Items of interest to beekeepers 9 July 2018

Fran Bach, (former) Western Apicultural Society Journal and Washington State Beekeepers newsletter editor






JERRY HAYES IS LEAVING MONSANTO The following announcement by Monsanto Director of Global Sustainable Development, Andy Knepp, recognizes Jerry Hayes long-term contributions to the honey bee industry, especially in the search for better answers concerning hive health – “On Friday, July 6, Jerry Hayes will be retiring from Monsanto as Honey Bee Health Lead.  Jerry joined Monsanto 6 years ago to provide his expertise in the development process of our bee health platform.  Jerry has been a leading voice to the beekeeping industry on issues such as varroa mites, hive health and management, and colony collapse disorder.  In addition, he has been a key contributor to American Bee Journal and countless other academic and popular press articles.  Jerry’s knowledge and insights have proven indispensable to our efforts and his passion for education and outreach has benefited the entire industry of beekeeping. Jerry has dedicated his professional life to helping find solutions to combat varroa mites and he hopes to remain engaged post-retirement in continued outreach and education to the industry. I’d like to personally thank Jerry for his many contributions and wish him all the best in his retirement.” Andy Knepp Jerry passed on the announcement to WAS President Steve Sweet, saying he would still like to speak at the 2018 WAS Conference in Boise, Idaho in August. Steve’s response echoes that of the many bee people who have had the privilege to know Jerry and benefit from his particular brand of education –   “Hi, Jerry – Thanks for the update.  Just for the record, there are many, many of us that have followed you before and into your Monsanto days.  Over all these years, you have consistently been a voice of reason and pragmatism.  Your upstanding, ethical approach to the challenges facing beekeeping today have earned and maintained the respect of the beekeeping community over a number of years.  On top of all this you personally have endured some challenging times and have done so with a grace that many might not show under similar circumstances (count me in that group!). On behalf of the WAS Board, we will be honored by your presence and look forward to the opportunity to visit with you in Boise during the conference August 3-5, 2018. We appreciate the courtesy of the advance notice, which only furthers the esteem with which you are held by beekeepers across the country.” Sincerely, Steve Sweet, Pres. WAS So come and hear Jerry Hayes and all the other fantastic speakers at this year’s WAS conference, tour an active winery (also the site of the wind-up banquet) and “mess about with bees” with Randy Oliver and U Georgia’s Jennifer Berry carrying out hands-on demonstrations. It’ll be a blast! That’s August 3rd to 5th at JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place) – a fascinating venue itself – in Boise, Idaho. All information at —– From Dr. Mark Winston “LISTENING TO THE BEES” NOW AVAILABLE IN THE US Mark Winston, a naturalist and author of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning book, “Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive”, has joined forces with celebrated poet Renée Saklikar. The result is a unique blend of science and poetry. Listening to the Bees is a collaboration between two writers who share a common passion for bees and for language. It combines Winston’s personal essays based on forty years as a scientist in the field studying bees, and Saklikar’s poems created in response to a rich scientific archive. Listening to the bees  • $24.95 Mark L. Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar isbn 13: 978-0-88971-346-8 hardcover • 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ • 192 pp pub date: April 28, 2018 Nightwood Editions, an independent publisher, marketed and distributed by Harbour Publishing twitter: @NightwoodEd #READNIGHTWOOD For more information or to schedule an interview or event with Mark Winston and/or Renée Saklikar, contact Annie Boyar at Nightwood Editions: (email) (phone) 403-287-8720 —– ATTENTION US BEEKEEPERS: RESEARCHERS NEED MITES TO SAMPLE. CHECK OUT HOW, AND WHY At the University of Wisconsin-Stout, we are investigating a potential new bacterial disease of honey bees which may be transmitted by Varroa destructor mites. Our studies led to the discovery and reporting of the Serratia marcescens strain sicaria (Ss1), a new bacterial threat to hives. A link to the study published in PLOS-One follows:http:// The UW-Stout INDES program is working to obtain fresh samples of Varroa destructor mites from across the US for analyses of Ss1. The goal of this study is to provide a clearer understanding of locations where Ss1 is appearing in the US to better understand its potential impact on bee health in this country. Samples of mites obtained will be examined for Ss1 without charge and confidential testing results will be provided to those submitting samples. Please consider participating in the study by providing a sample of mites from your hive or hives. If you are interested in providing a sample of Varroa mites for testing or have any questions about our work, we would appreciate hearing from you by email at  Specific collection and shipment instructions and responses to questions will be provided in our response to your communication. Thank you! Jim Burritt and the INDES Testing Team —– BEE JOBS The International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) has five positions open in Europe. Please note this some have deadlines coming up very soon. 1. 7 PhD positions, Sociality and the reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off, Germany 2. 2 Postdoctoral Positions in Termite Ecology, Prague 3. Postdoc: genome evolution of male haploid social insects, Halle, Germany 4. PhD position, wild bee-pesticide-parasite interactions, Halle, Germany 5. PhD: Toward an hymenoptera epigenetic molecular model, Liverpool Information on all five positions is at   6. Postdoctoral Position: Environmental Remote Sensing Data Scientist, University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) IonE is collaborating with Macroclimate, an impact investment firm, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by leveraging financial markets.   We seek a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in remote sensing to help us detect and quantify the impacts of industrial and agricultural practices on climate stability and ecosystem services in near real time on a continuous basis – and attribute the source to the party responsible. For inquiries or more information, contact Dr. Eric Lonsdorf:  More  information about IonE can be found at: and information about  Macroclimate can be found at: —– CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Varroa Mites, Pesticides, Viruses, Pollination, Honey – a Beekeeper’s Life – By Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay Times FORT MEADE — Jim Doan pats the bees gently with the flat of his big palm. Without acrimony, the nurse bees and worker bees amble toward the edges of the frame, revealing the larvae underneath. They are fat and pearly, the way they should be. Doan’s bees may be turning the corner, but it’s too early to say. He has lost 300 hives this spring and added 500, netting 200 the hard way.        He slides the frame back into the wooden super, the name for the basic beehive box, and fits the cover on. He’s getting ready to go, moving his bees from their wintering Florida home back to upstate New York. The bees get stressed on the road — he’s got to keep the trucks moving and drive through the night. But this is a minor worry in the scheme of things. Doan’s bees are in trouble. 2. Honey Bees Prioritize the Nutritional Status of Larvae When Selecting for a New Emergency Queen – CORVALLIS, Ore. – New research shows that honey bees prioritize the nutritional status of larvae when selecting for a new emergency queen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded study is published in the journal Scientific Reports and is the result of a research collaboration between entomologists at Oregon State University and North Carolina State University. This is the first study that has thoroughly investigated the role of nutritional state of larvae in their selection for queen rearing, said lead author Ramesh Sagili, associate professor of apiculture and honeybee Extension specialist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Honey bee colony fitness is dependent on queens, so their production is a vital task. If the current queen dies, emergency queens must be reared. Worker bees then select few larvae from the existing pool to raise new queens. The colony only has about six days after the last egg was laid to begin rearing new queens. 3.  OZ May Have Better Manuka Than New Zealand After All – Australian native leptospermum spp. honey has the potential to surpass New Zealand’s Manuka honey for both activity and scale. Australia is the homeland of leptospermum with 84 of the world’s 87 species/ But in Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) PhD researcher Simon Williams says the testing shows not all Aussie Leptospermum are equal. Some have been found not to have the precursor compound dihydroxyacetone in their nectar while others are more active than leptospermum scoparium. Manuka honey derived from New Zealand’s sole leptospermum tree, leptospermum scoparium is the gold standard in medicinal honey. Scientists in the USC honey research laboratory have been working on understanding Australian leptospermum honeys for the last seven years. They have found Australian honeys are comparable to or better than New Zealand’s Manuka honey. 4. Dropcopter Releases Pollination Results. Way More Fruit Using a Drone Than When Using Honey Bees – Dropcopter, a drone AG startup based in California and Central New York, recently made headlines as the first company to successfully pollinate almonds, cherries and apples using drones. The company, a partnership between Matt Koball, Mike Winch and Adam Fine has been conducting studies on supplemental drone pollination since 2015. As of July 4th. The company has released results from its 2018 third party studies which report a massive increase in almonds and cherries as well as surprising developments for apples. Depending on environmental conditions which dictate the effectiveness of bees, the company has demonstrated an effective increase of 25% to 60% pollination set (cherries and almonds). It means that in cold weather, and during bee shortages there’s a viable alternative to dependency on insect pollination.