Items of interest to beekeepers 27 August 2018

Inclusion of items here does not in any way imply endorsement by myself or the organizations I represent. They are included as information only, and I leave it to the reader to determine value. Rosanna Mattingly Editor, Western Apicultural Society Journal Editor, The Bee Line, Oregon State Beekeepers Association






WESTERN APICULTURAL SOCIETY At the annual membership meeting of the WAS Conference in Boise, Idaho, earlier this month, Sarah Red-Laird was elected as 2019 president. Planning for the 42nd annual conference, to be held in Ashland, Oregon, is well underway. The dates are July 12-14. Updates will be posted at as they become available. —– OREGON STATE BEEKEEPERS

The Oregon State Beekeepers Association will hold its annual fall conference on October 26, 27 & 28 at the Salem Convention Center, Salem, Oregon. Speakers include Jennifer Berry, University of Georgia, Dr. Anna Childers, USDA ARS, Beltsville, Maryland, Danielle Downey, Project Apis m., Dr. Michelle Flenniken, Montana State University, Krispn Given, Purdue University, GloryBee, SAVE the BEE, Dr. Steve Pernal, Beaverlodge Research Farm, Dr. Ramesh Sagili, Oregon State University, and much more. There will be a beginning beekeeping class running concurrently with the main meeting on Saturday, and a large vendor area for exploration on Saturday and Sunday.

For registration, updates, and additional information, visit:; click on 2018 Conference. —–

WASHINGTON STATE BEEKEEPERS For several years, the Washington State Beekeepers have held their annual meetings via telephone and video conferencing. On February 9, 2019, they will hold a long-awaited in-person conference at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. There will be 2 tracks at the conference – one scientific track will have a number of speakers from Washington, Oregon, and Montana universities talking about their latest bee research.  The second track will be focused more on hobby beekeepers with topics ranging from “Bees in the Media” to “How to make Mead”. The associated trade show will have up to 40 different vendors and run the gamut from nurseries to beekeeping supplies to mead making equipment.  This should be a great event not only for commercial and hobbyist beekeepers but just about anyone with an interest in anything associated with bees. Check out our revamped website for more information about the conference, the agenda, places to stay if you’re not from that area, and other local attractions.  WASBA members get great discounts so JOIN TODAY. The new WASBA Master Beekeeper curriculum is ready to go.  Instructors, please contact Jenifer Priest at Jenifer@WASBA.ORG and she can walk you through the details. The “Beginning Beekeeping Course” starts on September 1, 2018.  The more advanced courses will follow shortly thereafter. —–


Scientists at Queen Mary University of London and Australian National University have unravelled how changes in nutrition in the early development of honeybees can result in vastly different adult characteristics.

Queen and worker honeybees are almost genetically identical but are fed a different diet as larvae. The researchers have found that specific protein patterns on their genome play an important role in determining which one they develop into.

These proteins, known as histones, act as switches that control how the larvae develop and the diet determines which switches are activated. They found that the queen develops faster and the worker developmental pathway is actively switched on from a default queen developmental programme.

This change is caused by epigenetics—a dynamic set of instructions that exist ‘on top’ of the genetic information, that encode and direct the programme of events that leads to differential gene expression and worker or queen developmental outcome.

The study, published in Genome Research, describes the first genome wide map of histone patterns in the honeybee and the first between any organism of the same sex that differs in reproductive division of labour.

See also: —–

From Dr. Christina Grozinger, POLLINATOR-L   BEE JOBS 1. Postdoctoral Research Assistant – Agent-based Simulation Modelling to Improve Understanding of Pollinator & Pollen Movement in Heterogeneous Landscapes, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK The Department of Plant Sciences is seeking to recruit a Postdoctoral Research Assistant for a 12 month contract funded by the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation. This grant is held by Dr Tonya Lander and the work is to be conducted in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford.  Informal enquiries should be directed to Tonya Lander ( Contact Person : Recruitment Administrator     Vacancy ID :     136669 Contact Phone :  01865 275000             Closing Date :     19-Sep-2018 Contact Email : —- CATCH THE BUZZ 1. The Majority of Emergency Queens are Raised From Sub-Families Not, as Previously Suspect, Supersisters – When honey bees need a new emergency queen, they forego the chance to promote members of their own worker sub-families, opting instead to nurture larvae of royal sub-families. North Carolina State University researchers James Withrow and David Tarpy examined DNA from an average of 92 workers and 85 emergency queens from six different colonies. They found the number of subfamilies per colony ranged from 34 to 77, vastly outnumbering previous estimates. By comparing the DNA of the emergency queens to that of the colony’s subfamilies, they found that the majority of emergency queens were raised from sub-families with very few members, many of which are so rare that they are mostly undetected in typical colony sampling of workers. Thus, the researchers say in the study published in the journal PLOS Biology, workers chose members of other “royal” sub-families over their own “supersisters” to become new queens. The characteristics that distinguish these lucky larvae from their hive mates are still unknown, as are many of the factors in play that override a possible “selfish gene” drive that might otherwise reward choosing one’s own family members for the royal treatment. “While many of the specific details and mechanisms are still to be determined,” Withrow says, “at this point we may safely conclude that, while inclusive fitness for nepotism may favor the individual level during emergency queen rearing, that advantage is profoundly overridden by opposing selective forces acting at multiple levels favoring cooperation and altruism.” The study strengthens the evidence that the good of the hive overpowers the narrow genetically selfish interests of individual workers. 2. ERS and NIFA are Getting Moved Out of DC – (Washington, D.C., August 9, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced further reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intended to improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars.  The Economic Research Service (ERS), currently under USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area, will realign once again with the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) under the Office of the Secretary.  Additionally, most employees of ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be relocated outside of the National Capital Region.  The movement of the employees outside of Washington, DC is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. “It’s been our goal to make USDA the most effective, efficient, and customer-focused department in the entire federal government,” Perdue said.  “In our Administration, we have looked critically at the way we do business, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the best service possible for our customers, and for the taxpayers of the United States.  In some cases, this has meant realigning some of our offices and functions, or even relocating them, in order to make more logical sense or provide more streamlined and efficient services.” Realigning ERS with OCE Moving ERS back together with OCE under the Office of the Secretary simply makes sense because the two have similar missions.  ERS studies and anticipates trends and emerging issues, while OCE advises the Secretary and Congress on the economic implications of policies and programs.  These two agencies were aligned once before, and bringing them back together will enhance the effectiveness of economic analysis at USDA. 3. Australian Apiary Industry Launches New Code to Fight Potential Billion-Dollar Biosecurity Threats – The bee industry is launching a code of practice to protect hives from pest and disease outbreaks. A major biosecurity incident in the bee industry could cost Australian agriculture billions, which is why beekeepers must get on board with a new code of practice, according to the Apiary Alliance.The South Australian chairman of the alliance, Danny Le Feuvre, said that all registered commercial and recreational beekeepers would soon be receiving new information about how to comply with the code. Industry groups and the Federal Government developed the code, which is intended to make it easier to track biosecurity threats by requiring registered beekeepers to keep records of pests or diseases. “If we had something like varroa mite or tracheal mite, that could be devastating to our agricultural industries,” Mr Le Feuvre said. “There’s very, very big numbers that the impact of an incursion could cost our country, millions or even billions of dollars.” Under the code, beekeepers must regularly inspect their hives for pests and diseases, protect their hives from exposure, and allow their business to be assessed by bee biosecurity officers. While Australia’s bee industry is measured as being worth about $100 million a year, that only measures the value of products produced, such as honey and wax. However, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council said that 65 per cent of Australian agriculture production relied on the pollination services that honeybees provide. Mr Le Feuvre said the official launch of the code was set for September. 4. Washington Fruit Grower-Shipper Participates in National Pollinator Conservation Initiative – Rainier Fruit is undertaking a number of projects to expand their pollinator conservation efforts on Eastern and Central Washington properties. Loss of habitat continues to threaten native bee species, and by launching these projects, Rainier Fruit will diversify the habitat and food resources available to bees and other helpful insects. The projects are part of the larger General Mills Pollinator Initiative, which aims to increase on-farm natural habitat to support native and honey bee populations while also reducing pesticide impacts on bees through reduced applications, improved practices and biocontrol as pest management. While Rainier Fruit has already adopted many best practices when it comes to conservation and sustainability, they’re taking this opportunity to further their existing programs and establish the company as an industry leader in conservation practices. “As fruit growers, we depend on pollinators. Enhancing the natural habitat available to native bees and honey bees is a win-win,” says Mark Zirkle, President at Rainier Fruit. “These projects will offer forage and nesting resources for bees and increase bee diversity and abundance. We may even see supplemental pollination services for our crops through the impact of these initiatives.” 5. Tariffs Estimated To Cost $2.64 Billion a Year to US Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, and in all Probability, a Hit on Beekeepers that Pollinate – University of California economists estimate U.S. exporters of 10 fruits and nuts to China and other markets could see a loss of $2.64 billion a year due to new tariffs — and up to $3.34 billion a year when the potential effect on other markets is considered. Daniel Sumner and Tristan Hanon, of the Agricultural Issues Center and Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC-Davis, recently released the study in the wake of increasing tariffs levied by the U.S. and China on various products they trade. Many U.S. items seeing new tariffs are agricultural. According to the researchers, these are the commodities facing new tariffs in China, Mexico, India and Turkey, and estimated revenue loss in a year due to tariffs in those countries:     Almonds,  $1.58 billion     Apples,  $419 million     Pistachios,  $384 million     Walnuts,  $315 million     Pecans,  $224 million     Sweet cherries, $160 million     Oranges, $133, million     Table grapes, $86 million     Raisins, $26 million     Sour cherries, $11 million The study became news as U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited ag operations in California’s Central Valley early in the week of Aug. 13. Farmers for Free Trade, which has been critical of Trump administration trade policies and their effect on U.S. farmers, said the study underscores how policies are harming farmers. 6. Sulfoximine-Based Insecticides May Harm Bees as Much as Those They are to Replace – A new class of pesticides positioned to replace neonicotinoids may be just as harmful to crop-pollinating bees, researchers cautioned Wednesday. In experiments, the ability of bumblebees to reproduce, and the rate at which their colonies grow, were both compromised by the new sulfoximine-based insecticides, they reported in the journal Nature. Colonies exposed to low doses of the pesticide in the lab yielded significantly less workers and half as many reproductive males after the bees were transferred to a field setting. “Our results show that sulfoxaflor”—one of the new class of insecticide—”can have a negative impact on the reproductive output of bumblebee colonies,” said lead author Harry Siviter, a researcher at Royal Holloway University of London. As with neonicotinoids, sulfoxaflor does not directly kill bees, but appears to affect the immune system or the ability to reproduce. Foraging behaviour, and the amount of pollen collected by individual bees remained unchanged in the experiment. —– ABJ EXTRA 1. Ship bees into California?! California Border Station Update The California State Beekeepers Association (CSBA) has worked with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to increase the ant tolerance making it more advantageous to get an ant free certificate from your state. CDFA Border Protection Station (BPS) Ant-free Apiary Certification Program The Ant-free Apiary Certification Program facilitates the movement of bees into California while ensuring ant pests are not introduced into the state.  Participation in this program is voluntary and certificates are not required as a condition of entry.  Additionally, certified shipments are allowed a tolerance of up to five worker ants of the same species per shipment without being rejected at the BPS station. The following states are authorized to issue ant-free apiary certificates (certificates will not be accepted from states not listed): Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin                                      Certificates must be original (faxed or photocopied certificates will not be accepted) and issued no more than seven days before the shipment enters California by the state where the equipment was last on the ground. Incomplete or improper certificates will not be accepted by BPS personnel. In addition, starting this year CDFA will be sending inspectors to the reconditioning sites near Needles, CA to inspect and clear shipments prior to re-entry.  This will mean that shipments will not be rejected multiple times at the BPS.  If your state doesn’t have an ant free certification program in place, we recommend talking with them to get one in place.