Items of potential interest 31 December 2018

Rosanna Mattingly Editor, Western Apicultural Society Journal Editor, The Bee Line, Oregon State Beekeepers Association

Famed ‘bee man’ urges limits on home hives

Vaccine for Honeybees Could Be a Tool to Fight Population Decline

Male and female bees have radically different taste in flowers

We discovered more about the honeybee ‘wake-up call’ — and it could help save them Genome Published of the Small Hive Beetle, a Major Honey Bee Parasite

SU Students Update Council On Berlin’s Bee Friendly Efforts

Honeybee foraging in differentially structured landscapes

Master Gardeners: A look at the nature and necessity of bees


  3. EAS CALLS FOR AWARD NOMINATIONS AND RESEARCH PROPOSALS 4. What Soybean Farmers Should Do To Prevent Dicamba Damage
  5. Plants’ Defense Against Insects is a Bouquet of Weapons
  6. Major Pesticide Kill in South Africa with Fipronil – an Ant Poison
  7. Farm bill mostly neutral on pollinators
  8. France is the First Country to Ban all 5 Neonic Pesticides
  9. Organic Food Worse for the Climate than Conventional Farming
  10. Sioux Honey to Showcase Who Their Honey Comes From


Opinion: Will Mushrooms Be Magic for Threatened Bees?

Paul Stamets

Sometime in the 1980s, microscopic mites that had been afflicting honeybees outside the United States found their way to Florida and Wisconsin and began wreaking havoc across the country. These parasites have invaded and decimated wild and domestic bee colonies. Along with other dangers facing bees, like pesticides and the loss of forage lands, the viruses these mites carry threaten the bees we rely on to pollinate many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat.

This mite, Varroa destructor, injects a slew of viruses into bees, including . . .

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Famed ‘bee man’ urges limits on home hives

Kathey Keatley Garvey

Pesticides, parasites, predators, and a multitude of microorganisms threaten the survival of honey bees, says retired apiculturist Norman Gary of UC Davis, but so do hobby beekeepers in urban environments who are rearing too many colonies for bees to “survive and thrive.”

They should limit their hobby to two colonies, says Gary . . .

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Vaccine for Honeybees Could Be a Tool to Fight Population Decline

Julia Jacobs

At a time when some beekeepers are struggling to keep their colonies alive and pollinating, the prospect of a vaccine for honeybees has offered a flicker of hope.

The scientists behind the project say the vaccine is designed to protect honeybees from microbial diseases that can decimate bee populations. If the technology can be adapted

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Male and female bees have radically different taste in flowers

Tom Garlinghouse

Male and female bees may look similar, but they have dramatically different dining habits, according to a new study. Despite both needing nectar to survive, they get this nutrient from different flowers—so different, in fact, that males and females might as well belong to separate species.

To make the find, researchers spent 11 weeks observing the foraging habits of 152 species of bees in several flower-rich New Jersey fields. Then they brought the insects—nearly 19,000 in all—back to the lab and meticulously identified their species and sex.

Males and females rarely drank nectar from the same type of flower, the team will report in Animal Behaviour. Using a statistical test the researchers found that . . .

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We discovered more about the honeybee ‘wake-up call’ — and it could help save them

Worldwide honeybee populations are in peril – and it’s a dire situation for humans. Threats from climate changetoxic pesticides, and diseasehave all contributed to a steep honeybee population decline since 2006. And as a third of the food we eat is a direct result of insect pollination – including by honeybees – there could be serious consequences for us if the species goes extinct.

We recently uncovered more about a well-known, important honeybee signal known as the dorso-ventral abdominal vibration (DVAV) signal. Known as the honeybee “wake-up call,” this signal tells other bees to prepare for an increase in work load, particularly in relation to foraging. We developed a remote sensor which allowed us . . .

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—— Genome Published of the Small Hive Beetle, a Major Honey Bee Parasite

Beekeepers and researchers will welcome the unveiling of the small hive beetle’s genome by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues. The small hive beetle (SHB) is a major parasite problem of honey bees for which there are few effective treatments. . . .

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SU Students Update Council On Berlin’s Bee Friendly Efforts

Charlene Sharpe 

BERLIN – Salisbury University students outlined their efforts to help make Berlin bee friendly at a meeting this week.

On Monday, students from Sarah Surak’s Environmental Studies senior seminar at Salisbury University (SU) told members of the Berlin Town Council about the various ways they’ve helped the town work toward its goal of promoting pollinators as a Bee City USA affiliate.  The students spent the past semester thinking up ways to raise awareness, planning for pollinator gardens and creating promotional materials.

“We hope we’ve given the Berlin community a good strong place to start,” student Megan Buonpane said.

Just as students last spring supported the town’s initial effort to become a Bee City, students this fall partnered with the town to suggest specific ways to bring more bees to Berlin. Students in the senior seminar class broke into three groups to target social media promotion, pollinator gardens and educational materials.

“Each group collaborated with a variety of stakeholders during this process and by doing so were able to create a project that will support Berlin’s Bee City USA status,” student Maddison Workman said.

Workman’s classmate Dean Keh said his group created a stockpile of bee facts that could be shared via social media to generate interest in the cause. His group also created a video highlighting the importance of pollinators and at the same time showcasing Berlin Falls Park.

“Berlin Falls Park has a bright, promising future and I wanted to display the potential,” he said. . . .

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Honeybee foraging in differentially structured landscapes

Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter and Arno Kuhn

Published:22 March 2003


Honeybees communicate the distance and location of resource patches by bee dances, but this spatial information has rarely been used to study their foraging ecology. We analysed, for the first time to the best of the authors’ knowledge, foraging distances and dance activities of honeybees in relation to landscape structure, season and colony using a replicated experimental approach on a landscape scale. We compared three structurally simple landscapes characterized by a high proportion of arable land and large patches, with three complex landscapes with a high proportion of semi–natural perennial habitats and low mean patch size. Four observation hives were placed in the centre of the landscapes and switched at regular intervals between the six landscapes from the beginning of May to the end of July.

A total of 1137 bee dances were observed and decoded. Overall mean foraging distance was 1526.1 ± 37.2 m, the median 1181.5 m and range 62.1–10 037.1 m. Mean foraging distances of all bees and foraging distances of nectar–collecting bees did not significantly differ between simple and complex landscapes, but varied between month and colonies. Foraging distances of pollen–collecting bees were significantly larger in simple (1743 ± 95.6 m) than in complex landscapes (1543.4 ± 71 m) and highest in June when resources were scarce. Dancing activity, i.e. the number of observed bee dances per unit time, was significantly higher in complex than in simple landscapes, presumably because of larger spatial and temporal variability of resource patches in complex landscapes. The results facilitate an understanding of how human landscape modification may change the evolutionary significance of bee dances and ecological interactions, such as pollination and competition between honeybees and other bee species.



Master Gardeners: A look at the nature and necessity of bees

Master Gardeners of Yakima County

Through these cold, dreary days of winter that loom before us, many of us will devour the seed catalogs when they arrive in January with an eye toward planting a variety of flowers and plants that will be the most beneficial for that “special relationship” to bloom between bee, flower and humans that biologist Thor Hanson describes in his book “Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.”

“Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential and, for the most part unseen. . . .

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Bob Yirka

A team of researchers at the University of Sydney has discovered a honey bee gynandromorph with two fathers and no mother—the first ever of its kind observed in nature. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their study of honey bee gynandromorphs and what they found.

Honey bees are haplodiploid creatures—which means that females develop from fertilized eggs, while males arise from eggs that are not fertilized. Because of this, honey bees are susceptible to producing gynandromorphs, creatures with both male and female tissue. This is different from hermaphrodites, which are one gender but have sex organs of both male and female. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the nature of gynandromorphs and what causes them.

Prior research has suggested the likelihood that rare mutations result in the creation of gynandromorphs. The mechanics of the process are due to multiple males mating with a queen, resulting in more than a single sperm fertilizing an egg. To learn more about the genetics involved, the researchers captured 11 gynandromorph honey bees, all from a single colony, and studied their genome. The genetic makeup of the gynandromorphs revealed that five of them had normal ovaries, while three had ovaries that were similar to those of the queen. Also, one of them had normal male sex organs while two had only partial sex organs. The researchers also found that out of the 11 gynandromorphs tested, nine had either two or three fathers. And remarkably, one had two fathers but no mother—a development that could only have occurred through the development of sperm fusion.

The researchers note that gynandromorphs confer no known evolutionary advantage for a species; thus, their development must be due to mistakes resulting in still unknown mutations. They suggest that the large number of gynandromorphs in a single hive likely means the queen carries the mutation. They note that gynandromorphs have been observed in other species as well, including some crustaceans, other insects and a few bird species. The mutation that causes it in those other species has not been found, either.

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Alan Harman

Climate change promises rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, rangeland wildfires, and heavy downpours that will increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States.

That’s the bottom line in a National Climate Assessment from the U.S. government that says increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the U.S. and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security and price stability.

President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a Chinese hoax, promptly dismissed the 1,600-page report prepared by 300 scientists as a worse-case scenario.

But the researchers say Earth’s climate is changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization.

They say this presents challenges to sustaining and enhancing crop productivity, livestock health, and the economic vitality of rural communities.

“While some regions (such as the Northern Great Plains) may see conditions conducive to expanded or alternative crop productivity over the next few decades, overall, yields from major U.S. crops are expected to decline as a consequence of increases in temperatures and possibly changes in water availability, soil erosion, and disease and pest outbreaks,” the report says.

Increases in temperatures during the growing season in the Midwest are projected to be the largest contributing factor to declines in agricultural productivity.

Extreme heat conditions are expected to lead to further heat stress for livestock that can result in large economic losses for producers.

“Climate change is also expected to lead to large-scale shifts in the availability and prices of many agricultural products across the world, with corresponding impacts on U.S. agricultural producers and the U.S. economy,” the report says.

“These changes threaten future gains in commodity crop production and put rural livelihoods at risk.”

The report offers adaptation strategies for agriculture.

These include altering what is produced, modifying the production inputs, adopting new technologies and adjusting management strategies.

“However, these strategies have limits under severe climate change impacts and would require sufficient long- and short-term investment in changing practices,” the report says.

Climate change is already being felt – more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events – as well as changes in average climate conditions.

These are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities.

Regional economies and industries that depend on agriculture, tourism, and fisheries, are vulnerable.

The geographic range and distribution of disease-carrying insects and pests including ticks that carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile, and dengue, are expected to widen.

Extreme weather events are seen increasingly disrupting energy and transportation systems, threatening more frequent and longer-lasting power outages, fuel shortages, and service disruptions, with cascading impacts on other critical sectors.

“While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades,” the report says.



Erin MacGregor Forbes


TO: Entomology Departments, Apiculturists, and Apicultural Laboratories

DATE: November 24, 2018

RE: Call for Nominations for the EAS James I. Hambleton Memorial Award; Roger A. Morse Outstanding Teaching/Extension Service/Regulatory Award; and Student Apiculture Award.

The James I. Hambleton Memorial Award was established by the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America to recognize research excellence in apiculture.

The EAS Student Apiculture Award was established to recognize students studying apiculture at the undergraduate or graduate level in a recognized college or university in the United States or Canada.

Each award nomination must include a biographical sketch of the nominee, a list of his/her publications, specific identification of the research work on which the nomination is based, and an evaluation and appraisal of the accomplishment of the nominee, especially of work in the last five-year period for Hambleton Award nominees (or a shorter period for Student nominees). A minimum of one letter of recommendation, in addition to the nomination letter, in support of the nomination are also required; additional support letters are welcome.

The Roger A. Morse Outstanding Teaching/Extension Service/Regulatory Award Supported by Anita Weiss Foundation is given annually to recognize an individual in teaching/extension and/or regulatory activity in the field of apiculture. Nominations for this award are welcome from any person in the field of apiculture. Self-nominations are acceptable. Nominations shall consist of a letter documenting the achievement of excellence in any or all the areas of teaching/extension and/or regulatory activities in apiculture. Some indication of the appointment responsibilities should be included. In addition, a suitable CV or resume documenting the activities of the nominee must be submitted.

Nominations are now being accepted for all three awards. The awards for 2019 will be presented at the annual conference of the Society at Greenville South Carolina, July 15-19th 2019.

Nominations and letters of recommendation should be emailed to: and received no later than February 1, 2019.

Resubmissions from a previous year should be updated if necessary, and a new cover letter should be attached which should indicate that this is a resubmission and relevant data is already in EAS

EAS Foundation for Honey Bee Research

Call for Proposals, 2019

The EAS Foundation for Honey Bee Research is a competitive grant program developed from donations received from beekeepers and others interested in funding research on topical problems in honey bees.

Proposals are solicited annually with award amounts to be determined the spring before the EAS annual meeting. Requests for “seed money” to provide investigators the opportunity to collect preliminary data or as “add on” funds to combine with other funding sources to continue present research will also be considered. Requests for support for student projects (undergraduate summer employees/ graduate student) or for equipment/ supplies for distinct research projects are given highest priority. We welcome separate discrete project proposals and requests that identify pieces of ongoing research programs where additional funds can accomplish an objective of a larger program. Grant funds may be used for supplies, equipment, salaries, travel, or other appropriate uses by the recipient. As a nonprofit organization, the EAS Foundation does not pay overhead on funded research grants.

The total award for 2019 will be $10,000. The awards will be announced at the EAS 2019 Conference but available by April 1, 2019. The principle investigator must present their findings at the 2020 EAS Annual Conference, and we will publicize the award to aid in solicitation of additional funds for subsequent years.

Deadline for application is February 1, 2019. Additional submission details can be found at, and further inquiries can be directed to

Proposal Submission Criteria

  • Proposals are welcome from any individuals conducting research on honey bees. The role the investigator will perform if awarded the funds should be clearly stated.
  • Proposal should briefly outline the objective and a plan of work, to be completed within one year of funding, and a justification for the proposed work. If intended as “seed money,” the proposal should clearly state how the funds will enable the investigator to secure additional funding for project continuation. Proposals should not exceed five written pages in total length (double-spaced) excluding title page, budget, and résumé. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
  • Proposal must indicate how results will be disseminated if grant is funded. Investigators must present their work through the EAS journal (in summary form) and to a future EAS annual meeting, if possible, but other funds should be used for this. An acknowledgment of EAS support should be included in any presentations or publications resulting from the research.
    • The proposal should be arranged in the following format: a. cover page to include title, name, address, e-mail, and telephone of investigators(s) and title/affiliation of investigator
    • justification
    • objective(s)
  1. What Soybean Farmers Should Do To Prevent Dicamba Damage

COLUMBUS — New restrictions the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put on the herbicide dicamba aren’t enough to prevent it from spreading onto nearby plants, according to an Ohio State University weed expert.

Dicamba has been shown to spread beyond the fields where it was sprayed, damaging or killing crops and in some instances harming beehives. Nationwide, there have been complaints and lawsuits, claiming damages.

On Oct. 31, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would continue to allow farmers to keep using dicamba until at least December 2020. The agency required changes to the label that detail additional stipulations on when and how to use the weed killer to try to protect nearby fields.

Dicamba regulations

The new EPA regulations include the following:

  • Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications).
  • Over-the-top application of dicamba is prohibited on soybeans up to 45 days after planting.
  • Application is allowed only from one hour after sunrise to two hours before sunset.

“What (the EPA has) done is to try to make changes to prevent dicamba from moving around into other places,” said Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension. But those changes aren’t enough, he said.

Even with the added EPA restrictions, dicamba could still go airborne and spread to other plants that it was not intended to kill, Loux said.

“The weed science community is pretty unhappy, and doesn’t believe these EPA regulations are really going to help much,” he said.

New regulations include the prohibition of using dicamba on soybeans more than 45 days after planting, specifying certain times of the day dicamba can be applied, and clarifying who is authorized to apply it. These regulations don’t have Loux or the weed science community convinced.

“There is some question as to whether 45 days actually does anything,” he said.

Loux and colleagues from Purdue University and the University of Illinois have created a list of additional precautions that farmers should try to follow whenever they use dicamba.

The additional recommendations from Loux and his colleagues include not applying dicamba if the temperature is warmer than 80 degrees or if the forecast indicates wind gusts over 10 miles per hour.

The recommendations also say that farmers should apply dicamba early in the season around the time of crop planting, or soon after the emergence of the crop and weeds.

They also suggest that farmers talk to their neighbors before applying dicamba so that farmers know what plants are nearby that could potentially be affected by any spread of dicamba.

“We think our recommendations will help,” Loux said, “but not guarantee against dicamba moving from the area where it was applied and injuring or killing plants that were not supposed to be affected.”

To view the full list of recommendations on dicamba use from Loux and his colleagues, visit:



A UK-Italian business is cornering the EU market with an innovative crop protection technology based on a bee-friendly insecticide.

Headquartered in Cambridge, AlphaBio Control developed the technology from discoveries made at the convergence of natural chemistry and microbiology.

Its lead product, FLiPPER®, was launched in 2017 by original founders Iain Fleming and Alfeo Vecchi and has just won a Silver Award for Environmental Best Practice at The Green Organisation’s Green Apple Awards 2018. The ceremony at the Houses of Parliament was hosted by Liz Kendall MP.

FLIPPER is a natural, environment and bee-friendly organic insecticide derived from the natural by-product of extra virgin olive oil.

It is being used around Europe to control aphids, whitefly, thrips, mites, psylla, leaf hoppers and scale with negligible impact on honey bees, bumble bees, pollinators, other beneficial insects – or humans.

It is currently available to the UK wholesale market via the horticultural distributor Fargro Ltd and is also widely used in France, Italy, Greece, Spain and the Netherlands.

In the UK it currently has label approval for use on . . .

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  1. Plants’ Defense Against Insects is a Bouquet of Weapons

Michigan State University Post-Doctoral Scholar Andrea Glassmire, an Entomologist, checks out the leaves of the Tropical Shrub Piper Kelleyi, Nicknamed…

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  1. Major Pesticide Kill in South Africa with Fipronil – an Ant Poison

Cape Town, South Africa – Cape beekeepers have an answer to what killed thousands of bees in Constantia leaving the local industry devastated after…

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  1. Farm bill mostly neutral on pollinators. Research Funding up or steady, and ADDED Sugar off the table
  2. Thomas (Tom) Van Arsdall and Val Dolcini Tom Van Arsdall from the…

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  1. France is the First Country to Ban all 5 Neonic Pesticides

With bees on the endangered list and the terrible consequences that will come to pass if they become extinct, France has taken a drastic…

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  1. Organic Food Worse for the Climate than Conventional Farming

Chalmers University of Technology Image: the crops per hectare are significantly lower in organic farming, which, according to the study, leads to much greater indirect…

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  1. Sioux Honey to Showcase Who Their Honey Comes From, Co-op’s Campaign to Feature Local Beekeepers

Sioux Honey Association Co-op wants Americans to know who their honey comes from. That aim is the basis of a national campaign being launched…

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