Flame in the Bee Yard: Relighting a Smoker the Easy Way

Bee Informed Partnership By: Dan Aurell May 16, 2019

The Scenario

We’ve all experienced a smoker going out just when we need it. Sometimes we may simply forget to pump the bellows for too long while we are getting some other things ready; sometimes we may make the mistake of stuffing the fire chamber too tightly with fuel before the fire has a good chance to catch. At other times our smoker may go out during travel between bee yards. Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

The Traditional Method

So, when your smoker goes out for the umpteenth time, what do you typically do? You could re-open the smoker, dig in there, take out some fuel, burn your fingers in the process of making room for a flame, light the fuel from the bottom and cross your fingers so it stays lit this time? Let me save you the embarrassment, there is a lazy way to re-light it!

A smoker holds up after numerous external lightings

A smoker holds up after numerous external lightings

The Tried and True Easy (Lazy) Method

First, if you do not already own a propane blow torch, it is well-worth your time, energy and money (~$40) to procure yourself one. Once you have a propane blow torch, you can simply blast the flame at the outside of the metal smoker while pumping the bellows, and voilà! The heat transfer through the metal will re-light most smoker fuels. Don’t be afraid to heat the metal red-hot: smokers are seemingly built to withstand such high heat for long periods of time. For example, commercial beekeepers will keep their smoker lit for a long time while loading a semi truckload of bees or working colonies in a big bee yard. If you are concerned about wear and tear, I can report that after a year of relighting my smoker with a torch, the metal on one part of the fire chamber is a little bumpy, but otherwise totally fine.

Warnings:

Keep the flame away from the bellow and its air valve

Keep the flame away from the bellow and its air valve

Even though it is shielded by metal on most models, be aware that there is an air valve on the back side of the bellows that could be damaged by flame or heat. The same goes for fingers…

The Lazy Man is a Safe Man

You read that right – this lazy method has an upside beyond convenience. At times and places with an elevated wildfire risk, this method may be a safer way to play with fire in the bee yard. Since it doesn’t require you to pull out the contents of the smoker, which often are still smoldering a little and with a slight breeze can blow sparks across a dry field, you too can prevent wildfires!

https://beeinformed.org/2019/05/16/flame-in-the-bee-yard-relighting-a-smoker-the-easy-way/

Out-Of-Work Appalachian Coal Miners Train As Beekeepers To Earn Extra Cash

NPR The Salt By Jodi Helmer January 28, 2019

Members of the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective inspect one of their apiaries. The collective teaches displaced coal miners in West Virginia how to keep bees as a way to supplement their income.  Courtesy of Kevin Johnson

Members of the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective inspect one of their apiaries. The collective teaches displaced coal miners in West Virginia how to keep bees as a way to supplement their income. Courtesy of Kevin Johnson

Just like his grandfather and father before him, James Scyphers spent almost two decades mining coal in West Virginia.

"These were the best jobs in the area; we depended on 'em," he recalls.

But mining jobs started disappearing, declining from 132,000 in 1990 to 53,000 in 2018, devastating the area's economy. In a state that now has the lowest labor-force participation rate in the nation, the long-term decline of coal mining has left West Virginia residents without new options to make a living.

Scyphers was fortunate to find a construction job, but it paid two-thirds less than what he earned underground. He often took odd jobs to make ends meet. One of those odd jobs included building hives and tending bees for the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective.

"I wish this group had been here 30 years ago," he says. "Our region needs it."

Appalachian Headwaters operates the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. The nonprofit was formed in 2016 to invest a $7.5 million settlement from a lawsuit against coal mine operator Alpha Natural Resources for violations of the Clean Water Act. The money has been used to fund environmental restoration projects and to develop sustainable economic opportunities in the once-thriving coal-mining communities of West Virginia.

The collective offers beekeeping training to displaced coal miners and low-income residents of mining communities throughout the state, with the goal of helping them find new job opportunities and generate supplemental income.

"It wasn't just the miners that lost their livelihoods when mining jobs disappeared; other industries started to wilt, too, and entire communities were affected," explains Cindy Bee, a master beekeeper with Appalachian Headwaters. "We're doing something that can boost the town up."

To date, the nonprofit, based in the small town of Hinton, has trained 35 beekeepers (with an estimated 50 more signed up for classes that begin in a few weeks) and operates in 17 counties throughout the state. Those who complete the free Introduction to Beekeeping classes receive equipment and bees free or at a reduced cost and have access to ongoing training and mentorship. Partners maintain between two and 20 hives.

James Scyphers, who spent almost two decades mining coal in West Virginia, says miners have a lot to gain from the program. "Beekeeping is hands-on work, like mining, and requires on-the-job training. You need a good work ethic for both."  Courtesy of Kevin Johnson

James Scyphers, who spent almost two decades mining coal in West Virginia, says miners have a lot to gain from the program. "Beekeeping is hands-on work, like mining, and requires on-the-job training. You need a good work ethic for both." Courtesy of Kevin Johnson

Bee says 2018 was the first season with "boots on the ground," when beekeepers were maintaining their own hives. Beekeepers must wait a full year to collect honey from their hives; the first honey harvest will happen this spring. Appalachian Beekeeping Collective will collect, bottle and sell the honey and pay beekeepers market rate for their harvest.

A strong beehive can produce between 60 and 100 pounds of honey per season, Bee says. At an average retail price of $7.32 per pound in 2018, beekeepers could earn an estimated $732 in supplemental income per hive per season. With multiple hives, that can add up quickly: Twenty hives could mean nearly $15,000 per season. There are also opportunities to produce candles, lip balm and other wax products with additional training offered through the organization.

In a region where jobs are scarce and more than 28 percent of residents live in poverty, opportunities for additional income are welcome. And beekeeping does leave plenty of time for other work.

The supplemental income would be "life changing" for Carie Ortman.

The Alderson, W.Va., resident maintained 18 hives last season with the help of her mentors at the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. Although disease and winter losses, common among beekeepers, have forced her to start over each spring (she started keeping bees in 2016 as a hobby), Ortman remains optimistic.

"Now that I know about all of the possibilities for making money from my hives, I'm all in," she says. "I need this extra income, and I'm going to be big time with this."

While the training is open to all West Virginia residents who are at or below the federal poverty rate, Scyphers believes former coal miners have the most to gain.

"The older folks want to get back to work, but mining is never going to be like it was in the '60s and '70s, and there is nothing to fall back on, no other big industries here, so all of these folks need retraining," he says. "Beekeeping is hands-on work, like mining, and requires on-the-job training. You need a good work ethic for both."

"Most of the coal miners are hardworking people," Scyphers adds. "With what Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is doing, teaching us how to make a profit from beekeeping, I think we can all make a good go of it and get back to work."

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/28/685878133/out-of-work-appalachian-coal-miners-train-as-beekeepers-to-earn-extra-cash

(Note: The Western Apicultural Society is making a collective and conscious shift to be an organization that builds community around bees. This will be very apparent at our upcoming conference (July 11th-14th in Ashland, OR)... bee there!!

In the meantime, check out this very cool project that aims to create community and build income for folks who have fallen on hard times in Appalachia!

Our opening keynote speaker, Katrina Klett, is doing similar work with farmers abroad.)

LACBA 2018 Golden Hive Tool Award Presented to Dave Williams

Congratulations to Dave Williams for receiving the
Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association 2018 Golden Hive Tool Award!

Dave Williams, 2018 Golden Hive Tool Award

Dave Williams, 2018 Golden Hive Tool Award

Each year the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association presents the Golden Hive Tool Award to a member who shows curiosity and growth in working with bees or who has shown good service to our club.

At our January 7, 2019 LACBA Membership Meeting, the 2018 Golden Hive Tool Award was presented to LACBA member, Dave Williams.

Dave grew up in Pasadena and his high school time was spent at a wonderful college preparatory school which offered an independent studies program nurturing growing young adults in art, natural history, academics, athletics and independent study programs. One of his professors kept bees. Dave was stung, both literally and figuratively, and his honeybee beekeeping began.

In the 70’s he went to work for the LA Honey Company.

Dave began a career in the aerospace industry as a mechanic repairing airplane instruments. He was a VW mechanic, repairing communication equipment for the military.

Since the 90’s Dave has volunteered at the Bee Booth at the Los Angeles County Fair and has kept the bees alive in the indoor observation hive during the fair. Now Dave not only helps organize and manage the Bee Booth, but volunteers for a full week of managing not only the bee booth but the volunteers during his time at the booth.

In 1993 he set up and ran an Africanized honey bee booth, explaining and demystifying the Africanized honey bee.

Dave was instrumental in changing the regulations for keeping honey bees in the City of Pasadena.

Like many of our members, Dave said the heck with the 9 to 5 work day and set out to make a living keeping and removing bee swarms.

Dave and his wife, Mary, raised three children (one of them allergic to bees), and are now proud grandparents.

We’d like to thank Dave Williams for being a long time member of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, and for his dedication and service to the LACBA, to bees, beekeeping, and beekeepers.

Congratulations!

Envisioning the Future of Beekeeping - A 3 Part Series

Pollinator Stewardship Council / Pollinator News                       August 3, 2018

Envisioning the Future of Beekeeping- a 3 part series 

Tammy Horn Potter, Kentucky State Apiarist, and Michele Colopy, Pollinator Stewardship Council collaborated on a series of articles discussing the future of beekeeping. The co-authors interviewed a dozen beekeepers across the US for the June, July, and August issues of the American Bee Journal.  You can read the three articles at:  Articles 1 & 2      Article 3  

To read the discussion, to continue the discussion, to participate in the discussion begun by these interviews, go to our Facebook page. Select the FORUM page on the left side of our Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/PollinatorsStewardship/   or at  https://www.facebook.com/PollinatorStewardshipCouncil/

How do you envision the future of beekeeping?

http://pollinatorstewardship.org/

(The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association is a proud supporter of the Pollinator Stewardship Council.)

Beekeeping - What You Need to Start Keeping Bees!

Bill's Bees     By Bill Lewis     February 4, 2018

In March and April you’ll be picking up your bees (hope you’ve got your bee order in, they’re going fast!). Below are some things to consider and plan for before you pick up your bees.

Location, Location, Location:

A location in the open, preferably with a southern or easterly exposure, for maximum sunshine throughout the day.

Away from animals and children, not along a foot path, or where there is direct traffic. 

Protected by a barrier (approx. 2 feet from - and facing a hill or wall) from wind, streets, etc. This will also force the bees to fly up and over cars, people, etc., thus causing them to be less of a nuisance and helping them to stay alive.

Ease of access (you don’t want to be lifting heavy supers of honey up and down stairs or across rocky fields).

What the bees will need:

A safe, natural habitat with a source for nectar and pollen. A typical honey bee colony forages more than 80,000 square yards to find plants and flowers with sufficient nectar (honey) the bees' source for energy and pollen (essential in brood rearing) the bees' source of carbohydrates. 

A nearby source of fresh water (within ¼ mile) so they don’t use the neighbor’s swimming pool. This can be a tank or barrel of water with rocks or floating boards or cork for the bees to land on. 

A safe, comfortable, home to live in. 

We suggest you buy a couple of good beekeeping books and read them all the way through, twice.

Book Suggestions:

Beekeeper’s Handbook 

Keeping Bees in Towns & Cities

How to Keep Bees & Sell Honey

Beekeeping for Dummies

Basic Essentials List for Beginning Beekeepers:

The Hive - Langstroth (from the bottom up):

Hive Stand - This is a platform to keep the hive off the ground. It improves circulation, reduces dampness in the hive, and helps keep ants, bugs, leaves, and debris from getting into the hive. It can be made of anything solid enough to support the weight of a full beehive. Wooden hive stands are available for sale but bricks, concrete blocks, pallets, and found lumber are just as good. It’s helpful to place the legs of the stand in cans filled with used motor oil to deter ants from climbing up the legs and into the hive. The stand should be strong enough to support one hive or a number of colonies. What is important to remember is that the hive needs to be at least 6 inches off the ground.

Bottom Board - Is placed on top of the hive stand and is the floor of the hive. Bees use it as a landing board and a place to take off from. 

Entrance Reducer - Is basically a stick of wood used to reduce the size of the entrance to the hive. It helps deter robbing.

Hive Boxes/Supers - Come in three sizes: deep, medium and shallow. Traditionally, 2 deep boxes have been used as brood chambers with 3 or 4 or more boxes (medium or shallow) on top as needed for honey storage. Many beekeepers use all medium boxes throughout the hive. This helps reduce the weight of each box for lifting. If you have back problems or are concerned about heavy lifting, you could even use shallow boxes all throughout the hive. So, 6 boxes as a minimum for deep and medium. More if you wanted to use only shallow boxes. You will only need two boxes to start out, adding boxes as needed for extra room and honey storage.

Frames and Foundation - For each box you have for your hive, you will need 10 frames that fit that box. Frames can be wooden with beeswax foundation or all plastic with a light coating of beeswax. The bees don't care and will use both equally well. Foundation is intended to give the bees a head start on their comb building and helps minimize cross comb building that makes it difficult to remove and inspect. You can buy all beeswax foundation or plastic foundation with a thin coat of beeswax applied to it. Alternatively, you can provide empty frames and let the bees build their comb from scratch but that can be a bit tricky and it takes the bees longer to get established. 

Top Cover: The top cover can be as simple as a flat sheet of plywood. We prefer the top covers made with laminated pieces to make a flat board and extra cross bracing to help hold the board flat for years. Plywood tends to warp over time. You can also use a telescoping cover, but they require an additional inner cover. 

Paint - All parts of your hive that are exposed to the weather should be painted with (2 coats) of a non-toxic paint. Do not paint the inside of the hive or the entrance reducer. Most hives are painted white to reflect the sun, but you can use any light colors. Painting your hives different colors may help reduce drift between the colonies. If your hive will not be in your own bee yard, you may want to paint your name and phone number on the side of the hive.

Tools & Supplies:

bee brushBee Brush - A beekeeper needs a brush to gently move the bees from an area of observation when looking for a queen and when harvesting frames of honey. Use a brush that has long, soft, flexible, yellow bristles. Don’t use a dark, stiff brush with animal hair, or a paint brush.

duct tapeDuct Tape - You’ll have lots of uses for duct tape, might want to keep it handy.                                                                                                                                                   


Hive Tool - A hive tool is the most useful piece of beekeeping equipment. It can be used to pry up the inner cover, pry apart frames, scrape and clean hive parts, scrape wax and propolis out of the hive, nail the lid shut, pull nails, and scrape bee stingers off skin. The hive tool has two parts: the wedge or blade and the handle. Hive tools are often fitted with brightly-colored, plastic-coated handles which helps the beekeeper locate the hive tool while working.

FeederFeeder - You may want to have a feeder with sugar syrup to give your new bees a boost in their new home. Its the helping hand they need to get started building comb.

SmokerSmoker - Examining a hive is much easier when you use a smoker. Use it to puff smoke into the entrance before opening the hive and to blow smoke over the frames once the hive is opened. This helps the beekeeper to manage the bees. Cool smoke helps to settle the bees. Smoking the bees initiates a feeding response causing preparation to possibly leave the hive due to a fire. The smoke also masks the alarm pheromone released by the colony’s guard bees when the hive is opened and manipulated. Smoke must be used carefully. Too much can drive bees from the hive. A smoker is basically a metal can with a bellows and a spout attached to it. We prefer to use a smoker with a wire cage around it. A large smoker is best as it keeps the smoke going longer. It can be difficult to keep a smoker lit (especially for new beekeepers). Practice lighting and maintaining the smoker. Burlap, rotted wood shavings, pine needles, eucalyptus, cardboard, and cotton rags are good smoker fuels.

Protective Clothing:

Bee suitBee Suit - For the best protection, full bee suits are recommended. But whether or not a suit is used, a beekeeper's clothing should be white or light in color (bees generally do not like dark colors and will attack dark objects). Avoid woolen and knit material. You will want to wear clothing both that will protect you and you don’t mind getting stained (bees produce waste that shows up as yellowish marks on your clothing). You’ll want to close off all potential to getting stung by wearing high top boots or tucking your pants into your socks and securing your cuffs with rubber bands or duct tape.

Bee Gloves - Long, leather, ventilated gloves with elastic on the sleeves help protect the hands and arms from stings.

Hat and Veil - Even the most experienced beekeepers wear a hat and veil to protect their head, face, and eyes from bee stings. Wire veils keep bees farther away from the face than those made of cloth. Black veiling is generally easier to see through. Make sure the veil extends down below and away from your neck.

That’s it!

Once you have all you need, expenses can be kept to a minimum. With the right care, equipment, tools, and clothing will last a long time. If your hive becomes overcrowded, just add another box or two. Or, you may find you’ll want to split your hive – then you’ll have two! If honey is overflowing, just add another box or two. And, great! – You’ll have lots of yummy honey!!

A note on protective clothing: There was a time when we could safely visit our bees wearing little protective clothing. With the arrival of Africanized honey bees into the Southern states, we've come to realize the potential danger of an aggressive hive and have learned to exercise caution when approaching our bees. A once gentle hive could be invaded and taken over by a small aggressive swarm in a few days. These bees are unpredictable and vigorously defend their hives. Protective clothing such as a bee suit, veil and gloves will help keep stings to a minimum in the bee yard if worn correctly. As beekeepers, it is our responsibility to help curtail the danger to our bees, ourselves, and others. At Bill's Bees, we practice responsible beekeeping for an urban environment.

Here’s a list of suppliers:

Los Angeles Honey Company 
Dadant & Sons 
Mann Lake Ltd. 
Walter T. Kelley Co.
The Valley Hive

We primarily work with the Langstroth hive but you can also use the Top Bar Hive or the Warre Hive. We'll be happy to share our experience with these two styles of hives, as well. 

For many years, Bill's Bees held the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 at our apiary in Little Tujunga Canyon. The class grew from under 20 newbees in 2010 to nearly 200 in 2016. Since we no longer have our location in Little Tujunga Canyon, the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 is being held at The Valley Hive. You can fine information about the classes on the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 website and LACBA Facebook page.

Reminder - Get your bees now. You don't want to be bee-less come bee season. Bill's Bees Sells Bees in Complete Hives - Medium Box SpecialDeep BoxPackagesNucs, and Italian Queens. Our bees have known gentle genetics and are great for commercial and backyard beekeeping. 

Happy bee-ing!

Thank you, 
Bill Lewis
Bill's Bees

http://billsbees.com/
https://billsbees.com/blogs/news-2018/beekeeping-what-you-need-to-start-keeping-bees
https://billsbees.com/collections/bees
https://www.facebook.com/BillsBeesHoney/
/ 
/beekeeping-classes-losangeles/ 
https://www.facebook.com/losangelesbeekeeping

(Bill Lewis, owner of Bill's Bees, is a current member and former president of the California State Beekeepers Association and the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association. Bill has been keeping bees for nearly 40 years.)

Beekeepers Feel the Sting of California's Great Hive Heist

NPR The Salt   Heard on All Things Considered   By Ezra David Romero     June 27, 2017Beehives in an apiary Daniel Milchev/Getty Images

Heard on All Things Considered:

Seventy-one million. That's the number of bees Max Nikolaychuk tends in the rolling hills east of Fresno, Calif. Each is worth a fraction of a cent, but together, they make up a large part of his livelihood.

Nikolaychuk makes most of his money during almond pollination season, renting out the bees to California's almond orchards. This year, a thief stole four stacks of his hives.

"He knew about the bees, because he went through every bee colony I had and only took the good ones," he says. "But, you know, the bee yards — I don't have no security there, no fences."

That lack of security means his bees have been stolen more than once. And it's a type of theft that's been playing out all over the state's orchards.

Literally billions of bees are needed to pollinate California's almond crop. Not enough bees live in California year-round to do that. So they are trucked in from across the country, from places like Colorado, Arizona and Montana. Earlier this year, around a million dollars' worth of stolen bees were found in a field in Fresno County. Sgt. Arley Terrence with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department says it was a "beehive chop shop."

"There were so many different beehives and bee boxes owned by so many different victims," Terrence says. "All of these stolen bee boxes that we recovered — none of them were stolen in Fresno County."

The bees were stolen from across California, but they belong to beekeepers from around the country. A few thousand bee boxes disappear every year, but this bee heist was different.

"This is the biggest bee theft investigation that we've had," Terrence says. Most of the time, he says, beehive thieves turn out to be "someone within the bee community."

Earlier this year, California authorities uncovered this "beehive chop-shop" in a field in Fresno County. A single bee is worth a fraction of a cent, but there can be as many as 65,000 bees in each hive. Ezra Romero for NPRThat was the case in the giant heist earlier this year. The alleged thief, Pavel Tveretinov, was a beekeeper from Sacramento who used the stolen bees for pollination and then stashed them on a plot of land in Fresno County. He was arrested and could face around 10 years of jail time. And authorities say he didn't act alone. His alleged accomplice, Vitaliy Yeroshenko, has been charged and a warrant is out for his arrest.

Steve Godlin with the California State Beekeepers Association says the problem of hive theft gets worse every year.

"There used to be kind of a code of honor that you didn't mess with another man's bees," Godlin says. But the alleged perpetrators of this giant hive theft broke that code.

"He went way, way over the line, Godlin says. "It's just, you know, heart breaking when you go out and your bees are gone."

Godlin has had hives stolen in the past. He and many other beekeepers make their income not just from renting out hives but also from selling the honey the bees produce. So when bees are stolen, beekeepers lose out on both sources of income.

Godlin says it takes time to develop a new hive by introducing a new queen and developing honey. "Bees, you know, we have been hit by everything from vandals to bears to thieves. But the vandalism and thieving is the worst. You know, the one that hurts the most."

Godlin says his organization will pay a reward of up to $10,000 for tips leading to the prosecution of bee thieves. But that only relieves some of the sting.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/06/27/534128664/beekeepers-feel-the-sting-of-california-s-giant-beehive-heist

Queen Replacement: The Key to Prevent Winter Colony Losses in Argentina

International Bee Research Association - IBRA   November 24, 2016

In recent years extensive losses of honey bee colonies have led to surveys of beekeepers, with much information now coming from Europe and north America. Much less information is available about colony losses elsewhere. Now, in a new paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, Agostina Giacobino and colleagues at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Rafaela, Argentina describe a survey of Argentinian colony losses during the 2013-14 winter.

Varroa mite infestation, colony strength, and winter colony losses were evaluated in 62 apiaries distributed in four different regions in east-central Argentina. Data regarding management practices in each apiary were also collected by means of a questionnaire. The key result was that beekeepers who reported replacing less than 50% of the queens in their apiaries each year showed higher winter losses than apiaries who replaced more than 50% of their queens. Even considering that the winter colony losses can be explained by a complex interaction of factors, requeening appears as one of the most important management practices to reduce this phenomenon in Argentina.

The article is available here (free to view): http://www.tandfonline.com/…/…/10.1080/00218839.2016.1238595

IBRA Members taking the JAR option have access to all other papers in issue 55(4), and also have full access to all articles in the Journal of Apicultural Research back catalogue to Volume 1 in 1962. You can join IBRA here: http://www.ibrabee.org.uk/2013-05-01-02…/2014-12-12-12-06-01

A Look Into the Cell: There's a Lot More to Honey Storage Than You Thought

PlosOne     By Michael Eyer, Peter Neumann, Vincent Dietemann     August 28, 2016

Abstract

Honey bees, Apis species, obtain carbohydrates from nectar and honeydew. These resources are ripened into honey in wax cells that are capped for long-term storage. These stores are used to overcome dearth periods when foraging is not possible. Despite the economic and ecological importance of honey, little is known about the processes of its production by workers. Here, we monitored the usage of storage cells and the ripening process of honey in free-flying Amelliferacolonies. We provided the colonies with solutions of different sugar concentrations to reflect the natural influx of nectar with varying quality. Since the amount of carbohydrates in a solution affects its density, we used computer tomography to measure the sugar concentration of cell content over time. The data show the occurrence of two cohorts of cells with different provisioning and ripening dynamics. The relocation of the content of many cells before final storage was part of the ripening process, because sugar concentration of the content removed was lower than that of content deposited. The results confirm the mixing of solutions of different concentrations in cells and show that honey is an inhomogeneous matrix. The last stage of ripening occurred when cell capping had already started, indicating a race against water absorption. The storage and ripening processes as well as resource use were context dependent because their dynamics changed with sugar concentration of the food. Our results support hypotheses regarding honey production proposed in earlier studies and provide new insights into the mechanisms involved.

For the rest of this Plos One article, click HERE

The Nicaragua Bee Project

CATCH THE BUZZ    August 24, 2016

Have you ever wondered what an Africanized bee colony looks like? Have you ever wanted to see how beekeeping occurs in a developing country?

Well, now is your chance.

The Nicaragua Bee Project is traveling down to Nicaragua on October 22 through November 5, 2016 to conduct training workshops for new and existing beekeepers.

This trip will be led by Dr. Michael Bauer, a beekeeper from Waupaca, WI. He has been in Nicaragua several times to teach, train and start beekeeping groups. You will have the opportunity to travel with Dr. Bauer to Nicaragua and visit beekeeping activities in Nicaragua. You can either observe or even teach some of the training programs depending upon your desire and willingness.

You can travel for one or two weeks depending upon your availability.

Your cost for this trip is your airfare and food. Lodging (double room) and transportation and translations will be provided by the Nicaragua Bee Project. Current round-trip flights from Chicago to Managua are approximately $700. Food will run you $20 a day.

You need only a valid US passport to travel to Nicaragua. No visa is needed.

You will also have opportunity to travel about the country of Nicaragua, meet local beekeepers and rural families in their homes, visit a volcano, tour historic cities and artisan markets as well as enjoy local food, drink and culture.

For information on the Nicaragua Bee Project you can visit www.nicabejaproyecto.org

For more information on the trip you can contact:

Marty Havlovic

608.617.3217

martinhavlovic@yahoo.com

Battling Killer Mites, Bees Find an Unlikely Ally: Monsanto

 WIRED   By Hannah Nordhaus, Photographs: Dan Winters   September Issue 2016

A SWARM OF CONTROVERSY

IN THEIR STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL AGAINST KILLER MITES, BEES GET AN UNLIKELY ALLY: MONSANTO

“Make a fist,” says Jerry Hayes, waving his own in the air.

“Now put it someplace on you.” About 150 people, the audience at a honeybee panel at the 2014 South by Southwest Eco conference, place their fists on their shoulders or collarbones. “Proportionally, this is how large a varroa mite is compared to a honeybee’s body,” Hayes says. The reddish-brown parasite, just a dot to the naked eye, drains the life out of bees and delivers a deadly cargo of viruses. “It would be like having a parasitic rat on you, sucking your blood.”

Under a microscope, a varroa mite is a monster: armored and hairy, with eight legs and one piercing, sucking mouthpart, primordial in its horror. Since the parasite arrived in the United States from Asia in 1987, the practice of tending bees has grown immeasurably harder. Beekeepers must use harsh chemicals in their hives to kill the mites or risk losing most of their bees within two to three years. About a third of the nation’s honeybees have died each winter over the past decade, and Hayes, an apiary scientist, believes the varroa mite is a major factor in this catastrophe.

“It’s money! You’re gonna make money! And until then you’re gonna kill as many bees as you can!”

Hayes’ audience, however, believes something else. SXSW Eco is a conference for environmentalists, and these attendees are not inclined to blame the honeybee’s problems on an obscure arthropod. They’d rather blame Hayes. That’s because Hayes works for Monsanto, the St. Louis-based agricultural behemoth that environmentalists love to hate (and, I should add, the sponsor of this panel, which I am moderating).

When the Q&A session begins, a petite woman who looks to be in her twenties approaches the microphone. “The room feels kind of tense,” she says. She explains that she’d like to hear more about pesticides, specifically a class called neonicotinoids, which many people blame for honeybee deaths. “Because,” she says, “we definitely covered mites.”

On it goes, one pesticide question after the next. Last in line is a burly fellow with blondish dreadlocks. His name is Walter, and he wears a yellow “Central Texas Bee Rescue” T-shirt. “OK now,” Walter says to Hayes, “you said there were things that we could do to help the honeybee. But in none of those things did you ever suggest that we stop spraying poison.”

Walter interrupts: “That’s shit you all made up.”

As the other panelists try to intercede, Walter shouts over them, “It’s money! You’re gonna make money!” You can see the spit flying. “And until then you’re gonna kill as many bees as you possibly can!”

Hayes is 62, lined and sinewy, his hair still dark. A gray-dappled beard frames his chin in such a way that his head seems to form a perfect rectangle. He doesn’t seek attention. He doesn’t talk about his feelings. As Walter continues, Hayes sits on the dais with his hands folded in front of him, silent, uncannily still.

Before he was a villain, Jerry Hayes was a hero. He considered himself one of the good guys. Many people did. They sought his advice. They smiled at him. “I like,” Hayes says, “to have people smile at me.”

Since the early 1980s Hayes has written “The Classroom,” an advice column for the American Bee Journal, America’s oldest bee magazine. He is Dear Abby for beekeepers, counseling readers on everything from capturing swarms to making shoe polish from beeswax. (To Tommy, a North Carolina beekeeper asking why his bees swarmed too late to survive the winter: “Sometimes the stupid gene expresses itself, Tommy. Genes are always testing themselves to see if they bring reproductive value.”)

For eight years before he joined Monsanto, Hayes ran Florida’s Apiary Inspection Section, which regulates the state’s bees and their keepers. More than 300 of Florida’s 4,000 registered beekeepers move their hives into the state for the winter—“like people from New Jersey,” Hayes says—and then, as spring approaches, pack them on trucks, 480 hives per semi, and head west and north to pollinate almonds, cherries, apples, blueberries, cranberries, vine fruits, pit fruits, onions, legumes—over $15 billion of US crops a year.

“We didn’t know what this was,” Hayes says, “but we had to give it a name.” They called it colony collapse disorder.

At summer’s end, those trucks return to Florida, carrying not only bees and honey but also viruses, bacteria, mites, beetles, ants, and fungi the bees picked up along the way. Hayes’ inspectors were tasked with intercepting those pests and pathogens before they spread to the rest of Florida’s—and the nation’s—bees. Add this to the list of weird stuff that happens in Florida: It’s where major honeybee plagues tend to begin.

Hayes was good at the job. Florida beekeepers came to see him and his 14 inspectors as allies rather than adversaries. “I didn’t want us to be the bee police,” he says. In 2006, Hayes was elected president of the Apiary Inspectors of America.

That same year, a commercial beekeeper in Florida named David Hackenberg discovered that his apparently healthy bees had disappeared and reported it to Hayes. Other beekeepers had similar accounts. Late one night, as the losses mounted—the nation would lose a third of its bees that winter—Hayes got on the phone with a group of alarmed entomologists. “We didn’t know what this was,” Hayes says, “but we felt we had to give it a name.” They called it colony collapse disorder.

By early the next year, the Internet was abuzz with theories about CCD. It offered a litany of dystopian ecological conspiracies: cell phones interfering with bee navigation, or genetically modified corn syrup, or neonicotinoid pesticides. But no one really knew.

Around that time, Hayes went to a seminar about a gene modification technique called RNA interference. DNA is, of course, the spiraling, double-stranded molecule that encodes genetic information and determines everything about us: whether our eyes are blue or if we’re more likely to suffer a particular cancer. But the genome also relies on RNA—the single-stranded version of genetic code used in the protein factories of the cell.

RNA can also “silence” specific genes, preventing an organism from using them to make proteins. In 1998 scientists discovered that they could engineer stretches of double-stranded RNA to do the same thing. As a lab technique, RNA interference—or RNAi—turned out to be useful for learning about genes by turning them off. It also showed promise in fighting viruses, cancers, and even harmful pests and parasites. The researchers at the seminar were talking about using RNAi to prevent mosquitoes from spreading malaria, but that gave Hayes another idea. “I thought, could this be adapted to honeybee predator control?” In other words: to kill mites.

An Israeli company called Beeologics was thinking along similar lines. Beeologics’ president, Eyal Ben-Chanoch, didn’t actually know much about bees. But he knew people were worried about CCD, and he thought that a product aimed at fighting it would garner attention for his company. So he directed his researchers to look at using RNAi to control a bee disease that seemed related to CCD called Israeli acute paralysis virus. Ben-Chanoch heard that Hayes had been asking about the technology at bee conferences, got in touch, and set up a collaboration on field trials in Florida.

RNAi works like tweezers, plucking its victims with exquisite specificity by clicking into sequences of their unique genetic code.

Beeologics soon got the attention Ben-Chanoch had hoped for. News stories about the company’s forthcoming “affordable cure” for CCD attracted the eyes of executives at Monsanto. The company was already working on an RNAi-enhanced corn plant, engineered to disable the maize-eating Western corn rootworm, and researchers there saw even more potential. Traditional pesticides act like chemical backhoes, killing their targets (beetles, weeds, viruses) but harming good things along the way (beneficial insects, birds, fish, humans). RNAi, in theory, works instead like a set of tweezers, plucking its victims with exquisite specificity by clicking into sequences of genetic code unique to that organism. “If you could design an ideal pesticide, this is the stuff you’re looking for,” says Pamela Bachman, a toxicologist at Monsanto.

The problem was that synthesizing RNA was too expensive. But Beeologics found a way to do it at a relatively low cost and was testing it in Hayes’ Florida beehives. In 2011, Monsanto bought Beeologics and its RNAi tech and offered Hayes a job explaining it to beekeepers.

Hayes had serious reservations. He was happy in Florida. So was his family—his wife, Kathy, and their four children, two of whom were still in school. And he liked being an apiary inspector. The beekeeping industry was small, and he knew all the players. Monsanto had 22,000 employees, few of whom knew anything about honeybees. “Beekeepers look at Monsanto and other Big Ag companies as the enemy, spraying chemicals and killing bees’ forage,” Hayes says. He would be a lonely voice there: a man who loved insects in a place where insects are the enemy.

He had other concerns. There was the company’s nickname among eco-activists: Monsatan. And its lofty ranking on any list of the world’s most despised corporations. There were the muckraking documentaries (Seeds of DeathGMO OMG), the Twitter hashtag (#monsantoevil), the protest groups (Occupy MonsantoBee Against Monsanto). There were the rumors of farmers in India driven to suicide by GMO-incurred debt, the tales of sullied gene pools and browbeaten scientists and university stooges and journalist shills and Brobdingnagian government influence.

The rhetoric offended Hayes’ sense of fairness. He knew that environmentalists linked colony collapse to neonicotinoid insecticides and that they thought Monsanto was somehow to blame. But he also knew that Monsanto doesn’t make insecticides. The company’s most famous product, glyphosate—that’s Roundup—kills plants. Its second-most famous product—Roundup-ready seeds—allows plants to resist its most famous product.

There was a symbiosis there: Like flowers and bees, Monsanto and Hayes could exploit each other to their own ends.

Nor was Hayes convinced that neonicotinoids explained honeybee losses in the first place. When neonics came to market in the 1990s, farmers and environmentalists welcomed them as far less toxic to birds and mammals than earlier insecticides. Some studies raised concerns about sublethal effects on honeybees like impaired navigation, reproduction, and immune systems, but larger field studies didn’t.

Hayes came to realize that the same elements that cause people to loathe and fear Monsanto—its size, its resources, its influence on agricultural practices, its headlong embrace of futuristic technologies—presented an opportunity. “It has more money than any group that I’ve ever worked with,” he says.

As for Monsanto, “we wanted the process”—the RNAi technology—says Billy Brennan, the company’s international communications manager, “but we saw a tremendous opportunity to support honeybee health.” People were worried about dying bees; the company could show it was trying to help. There was a symbiosis there: Like flowers and bees, Monsanto and Hayes could exploit each other to their own ends.

Hayes and his wife had converted to Mormonism after their first child was born. And though he joined the church too late to travel the world preaching gospel, he nonetheless sees himself as a missionary. He wants to make a difference. “So,” he says, “I decided to stick my neck way outside of my shell.” He took the job. 

When Hayes told his beekeeping colleagues about his move, “there was a real feeling that he was selling out,” says Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the University of Maryland entomologist who was the first scientist to autopsy David Hackenberg’s CCD-ridden bees. “My internal question,” says Marla Spivak, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota and longtime colleague, “was ‘Huh, I wonder if he needs money.’” At an apiary inspectors’ meeting just before Hayes left his job in Florida, the group halted the proceedings to bestow upon Hayes a toy lightsaber with a red blade—the kind Darth Vader uses. “For joining the Dark Side,” vanEngelsdorp says.

Hayes crossed over in January 2012, leaving Kathy and his two teenage children behind while he got settled. He found a property an hour southwest of Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters—“I’m a country boy,” Hayes says—where he could keep a garden full of spinach and 30 beehives.

At Monsanto, “I would think several times a day of running screaming into the parking lot,” Hayes says.

It was a disorienting change. Monsanto wasn’t the Death Star—you couldn’t meet a Missouri-nicer group of people. But it was, Hayes says, “like coming to Mars.” In Hayes’ previous jobs, getting dressed up meant wearing a baseball cap that wasn’t covered in propolis and bee droppings. His new office was full of khaki-clad MBAs who talked about things like “matrix management.” The headquarters had a stark, midcentury style; in one auditorium the seats had ashtrays in the armrests. Getting approval for a simple idea—like placing beehives on the company campus—involved negotiating byzantine lines of authority. “I would think several times a day of running screaming into the parking lot,” Hayes says.

It got worse. Hayes had believed that the RNAi product that killed Israeli acute paralysis virus was almost ready for market. But a few days after he started, Hayes learned that the product had recently failed its fifth FDA field trial.

His position was still open in Florida, and his family was still there, waiting out the school year. Maybe he’d made a mistake. Perhaps, like Tommy’s autumn swarm in North Carolina, Hayes had listened to the stupid gene and pulled up stakes at the wrong time. “I almost went back,” he says.

Yet Hayes still saw an opportunity. The Israeli virus was one of a number of bee viruses, and most of them entered hives via the same carrier: Hayes’ mites. “If you took care of the varroa mite, you took care of these eight or nine different viruses in one fell swoop,” he says. The mite, he believed, should be Monsanto’s ultimate target.

Hayes asked one of his supervisors to help him work the bureaucracy, setting up meetings and preparing a PowerPoint presentation for their bosses. Hayes spoke about the varroa mite again and again, up and up Monsanto’s corporate ladder. It took dozens of meetings—“I did the whole ‘make a fist’ thing about 5 million times,” Hayes says. His proposition: A single virus was too narrow a focus. If Monsanto wanted to help bees, it should direct its considerable resources at Hayes’ small red great white whale. Hayes would consult on the technical work and join the company’s PR team, spreading the word about varroa mites and RNAi.

The bosses signed on, and Hayes decided to stay. Stupid gene or no, “I didn’t ever want to be accused of not trying,” he says. Kathy and his two younger children joined him six months later.

Six months after that, Kathy began feeling sick. She had been treated for breast cancer eight years before. But there in Missouri the cancer had come back, and it was everywhere in her body. She died in April 2014.

The Summer after Hayes’ SXSW talk, we meet at Monsanto’s Chesterfield research complex, 11 miles from the company’s main headquarters, in a suburb of strip malls and Starbucks. The Chesterfield campus is a 1.5 million-square-foot complex with 425 labs, 26 rooftop greenhouses, and 124 growth chambers. Hayes waits at the door as I duck in from a biblical downpour. “Welcome,” he says, “to the belly of the beast.”

We wind past a vast room of gene-sequencing equipment, through a greenhouse planted wall to wall with experimental corn varieties, down soundless underground hallways to a long thin lab with soapstone counters, where a team is focused on making RNAi work. On the counter are plants covered in nets and infested with Colorado potato beetles—a round, circus-striped superpest that resists 60 chemicals but could be vulnerable to RNAi. Next to the plants is a half-gallon jar of gleaming white powder. This is pure double-stranded RNA, enough to cover a few hundred acres. Making just this much cost around $100,000—still far too expensive for widespread commercial use.

Around the corner, a lab assistant named Nick rattles a mesh-covered jar half-full of dead bees and varroa mites. It sounds like a dog shaking a collar. He turns the jar upside down and sifts a dusting of mites and bees onto the counter. Out at Monsanto’s hives, the bees ate sugar syrup laced with mite-killing RNA. Nick will test the mites to see if they picked up the RNAi product from the bees’ hemolymph, the blood equivalent on which the mites feed.

Even if the Monsanto team can make a reliable varroa mite killer, environmentalists still won’t want it.

Once Hayes’ team switched to varroa mites, they quickly identified genes they could turn off with RNAi. In the lab it was easy. “You can kill mites all day long in a petri dish,” Hayes says. But in the field the RNA doesn’t stay intact long enough to work through the bees and into the mites. Hayes estimates they kill only around 20 percent. That’s not enough.

Price and stability aren’t the only obstacles to the technology. Lots of very different living things share genes and genetic sequences, which means it is theoretically possible, if unlikely, that RNAi could harm organisms beyond its targets. The USDA approved Monsanto’s RNAi-modified corn plant in 2015, but the EPA is still looking into potential hazards, like contamination through windblown pollen or falling leaves. “I think there’s high potential for an oops event,” says biologist Martha Crouch of the Center for Food Safety. “The risks aren’t well-enough known to forge ahead with large-scale commercial deployment.”

Beekeepers—Hayes’ constituents, his people—are also skeptical. In comments submitted to the USDA, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board argued that using the technology “would be more naive than our use of DDT in the 1950s.” DDT was the pesticide at the heart of Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, which launched the modern environmental movement. Even if the team can make a reliable varroa killer, environmentalists still won’t want it.

In May 2013, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 300 cities participated in a March Against Monsanto. “We recognized that our reputation can’t get any worse,” Monsanto’s Brennan says. That summer, the company revamped its communications efforts. Where once executives carefully vetted everything their rank and file said in public, they now encourage staff to be less closed off and to share personal stories. I heard a few (remarkably similar) about farmers in India and Africa who were able to send their kids to school because of Monsanto-engineered crops. Employees engage on social media, talk to local skeptics’ groups, do AMAs on Reddit and panels at conferences like SXSW. The company also created a “corporate engagement team” with nearly 200 people, bearing titles like “moms and food-minded manager” and “millennial outreach coordinator.”
 

Hayes joined the team as “honeybee health lead.” Several times a month, he travels around the country speaking to bee clubs and conferences about Monsanto’s work on varroa mites.

Hayes has made Monsanto a little bit more bee-friendly too. The company now has a beekeeping club. Hayes also helped set up a Honeybee Health Coalition of beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and farm-chemical companies, like Bayer and Syngenta. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Hayes’ entomologist pal, was one of the first to sign on. Even the American Beekeeping Federation joined.

“To have some value,” Hayes says, “you have to do some things that are uncomfortable.”

The coalition does not include some of the most vocal anti-pesticide organizations, but Hayes did invite the insect-advocacy group Xerces Society. It dropped out, however, on the grounds that the coalition wasn’t serious about addressing the role of pesticides in honeybee losses. And that’s Hayes’ conundrum. He wants to talk about mites and disappearing forage and the vast and confounding spectrum of other threats to honeybees. Environmentalists mostly want to talk about neonicotinoid pesticides.

It’s true, of course, that neonics can harm not only honeybees but also other living things. They are widely used in farms and gardens, flea collars, and extermination products, and they can persist in the environment for months or years. But neonics aren’t the only chemical honeybees contend with—not even close. One study found traces of 118 different pesticides in pollen, beeswax, and bees.

Yet bees endure. When a colony dies—collapses quickly or succumbs slowly—beekeepers divide their remaining colonies, buy new queens, and grow populations back to full strength. Despite unremitting losses, the number of bee colonies globally has held steady.

There’s also this stubborn fact: While neonic use continues in the US, the particular symptoms of colony collapse disorder have not. “I haven’t seen CCD in five years,” says vanEngelsdorp, who surveys the nation’s bee losses twice a year. He now believes what he saw back in 2006 was some sort of emerging viral infection. Indeed, vanEngelsdorp and Hayes have come to regret coining the terrifying name colony collapse disorder. What kills bees? Pesticides, yes, but also pathogens, poor nutrition, and varroa mites. Especially varroa mites. That’s why Hayes stays at Monsanto. “To have some value,” he says, “you have to do some things that are uncomfortable.”

It has, indeed, been uncomfortable. Beekeepers have accused Hayes of poisoning the earth, contaminating the honeybee gene pool, and hawking genetically engineered “robobees.” Environmentalists have walked out of his talks; beekeeping clubs have feuded over his presence. “I have more scar tissue than I thought,” Hayes says.

Hayes used to consider himself an environmentalist. He belonged to the Sierra Club. But he quit. “I saw how they were using terms like Monsanto and Bayer as fund-raising mechanisms,” he says. “But if you believe in science, if you take a hard look at the science and data of some of these groups, they’re cooking the books in order to make themselves look better and others look evil. So they can raise money. To be successful.”

These are culture wars. Honeybees have become as political as GMOs or vaccines. Anti-corporate environmentalists battle from one redoubt, Big Ag technologists from the other. Hayes stands in the middle, taking fire from both sides. “We’re a competitive species,” Hayes says.

“MAKE A FIST,” Hayes says. Two dozen people sitting in a Southern Baptist church outside Durango, Colorado—members of the Four Corners Beekeepers Association—follow his instructions.

This group is about as different from the crowd at SXSW Eco as one could imagine—older men in ball caps, women in boot-cut jeans. They aren’t trying to transform agriculture or save the world. They just like keeping bees.

Hayes tells them how he got into beekeeping. “Have you ever been in the situation,” he asks, “where you just loved every day?” A summer shower blows through outside, fat raindrops bouncing off the grass. A young elk, antlers furred, looks in through the windows. “I’m a beekeeper,” he says. “I came to Monsanto because I care about bees.”

Recently a friend who hadn’t seen Hayes in a while told him he looked “kind of sick.” And it’s true. He’s thinner. The lines in his face are deeper. His youngest son left for Mormon mission in England last summer. Hayes is alone now.

Earlier that day, as we drove alongside the winding Animas River to visit a honey factory, Hayes told me that his patience was wearing thin. The RNAi mite treatment was still at least seven years from market. “We haven’t invented anything yet,” he said. But he still wants to. When Hayes returned from Durango, he set up a massive trial—1,000-plus colonies in 10 states, third-party monitors, dozens of beekeepers applying the RNAi product. He expects results by the end of the year. “This is probably the largest field trial in the beekeeping industry ever,” Hayes says. Smaller trials have provided “glimpses and glimmers” of the product’s efficacy; this one, he hopes, will magnify the data. Monsanto lives by data. “That’s what people understand here.”

Even if the mites die in droves, though, Hayes knows the fighting won’t end. And he doesn’t know if he has it in him to endure more years of battering while he waits for the technology to mature. “If I could have looked into a crystal ball,” he says, “I don’t know that I would have done it.”

When honeybees encounter too large a gap within a hive, they use beeswax to bridge it. Hayes once believed—perhaps this was the stupid gene again—that he could build a similar bridge. “I was naive,” he says. He knows he wasn’t wrong about the mites. It was humans that he didn’t understand. 

Hannah Nordhaus (@hannahnordhaus) is the author of The Beekeeper’s Lament.

This article appears in the September 2016 issue.

http://www.wired.com/2016/08/jerry-hayes-how-to-save-the-bees-monsanto/

Beekeeping Tips for August

ABJ Extra    August 15, 2016
Courtesy of Joli Winer, editor
The Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers' Association,
The Bee Buzzer, August, 2016
  • Use the weed eater and mow around your hives so that the bees can get in and out.
  • After pulling off your supers check your hives to make sure they have laying queens.
  • Provide water for your bees if they do not have a water source.
  • Bees are hanging on the outside of the hives to help keep it cooler inside the hives — not much honey coming in so they are just keeping cool.
  • Harvest any fall honey & get it extracted. Any honey that you pull off to extract should be extracted within a few days. In this heat wax moth damage can happen in just a few days. Small hive beetles can also do a great deal of damage to your supers and your honey. Don't pull your honey off until you are ready to extract.
  • Check the moisture in your honey — moisture is running very high in some states.
  • Complete a fall inspection for each hive
  • Take an inventory at your bee yards to see what equipment you need to repair or replace over the winter.
  • Get your entrance reducers on towards the end of September to keep mice out of your hives. Check for mice before installing mouse guards. Check your bottom boards for holes big enough for a mouse to go through.
  • Store any frames with drawn comb in paradichlorobenze (moth crystals). Wax moth damage can be devastating to your combs. Store them in a cool ventilated area. Do not store your supers in plastic garbage bags as this acts as an incubator for the wax moth!
  • Update your record book - you won't remember in the spring!
  • Check your hives for stored honey. Most colonies will need 40 - 60 pounds of honey to winter successfully. The top deep super/hive body should be packed full of honey. If it isn't you should feed the bees some syrup. If mixing your own syrup in the fall the mixture should be 2:1 sugar to water by weight. That would be 4 lbs. of sugar to 2 lbs. of boiling water. You can also get high fructose corn syrup. However, you may not use corn syrup or any type of syrup that you purchase at the grocery store. It has things in it that can cause problems with your bees. NEVER feed honey purchased from the grocery store - it can spread American Foulbrood disease to your bees. 
Here are the reasons bees die over the winter. Make sure you take care of these problems in the fall:
  1. Bees run out of honey.
  2. Too few bees to maintain the cluster.
  3. The bees' digestive tracts compact with too much waste matter.
  4. They exhibit parasitic mite syndrome.
Check your colonies to see if you need to treat for Varroa mites.
  • Combine a weak colony with a stronger colony. Colonies may be split again in the spring.
  • Keep a vigilant eye out for small hive beetles. Inspect you hives to make sure you have a good laying queen. You should see brood in all stages (eggs, larvae, capped).
  • If treating for mites get your treatments on as soon as possible. Mark your calendar with the date they went in and the date they should come out. The earlier you can get your treatments on for Varroa mites the better chance you have of getting healthy young bees into the hive to make it through the winter.
  • Make sure your brood is in the center of the bottom hive body. Arrange honey frames on the sides and in the top hive body — it should be full of honey. If it isn't, feed your bees syrup.
  • Make sure your hives are tipped forward, just slightly, so water doesn't pool on the bottom board and cause moisture problems.

    http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5fd2b1aa990e63193af2a573d&id=a65e2bd38f&e=cb715f1bb5

Lots of Links from the CSBA - July 4, 2016

California State Beekeepers Association from Joy Pendell for your reading enjoyment.

Head on over to the CSBA and become a member: http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com/, (membership entitles you to the monthly CSBA Bee Times newsletter), read about the upcoming 2016 CSBA Annual Convention: http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com/events.html

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Inclusion of items in this email does not imply CSBA endorsement unless such endorsement is specifically stated.

Book now for the 2016 CSBA Annual Convention!

Rooms are filling up fast at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa. Click on the link above to book your room now. The group code is 1114CSB. The convention will be held November 15th – 17th in San Diego, CA. You don’t want to miss it!

Forage & Nutrition Task Force Of The North American Pollinator Partnership Campaign – Short Survey

“We are reaching out to beekeepers to help us determine appropriate standards for granting tax incentives to beekeeping. The data gathered from this 1-minute survey will allow us to propose evidence-based guidelines on how many acres per hive should be granted these tax benefits, which will help beekeepers and our most important pollinators.”

WAS – News From The World Of Beekeeping

FFN - During National Pollinator Week, USDA Announces Key Measures To Improve Pollinator Health

ABC - Bee-ing Good Partners For Honey Bee Health

ABC - Call For Almond Conference Presentation Proposals

Catch The Buzz – HSI Chicago Seizes Nearly 60 Tons Of Honey Illegally Imported From China, Again!!!

Catch The Buzz – Field Crops And Bees: Research Shows Surprising Relationships, Need For Better Crop Management

Growing Produce - Scientists Selected To Work On Healthy Hives 2020 Initiative

Catch The Buzz – The Wildlife Society Partners With Feed A Bee To Plant 25 Million Flowers

Catch The Buzz – USDA Scientists And Beekeepers Swap Colonies To Better Bees

Catch The Buzz – Tabitha Mansker, 2016 American Honey Princess Picasa

Catch The Buzz – Pollinator Week: Celebrating Blue Butterflies On The Great Lakes 

Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association – Fall Bee School July 30, 2016

Washington Post – Nobel Winners Defend GMO Safety

Buyer near San Francisco, CA looking for Honey Supplier

“Hello! I am looking to source California Honey for my business. We use about 40lbs a week. Some of the places we have called have not been able to supply us with this amount. Any idea of who we could reach out to?” If you think you can help, please contact Rachel Malsin at rachel@projectjuice.com

Natural Beekeeping Conference

Today is the last day to get your early bird ticket to the Natural Beekeeping Conference and save $50!! https://www.facebook.com/events/475955955926938/ 

Join HoneyLove August 19-21, 2016 for an unforgettable weekend filled with educational lectures and workshops, hands-on demonstrations, the latest in natural beekeeping techniques and findings, an elite collection of exhibitors and sponsors, rare opportunities for you to connect with likeminded beeks, sweet raw honey tastings from around the world AND OUR ANNUAL YELLOW TIE EVENT on August 19th, 6-9pm!

Guest speakers include: 
Michael Bush
Dee Lusby
May R. Berenbaum
Michael Thiele
Les Crowder
Dr. Rebecca Marsland
Sam Comfort
Rob & Chelsea McFarland
Patrick Pynes
Hilary Kearney
Eliese Watson
Matt Reed
David King
Erik Knutzen & Kelly Coyne
Christy Wilhelmi
Max Wong

All who are interested in bees and beekeeping are welcomed to attend!#HLONBC

Limited tickets available to this awesome weekend so REGISTER NOW!http://naturalbeekeepingconference.com/

Interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor?
This year’s Natural Beekeeping Conference will be one of the largest gatherings of natural beekeepers in the country! Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with our specialized group of influencers.
Email us today to join: info@naturalbeekeepingconference.com or call (424) 625-8233

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 Begins Sunday, February 21, 9AM-Noon, at Bill's Bees Bee Yard

JOIN US for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association 
Beekeeping Class 101 ~ 1st Class February 21 ~ Hosted at Bill’s Bees Bee Farm

Whether you are new to beekeeping, aspire to being a backyard
beekeeper, or are already an experienced beekeeper who would like
to continue learning about bees and beekeeping,
we’d like to invite you to attend the 
Los Angeles  County Beekeepers Association 2016 Season of Beekeeping Classes 101.
 
We teach responsible beekeeping for an urban environment,
adhering to Best Management Practices for the bees,
beekeepers, and the general public.
All are Welcome!

DATE: First Class is Sunday, February 21 ~ TIME: 9am-Noon

Bill’s Bees Bee Farm
12640 Little Tujunga Canyon Rd, Lake View Terrace, CA 91342
http://billsbees.com/
Map to Bill's Bees Bee Yard: http://goo.gl/maps/Hz7NS

Beekeeping Class 101 is FREE to LACBA members. 
Membership $10/year per household. 
Non-members: $10/per class/per person. 
Bee suits not required for the first class.

 For the 2016 Schedule, Locations, Directions and other Information see: 
/beekeeping-classes-losangeles/

See you in the morning on the top of the mountain!
You may want to bring a bottle of water, a sun hat, and a pad and pencil for notes.
Try to arrive early. It's going to bee a great day!!! 

 /
https://www.facebook.com/losangelesbeekeeping/

History of the Beekeeping Merit Badges

Reposted February 8, 2016 from Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History

On This Date In History: February 8, 1910 - The Boy Scouts of America was formed.

Scouting came to the United States from the United Kingdom in 1910, and by 1911, the BSA manufactured the first official 57 merit badges and began awarding them, among them the first beekeeping badge named 'Bee Farming.' Merit badges have been an integral part of the Scouting program since the start of the movement and are an important part of the uniform and insignia of the Boy Scouts. Among Boy Scout merit badges, the Beekeeping badge in particular has undergone a series of changes over the years.

1911 ~ Bee Farming 
Image 1
The first Boy Scout merit badge for Beekeeping was issued in 1911 and was called Bee Farming, It looked something like a fly with four legs. Square patches were used from 1911 to 1933.

To obtain a merit badge for Bee Farming a scout must:

1. Have a practical knowledge of swarming, hiving, hives and general apiculture, including a knowledge of the use of artificial combs.

2. Describe the different kinds of honey and tell from what sources gathered.

=====

1915 ~ Bee Keeping 
Image 1
In 1915 the badge was renamed Bee Keeping. It still looked something like a fly with four legs.

To obtain a merit badge for Bee Keeping, a scout must

1. Know how to examine a colony of bees, remove the combs, find the queen, and determine the amount of the brood, number of queen cells, and the amount of honey in the hive.

2. Distinguish between the drones, workers, eggs, larvae, pupae, honey, wax, pollen, and propolis; tell how the bees make the honey, and where the wax comes from; and explain the part played in the life of the colony by the queen, the drones, and the workers.

3. Have had experience in hiving at least one swarm. Explain the construction of the modern hive. especially in regard to the "Bee spaces."

4. Put foundations in sections and fill supers with sections; and also remove filled supers from the hive and prepare honey for the market.

In 1928 an additional requirement was added to obtain a Bee Keeping merit badge:

5. Write an acceptable article of not more than two hundred words on the differences in honeys according to the flowers from which the nectar is obtained.

=====

1934-1935 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 2

=====

1936-1937 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 3

=====

1937-1938 ~ Bee Keeping
Not Shown

=====

1940-1942 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 4

=====

1940-1942 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 5

=====

1947-1951 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 6

=====

1952-1956 ~ Bee Keeping
Image 7

In 1956 the badge was renamed Beekeeping.

=====

1957-1960 ~ Beekeeping
Image 8

In 1957 the badge was redesigned to look like a real live bee.

=====

1961-1971 ~ Beekeeping
Image 9

=====

1967 ~ Beekeeping
Image 10

=====

1972-1975 ~ Beekeeping
Image 11

=====

1972-1975 ~ Beekeeping
Image 12

=====

1976-1980 ~ Beekeeping
Image 13

=====

1994-1995 ~ Beekeeping
Image 14

1995 ~ The Beekeeping merit badge was discontinued.

The Beekeeping merit badge was offered from 1911 until 1995. From 1980 to 1994, the number of youth earning this merit badge ranged from 700 to 1,000 per year. That decline in interest eventually led to its demise in 1995.

=====

2012 ~ The Boy Scouts of America respond to demands for reinstatement of the beekeeping merit badge:

"In recent years, Scouts and Scouters have expressed a desire for the Beekeeping merit badge to be reinstated. They have been concerned about the vital role bees play in our ecosystem and that Scouts seem increasingly unaware of the problems honeybees face today. After a great deal of research and consideration, much of the old Beekeeping merit badge requirements and related activities and lessons will soon be incorporated into several existing badges. Those affected include Environmental Science, Forestry, Gardening, Insect Study, Nature, and Plant Science. As a result, more Scouts will be exposed to honeybee issues than if the merit badge were reinstated." -Advancement News June/July 2012

=====

1994 ~ Insect Study
Image 15

At the present state, beekeeping is a partial requirement in the merit badge; Insect Study. Much of the old Beekeeping merit badge requirements and related activities and lessons were incorporated into this badge.

=====

1952 ~ Nature
Image 16

At the present state, beekeeping is a partial requirement in the merit badge; Nature. Much of the old Beekeeping merit badge requirements and related activities and lessons were incorporated into this badge.

Source:

Advancement News June/July 2012
http://www.scouting.org/…/advancement…/512-075_June_July.pdf

Boy Scouts of America: The Official Handbook for Boys By Boy Scouts of America, 1911, page 41

Boy Scouts of America: The Official Handbook for Boys By Boy Scouts of America, 1915, page 36

Beekeeping Merit Badge
http://scouteradam.com/2013/10/04/beekeeping-merit-badge/

Handbook for Boys
By Boy Scouts of America 1915 page 36

Insect Study
http://www.usscouts.org/mb/mb065.asp

Nature
http://www.usscouts.org/usscouts/mb/mb078.asp

Collecting Merit Badges
http://www.scouttrader.org/collecting/meritbadge.pdf

Scouting.org - insect study 
http://www.scouting.org/filest…/boyscouts/…/insect_study.htm

Nature Merit Badge
http://bsaseabase.org/…/advancemen…/meritbadges/mb-natu.aspx

Boy Scout Insignia Virtual Museum 
http://boyscoutimages.com/search

The Future of Beekeeping and the BSA
http://www.threefirescouncil.org/…/a…/additional-recognition

Boy Scout Merit Badges
http://www.boyscoutstore.com/…/national-bsa-i…/merit-badges/

======

Research in progress:
Number of beekeeping merit badges issued by year:
Can you help fill in the missing dates?

1911 - 0
1912 - 25
1913 - 62
1914 - 214
1915 - 39
1916 - 19

Annual Report of the Boy Scouts of America: 1917 page 55
https://books.google.com/books…

====

1917 - 19
1918 - 51
1919 - 97
1920 - 66
1921 - 147
1922 - 199
1923 - 207
1924 - 190

1927 - 407?
1941 - 5,027?
1928 - 1,154?

Annual Report of the Boy Scouts of America. 1924 page 49
Comparative merit-badge table for eight years

https://books.google.com/books…

Boy Scouts Bee Keeping Merit Badge

Reposted from February 7, 2016 Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History

circa. 1926~ Bee Keeping Merit Badge Pamphlet

On February 8, we will celebrate 106 years since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. On the 8th, I will publish The History of the Beekeeping Merit Badge

Invite your friends to participate:
Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History

To obtain a merit badge for Bee Keeping in 1928, a scout must

1. Know how to examine a colony of bees, remove the combs, find the queen, and determine the amount of the brood, number of queen cells, and the amount of honey in the hive.

2. Distinguish between the drones, workers, eggs, larvae, pupae, honey, wax, pollen, and propolis; tell how the bees make the honey, and where the wax comes from; and explain the part played in the life of the colony by the queen, the drones, and the workers.

3. Have had experience in hiving at least one swarm. Explain the construction of the modern hive. especially in regard to the "Bee spaces."

4. Put foundations in sections and fill supers with sections; and also remove filled supers from the hive and prepare honey for the market.

6 Things You Didn't Know About Queen Bees

meinhoney   By Hillary http://beekeepinglikeagirl.com/   January 4, 2016

As the sole bee in her caste, the queen bee is an illustrious member of the beehive. She is not only unique among her colony’s population, she is vital to maintaining that population. A queen can lay up to 1,500 eggs a day! Although egg laying is her main gig, the queen has many other qualities that may surprise you. Read on to find out more about this all-important bee.


Read more: http://meinhoney.com/news/6-things-you-didnt-know-about-queen-bees/

Why Feed Pollen Patties?

Bee Craft B-kids  Facebook post   January 19, 2016

Why feed pollen patties?

The thing to understand about pollen or pollen substitute is that it is used to feed larvae. Remember, bee eggs don't eat and pupae don't eat but the larvae are dependent on a good supply of nutritious, high protein food and this involves pollen. The larvae are not fed pollen directly; nurse bees eat the pollen, usually in the form of bee bread (a honey and pollen mix) and it is this rich diet that allows them to produce the brood food that they feed to the larvae. They cannot do this without eating pollen.

If pollen or pollen substitute is available, this will encourage the colony to produce brood. It is not such a good idea to encourage brood rearing in Autumn but it is an excellent idea in late January or February.

If you want to encourage your bees to produce lots of brood, especially if your apiary is in an area where there isn't much early pollen, then feed pollen patties in late January or through February when the queen is beginning to lay eggs ready for the new season.

(Taken from the B Kids pages in BeeCraft magazine, February 2016 issue)
Photo: Eric Lanning

https://www.facebook.com/BKids.BeeCraft/?fref=nf

Beeing A Bee-Friendly Beekeeper

This article by Dr. James Tew is from the Dec/Jan Alabama Beekeepers Association Newsletter, the Stinger 

BEING A BEE-FRIENDLY BEEKEEPER

Within a wide range, every beekeeper maintains their colonies in ways suitable to their lifestyle and personal schedule. Some of us can allocate more time to our bees than others. As colony numbers increase, you should expect to spend less time with individual colonies.

Beekeepers who rarely manipulate their colonies will most likely have some, or even many, die. Alternatively, beekeepers who open their practically every day are also putting stress on their colonies. New beekeepers can be somewhat excused. They are still learning and are excited to explore their new bee world.

The following “bee-friendly” points work for me. They may not work for you. I have called the items, 'low impact beekeeping procedures'. I offer them for thought and review.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #1:
So much as possible, I have left my fifteen colonies alone all spring, summer and fall. When supering I looked at a frame or two of brood in the upper brood body, but I tried to keep my intrusion minimal. I did stagger the upper supers to allow for more ventilation. I supered pretty much on time and did a reasonably good job of keeping the grass knocked down. Otherwise, I have not intruded upon my bees.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #2:
I have tried to develop my concerns about re-queening. The queen needs to be truly a bad queen before I elect to put the colony through the confusion and disruption of re-queening. I suspect that the occasional marginal queen is as good as one that I can quickly get and install. By the time the re-queening procedure has finished, the nectar-flow will have essentially passed and I am left with a new queen in a weak colony that has missed the season.

Would it be fair to say that a minimally invasive recommendation would be to re-queen once per year and, unless disastrous, to live that year with the queen you get?

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #3:
I try to treat for mites in the Fall of the year. Some newer materials allow for treating more often. I try to treat correctly and keep my hive openings to a minimum. I realize that mites and bees are developing both good and bad resistance to each other and to chemicals, but for the present, I am assuming that my bees will need some kind of mite treatment at least once per year.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #4:
So much as possible, I have reduced supplemental carbohydrate feeding for both survival and spring stimulation. I can’t stop it all together and am not suggesting you do, either. At times it is necessary, but I have completely stopped allowing bees to rob extracted supers or honey cans. Robbing is a vicious behavior that results in weaker colonies (sometimes even stronger colonies), if not killed outright, becoming so depleted that they have little hope of surviving the upcoming winter.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #5:
For colonies that you really care about, prepare for the hive opening event. Have extra equipment on the truck to replace worn or broken hive parts. In a perfect bee world, you would even have access to a spare queen from nuclei that you set up earlier in the spring. A working number is about one nucleus per ten colonies. This past season, I maintained two nuclei for fifteen colonies. When the hive is open, perform as many chores as possible in order to reduce future trips. On double-sided bottom boards, I use the shallow side (3/8” opening) year round. That way, I avoid having to install and remove entrance reducers.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #6:
When the season allows, set up an observation hive. Not yet, but maybe soon, I will come around to saying that observation hives are presently undervalued as a management tool. Currently, they are used as educational devices or as novel seasonal hives. They could be so much more. Rather than opening full-sized colonies, I can get an idea of the field events by looking at the observation hive activity. Pollen collection, nectar collection, drone production, and the status of the queen are readily viewable in an observation hive.

The performance of a new queen can be evaluated before transferring her to a full sized colony. Brood from the observation hive can be used to subsidize needful field colonies. As it were, both observation hives and nucleus hives provide living spare parts. Plus, upon looking at bees within an observation hive, I satisfy a bit of my beekeeper need to see the inside of a hive. Should the recommendation be one observation hive for every ten colonies rather than a nucleus hive per ten colonies? Maybe sometime I will recommend this, but not just yet.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #7:
Consider putting on some deeps as supers in order to have spare honey for the winter months when things go particularly bad. Deep supers are heavy – even difficult to handle, but wintering bees can readily use bee-stored honey when nearly nothing else will do. If stored properly, deep supers can be held for several years without undue harm. If stored pollen is minimal, wax moths
will not do much damage to stored comb. Not only useful as winter-feed, deep supers of honey can be used during spring seasons to make splits or to boost spring colonies needing some help.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #8:
I top super rather than bottom, but I provide upper entrances. To decrease the distance bees must travel to store nectar, bottom supering stipulates that the empty super goes just above the brood nest and partially full supers are placed above the empty super. It’s considerable work for me and much more disruptive to the bees to remove all supers before adding a new one and frequently, burr comb must be removed or a poor fit results and bees are crushed. Top supering is easier for me and causes less disruption to the colony.

Low-Impact Beekeeping Procedure #9:
Don't use any more smoke than necessary and only blow cool, white smoke. I’m afraid that too often rather than work our colonies, we bully them. With our protective gear and our smokers blazing, no doubt we are the bees’ most formidable enemy. Use only the smoke you need so the colony can recover as quickly as possible. Though it’s common sense, don’t kill any more bees than necessary to open and close the colony. With their sensitive olfactory systems, the bees know you’ve just killed several hundred of their kin. You think that makes them appreciate your efforts? (A beekeeping secret – the smoke from a smoker is probably not good for your respiratory system. Don’t oversmoke the bees or yourself.)

Low-Impact, Totally Impractical, Beekeeping Procedure #10:
I enjoy working my colonies on nice, memorable days but these are the very days that bees should be out foraging for winter stores. We cause our bees to lose a significant part of a good foraging day when we choose that day to open colonies. Should we select cooler, rainy days or possibly go for late afternoon sessions or could such tasks as adding supers or filling feeders even be done at night? It could be done then. Just so you know, I will not be adding supers or filling feeders at night. If you want to, have at it.

My point: So much as possible, let your bees be bees. I'm afraid that, many times, we hurt more than we help.

Dr. James E. Tew
State Specialist, Beekeeping
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Auburn University
http://www.alabamabeekeepers.com/

Angry Bees Are Easily Distracted By Food, Study Finds

The Washington Post    By Rachael Feltman   December 23, 2015

You know those Snickers commercials about how easy it is to get angry when you're in need of a snack? 

Well, scientists haven't exactly shown that honey bees get "hangry," but the word certainly comes to mind when reading a new study on bee aggression. In the study, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, researchers led by Martin Giurfa at the University of Toulouse and Judith Reinhard of the University of Queensland found that honey bees put on the war path were quite easily put off it by the scent of food.

When a guard bee senses a predator using visual cues like color and movement, it sends out pheromones -- chemicals that illicit an unconscious, automatic physical response in other members of the same species -- to put soldier bees inside the nest on high alert. This puts the bees into kamikaze mode, since any stinging attack leaves the species Apis mellifera sans several internal organs. At least 40 chemical compounds have been found in the pheromone cocktail that calls honey bees to war, but the main component, isoamyl acetate, is enough on its own to make a soldier bee ready to die for the cause.

Previous research has shown that bees and other insects can sometimes get confused by exposure to more than one kind of pheromone. But researchers wanted to see whether the scent chemicals produced by flowers might have any effect.

First, they had to make some honey bees angry, which they did by placing them in an "arena" with an annoying moving target:

Two bees are placed into a container with a moving target and are unaffected by the movement until one of the bees strikes. (Morgan Nouvian (CRCA – QBI)

Two bees are placed into a container with a moving target and an alarm pheromone. The reaction to the sting alarm pheromone can be extremely fast, as evidenced by this pair of bees attacking the moving dummy within seconds of their introduction inside the test arena. (Morgan Nouvian (CRCA – QBI))

But when flowery scents like lavender were added, the bees chilled out. It wasn't simply a question of masking one scent with another -- some food-related scents, like citrus, had no effect -- but the compounds linalool and 2-phenylethanol, along with the scent of lavender (a mix of linalool and other chemicals) seemed to block the aggressive response to the alarm hormone.

Since stinging is such a nasty business, it's not surprising that bees might be hardwired to avoid it in favor of accessing available food for the hive. But the bees didn't have to rely on memories of previously foraged snacks in order to decide what food trumped fighting. Even newly emerged bees, who had never foraged and therefore had no experiential preference for particular flowery smells, were calmed by the lavender-related scents.

The researchers told Live Science that any calming effect of lavender on bees is probably unrelated to the anecdotal calming effect it has on humans. Lavender might be a pleasant, calming scent for a human bubble bath, but for a bee it's like the scent of a juicy burger (if that burger sent out chemical signals that literally drew your body toward it).

But that doesn't mean that humans can't benefit from the study.

"We certainly see great potential for applications to beekeeping," first author Morgane Nouvian, a graduate student at both the University of Queensland and the University of Toulouse, told Live Science. "Developing a product based on our results — for example a scented hand spray [or] cream, or an odor-releasing device to place at the hive entrance — could certainly help reduce the number of bees stinging while [beekeepers are] handling the hives. This method would be a great alternative to the current use of smoke and repellents, because we would be tricking the bees with something that they actually 'like,' and it would thus likely be less stressful for them."

Since constant exposure to venom actually makes beekeepers more likely to become allergic to it than the general population, a product like that would be pretty sweet.

Read at: https://goo.gl/rXQ738