions may be filled at several grade levels (GS-12-13 or 14-15) depending upon scientific impact of the selected person. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply to both positions. Research positions have an open-ended promotion potential.  Salary is commensurate with experience.  Citizenship restrictions apply.  Please view the complete text announcement and application instructions using the following links: This vacancy announcement is open from July 30, 2018 to August 10, 2018.  For information on the research program contact Paul Pratt at   The USDA/ARS is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 2. Postdoctoral position, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Diversity in body size underlies two of the organization principles of bumblebee societies: worker division of labor and caste determination, but little is known on the proximate mechanisms regulating body size and how they are socially regulated. This project explores how social cues such as pheromones, behavior, and queen regurgitates, interact with endocrine and epigenetic processes to regulate genes involved in larva development in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. To meet these goals we integrate sociobiological, behavioral, physiological, and molecular approaches. The molecular methods include but are not limited to RNAseq and RNAi. The position will be located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with opportunities to travel to the US for training and research. Required qualifications –    A PhD degree pending or obtained within the last three years in molecular biology, genetics, entomology, developmental biology, neurobiology, or related fields. –    Relevant lab expertise in developmental biology, neuroanatomy, bioinformatics, or molecular biology techniques. Experience with RNAseq, bioinformatics, RNAi, or CRISPR-Cas9 DNA editing, or with bees is advantageous. –    An outstanding academic record –    Experience in organismal biology (e.g., animal behavior, neuroethology, or ecology) is advantageous. –    Fluent spoken and written English –    Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, ability to work in a team. The position is for 2-3 years but appointment is initially for one year and renewable based on performance. Salaries are commensurate with experience and based on standard postdoc fellowships in Israeli universities. We offer a strong, internationally recognized and interdisciplinary working environment with an open academic atmosphere. Location in the beautiful city of Jerusalem. The project is part of a collaboration with the Woodard and Yamanaka Labs in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside and is supported by the US-Israel Agricultural Research and Development Fund, and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation. The position will start on 1 September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. To apply, please send a cover letter, current CV, and names and contact information for three references to Guy Bloch ( The application deadline is September 1st, 2018. For more information on our research please visit our lab page at or contact Guy. 3. Graduate Fellowships at Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN Two competitive full-time Graduate Research Assistantships (Ph.D.) are available beginning Summer/Fall 2019 in the laboratory of Dr. Brock Harpur ( in the Department of Entomology at Purdue University. For more information on the Entomology Graduate Program, Purdue University and West Lafayette, Indiana see:,  and Interested candidates should contact Dr. Harpur ( by November 17th, 2018. To be considered for this position send a C.V., contact information for 3 references and a 1-page cover letter describing research interests and background (use email subject line: “Grad Fellowship: Harpur Lab”). You can also meet Dr. Harpur in person at the 2018 ESA, ESC, and ESBC Joint Annual Meeting (Entomology 2018) in Vancouver. —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. All Honey Imports Must Include Country of Origin on Label So It Can Be Read, Even If Honey Isn’t Graded US Grade A, or B, or C – The Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is clarifying that honey packers must include “conspicuous and indelible labeling,” in English, naming the country of origin of all imported packed honey products, regardless of whether product labeling uses approved USDA marks or grade statements. The National Honey Packers and Dealers Association, Western States Honey Packers and Dealers Association, American Honey Producers Association, American Beekeeping Federation and Sioux Honey Association on Aug. 8, 2016, submitted a request asking AMS to clarify whether country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is required for honey that doesn’t bear official grade marks. AMS said that a statement in a 2011 final rule that “if the honey is not officially grade labeled, the country of origin labeling is not necessary whether the honey is domestic or foreign” is accurate within the context of a rule, “which only applies to COOL associated with the use of approved official USDA marks or grade statements.” 2. Kayla Fusselman, the American Honey Queen is the National Voice For The American Beekeeping Federation, and for Honey Bees – As a hard rain pounded the Department of Agriculture building’s roof late Monday morning Kayla Fusselman anticipated State Fair goers seeking shelter inside. The 2018 American Honey Queen was ready to start a conversation about honey and bees with anyone with a few minutes to spare. She’s passionate about bees and is spending the year extolling their virtues. After earning her national crown in Nevada in January, the 23-year-old Kempton, Pennsylvania resident has traveled to her home state, Wisconsin, Florida twice, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Connecticut and, of course, Delaware. Future trips are planned for New Jersey, Kentucky, Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia and Texas again. Ms. Fusselman will serve as a national voice for the American Beekeeping Federation until the next annual convention in January. 3. No Improvement in Hong Kong Honey Adulterated with Sugar, Antibiotics Since 2013 – There has been no notable improvement in honey products adulterated with sugar or in terms of their freshness since tests in 2013, the Hong Kong Consumer Council says. The council tested 45 honey samples – 35 general honey and 10 Manuka samples – for their product safety and general quality under international Codex standards. The performance rating of each sample was a summation of their scores in product safety, general quality, the source of origin analysis and packaging claims. There were considerable variations among the general honey samples, with 12 scoring the maximum five points and five samples scoring just two points or less. It says it found potentially cancer-causing antibiotic residue in two samples. One sample was found to have eight antibiotics including metronidazole which has been proven to be carcinogenic when tested on laboratory animals and this honey is no longer being sold. The other sample contained two antibiotics including nitrofurans, a genotoxic carcinogen that may induce genetic mutation affecting male reproductive system. Under Codex standards and regulations in mainland China, the European Union and the United States, antibiotic metronidazole and nitrofurans are not allowed to be fed to food-producing animals. 4.  Invasive Plants Adapt to New Environments, and Better Survive Than Newcomers – Invasive plants have the ability to adapt to new environments – and even behave like a native species, according to University of Stirling research. A study has found that the behaviour of invasive plants changes over time – meaning plants of the same species act differently if they arrive in their new environment at separate times. Scientists studied the characteristics of monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus), which first arrived in the UK from North America 200 years ago. They compared the behaviour of monkeyflowers long-established in Scotland with those introduced recently for the purposes of the experiment. Significantly, they found that the long-established plants were bigger and produced more flowers and more clones than those recently introduced. In comparison, the study showed that the genes of plants recently introduced are not well-adapted to deal with the UK environment. 5. New Restrictions will Require California Growers to Modify when and where Neonics are Applied – California farmers could face more restrictions on how they combat crop-eating insects after a state report concluded that one class of pesticide poses a significant risk to bees that pollinate almonds and other crops. The conclusion, published this week by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, means growers of top crops such as nuts, wine grapes, citrus and berries will have to alter how they combat crop-destroying pests to strike a balance between losing crops and losing the bees that pollinate them. While it’s too soon to be specific, it is likely that we will be developing restrictions in the future that will require growers to modify when and where the pesticides are used,” said Charlotte Fadipe, spokeswoman for the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. An outright ban on the pesticide class known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, is unlikely and unrealistic, Fadipe added. The agency already has a moratorium on any expansion of their use. 6. Australia Honey has Unique Pollen Signature – Australian honey, produced from domesticated European honey bees mostly foraging in native vegetation, is unique. Under the microscope, most Australian honey samples can be distinguished from honey produced in other countries. That’s the conclusion of our study, the first systematic examination of pollen contained within Australian honey. We collaborated with two major honey retailers to survey the pollen content of a large number of unprocessed honey samples. We found that a unique mix of native flora gives Australian honey a distinctive pollen signature. As fears grow about “counterfeit” or adulterated food, especially high-value foods like olive oil, coffee, saffron and honey, there’s enormous benefit in preserving Australia’s international reputation for high-quality products. 7. Droughts are Gripping Large Areas from Australia to South Africa, North America, Asia, Russia, Western Europe and even the United Kingdom and Ireland  – Stick a pin in a global map and you’re likely to strike drought. In a rare combination, droughts are gripping large areas from Australia to South Africa, North America, Asia, Russia, western Europe and even the United Kingdom and Ireland. But National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research meteorologist Gerry Bell says he doesn’t see a link. “I don’t think there is good reason to anticipate a single cause for the observed drought anomalies,” he says. “For example, the wind patterns related to the drought over Europe and central Russia are linked to a persistent Northern Hemisphere circulation pattern that is not seen in the Southern Hemisphere.” Global drought data does not go back very far, and global rainfall estimates only extend back to about 1980. An international water efficiency standard is being developed at a meeting of the International Organization for Standardization in Australia that can be used across the globe to reduce water use. “Changing populations, new patterns of water use and increasing rainfall variability have led to projections that the world may face a 40% shortfall in water availability by 2030,” Australia’s Assistant Minister for Water Resources Anne Ruston says. 8. EU Ban on Neonics in Ag Didn’t Stop Their Use in Urban Areas – Bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to significant levels of pesticides despite the European Union ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops. Research from University of Sussex scientists finds that while the EU restrictions on neonicotinoid chemicals five years ago reduced exposure of bees living in farmland, more than half of all pollen and nectar samples collected from bee nests in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Scotland between 2013 and 2015 were contaminated. The study is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides. The researchers are urging gardeners to ditch their bug sprays immediately in favour of encouraging natural predators such as ladybirds or lacewings, and the use of physical methods such as hand-removal of pests, and netting or sticky traps. Lead author Beth Nicholls, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Evolution, Behaviour and Environment at the university, says the findings suggest the EU’s neonicotinoid moratorium on all field crops is likely to have a positive effect on bees. “However, given that bees in suburban gardens appear to remain at risk post-moratorium, further work is needed to understand the sources of neonicotinoid exposure in these areas and to find ways to reduce it,” Nicholls says. “Our study indicates that limiting the public sale and use of neonicotinoid-based bug sprays, which are unaffected by the moratorium, is needed if we are to protect bee populations living in and around our towns and cities.”