Items of potential interest to beekeepers 16 November 2018

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

IN THIS ISSUE… WAS President’s Message, November 2018 Ruhl Bee Supply Transition Tracking How Pesticides Harm Bee Colonies Artificial Intelligence and Bee Declines Bee Diversity in Utah Aussie Pollinators Data-Driven Applications Innovative Work in Arizona Moths Evading Bat Detection Airport Bees as Sentinels for Pests Pollinator Partnership Poster Art Penn State Bee Campus Ordering Milkweed International Pollinator Biology, Health, and Policy Conference Organic Beekeepers Conference

FROM CATCH THE BUZZ 1. BC Funding for Bee Health 2. New Zealand Levy 3. Impacts of Non-Native Plants 4. Plant Movement 5. Helping BIP 6. USDA and IPM 7. California Bee Bandits

Western Apicultural Society President’s Message November 2018 WAS Journal

This August I was honored and humbled to take on the roles as the 42nd President of the Western Apicultural Society. I was ushered in by a band of WAS board members who are passionate about the survival of the organization, and I want to see a positive succession plan take place to the next generation of leaders. Past President Steve Sweet’s conference in Boise was so well done, and he set up a truly optimistic and encouraging atmosphere for myself and Vice President Jaylene Naylor to step into. As president, it’s not only my job to keep the organization afloat, but also to plan the 2019 WAS Conference!! I am hoping to create not just a conference, but an experience that emphasizes what we are—a society.

Our theme is “Hive Mind for the Greater Good,” built on the values of persistence and authenticity and celebrating community, women in leadership, and, of course, bees and their keepers.

This weekend will be a mix of dynamic keynote talks, workshops built on the themes of art, beekeeping, social media and marketing, bee habitat conservation, education, native bees, and global research. I’m still rounding out the list, but so far you can look forward to seeing Katrina Klett, Elevated Honey Co. and Chinese Academy of Science; Hilary Kearny, Girl Nextdoor Honey & Beekeeping Like a Girl Blog; Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Anna Geiselman, Bee Amour Jewlery; Robin Jones, Honey Girl Grows; and the native bee team from the Logan, Utah, USDA-ARS-Pollinating Insects Research Unit.

In an effort to create community, we are also going to provide plenty of opportunities for networking:

.We will turn the microphone around to the attendees with a “storytelling hour” in the theme of #beekeeperfail (we all have them, let’s take some time to admit it and have a little fun!).

.We’ll give attendees the opportunity to sign up for the “Community Waggle Dance Tabletop Show,” where we will provide a bistro table to a selected group to create a “show and tell” display of something they are working on (e.g., a hive design, research, or a tech innovation).

.Staying with WAS’s ability to provide an intimate experience for conference speakers and attendees, we’ll have “Roundtable Speed Swarming.” Guests will rotate (in groups) to speaker-hosted tables and spend some time in dialogue with a leader they have been admiring from afar.

.Throughout the conference, we will provide multiple breaks, and a happy hour each evening to encourage beekeepers to meet up and waggle dance using social media, the Bumble Biz networking app, and our special-interest themed “hive towers.” The hives are the place to meet your new best friend, who’s also into beginning beekeeping, honey production, co-ops and supply chain management, bee habitat, native bees, bee-themed travel and service opportunities, and so on.

On Sunday, we will have a limited number of spots on an interactive bee habitat tour. We will load up in vans to travel to the Bee Girl organization’s “Seeds for Pollinators” research project at The Farm at Southern Oregon University, see our “Regenerative Bee Pasture” research project at the Sampson Creek Preserve, and also participate in native bee research with the USDA Logan Bee Lab team at Mount Ashland.

We also want to give you the opportunity to enjoy the gem that is Southern Oregon. Come join us before the conference officially begins to raft the Rouge River and take in a show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on Thursday! Sunday evening, we will officially close up the conference with a trip to a local winery with stellar views and bee-friendly practices.

Save the dates! Preconference Adventures: July 11 and Main Conference: July 12–14, 2019, Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites in Ashland, Oregon. Registration will open in February of 2019.

Sarah Red-Laird


Ruhl Bee Supply | Brushy Mountain Bee Farm Transition Notice As you have probably heard, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is now closed for business and so Ruhl Bee Supply is closing its doors during the transition.  The original goal in merging with Brushy Mountain Bee Farm was to create better support for our Northwest beekeepers than either of us could provide alone. We are painfully aware that this did not happen. In fact, our local support got worse. It has been difficult to watch as the core values that Ruhl Bee has long held became subsumed under other priorities. We plan to change all this as we re-emerge, unfettered,  with a renewed focus on something we always understood: the unique needs of Northwest beekeepers. Thank you for being patient during this transition.

John Edwards


New tracking system could show—at last—how pesticides are harming bee colonies

Erik Stokstad

Neonicotinoids, the world’s most commonly used insecticides, effectively thwart many crop pests but they also have insidious effects on vital pollinators: bees. At high doses, these neurotoxins—which wind up in the pollen and nectar the bees collect—harm their memory and ability to gather food. Now, using an innovative tracking technique, researchers have shown that neonicotinoids broadly reduce activity in bumble bee colonies, making bees less likely to care for their young, and making it hard for the colony to regulate nest temperature. The findings could help unravel a long-standing mystery: how the pesticides harm bee colonies.

To continue reading:


Can listening to bees help save them – and us? Tim Bowler

Can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help save the world’s bees? That’s the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations.

To read:


Utah houses one quarter of the country’s bee species

Alexandru Micu

Utah really deserves its nickname of the Beehive state, scientists from the Utah State University (USU) report. According to a new paper they published, the state is home to one-quarter of all bee species in the nation. Roughly half of these species live and buzz in the original boundaries of the (now reduced) Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

To continue reading: ——

Five surprising Aussie pollinators that make your dinner possible

Western Sydney University

We owe such a lot to the humble European honeybee. For an insect that was only brought to Australia in 1822, it has become well-established as one of our most important crop-pollinating insects.

But . . .

To continue reading: ——

Data-Driven Applications for Beekeepers

With the withdrawal of Fumagillin from the market, there has been renewed interest among queen producers and honey producers alike in finding ways to control Nosema infection in their bees. The Texas BIP team recently helped a beekeeper look at whether essential oil patties or a sprayed-on probiotic would help reduce the Nosema load of spring splits. 30 colonies (8-12 colonies per group) were sampled for Nosema at time of check-back (mid-April 2018) and randomly selected to be part of one of three groups: untreated control, essential oil, or probiotic. When Nosema loads were sampled again (mid-May 2018), the levels had gone down in all groups in accordance . . .

To continue reading: ——

Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative (NAZPHI) receives prestigious Crescordia Award from Arizona Forward

Patrick Pynes

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, and Coconino County have received a prestigious award for the innovative work that members of all three communities have been doing together in support of endangered pollinators like monarch butterflies, native bees, and honeybees.

To continue reading:


Sound-absorbent wings and fur help some moths evade bats Jennifer Leman Checkered scales on wings and furry bellies let the insects avoid detection.

To read:


Bee team: How hives at Canberra Airport are our biosecurity frontline

There are a few unwitting souls on the frontline of the bush capital’s biosecurity at Canberra Airport that you might not have met.

Canberra’s biosecurity teams have bee hives that act similar to canaries in a mine for the capital’s European honey bee population.

These ‘sentinel hives’ will be the first to catch any pests from the airport, giving biosecurity experts time to control them before they spread.

To continue reading:


Art for Pollinator Poster Pollinator Partnership is seeking an artist to render the 2019 Pollinator Poster, this year focusing on “Endangered Pollinators and Their Habitats.” To apply, please send a one-page narrative concept idea with a draft sketch to Kelly Rourke at by Monday, November 26, 2018. Details at:


Penn State is the 55th campus to be certified as a Bee Campus by the Bee City USA program!  

Many thanks to Ryan McCaughey, Margarita Lopez Uribe, and others who led this effort!

Christina M. Grozinger

Bee campuses are at:


Milkweed seedlings: three ways to order now from Monarch Watch for Spring 2019 plants!

  1. Milkweeds are available for purchase by the flat through our Milkweed Market. Preorder for Spring 2019 here:
  2. We have funding in place to distribute 100,000 FREE milkweeds for restoration projects. We are currently accepting applications for Spring 2019. The link to the free milkweed information page and application is provided below. This grant provides free milkweeds for large scale (2+ acres) habitat restorations on both private and public lands. See: 3. Through a separate grant, schools and educational non-profit organizations can apply for one free flat of milkweed for Spring 2019 at:

Thank you for your help in spreading the word and planting more milkweed

for monarchs. Please contact Dena Podrebarac at Monarch Watch with any questions at —— International Pollinator Conference Please see below for the official “save the date” announcement for the 2019 International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy!  The 2019 conference will be held at UC Davis from July 17-20, 2019, and is organized by Neal Williams (UC Davis), Elina Lastro Nino (UC Davis) and Rufus Isaacs (Michigan State).  More info can be found here: ——

[Organicbeekeepers] Speakers needed for 13th Organic Beekeepers Conf 1-3 March 2019

To: Organicbeekeepers <>

Now taking speaker signups as in past years for open discussion, with questions and answers following your presentation for doing clean organic beekeeping without artificial feeds, treatments, and breeding doings contrary to Nature.  So please reply if you would lime to do a presentation with subject name and whether a 1 or 2 hour talk.  But need speakers signing up for 1 to 3 March 2019 event now so we can start spreading the word and getting beekeepers signing up for event doing clean organic beekeeping.  So for speaking and doing presentation email me at with time length no more then 2 hrs but 1 hour fine with topic relative to beekeeping.  ——



The province has announced additional funding for their BeeBC program, which looks to develop new and innovative ways to help honey bees.

The Ministry of Agriculture will provide an additional $50,000, which beekeepers can apply for access to. BeeBC provides support to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health.

“A healthy population of honey bees and native pollinators in B.C. not only provides us with delicious locally-sourced honey, it supports our environment as well as our agriculture industry, so that British Columbians will have more B.C. products at their tables, now and for generations to come,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.

The ministry says projects range from educational programs and hands-on experience for youth to studying queen bees and disease management in hives by local beekeepers.

To continue reading:



Apiculture New Zealand (APINZ) has ”tweaked” its proposal to introduce a commodity levy on honey, following consultation with the industry during the past three months.

The move to introduce the levy was the most important step the industry had taken in decades, Apiculture New Zealand board member and Ettrick commercial apiarist Russell Marsh said.

”We are the only agriculture/horticulture industry without any consolidated investment.

”We need to get in line with other industries and what they are doing.

”The reality is there are a lot of beekeepers who don’t belong [to the industry body] or contribute to the industry.

”They are just profit-takers and the industry needs to be more mature than that.

”That model is not sustainable.”

APINZ chief executive Karen Kos said the consultation process included holding nine meetings throughout the country.

”We got some pretty good feedback and we have taken it on board and have slightly revised the proposal,” Ms. Kos said.

”People wanted more time to consider the proposal and they can still send feedback [on the amended version] until the end of December.

While APINZ would retain the 10c/kg commodity levy for harvested honey, the proposal would also now include comb honey.

In addition, those producing less than 750kg of honey per annum would be excluded from paying the levy.

”Those with 26 or more hives are considered commercial beekeepers, and will pay it,” she said.

”That represents 95% of all hives.”

Ms. Kos said there had also been some discussion about whether manuka honey should attract a higher levy.

”There was no practicality for a two-tiered levy system.”

The ”tweaked” proposal and voting papers will be sent out before February 1 and members will have a month to vote.

They expect the result will be known by about March 11 and if the outcome supports the proposal, an application for the commodity level will go to the Ministry of Primary Industries.

If that is approved, then a levy order can be expected to be in place by October 1, 2019.

Honey extractors will send data to APINZ by June of each year, an invoice will be generated and the levy must be paid by October 31.

The levy order will also allow the levy rate to be increased to a maximum of 15c/kg during the six years of the levy but only if there is a majority vote of levy payers.

Ms. Kos said they still anticipated raising about $2million from the levy annually, with about 40% going to research, about 20% to biosecurity, 10% towards running the organization and the balance would be spent on bee health, advocacy, education, industry support, attracting new people, and leveraging funding from sources such as the Sustainable Farming Fund.




Human-dominated landscapes are one of the most rapidly expanding and least-understood ecosystems on Earth. Historically, in urban areas, landowners convert native plant communities into habitats dominated by non-native species. While less susceptible to pest damage and demanding less maintenance, non-native plants are extremely poor at supporting insects, including honey bees – many of which are critical food for higher order consumers like birds.

In the first study of its kind, University of Delaware researchers Doug Tallamy and Desirée Narango teamed up with Peter Marra, director of the of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) to investigate the link between non-native plants and birds’ population growth in these landscapes. The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

“This is the first time that the breeding success of a bird has been directly tied to landscape decisions that homeowners make. Quite simply, humans are changing the vegetation of North America with these non-native species,” said Tallamy, professor in the UD Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.

In the United States, 432 species — more than one-third of birds — are insectivorous and, thus, could be harmed by declines in food availability and at risk of local extinction in urban and suburban areas. Moreover, many of these plants serve as food for pollinators, where the invasives do not.

To continue reading:



Movement is one of the most common processes in all biology–mice forage for food and geese migrate with the seasons. While plants may be rooted in one spot for most of their lives, movement also plays a key role in their ecology–especially when it comes to seeds.

Tracking how seeds move–or disperse–can be difficult because of a seed’s small size. However, in a study published in Ecology, researchers at the University of Minnesota‘s College of Biological Sciences found a solution for tracking seed movement by using electrical engineering and mathematical models.

“We created a device that measures seed terminal velocity,” said Adam Clark, a study co-author and former graduate student at the University of Minnesota. “In this case, terminal velocity describes the maximum speed at which a seed can travel through the air. If we combine this information with other data such as plant height and local wind conditions, we are able to approximate just how far these seeds can travel.”

Researchers specifically collected this data for 50 prairie plant species–including big bluestem, rough blazing star and lupine–at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, a biological field station north of Minneapolis-Saint Paul in Anoka County. The researchers then used that data to examine how natural plant communities recover after agricultural fields are abandoned, based on surveys that cover almost 90 years of changes at Cedar Creek across 23 fields.

As a result of this study, researchers found their estimates of dispersal ability were able to correctly predict the likelihood of colonization, as well as the spatial establishment patterns of many species across these abandoned fields.

“Understanding how seeds move is critical to understanding how plants escape plant-eating animals, find favorable environments away from competition or track changing climates,” said Lauren Sullivan, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota and the study’s lead author.

This method of tracking seed dispersal will allow other researchers to measure dispersal and develop predictions about the importance of plant movement for other commonly studied ecological processes, such as competition, establishment, succession and recovery from disturbance.




Hello Honey Bee Fans!

The Bee Informed Partnership is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose sole goal is to provide up-to-date honey bee health data to beekeepers so that they may better manage their bees. We also welcome and encourage the distribution of this information – as many of you have done – to educate others about the challenges facing honey bees and the ways that we can help solve them. We remain an independent and unbiased source of honey bee health data, providing regionally-specific information to beekeepers, researchers and policymakers nationwide. But now, we need your help. Please consider donating here now!

We house and maintain the largest publicly available honey bee health database in the United States. As such, we need financial help from the community to help fund our efforts.

This month we are raising funds to support our work. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $15,000 by December 7th but we’d sure love to surpass that!

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Bee Informed Partnership today by clicking here. We have also posted the Fundraiser at our BIP Facebook page.

Your funds will directly support the major pillars of BIP’s research and outreach program: 1) Our interactive national Colony Loss Map; 2) Providing an early warning system to beekeepers regarding seasonal and regional threats to honey bee health through the Sentinel Apiary Project; 3) Evaluating annual colony mortality causes found in our interactive National Management Survey Tool; and 4) Providing the infrastructure to support and manage the APHIS State National Honey Bee Pest and Disease survey. You can also stay up to date on all that we are doing by subscribing to our blogs here.

Thank you for your support – ANY amount helps!

The Team at Bee Informed Partnership




WASHINGTON, October 24, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the first update since 2013 of the National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (PDF, 340 KB).

The update culminates a yearlong review by the Federal Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinating Committee (FIPMCC), a joint effort that is coordinated by the Office of Pest Management Policy in the Office of USDA’s Chief Economist with representatives of all federal agencies with responsibilities in IPM research, implementation, or education programs. These agencies include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior (DOI), and Department of Defense (DoD).

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, sustainable decision-making process that uses information on pest biology, environmental data, and technology to manage pest damage in a way that minimizes both economic costs and risks to people, property, and the environment.

The National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM), first introduced in 2004, is periodically updated to reflect the evolving science, practice, and nature of IPM. The Road Map provides guidance to the IPM community on the adoption of effective, economical, and safe IPM practices, and on the development of new practices where needed. The guidance defines, prioritizes, and articulates pest management challenges across many landscapes, including: agriculture, forests, parks, wildlife refuges, military bases, as well as in residential, and public areas, such as public housing and schools. The Road Map also helps to identify priorities for IPM research, technology, education and implementation through information exchange and coordination among federal and non-federal researchers, educators, technology innovators, and IPM practitioners.

About OCE Office of Pest Management Policy

The USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) is responsible for the development and coordination of Department policy on pest management and pesticides. It coordinates activities and services of the Department, including research, extension, and education activities, coordinates interagency activities, and consults with agricultural producers that may be affected by USDA-related pest management or pesticide-related activities or actions. OPMP also works with EPA on pesticide and water pollution issues and represents USDA at national and international scientific and policy conferences.



Emma Goss

As beekeepers tend to their buzzing colonies this autumn, preparing to pollinate Kern’s almond orchards in January, bee bandits may be waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in and take those hives.

California’s almond acreage expanded by seven percent this year, increasing the demand for bees to pollinate those orchards.

The cost of pollination has risen steadily for over a decade, and now averages almond farmers $185 to $200 per hive, according to the California Beekeeper’s Association.

Now bee burglars are stealing those high-value hives, renting them out to almond farmers, and cashing in during pollination season.

Jack Wickerd, a third generation beekeeper and president of Happie Bee Co., had hundreds of his Weedpatch-based bees stolen not once, but twice.

“We lost about 400 hives over the last six years,” Wickerd said.

First in 2012, when he woke up to find 200 of his hives had gone missing the night before he was ready to set them out in the almond orchards.

“I don’t think I could sleep that night,” Wickerd recalled.

And most recently in 2014, thieves took over 220 of his hives.

“They just picked them all up, and they were just gone!” Wickerd said.

In total, Wickerd estimates he has lost $120,000 in profits.

Last year the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office called Wickerd with rare news, They’d arrested two men charged with stealing at least 2,500 hives across California over three years, including his.

“I was able to identify at least 00 boxes that were ours,” Wickerd said.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office had two reports of bee thefts this year, but even more may have gone unreported.

Wickerd has since moved his bees out of Kern County, and has 1,000 hives marked with his company name and contact info, safely stashed behind locked gates.

Some beekeepers also put GPS trackers on their boxes, and take out an insurance policy on their equipment in case it’s ever stolen.

“We just hope they don’t steal them,” Wickerd said. “I don’t know what else you can do.”