News from the world of beekeeping – Items of potential interest 4 May 2019

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



Bee Viruses: Ecology, Pathogenicity, and Impacts The Whole Food Diet for Bees Bee Health Guru Economics can help us protect the world’s wildlife Washington state to set up task force on pollinators Kenyon becomes Bee Campus Are native bees and honey bees competitors? ARS entomologists highlight latest research tools Biologists warn of peril from biological invasions Biocultural Approaches to Pollinator Conservation Study Findings on Pollinator Declines: Neonics Increase Honey Bee Vulnerability to Mites NCGA releases pollinator protection guide Project Wingspan How can I tell if my fruit trees need pollinators? A 60-mile bee highway is forming across the Triangle’s corporate offices California almond acreage increases in 2018 Are buyers willing to forgo quality for locally grown? Nature News: Planting For Pollinators Following California’s ‘Super Bloom’ World Beekeeping Awards






FROM ABJ EXTRA 1. Weak Honey Bee Colonies May Fail From Cold Exposure During Shipping

  1. Growers Reminded of Best-Management Practices When Planting Treated Seed
  2. Premium New Zealand Honey Producer Admits Adding Chemicals: Media
  3. EPA Takes Next Step in Review Process for Herbicide Glyphosate, Reaffirms No Risk to Public Health


Bee Viruses: Ecology, Pathogenicity, and Impacts

Christina M. Grozinger and Michelle L. Flenniken


Bees—including solitary, social, wild, and managed species—are key pollinators of flowering plant species, including nearly three-quarters of global food crops. Their ecological importance, coupled with increased annual losses of managed honey bees and declines in populations of key wild species, has focused attention on the factors that adversely affect bee health, including viral pathogens. Genomic approaches have dramatically expanded understanding of the diversity of viruses that infect bees, the complexity of their transmission routes—including intergenus transmission—and the diversity of strategies bees have evolved to combat virus infections, with RNA-mediated responses playing a prominent role. Moreover, the impacts of viruses on their hosts are exacerbated by the other major stressors bee populations face, including parasites, poor nutrition, and exposure to chemicals. Unraveling the complex relationships between viruses and their bee hosts will lead to improved understanding of viral ecology and management strategies that support better bee health.

Annual Review of Entomology, Vol. 64:205-226:

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The whole food diet for bees

Stephanie Pain

As I walked into Jeri Wright’s bee lab on a mid-October morning, two things were bothering me. The lab, where Wright and her team investigate bee nutrition, is in the far north of England, part of Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience. The bees live on the roof and the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia was about to blow through. So would there be any bees to see, or would they be tucked up warm and safe for winter? And if there were bees still actively helping Wright’s team unravel the complexities of a bee’s diet — how to avoid being stung?

It didn’t look promising. There were no bees yet — so while we waited, the team happily shared their expert knowledge of bee stings. The trick, they said, is to choose a friendly sort of honeybee . . .

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Bee Health Guru A new Kickstarter Project invites beekeepers to aid in the ongoing development of the Bee Health Guru app, which picks up communication among bees and makes a determination regarding the health of the colony.


Economics can help us protect the world’s wildlife Nick Hanley and Jason Shogren

People affect nature, nature affects people. This interaction of humans and nature creates opportunities and risks to both. One major challenge today is how to protect biodiversity. Across the world, scientists tell ­­us the diversity and abundance of life on earth is declining. From coral reefs affected by bleaching and pollution, to lions in Africa, to marine mammals killed by plastic pollution, we hear increasingly bad news from the natural world. Economics can help us understand why these losses are happening and figure out how to reverse these losses.

Consider first the loss of many species in farmland birds, bumblebees and butterflies from parts of the UK where they were previously abundant. One important reason for this loss has been . . .

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Washington state to set up task force on pollinators Don Jenkins

OLYMPIA — Washington state will spend $399,000 on a new task force to study promoting the health of honeybees and other pollinators.

The task force, funded in the state’s new two-year budget, will include public officials, beekeepers, farmers and conservationists. Commercial beekeeper Tim Hiatt of the Washington State Beekeepers Association said he hopes a panel stocked with different viewpoints will be an advantage.

“It could help build consensus on taking some actions . . .

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Kenyon becomes Bee Campus

GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College has become the 67th educational institution in the nation and the second in Ohio to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program.

Kenyon joins more than 100 other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators.

As part of its involvement in the Bee Campus USA program, Kenyon will host . . .

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Are native bees and honey bees competitors?

Some entomologists and native bee advocates are concerned that . . .

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ARS entomologists highlight latest research tools

WASHINGTON — Entomologists have developed a variety of tools to study insects.

They have flight mills where insects are tethered to a rotating arm, so they can monitor the insect’s flight speed and duration. They’ve developed specialized techniques for marking insects with proteins to track their movements, diets and feeding patterns. There are state-of-the-art video cameras and accompanying software for continuously monitoring insects, for weeks at a time, in laboratories. Researchers can attach electrical probes to insects to learn how they feed on plants and transmit diseases.

But how would an entomologist just starting out, or one who wants to broaden the scope of their research, know what tools are available? How would they know . . .

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Biologists warn of peril from biological invasions

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — As the Trump Administration prepares to cut in half the budget for the National Invasive Species Council, a group of invasive species experts led by a University of Rhode Island professor has issued a warning about the growing peril of biological invasions and the increasing threat they pose to the economy, environment, public health and national security.

“Defunding invasion policy and management at the federal level at a time when the rate of invasions into the U.S. are increasing and is exacerbated by climate change is reckless and puts the economic well-being, health and natural capital of U.S. citizens at risk,” said Laura Meyerson, URI professor of natural resources science.

Along with colleagues James Carlton, professor of marine sciences emeritus at Williams College, David Lodge, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, and Daniel Simberloff, the Nancy Gore Hunger professor at the University of Tennessee, Meyerson published an editorial in this week’s edition of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. In it they note that . . .

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Biocultural Approaches to Pollinator Conservation

Abstract: Pollinators underpin sustainable livelihoods that link ecosystems, spiritual and cultural values, and customary governance systems with indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) across the world. Biocultural diversity is a shorthand term for this great variety of people–nature interlinkages that have developed over time in specific ecosystems.

Biocultural approaches to conservation explicitly build on the conservation practices inherent in sustaining these livelihoods. We used the Conceptual Framework of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to analyse the biocultural approaches to pollinator conservation by IPLCs globally. The analysis identified biocultural approaches to pollinators across all six elements of the Conceptual Framework, with conservation-related practices occurring in 60 countries, in all continents except Antarctica.

Practices of IPLCs that are important for biocultural approaches to pollinator conservation can be grouped into three categories: the practice of valuing diversity and fostering biocultural diversity; landscape management practices; and diversified farming systems. Particular IPLCs may use some or all of these practices. Policies that recognize customary tenure over traditional lands, strengthen indigenous and community-conserved areas, promote heritage listing and support diversified farming systems within a food sovereignty approach are among several identified that strengthen biocultural approaches to pollinator conservation, and thereby deliver mutual benefits for pollinators and people…”

Read on and access the full paper at: Nature Sustainability.

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Study Findings on Pollinator Declines: Neonics Increase Honey Bee Vulnerability to Mites

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 30, 2019) According to the latest blog post from pesticide industry propagandist Henry I Miller, the pollinator crisis either a) is not occurring; b) is not a problem; or, c) caused by varroa mites, pathogens, and habitat loss. Notwithstanding outlandish assertions that there is no pollinator crisis, new research is further undermining the long-held industry claim that it is mites and disease alone, and not pesticides that are harming pollinator populations. Published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of Canadian scientists, this research finds that realistic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides impairs honey bees ability to groom mites off of their bodies and increases infection with a disease known as deformed wing virus (DWV).

“When bee colonies began to collapse years ago, it became clear there wasn’t just one factor involved, so we . . .

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NCGA releases pollinator protection guide

EASTON — The National Corn Growers Association — in partnership with the Honey Bee Health Coalition — is releasing new best management practices to protect bees and other pollinators in and around cornfields.

“While corn does not rely on honey bees for pollination like some crops, bees depend on neighboring plants for forage,” said Nathan Fields, NCGA vice president of production and sustainability. “As good stewards of the land, corn growers can follow these BMPs to help protect honey bee health, ensuring productive agricultural systems for all.”

Corn farmers who rotate with soybeans could also see added benefit from their pollinator stewardship because bees can increase soybean yields by . . .

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Project Wingspan

Pollinator Partnership (P2) is excited to announce that they have been awarded another 2-year grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to continue their regional seed collection and habitat enhancement efforts for monarchs and now, the rusty patched bumble bee, through their new initiative: Project Wingspan (PW).

Project Wingspan will be building upon the successful foundation of their other NFWF-funded project, Monarch Wings Across the Eastern Broadleaf Forest (MWAEBF), which is coming to an end April 2019. P2 is seeking volunteer seed collectors, collection locations, and team leads, as well as public land managers and private land stewards in Pennsylvania who are interested in filling out their online habitat survey to participate in a habitat acreage count and be eligible for plant material awards.

The coalition of partners across the Midwest that have joined the program is still growing and includes:

  • The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
  • IL, IN, and MI Departments of Natural Resources
  • Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative
  • Holden Forests & Gardens
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program
  • Pheasants Forever
  • University of Arkansas Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies
  • Michigan State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Several National Wildlife Refuges, land trusts, and other natural areas

To learn more about this effort and how you can get involved, please see the attached documents (updated with my contact info). For questions or for more information, please contact Joe Hovis (

How can I tell if my fruit trees need pollinators?

Leimone Waite

  1. I recently moved into a new home that had several fruit trees, and I have added more fruit trees this spring. How can I tell which fruit trees in my new home will need pollinators and which won’t?
  2. I am assuming that you are asking about which of your fruit trees will require another compatible tree to pollinate the tree and not about honeybees or another insect that would help pollinate the flowers. Almost all fruit trees will require some help from insect pollinators to have a good fruit crop.

Most peaches . . .

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A 60-mile bee highway is forming across the Triangle’s corporate offices

In 2014, Leigh-Kathryn Bonner was just looking for a place to put her beehives.

After being told she couldn’t keep one at her apartment complex, she asked the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, where she was interning as an N.C. State University student, if she could put the hive on top of their building.

It was a temporary solution for the fourth-generation beekeeper’s passion project, but it was also one that soon launched a real business. Other companies, like Burt’s Bees in Durham, saw what was happening and asked for her to place urban beehives on their roofs.

Now, nearly five years later, hundreds of Bee Downtown’s hives can be found at corporate offices across the Triangle — and now even in Atlanta, after it expanded there.

In the Triangle, the hives will soon form . . .

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California almond acreage increases in 2018

MODESTO, Calif. – USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that California’s almond acreage continued to increase in 2018. Bearing acres, or orchards that have matured enough to produce a crop, are reported at 1.09 million acres, which is up 6 percent from 2017. Total almond acres for 2018 is estimated at 1.39 million acres, up 2 percent from the previous year.[i]

With this increase, almond growers remain committed to continuous improvement, finding ways to responsibly produce more almonds to meet global and domestic demand (30% of total shipments of California almonds are shipped domestic). Last year . . .

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Are buyers willing to forgo quality for locally grown?

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — West Coast farms produce more than 90 percent of the broccoli consumed in the United States. With production mainly in California, and concentrated in Monterey County, this creates a food security issue, especially in light of California droughts in recent years, and long supply chains to the East Coast, according to Phillip Coles, professor of practice in management at Lehigh.

Because of this, in 2010, Cornell University . .

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Nature News: Planting For Pollinators Following California’s ‘Super Bloom’

Angela McLaughlin

Vibrant oranges, yellows and purples, along with vivid emerald hues, cover the landscape of Southern California. With this year’s record “super bloom,” homeowners may be pondering planting ideas for their own yards and wondering how they can possibly compete with Mother Nature.

In addition, swarms of painted lady butterflies across San Diego County may have residents considering how they can attract more of these beautiful pollinators — and how to welcome others, as well.

Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and more will benefit from a well-planted garden. And the benefits go both ways, as having pollinators present will also increase the overall health of a garden.

Pollinators are immensely critical to the natural environment and are essential to our own food production, as the majority of the fruits and vegetables we consume require the assistance of various creatures for pollination.

According to the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University, “Outside of agricultural systems, approximately 80 to 95 percent of the plant species found in natural habitats require animal-mediated pollination.”

Spring may offer the widest natural selection of flowers in Southern California, but . . .

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World Beekeeping Awards




Research is beginning to explain how systemic neonicotinoid insecticides affect often overlooked species of ground nesting bees. While much of the current scientific literature has focused on the impacts of pesticides to bumblebees and honey bees, a study, Chronic contact with realistic soil concentrations of imidacloprid affects the mass, immature development speed, and adult longevity of solitary bees, recently published in Scientific Reports, confirms that wild, soil-dwelling bees are at similar risk. As policy makers consider ways to protect pollinators, this research finds that . . .

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The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) is seeking grant proposals for research devoted to finding practical solutions to honey bee health problems. Up to $130,000 will be made available during this grant process. Multiple grants may be awarded. Proposals funding partial projects and proposals providing valuable extensions of previously funded projects will be considered. Applicants are invited to respond to this request by submitting a proposal for any or all of the following research priorities: • Varroa mite control • Understanding honey bee viruses and effects on honey bee health • Correlating pathogen presence to management practices • Any other problem-solving ideas of interest to the beekeeping industry

Proposals do not have to be elaborate or lengthy, but . . .

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Federal crop insurance and the critical role it serves as part of the farm safety net unexpectedly took center stage at a recent Senate Finance hearing with the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow questioned USTR Lighthizer on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2020, which takes aim at  . . .

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  1. Weak Honey Bee Colonies May Fail From Cold Exposure During Shipping

Kim Kaplan

FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, April 18, 2019—Cold temperatures inside honey bee colonies may cause colony losses during and after long-distance hauling, according to a preliminary study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Every year almost 2 million honey bee colonies—nearly two-thirds of the managed colonies in the United States—are loaded aboard semi-trailers and shipped across the country multiple times to pollinate crops like California almonds.

But within days of arrival, some of these colonies will have . . .

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  1. Growers Reminded of Best-Management Practices When Planting Treated Seed

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2019) – An agricultural industry collaboration led by Growing Matters, a coalition committed to neonicotinoid product stewardship, today launched “BeSure!” – a stewardship-awareness campaign to promote best-management practices to farmers and applicators who use neonic products.

Powered by Growing Matters along with the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), BeSure! is designed to strengthen awareness of . . .

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  1. Premium New Zealand Honey Producer Admits Adding Chemicals: Media

Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A New Zealand company pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of adding artificial chemicals to its premium manuka honey, media reported, in a flagship prosecution over a product that is high-value export for the country.

New Zealand Food Safety filed the case against . . .

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  1. EPA Takes Next Step in Review Process for Herbicide Glyphosate, Reaffirms No Risk to Public Health

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step in the agency’s review of glyphosate. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The agency’s scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with . . .

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