KoduaPhotography.com October 24, 2014
"My new bee calendar - hot off the press!" from Kodua
Best Management Practices
Becoming an Urban Beekeeper
Welcome to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association!
"The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others." Saint John Chrysostom
Next LACBA Meeting: Monday, November 3, 2014. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M. All are welcome!
Beekeeping Class 101: Our 2014 Beekeeping Class 101 has ended for the season. Check back in January of next year for information on the 2015 Beekeeping Class 101.
2014 CSBA ANNUAL CONVENTION - 'Celebrating 125 Years of California Beekeeping'
November 18-20, 2014
HYATT REGENCY VALENCIA, 24500 Town Center Drive, Valencia, CA 91355
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KoduaPhotography.com October 24, 2014
"My new bee calendar - hot off the press!" from Kodua
Project Apis m. The Forage and Nutrition Summit October 24, 2014
Beekeepers Speak Up at the Forage and Nutrition Summit
by Christi Heintz and Meg Ribotto, Project Apis m.
The Honey Bee Forage and Nutrition Summit, sponsored by USDA, was held October 20-21, in Alexandria, VA. The Summit was postured to seek input from stakeholder groups on issues concerning the interaction of nutrition and available forage on honey bee health. The Summit was organized and hosted by a true friend of the honey bee, Dr. David Epstein of USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy.
Day 1 consisted of a series of presentations aimed at honey bee forage and nutrition, and to provide background for Day 2, when participants provided input by participating in one of four assigned work groups.
Zac Browning, American Beekeeping Federation and Project Apis m board member, provided a dire view of honey bee habitat in the US. The impact of habitat loss is seen in decreased honey production, with US honey crops the lowest in history. Browning emphasized bees require 200 lb of honey and 40 lb of pollen per colony per year just to survive and factors such as increased soy and corn acreage, the decreased quantity and quality of Conservation Reserve Programs (CRP) lands, increased herbicide use, more efficient farming practices, and limitations imposed by pesticide use, all serve to decrease available flowers and forage for honey bees. Honey bees, the very backbone of agriculture, are in trouble. The unique delivery system for bees to agricultural crops - the beekeeper - is also in trouble.
An impressive slate of researchers followed Browning’s presentation, emphasizing the important role of nutrition in honey bee health and in mitigating the impacts of pests, diseases and even pesticide exposure.
Presentations by government representatives were somewhat disheartening. The Department of Defense, manager of huge acreage in the US, was a no-show. The National Park Service, understandably, wants to keep its lands pristine and would only consider “manipulated” or urban areas as suitable for bees. Urban areas, of course, are not suitable for commercially managed bees. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service will consider apiary locations on a case-by-case basis, but 85% of BLM offices surveyed didn’t know whether or not they even provided apiary permits. Let’s hope the President’s White House Initiatives hold some hope for bees on our public lands!
In discussions about honey bee forage, beekeepers made it clear they wanted to be at the table when it came to making decisions about plant species and land use. Government decisions made at the regional level that have excluded yellow sweet clover were called to question. “Sweet clover is cost effective, bees love it, and it’s good for them”, said RandyVerhoek, American Honey Producers. “Why is it classified as invasive?” he continued, when questioning how these bottom-up, sometimes subjective, regional decisions are made. Bret Adee, South Dakota beekeeper, stated that herbicide use on sweet clover growing in roadways and ditches eliminated a critical food source for bees since bees are so dependent now on marginal lands for the ir food. Dr. Marla Spivak summed it up on Day 2, “Bees are in crisis. Beekeepers need sweet clover now”. No doubt one of the next research avenues as a result of the Summit will be identifying high quality honey bee nectar and pollen sources that fit well within goals for a an overall healthier environment. Unlike the report on the Varroa Summit that seems to have been lost somewhere in the halls of USDA, Dr. Epstein has personally promised timely reporting on the Forage and Nutrition Summit.
If bees and beekeepers are to survive, affordable seed mixtures and incentives for landowners, even those not needing pollination services directly, must be developed to increase honey bee forage opportunities. Bees, beekeepers, their honey crop, and the over 90 crops dependent on honey bee pollination, cannot survive on a ditch diet alone.
For more information about the summit: http://pollinator.org/nappc/taskforces.htm
Bug Squad By Kathy Keatley Garvey October 23, 2014
If you've ever watched a Gray Hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus) nectaring a sedum, and then watched a honey bee (Apis mellifera) land on the same flower, it's a study in sharing.
"I was here first," says the Gray Hairstreak, sipping nectar.
"I was here second," says the honey bee.
So they wind up sharing, the butterfly and the honey bee. It's autumn and there's not much nectar anywhere.
"Stay back," says the butterfly.
"No," says the honey bee. "My colony needs the nectar."
So they crawl slowly on the blossom, meeting head to head, as if to prove that yes, "We can all get along."
The Gray Hairstreak is not so sure. The honey bee abruptly moves closer, and the startled butterfly lifts off to find another blossom.
The butterfly will be first again on a nearby sedum.
Science Daily Source: Queensland University of Technology October 21, 2014
An Australian native stingless bee species declares war on its neighbors by launching swarms of bees that lock hive-defenders in a death grip with their jaws so that both combatants die.
They may be tiny and stingless but there's nothing sweet and innocent about a species of native sugarbag bee when it goes to war over a coveted honey-filled hive.
A study by behavioural ecologist Dr Paul Cunningham, from QUT, and molecular biologist Dr James Hereward, from the University of Queensland, published inAmerican Naturalist, found the bees' used their jaws as lethal weapons when they zoomed in on a neighbouring Brisbane hive to boot out the inhabitants and install their own queen to rule.
Dr Cunningham said the attacking bees arrived in a swarm and clashed jaws, locking the defenders in a "death grip" with their strong mandibles.
"Neither the attacker nor defender survives in these one-on-one death battles, during which a carpet of dead and dying bees can be seen on the ground. It is a sheer numbers game as to who wins," Dr Cunningham said.
"It took three consecutive attacks over several weeks before the hockingsi bees won out.
"When they eventually broke through the defences, they smothered the hive in a huge swarm, mercilessly ejecting the resident workers, drones and young queens. It was carnage!"
Dr Hereward said they had expected to find two colonies of the same species at war.
"The defending colony was, as we expected, Tetragonula carbonaria, but the attacking colony turned out to be a related species originating from further north, called Tetragonula hockingsi."
Dr Cunningham said the hive then settled down and there was no further fighting for several months, so they opened it up and looked at the genetics of the new brood.
"There was a new queen in residence, and she was a daughter of the attacking colony's queen."
The researchers studied more than 250 hives around Brisbane and found evidence of 46 of these all-or-nothing take-overs over five years.
"And the hockingsi bees are not always the winners," Dr Cunningham said.
"We still have many questions to answer, such as what instigates the attacks, and whether the young in the usurped hive are spared and reared as slaves, or killed outright."
Dr Cunningham said stingless bees were important pollinators and with honeybees threatened, the race was on to better understand these bees' habits of mid-air warfare and territoriality.
Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World By Kathy Keatley Garvey October 21, 2014
Follow that buzz!
When the California State Beekeepers' Association, founded in 1889, meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia for its 2014 convention, it will mark a milestone: 125 years of beekeeping. Not so coincidentally, the theme is "Celebrating 125 Years of California Beekeeping."
And to think that California's first honey bees are "fairly new" newcomers: they didn't arrive in the Golden State (San Jose area) until 1853.
The conference promises to be educational, informative, timely and fun. "We will hear about things going on in the world of beekeeping on the local, state, and national levels," said CSBA president Bill Lewis, who lives in the San Fernando Valley and maintains 650 colonies of bees (Bill's Bees) with his wife, Liane, and business partner, Clyde Steese.
Topics range from “Keeping Bees Safe in Almonds" and “Land Trusts Working with Beekeepers," to "Mead Making" and "Urban Beekeeping, Beginner to Advanced."
Among the hot topics: Entomologist Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University will speak on “The Effects of Bee Safe Insecticide" on Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Biologist Thomas Seeley of Cornell University will speak on "Survivor Population of European Honey Bees Living Wild in New York State” at the research luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 20. He is also scheduled for two other talks, "Honeybee Democracy" (the title of one of his books) and "The Bee Hive as a Honey Factory," both on Nov. 20. In addition, speakers will address such topics as forage, land management, queen health, genetic diversity, and pests and diseases.
One of the featured presentations will be the richly illustrated documentary, "Almond Odyssey," a look at California's almond pollination season, the world's largest managed pollination event. The state's 900,000 acres of almonds draw beekeepers and their bees from all over the country.
The gathering of beekeepers will include multiple generations of family-owned commercial beekeeping operations, bee hobbyists, and those hoping to start their very first bee hive, Lewis says. They're there to learn the latest about beekeeping from world-renowned researchers and industry authorities.
The University of California, Davis, is expected to be well represented. Amina Harris, director of theHoney and Pollination Center, UC Davis, will speak Wednesday, Nov. 19 on “Honey Wheel” and “California Master Beekeeper." Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker). He will introduce the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch." (For a complete list of sessions and speaker biographies and to register for the conferene, access the CSBA website.)
CSBA's mission is to support and promote commercial beekeepers and pollination services in California's agricultural farmlands. Each year funds raised at the CSBA convention go to research. Researchers attend the conference and provide updates. They are in "the front lines of the bee health battle," Lewis noted.
The conference (as well as membership in CSBA) is open to all interested persons.