Flowers Can Hear Buzzing Bees - And It Makes Their Nectar Sweeter

National Geographic By Michelle Donahue January 15, 2019

The bowl-shaped flowers of evening primrose may be key to their acoustic capabilities. PHOTOGRAPH BY DENNIS FRATES/ ALAMY

The bowl-shaped flowers of evening primrose may be key to their acoustic capabilities. PHOTOGRAPH BY DENNIS FRATES/ ALAMY

“I’d like people to understand that hearing is not only for ears.”


EVEN ON THE quietest days, the world is full of sounds: birds chirping, wind rustling through trees, and insects humming about their business. The ears of both predator and prey are attuned to one another’s presence.

Sound is so elemental to life and survival that it prompted Tel Aviv University researcher Lilach Hadany to ask: What if it wasn’t just animals that could sense sound—what if plants could, too? The first experiments to test this hypothesis, published recently on the pre-print server bioRxiv, suggest that in at least one case, plants can hear, and it confers a real evolutionary advantage.

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Hadany’s team looked at evening primroses (Oenothera drummondii) and found that within minutes of sensing vibrations from pollinators’ wings, the plants temporarily increased the concentration of sugar in their flowers’ nectar. In effect, the flowers themselves served as ears, picking up the specific frequencies of bees’ wings while tuning out irrelevant sounds like wind.

The sweetest sound

As an evolutionary theoretician, Hadany says her question was prompted by the realization that sounds are a ubiquitous natural resource—one that plants would be wasting if they didn’t take advantage of it as animals do. If plants had a way of hearing and responding to sound, she figured, it could help them survive and pass on their genetic legacy.

Since pollination is key to plant reproduction, her team started by investigating flowers. Evening primrose, which grows wild on the beaches and in parks around Tel Aviv, emerged as a good candidate, since it has a long bloom time and produces measurable quantities of nectar.

A brown and yellow hoverfly rests on a dewdrop-covered evening primrose in the U.K. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAELGRANTWILDLIFE/ ALAMY

A brown and yellow hoverfly rests on a dewdrop-covered evening primrose in the U.K. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAELGRANTWILDLIFE/ ALAMY

To test the primroses in the lab, Hadany’s team exposed plants to five sound treatments: silence, recordings of a honeybee from four inches away, and computer-generated sounds in low, intermediate, and high frequencies. Plants given the silent treatment—placed under vibration-blocking glass jars—had no significant increase in nectar sugar concentration. The same went for plants exposed to high-frequency (158 to 160 kilohertz) and intermediate-frequency (34 to 35 kilohertz) sounds.

But for plants exposed to playbacks of bee sounds (0.2 to 0.5 kilohertz) and similarly low-frequency sounds (0.05 to 1 kilohertz), the final analysis revealed an unmistakable response. Within three minutes of exposure to these recordings, sugar concentration in the plants increased from between 12 and 17 percent to 20 percent.

A sweeter treat for pollinators, their theory goes, may draw in more insects, potentially increasing the chances of successful cross-pollination. Indeed, in field observations, researchers found that pollinators were more than nine times more common around plants another pollinator had visited within the previous six minutes.

“We were quite surprised when we found out that it actually worked,” Hadany says. “But after repeating it in other situations, in different seasons, and with plants grown both indoors and outdoors, we feel very confident in the result.”

Flowers for ears

As the team thought about how sound works, via the transmission and interpretation of vibrations, the role of the flowers became even more intriguing. Though blossoms vary widely in shape and size, a good many are concave or bowl-shaped. This makes them perfect for receiving and amplifying sound waves, much like a satellite dish.

To test the vibrational effects of each sound frequency test group, Hadany and her co-author Marine Veits, then a graduate student in Hadany’s lab, put the evening primrose flowers under a machine called a laser vibrometer, which measures minute movements. The team then compared the flowers’ vibrations with those from each of the sound treatments.

“This specific flower is bowl- shaped, so acoustically speaking, it makes sense that this kind of structure would vibrate and increase the vibration within itself,” Veits says.

And indeed it did, at least for the pollinators’ frequencies. Hadany says it was exciting to see the vibrations of the flower match up with the wavelengths of the bee recording.

“You immediately see that it works,” she says.

To confirm that the flower was the responsible structure, the team also ran tests on flowers that had one or more petals removed. Those flowers failed to resonate with either of the low-frequency sounds.

What else plants can hear

Hadany acknowledges that there are many, many questions remaining about this newfound ability of plants to respond to sound. Are some “ears” better for certain frequencies than others? And why does the evening primrose make its nectar so much sweeter when bees are known to be able to detect changes in sugar concentration as small as 1 to 3 percent?

LILACH HADANY, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

LILACH HADANY, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

Also, could this ability confer other advantages beyond nectar production and pollination? Hadany posits that perhaps plants alert one another to the sound of herbivores mowing down their neighbors. Or maybe they can generate sounds that attract the animals involved in dispersing that plant’s seeds.

“We have to take into account that flowers have evolved with pollinators for a very long time,” Hadany says. “They are living entities, and they, too, need to survive in the world. It’s important for them to be able to sense their environment—especially if they cannot go anywhere.”

This single study has cracked open an entirely new field of scientific research, which Hadany calls phytoacoustics.

Veits wants to know more about the underlying mechanisms behind the phenomenon the research team observed. For instance, what molecular or mechanical processes are driving the vibration and nectar response? She also hopes the work will affirm the idea that it doesn’t always take a traditional sense organ to perceive the world.

“Some people may think, How can [plants] hear or smell?” Veits says. “I’d like people to understand that hearing is not only for ears.”

Richard Karban, an expert in interactions between plants and their pests at the University of California Davis, has questions of his own, in particular, about the evolutionary advantages of plants’ responses to sound.

“It may be possible that plants are able to chemically sense their neighbors, and to evaluate whether or not other plants around them are fertilized,” he says. “There’s no evidence that things like that are going on, but [this study] has done the first step.”

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the percent increase in nectar's sugar concentration.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/flowers-can-hear-bees-and-make-their-nectar-sweeter/

Thefts Continue to Trouble Beekeepers

AgAlert By Christine Souza February 20, 2019

Butte County Sheriff’s Deputy Rowdy Freeman checks on commercial apiaries in an almond orchard near Oroville. Freeman says law-enforcement agencies around the state have received reports of bee-colony thefts, suggesting potentially tight supplies of bees for pollination.  Photo/Christine Souza

Butte County Sheriff’s Deputy Rowdy Freeman checks on commercial apiaries in an almond orchard near Oroville. Freeman says law-enforcement agencies around the state have received reports of bee-colony thefts, suggesting potentially tight supplies of bees for pollination.
Photo/Christine Souza

For some commercial beekeepers, California's almond bloom ended before it officially started.

Early last week, Tulare County beekeeper Steve Godlin of Visalia learned that about 100 honeybee colonies he was managing had disappeared from an almond orchard west of Visalia.

"We got hit. It's a nightmare," said Godlin, who had been managing the colonies for a fellow beekeeper from North Dakota. "It's very discouraging, obviously, to get the bees this far to a payday and then have them stolen."

Citing a shortage of bees for almond pollination, which this year requires about 2.14 million apiaries for more than 1 million bearing acres of almonds, Godlin said the bees were likely stolen Feb. 10.

Deputies from the Tulare County Sheriff's Department Agricultural Crimes Unit also took a report of a likely related theft the next day: Just a few miles from the Godlin location, Gunter Honey reported a second theft of another 96 hives.

Godlin said 100 beehives would be valued at $20,000 for the bees alone and another $20,000 for the pollination services—and that to steal that many hives would require a one-ton truck and forklift. His advice to farmers?

"Know your beekeepers, and if you or anybody in the public sees somebody loading bees up in an almond orchard, call the police. That's not the way it works. Bees should be going into the almonds, not out," Godlin said.

Butte County Sheriff's Deputy Rowdy Freeman, who investigates rural and agricultural crimes, said a theft of 100 or 200 hives at a time would likely be committed by someone who is a beekeeper.

"They know what they are doing. They have beekeeping equipment. They know how to go in and take them and have the means to do it. It could be a beekeeper who lost a lot of hives and can't fulfill his contract. Desperation leads to theft, so they will steal the hives from someone," Freeman said, noting that other bee thefts had been reported already this year in Kern County and in Southern California, with a total of 300 hives lost.

"What we typically see is they steal hives from one area and then drive several hours to put them on a contract, because the people there won't necessarily know that they are stolen," Freeman said. "Almond growers need to know whose bees are going into their orchards, what markings are going to be on those hives, and if they see anything different, they need to report it."

Early this month, Freeman investigated reports of a small number of bees stolen from Butte and Glenn counties. He later recovered about half of the bees, after deputies spotted some of the stolen hives loaded onto a small utility trailer parked in a driveway in Biggs.

Two adults were arrested for the alleged crime and for felony possession of stolen property. The recovered bees were returned to the beekeeper-owner in Glenn County.

The sheriff's department said the suspects planned to place the hives in an almond orchard in exchange for payment for pollination services.

Freeman said smaller apiary thefts could be carried out by people who aren't beekeepers, but are just looking to make quick cash.

"In a recent case I worked, they saw an ad on Craigslist, and they responded to that and came to an agreement," he said. "The farmer doesn't know who they are really dealing with, and that guy comes out and drops off a bunch of boxes that look like beehives and the farmer is happy he has bees. But he doesn't look inside of them. One case, there weren't any bees in the boxes, and they weren't beekeepers."

Freeman, who also became interested in beekeeping after investigating a theft in 2013 and now maintains about 50 hives of his own, said the thefts this season are likely related to a limited supply of bees.

Whether or not almond growers will have enough bees remains to be seen.

Mel Machado, director of member relations for the Blue Diamond Growers cooperative, said he hadn't heard "any issues related to a shortage of bees."

Almond grower Dave Phippen of Travaille and Phippen Inc. in Manteca said one of the beekeepers he works with was unable to bring the truckload of bees that he had agreed upon, but was able to deliver 400 bee colonies for Phippen's almonds.

"I got what I needed, but just by the skin of my chinny-chin-chin," Phippen said, adding, "It's a challenge every year."

Phippen said he expects the cost of pollination services this year will be approximately $190 per colony.

"The trees are excited and trying to open," he said. "The weather's been cool, so it held them back, but with this warm storm, I'm afraid they are going to progress quicker than they have been."

Machado said it would take a while to gauge the impact of last week's rains on the almond bloom.

"We just don't know yet," he said.

Freeman offered suggestions for preventing bee theft:

Beekeepers should place bees out of sight and off the road, and mark hives, lids and frames with identifying information so that recovered bees can be traced back to the owner.

Growers paying for pollination services should verify that colonies in the orchard or field match with the contract they have with the beekeeper.

Though it is not cost-effective for every hive, beekeepers should strategically place GPS trackers in certain hives.

Beekeepers and farmers should maintain a close working relationship.

The California State Beekeepers Association offers up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for stealing bees and/or beekeeping equipment; information may be sent to calstatebeekeepers@agamsi.com.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Department asked anyone with information regarding the stolen apiaries there to contact its Agricultural Crimes Unit: 559-802-9401.

(Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at csouza@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

http://www.agalert.com/story/?id=12734

Saint Valentine - Patron of Beekeepers

Saint Valentine - Patron of Beekeepers

Saint Valentine - Patron of Beekeepers

The roots of Valentine’s Day date back to the year 496, when Pope Gelasius proclaimed that February 14 would be the feast day of St. Valentine of Rome, taking precedence over Lupercalia—a pagan Roman fertility festival long-celebrated February 13-15.

Besides couples, love and happy marriages, you might be surprised to know that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers—charged with ensuring the sweetness of honey and the protection of beekeepers among many other things.

Saints are certainly expected to keep busy in the afterlife. Their holy duties include interceding in earthly affairs and entertaining petitions from living souls. In this respect, St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling. As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.

Who knew beekeepers had so many patron saints....Saint Gobnait, Saint Ambrose, Saint Gregory as well as Saint Valentine.

While many beekeepers and their colonies are currently in California battling the rain and the cold to pollinate almond blossoms, we wish them a Happy Valentine's day! May St. Valentine keep your bees healthy and the honey in your honey pots plentiful.

Different Types of Honey Bees

The Different Types of Honey Bees

Introduction

Honey bees, like all other living things, vary among themselves in traits such as temperament, disease resistance, and productivity. The environment has a large effect on differences among bee colonies (for example, plants in different areas yield different honey crops), but the genetic makeup of a colony can also impact the characteristics that define a particular group. Beekeepers have long known that different genetic stocks have distinctive characteristics, so they have utilized different strains to suit their particular purpose, whether it be pollination, a honey crop, or bee production.

What Is a Bee Stock?

The term “stock” is defined as a loose combination of traits that characterize a particular group of bees. Such groups can be divided by species, race, region, population, or breeding line in a commercial operation. Many of the current “stocks” in the United States can be grouped at one or more of these levels, so the term will be used interchangeably, depending on the particular strain of bees in question.

Wide variation exists within stocks as well as among them. Any generalities about a particular stock should be treated with caution, since there are always exceptions to the rule. Nonetheless, the long and vast experience of beekeepers allows some oversimplifications to be made in order to better understand the different types of bees available. The following is a brief overview of some of the more common commercially available honey bee stocks in the United States.

Comparison of bees and their traits

Comparison of bees and their traits

The Italian Bee

Italian honey bees, of the subspecies Apis mellifera ligustica, were brought to the United States in 1859. They quickly became the favored bee stock in this country and remain so to this day. Known for their extended periods of brood rearing, Italian bees can build colony populations in the spring and maintain them for the entire summer. They are less defensive and less prone to disease than their German counterparts, and they are excellent honey producers. They also are very lightly colored, ranging from a light leather hue to an almost lemon yellow, a trait that is highly coveted by many beekeepers for its aesthetic appeal.

Despite their popularity, Italian bees have some drawbacks. First, because of their prolonged brood rearing, they may consume surplus honey in the hive if supers (removable upper sections where honey is stored) are not removed immediately after the honey flow stops. Second, they are notorious kleptoparasites and frequently rob the honey stores of weaker or dead neighboring colonies. This behavior may pose problems for Italian beekeepers who work their colonies during times of nectar dearth, and it may cause the rapid spread of transmittable diseases among hives.

The German Bee

Honey bees are not native to the New World, although North America has about 4,000 native species of bees. Honey bees were brought to America in the 17thcentury by the early European settlers. These bees were most likely of the subspecies A. m. mellifera, otherwise known as the German or “black” bee. This stock is very dark in color and tends to be very defensive, making bee management more difficult. One of the German bees’ more favorable characteristics is that they are a hardy strain, able to survive long, cold winters in northern climates. However, because of their defensive nature and their susceptibility to many brood diseases (such as American and European foulbrood), this stock lost favor with beekeepers well over a century ago. Although the feral bee population in the United States was once dominated by this strain, newly introduced diseases have nearly wiped out most wild honey bee colonies, making the German bee a rare stock at this time

The Carniolan Bee

The subspecies A. m. carnica, from middle Europe, also has been a favored bee stock in the United States for several reasons. First, their explosive spring buildup enables this race to grow rapidly in population and take advantage of blooms that occur much earlier in the spring, compared to other stocks. Second, they are extremely docile and can be worked with little smoke and protective clothing. Third, they are much less prone to robbing other colonies of honey, lowering disease transmission among colonies. Finally, they are very good builders of wax combs, which can be used for products ranging from candles, to soaps, to cosmetics.

Because of their rapid buildup, however, carniolan bees tend to have a high propensity to swarm (their effort to relieve overcrowding) and, therefore, may leave the beekeeper with a very poor honey crop. This stock requires continued vigilance to prevent the loss of swarms.

The Caucasian Bee

A. m. caucasica is a race of honey bees native to the foothills of the Ural mountains near the Caspian Sea in eastern Europe. This stock was once popular in the United States, but it has declined in regard over the last few decades. Its most notable characteristic is its very long tongue, which enables the bees to forage for nectar from flowers that other bee stocks may not have access to. They tend to be a moderately colored bee and, like the Carniolans, are extremely docile. However, their slow spring buildup keeps them from generating very large honey crops, and they tend to use an excessive amount of propolis—the sticky resin substance sometimes called “bee glue” that is used to seal cracks and joints of bee structures—making their hives diffi- cult to manipulate.

The Buckfast Bee

In the 1920s, honey bee colonies in the British Isles were devastated by acarine disease, which now is suspected to have been the endoparasitic tracheal mite Acarapis woodi. Brother Adams, a monk at Buckfast Abby in Devon, England, was charged with creating a bee stock that could withstand this deadly disease. He traveled the world interviewing beekeepers and learning about different bee strains, and he created a stock of bees, largely from the Italian race, that could thrive in the cold wet conditions of the British Isles, yet produce good honey crops and exhibit good housecleaning and grooming behavior to reduce the prevalence of disease. Bees of this stock are moderately defensive. However, if left unmanaged for one or two generations, they can be among the most fiercely defensive bees of any stock. They also are moderate in spring population buildup, preventing them from taking full advantage of early nectar flows.

The Russian Bee

One of the newer bee stocks in the United States was imported from far-eastern Russia by the US Department of Agriculture’s Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The researchers’ logic was that these bees from the Primorski region on the Sea of Japan, have coexisted for the last 150 years with the devastating ectoparasite Varroa destructor, a mite that is responsible for severe colony losses around the globe, and they might thrive in the United States. The USDA tested whether this stock had evolved resistance to varroa and found that it had. Numerous studies have shown that bees of this strain have fewer than half the number of mites that are found in standard commercial stocks. The quarantine phase of this project has been complete since 2000, and bees of this strain are available commercially.

Russian bees tend to rear brood only during times of nectar and pollen flows, so brood rearing and colony populations tend to fluctuate with the environment. They also exhibit good housecleaning behavior, resulting in resistance not only to varroa but also to the tracheal mite.

Bees of this stock exhibit some unusual behaviors compared to other strains. For example, they tend to have queen cells present in their colonies almost all the time, whereas most other stocks rear queens only during times of swarming or queen replacement. Russian bees also perform better when not in the presence of other bee strains; research has shown that cross-contamination from susceptible stocks can lessen the varroa resistance of these bees.

Other Notable Stocks

Many other honey bee stocks are worth noting:

The Minnesota Hygienic stock has been selected for its exceptional housecleaning ability, significantly reducing the negative effects of most brood diseases.

The VSH, or the "Varroa Sensitive Hygiene" stock (used to be named the SMR stock, referring to “Suppression of Mite Reproduction”), also was developed by the USDA honey bee lab in Louisiana by artificially selecting commercial stocks for mite resistance. While not an independently viable stock on its own (because of inbreeding), the VSH trait has been incorporated into other genetic stocks so that these stocks may also express this highly desired characteristic.

The Cordovan bee is a type of Italian bee that has a very light yellow color, which is more attractive to many beekeepers.

Numerous hybrid stocks are also available commercially:

The Midnite bee was developed by crossing the Caucasian and Carniolan stocks, hoping to maintain the extreme gentleness of both strains while removing the excessive propolis of the Caucasians and minimizing the swarming propensity of the Carniolans.

The Starline was developed from numerous strains of the Italian stock by Gladstone Cale of the Dadant Bee Company. It was once favored by commercial beekeepers because of its tremendous honey yields, particularly in clover, but the popularity of this stock has declined in recent decades.

The Double Hybrid is a cross of the Midnite and the Starline.

Conclusion

While a tremendous amount of variation remains within and among the different bee stocks, some generalities still can be made. Bee differences can be used to advantage by beekeepers, depending on what traits interest them, so using different stocks can be a powerful tool at the beekeeper’s disposal. There is no “best” strain of bee, as the traits favored by one beekeeper may differ significantly from another’s choice. Thus, it is best for each beekeeper to experience the characteristics of the different bee strains first hand and then form an opinion about which stock best fits his or her situation.

For more information on beekeeping, visit the Beekeeping Notes website.

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/the-different-types-of-honey-bees

David R. Tarpy
Professor and Extension Apiculturist
Department of Entomology, Campus Box 7613
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7613
TEL: (919) 515-1660
FAX: (919) 515-7746
EMAIL: david_tarpy@ncsu.edu

Jennifer J. Keller
Apiculture Technician
Department of Entomology, Campus Box 7613
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7613
TEL: (919) 513-7702
FAX: (919) 515-7746
EMAIL: jennifer_keller@ncsu.edu

NC State Extension
Author David Tarpy,
Professor and Extension Apiculturist
Entomology

Beesharing – An Online Network That Combines Beekeeping And Agriculture. A Digital Pollination Brokerb

Catch The Buzz     October 3, 2018

BEEsharing: Using bees to produce more fruit and vegetables. 

Senator Frank Horch, in a conversation with start-up BEEsharing, on bees in fruit and vegetable growing as well as ideas for solutions to worldwide bee mortality.

Bees are good money makers. Honey and other bee products are popular and they sell well. But above all, the pollination performance of bees is of enormous importance. They make a huge difference in the fruit and vegetable industry, as they can enlarge the yields. And it is exactly there where the BEEsharing’s business model of ties in. An online network that combines beekeeping and agriculture. Beekeepers offer bee colonies for pollination, and farmers and growers then buy their services. Consulting, mediation and logistics are handled by BEEsharing. The apiary in Hamburg is currently experiencing a tremendous upswing, now with more than 1,000 beekeepers.

Senator Frank Horch emphasized: “Sharing bees means looking after them. BEEsharing uses the opportunities offered by digitization and combines beekeepers with agricultural partners. A great business idea that also keeps an eye on plant and species diversity. Hamburg needs people who recognize opportunities and push their ideas forward with courage and passion. Startups like these deserve our attention because they create innovation and are the guarantor of tomorrow’s economic successes. We want to support them with good framework conditions.”

Otmar Trenk, CEO and Founder BEEsharing P.A.L.S. GmbH, said: “We are pleased that we have the opportunity to present our young, innovative company to representatives from politics and business and to enter into a pragmatic discourse with them. This discourse is necessary to maintain the competitiveness of beekeeping and agriculture, and to make it a promising endeavour.”

Bees are among the most important farm animals; they play a key role in nature and agriculture. The economic output of beekeeping in Germany is around 1.7 billion euros per year, of which 1.6 billion euros are accounted for by pollination alone. In Hamburg, there are more than 400 horticultural businesses for which bees are indispensable. In order to be able to use these bees in the future as well, a good environment is needed. The numerous beekeepers contribute to this. The developments in Hamburg have been very positive in recent years. The Beekeeper Association Hamburg e. V. currently has more than 1,000 bee friends, while in 2005 there were only about 250 members.

https://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-beesharing-an-online-network-that-combines-beekeeping-and-agriculture-a-digital-pollination-broker

 

Military Site Also Home To Honeybees

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette   By The Associated Press    September 22, 2018

Credit: Austin American-Statesman via AP. Military contractor BAE Systems in Austin, Texas, lets the nonprofit American Honey bee Protection Agency keep 10 permanent hives on its property and says its environmental work dovetails with the company motto: “We protect those who protect us.” AUSTIN, Texas -- In a dense bit of East Austin forest, beneath a long abandoned helicopter-blade test pad and a pair of cottonwood trees, hundreds of honeybees are going about their honey-making business.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the land belongs to military contractor BAE Systems -- part of the 140 acres on which the company builds components for missiles and other military hardware -- and the bees belong to the nonprofit American Honey Bee Protection Agency, which aims to integrate bees into cities and educate the public about their importance as pollinators.

The unusual partnership is part of an effort by United Kingdom-based BAE to burnish its image as it attracts and retains young talent, according to corporate officials.

"We see younger folks have stronger beliefs, and it's easy to be on board with conservation -- it just inherently sounds good and is well received," said Steve Ford, the company's director of electronic systems survivability, targeting and sensing solutions.

A few years ago, the company, which has operations in places as far-flung as Saudi Arabia and Australia, turned to environmental stewardship at its Austin site, which employs roughly 500 people.

It elected to be a corporate sponsor of Texan by Nature, founded by former first lady Laura Bush, which promotes the conservation work of businesses -- the company donates $10,000 to that nonprofit annually -- and began planting monarch butterfly-friendly milkweed around its premises. It began taking out bits of lawn and seeded the ground with switchgrass and bluestem and wildflowers to promote healthier ecosystems. Employee volunteers set up a sustainability committee and directed the company cafeteria to increase its recycling and composting. The company ended use of a copper algaecide on a retention pond, set up rainwater collection systems, and donated land and office space to the bee protection group.

Company officials say the environmental work dovetails with their motto: "We protect those who protect us." Among other things, the company develops the flares that fighter planes eject to protect themselves from heat-seeking missiles.

"We rely on pollinators to prove 70 percent of our food crop," said Dan Wiegrefe, BAE's Western region operations director for electronic systems. "What's the point of protecting our country if we have no country to protect?"

Inside the walls of the largely windowless buildings at the corporate office park, just east of U.S. 183 and south of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., BAE is assembling circuit cards for the company's Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, according to company documents.

"The [Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System], rocket redefines precision by hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy and minimal collateral damage -- critical for air-to-ground missions when you only have one shot," the company says on its webpage.

The company touts that "the rocket has achieved over a 93 percent hit rate."

In June, the U.S. Naval Air System Command announced a $224.3 million order to BAE for 10,175 air-to-ground rockets, which are intended to blow up armored vehicles and bunkers.

Also put together there are parts of the Target Reconnaissance Infrared Geolocating Rangefinder, or TRIGR, a laser targeting device that looks like a set of high-tech binoculars.

"Our [Target Reconnaissance Infrared Geolocating Rangefinder] system gives our deployed war fighters a decisive advantage in locating enemy targets on today's battlefields," Bruce Zukauskas, a BAE program manager, said in 2012, when the U.S. Army placed a $23.5 million order for the devices.

The U.S. subsidiary of the British company had sales of roughly $10 billion in 2016; the company's board chairman is Michael Chertoff, who served as secretary of Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration -- during Chertoff's tenure, the Homeland Security Department spent billions of dollars on contracts with BAE and other military contractors.

Outside these facilities, a wildflower field is set to bloom next spring. Bobcats, red-tailed hawks, red foxes and deer make their homes on parts of the property.

The company wanted to promote its environmental work because "it's part of our culture here in Austin," company spokesman Anthony DeAngelis said. "Spreading information about the good we all can do is important for us."

The bee group manages hives on at least 20 properties around Austin and tends to at least 10 permanent hives on BAE Systems property; each hive yields at least 60 pounds of honey a year.

Ten to 20 percent of the honey is left with BAE Systems, which distributes it to employees; the rest is sold by the bee group at grocery stores and can be purchased online through Epic Honey Co.

Pests, pesticide, urban development and parasites are all threats to bees, said Jon Ray, director of operations for the bee group.

The area around BAE Systems is a "huge desert land that bees no longer populate. We're trying to put them in BAE, on rooftops and in backyards and open up forage paths in urban areas," Ray said.

Ray said the bee group works with property owners such as BAE to win an agricultural tax exemption on acreage that's home to the hives.

Ray waxed philosophical about the proximity of the bee cultivation to the assembly of military armaments.

"The way I look at all of those things, no matter what kind of defense system you're trying to build -- whether it's bees sending out 10 percent of their population to protect the hive or BAE Systems constructing weapons systems -- they're all designed to create a sense of relief in the overall population. They're looking not for destruction, but for relief to avoid destruction."

http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/sep/22/military-site-also-home-to-honeybees-20/

THE BUZZ—Me and the Bee Playground Now Open at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian     Press Release     September 19, 2018

Photo Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is buzzing over a new pollinator-themed playground: Me and the Bee, sponsored by Land O’Lakes Inc. Adjacent to the Kids’ Farm and Conservation Pavilion, Me and the Bee encompasses 4,900 square feet of space where children of all ages can climb atop honeycomb steps, slide down a tree stump overflowing with golden honey and crawl inside hollow trees where bees make their abodes. The playground was made possible by support from farmer-owned cooperative Land O’Lakes Inc. Open to the public during regular Zoo hours, Me and the Bee is an inclusive playground with ADA-accessible features.

The Zoo is throwing a “pollinator party” to celebrate the opening of the playground from 11 a.m. to noon Sunday, Sept. 23, as part of ZooFiesta, a free public event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that includes live music and educational activities, including animal demonstrations, about conservation in Central and South America. The first children to visit the playground will receive a bee antennae.

“Land O’Lakes’ gift will teach future generations of zoogoers why wildlife matters, including the pollinators we find in our own backyards,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “In Me and the Bee, we have created a magical and fun experience that will show children and their families how bees live, their important role in the food chain and how they affect the health of an ecosystem. I hope this attraction inspires visitors to appreciate these animals and take action to conserve them.”

Zoo visitors will “shrink” to the size of a bee and step through a honeycomb to discover larger-than-life-sized figures of European honeybees and blue orchard mason bees. The rubberized play surface is painted with yellow pollen particles, which children can follow from decorative flowers to the bees’ hives. Adding to the immersive experience are two interactive sound projectors; children can turn a rotary crank to hear a group of buzzing bees or push a button to hear a variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds, bats and insects. Honeycomb steppers—platforms for climbing, jumping and resting—are painted to mimic cells filled with pollen and honey. Leaf-shaped signage around the playground tells the story of pollination from the hive to the table, addressing the importance of pollinators and illustrating ways that visitors can help protect the bees in their own backyards. 

“Pollinators are critical for producing much of the food we eat every day, and as a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes is passionate about helping to protect and spread awareness about these important creatures,” said Autumn Price, vice president of government relations at Land O’Lakes Inc. “We are excited to support the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s educational efforts for families, especially through this dynamic playground that presents bees’ crucial role in food production in a fun and accessible way. The Zoo’s mission to save species perfectly aligns with Land O’Lakes’ own work to improve the health and well-being of pollinators and cultivate habitats where they can flourish and thrive.”

The Zoo strives to be a conservation leader in everyday operations and has incorporated elements of green design into the Me and the Bee playground that support sustainable practices. The porous play surface absorbs water and drains into a bioretention area; the collected water then hydrates a vibrant pollinator garden. Lining the perimeter of the playground wall are a mix of pollinator-friendly plants, including blueberry bushes, flowering perennials such as common milkweed, purple coneflower and smooth blue aster and a mini orchard featuring golden delicious and honey crisp apple trees. Nearby, visitors can indulge in waffle cones with honey drizzle and cinnamon granola at the Zoo’s new Honeybee Ice Cream cart.

Nearly 70 percent of all flowering plants reproduce because of pollination by bees and other pollinators. About one-third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately a quarter of all birds and mammals. While more research is necessary to fully understand the threats facing native bee populations, many native bees are at risk from the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pesticides and introduced pests and disease. Additional research will help scientists understand which species are more susceptible to these threats and where conservation efforts will be most beneficial.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Virginia Working Landscapes conducts biodiversity surveys to identify birds, plants and pollinators that are significant to the Shenandoah Valley region. One of their most exciting finds was a rusty patched bumblebee in 2014—a species that has declined from an estimated 87 percent of its range and had not been seen in the eastern United States in five years. On Jan. 10, 2017, the species was classified as ‘endangered’ by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the first bee in the continental U.S. to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Through mid-November, Zoo visitors can observe artist Matthew Willey create a mural of large honeybees on the entrance to the Great Ape House. The finished piece will exist as a part of Willey’s growing series of murals created through The Good of the Hive initiative, which strives to raise awareness about the importance of honeybees and other pollinators while celebrating the beauty and power of humans’ connection to nature. Also on view near the Me and the Bee playground and the Zoo’s Conservation Pavilion is a permanent installation by Willey. Designed to spark curiosity and imagination, “Bending Hives” features four curved bee hive sculptures made of wood and metal that invite the viewer to look closer, with different perspectives, at a world shared with the bees. Willey has made a personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 honeybees—the number necessary for a healthy, thriving hive—in murals around the world.

For information about Me and the Bee, sponsored by Land O’Lakes Inc. visit the Zoo’s website. Follow the Zoo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram  for the latest updates about exhibits, amenities and animal news.

Photo Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National ZooPhoto Credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/news/buzz-me-and-bee-playground-now-open-smithsonians-national-zoo

UPDATE: LACBA Celebrates National Honey Bee Day by Setting Up the LA County Fair Bee Booth

UPDATE:

Thank you to all the volunteers from the Beekeepers Association of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association for coming out today and helping to set up the Bee Booth.  Thanks to your efforts, we got it all done today, and we won't need to work on the booth tomorrow.
Thank to the following volunteer worker bees:
Eva Andrews, Chris Boswell, Cynthia Caldera, Manny Caldera, Joan Day, Steve Day, Jim Honodel,  Dave Lehmann, Jon Reese, Jay Weiss, Dave Williams.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL HONEY BEE DAY
AUGUST 18, 2018

Bee Booth Set Up
Saturday & Sunday (August 18 & 19)
9AM - Approximately 2PM
Pomona Fairgrounds
(The Bee Booth is across from the 'Big Red Barn')
1101 West McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768
http://lacountyfair.com/

 

Volunteer members of the
Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
and the
Beekeepers Association of Southern California
will celebrate National Honey Bee Day
by setting up the Los Angeles County Fair - Bee Booth.

Enter through Gate 1. Drive to the Bee Booth across from the Big Red Barn.
On Bee Booth SET UP DAY ONLY you can park near the Bee Booth.
Lunch will be provided.
There's plenty to do and we have lots of fun!!!
For more information:
/bee-booth-la-county-fair/
/events/

National Honey Bee Day 2018: Brush Up On Your Knowledge of Bee Protection

University of California - Kearney News Updates    By Stephanie Parreira    August 15, 2018

Honey bee on almond blossom. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark.Celebrate National Honey Bee Day by brushing up on your knowledge of bee protection—check out the newly revised Best Management Practices to Protect Bees from Pesticides and Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings from UC IPM. These resources will help you strike the right balance between applying pesticides to protect crops and reducing the risk of harming our most important pollinators.

The best management practices now contain important information regarding the use of adjuvants and tank mixes, preventing the movement of pesticide-contaminated dust, and adjusting chemigation practices to reduce bee exposure to pesticide-contaminated water. The Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings have also been updated to include ratings for 38 new pesticides, including insecticides (baits, mixtures, and biological active ingredients), molluscicides (for snail and slug control), and fungicides.

Most tree and row crops are finished blooming by now, but it is a good idea to learn about bee protection year-round. Visit these resources today to choose pesticides that are least toxic to bees and learn how you can help prevent bees from being harmed by pesticide applications.

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=27973

Woman In Critical Condition After Being Stung By Swarm Of Bees In Lake Forest

ABC News    By Eileen Frere   July 16, 2018 

LAKE FOREST< Calif. (KABC) A woman is in critical condition after being stung hundreds of times by a swarm of bees in Lake Forest Monday morning.

The woman is believe to be in her early 50s and works as a housekeeper in the 23000 block of Buckland Lane, where the attack occurred, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. Authorities said she was stung about 200 times.

She was transported to Saddleback Hospital.

Four firefighters and the owner of the home where the possible hive was were also stung. Two of those firefighters, who were stung multiple times, are in stable condition at a hospital.

The homeowner, who only went by the name Sara, recalled the attack that sent her housekeeper Maria to the hospital.

"She was screaming and I was telling her, 'Move from the bees. Come over here.' But she was covering her head," she said.

Witnesses said another house cleaner grabbed a water house to try to get the bees off Maria, but it didn't work. That's when Sara's son called 911.

Another witness said Maria tried covering her head and face, but at one point the bees began stinging her head. Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said when crews arrived, she was completely covered in bees.

"Her face was completely covered with bees," he said. "They grabbed the first thing they could, which was a carbon dioxide extinguisher, sprayed the patient, tried to get as many bees as they could off her."

He added that the firefighters had no time to put on protective gear before trying to save Maria.

"It was so horrendous. It was awful. And I felt so powerless. There was nothing I could do," neighbor Cynthia Emmets said.

She said her dog ended up being stung as well.

A bee company arrived on the scene to determine the location of a hive and discovered 30,000 to 80,000 bees.

The beehive was discovered inside a gas meter next to Sara's home, according to Matthew Kielsmeier with Bee Busters, which removed a 10-pound hive from the location. Experts said it wasn't clear what prompted the attack, but that the hive had been at the home for about six months.

Sara, who had swollen marks on her forearms from the stings, said she'd noticed bees in the area, but didn't think anything of it at the time.

Experts warn that anyone who sees bees congregating for a period of time in a particular area should call a bee company to get it checked out.

The community HOA had not received any reports of bee problems in the area until this incident.

http://abc7.com/pets-animals/woman-in-critical-condition-after-bee-stings-in-oc/3772737/

For more info on Africanized Honey Bees (aka Killer Bees), visit:  /africanized-bees/

 

Honeybees Finding It Harder To Eat At America's Bee Hot Spot

Phys.org    By Seth Borenstein    July 2, 2018

This June 2015 photo provided by The Ohio State University shows a bee on a flower in Southwest Minnesota. A new federal study finds that honeybees in the Northern Great Plains are having a hard time finding food as conservation land is converted to row crops. (Sarah Scott/The Ohio State University via AP) A new federal study finds bees are having a much harder time finding food in America's last honeybee refuge.

The country's hot spot for commercial beekeeping is the Northern Great Plains of the Dakotas and neighboring areas, where more than 1 million colonies spend their summer feasting on pollen and nectar from wildflowers and other plants.

Clint Otto of the U.S. Geological Survey calculates that from 2006 to 2016, more than half the conservation land within a mile of bee colonies was converted into agriculture, usually row crops like soybeans and corn. Those don't feed bees.

Otto says bees that have a hard time finding food are less likely to survive the winter.

The study is in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 Explore further: Land-use change rapidly reducing critical honey bee habitat in Dakotas

More information: Clint R. V. Otto el al., "Past role and future outlook of the Conservation Reserve Program for supporting honey bees in the Great Plains," PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1800057115 

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

https://phys.org/news/2018-07-honeybees-harder-america-bee-hot.html

Bee Jamboree!

City of Ventura Public Art Program    June 18, 2018

Hello!

I am writing to you on behalf of the City of Ventura’s Public Art Program.  We are putting together an event called the Bee Jamboree at the Barranca Vista Imagination Center on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, from 4-6:30 pm. This event will be hosted in celebration of our City’s newest installation of public art entitled Bee Cause by artist MB Hanrahan in collaboration with many artists and creative community members.  This work was inspired by the plight of the North American Honey Bee and to create awareness about the importance of bees to our planet. MB has created a garden made from painted repurposed donated hubcaps on a metal mesh with bee sculptures among flower patches. The installation fits beautifully into the Barranca Vista Center, which is the ‘hub’ of creative, enriching, educational, and physical activities for young and old on the east end of Ventura. So much happens here, it’s a hive of activity. Bee Cause will strengthen Ventura’s livability by connecting symbolic cooperation of bees with cooperation among humans.

We hope to create a celebration that recognizes the art and educates the community about the importance of bees, how we can support them, and what they do for our community.  

We are seeking interested and various bee-friendly vendors such as beekeepers, honey soirees, bees wax candlemakers, bee friendly garden experts, or/and bee educators. We’d like to offer the community honey tasting, garden demonstrations, opportunity to see a live beehive, and anything else bee related. If you have an interest or if you know of someone who is interested in setting up a booth and sharing your passion and  bee expertise, please fill out the attached Participation Form and contact me as soon as possible.

Thank you for your consideration!

Kindly,

Tobie Roach
Public Art Project Manager
Parks. Recreation & Community Partnerships Department
City of Ventura, 501 Poli Street, room 218, Ventura CA 93001
www.cityofventura.ca.gov

troach@ci.ventura.ca.us

Bee Jamboree Participation Form

Almond Alliance Hails Funding For Bee Program

Morning AG Clips    The Buzz     June 21, 2018

Bee Safe program will ensure the safe movement of colonies, prevent apiary theft, more

Honey bees are essential for a successful almond crop. The single most important factor determining a good yield is pollination during the bloom period, and honey bees are the most successful pollinators of almonds blossoms. (Roberto García Ruiz, Flickr/Creative Commons)SACREMENTO — The Almond Alliance of California is proud to announce that, in partnership with the California State Beekeepers Association, our team led agricultural stakeholders to successfully advocate for $1.9 million for one-to-three years in additional, dedicated state funds for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s new Bee Safe program. This program will ensure the safe movement of colonies, prevent apiary theft and convene stakeholders on best management practices.

Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino pointed out, “Additionally, we will be pushing forward to have the legislature commit to increasing staffing at border stations and streamline inspections during the peak pollination season.”

Honey bees are essential for a successful almond crop. The single most important factor determining a good yield is pollination during the bloom period, and honey bees are the most successful pollinators of almonds blossoms.

The Almond Alliance testified in favor of the CDFA’s Bee Safe Program funding request during state legislative hearings on Gov. Brown’s proposed budget. (Note: This preceding statement is from an April 20, 2018 Alliance newsletter article on the funding request) Trevino praised the collective efforts which resulted in successfully securing the funding. “We are thankful for the efforts by the California State Beekeepers Association and the Almond Board of California in providing critically important research and data about the importance of bees to the California almond industry,” said Trevino. “These funds will aid greatly in efforts to ensure the safe movement of hives, prevent apiary theft and educate beekeepers and almond growers on best management practices.”

According to the CDFA, pollinator health is behind the Bee Safe Program, which will begin on July 1, 2018 with a $1.9 million budget appropriation intended to improve the health and survival of honeybees by increasing foraging opportunities, reducing pesticide exposure, and providing funds for enforcement of existing laws at the local level to promote and protect California’s beekeeping industry.

Each year, thousands of shipments carrying more than 650,000 beehives are transported into California in time for the almond bloom. Honeybees help pollinate at least 90 different crops in addition to almonds, including berries, cucumbers, cantaloupes and apples.

About the Almond Alliance of California 

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) was formerly the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes.  Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.  

AAC works to educate its voluntary members and partners on upcoming and existing regulatory issues that will impact the almond industry.  AAC is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors including a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Chief Financial Officer, and Secretary.

~Almond Alliance of California

https://www.morningagclips.com/almond-alliance-hails-funding-for-bee-program/

National Pollinator Week Is A Time To Celebrate Pollinators And Spread The Word About What You Can Do To Protect Them

Eleven years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 18-24, 2018 has been designated National Pollinator Week.

POLLINATOR WEEK WAS INITIATED AND IS MANAGED BY THE POLLINATOR PARTNERSHIP.

FIND EVENTS: http://pollinator.org/pollinator-week

LACBA Meeting: Monday, June 4, 2018

Our next meeting will be held Monday, June 4, 2018.
Open Board Meeting: 6:30PM
General Meeting: 7:00PM 
Location: 
Mount Olive Lutheran Church (Shilling Hall)
3561 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Meetings of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association are open to the public. All are welcome!

Honey Bee Colony Losses 2017-2018: Preliminary Results

Written by The Bee Informed Partnership Team   May 23, 2018

Note: This is a preliminary analysis. Sample sizes and estimates are likely to change. A more detailed final report is being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date.

Selina Bruckner1, Nathalie Steinhauer2, Karen Rennich2, S. Dan Aurell3, Dewey M. Caron4, James D. Ellis5, Anne Marie Fauvel2, Kelly Kulhanek2, Kristen  C. Nelson6, 7, Juliana Rangel3, Robyn Rose8,: Ramesh Sagili4, Garett P. Slater9, Robert Snyder10, Christopher A. Thoms6, James T. Wilkes11, Michael E. Wilson12, Dennis vanEngelsdorp2, Geoffrey R. Williams1

1Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA
2Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
3Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
4Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
5Department of Entomology & Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
6Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
7Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
8Plant Protection & Quarantine, USDA APHIS, Riverdale, MD, USA
9Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
10Northern California Technology Transfer Team, Bee Informed Partnership, Oroville, CA, USA
11Department of Computer Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA
12Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

Corresponding Authors: dvane@umd.edu (DvE) & williams@auburn.edu (GRW)

The Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org) recently conducted the twelfth annual survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the United States. This year, 4,794 beekeepers collectively managing 175,923 colonies in October 2017 provided validated survey responses. This represents 6.6% of the estimated 2.67 million managed honey-producing colonies in the nation (USDA, 2018).

During the 2017-2018 winter (1 October 2017 – 1 April 2018), an estimated 30.7% of managed colonies in the United States were lost (Fig. 1). This represents an increase of 9.5 percentage points over that of the previous year, and an increase of 2.8 percentage points over that of the 10-year average total winter colony loss rate of 27.9%.

Similar to previous years, backyard beekeepers lost more colonies in winter (46.3%) compared to those lost by sideline (38.0%) and commercial (26.4%) beekeepers. Backyard, sideline, and commercial beekeepers are defined as those managing 50 or fewer colonies, 51 – 500 colonies, and 501 or more colonies, respectively.

Interestingly, the self-reported ‘level of acceptable winter colony loss’ increased from 18.7% last year to 20.6% this year. Sixty-nine percent of responding beekeepers lost more of their colonies than deemed to be acceptable.

During the summer 2017 season (1 April 2017– 1 October 2017), an estimated 17.1% of managed colonies were lost in the U.S. This level is on par with summer colony loss estimates of 18.2% that were reported the previous year, and lower than the 20.9% average experienced by beekeepers since 2010-2011, when summer losses were first recorded by the Bee Informed Partnership.

For the entire survey period (1 April 2017 – 1 April 2018), beekeepers in the U.S. lost an estimated 40.1% of their managed honey bee colonies. This is 2.7 percentage points greater than the average annual rate of loss experienced by beekeepers since 2010-2011. Fig 1. Total winter colony loss rate in the United States across years of the Bee Informed Partnership’s National Honey Bee Colony Loss Survey (yellow bars; 1 October – 1 April)1. Total annual loss estimates (orange bars) include total winter and summer (1 April – 1 October) losses; the latter has been estimated since 2010-2011 only. The acceptable winter loss rate (grey bars) is the average percentage of acceptable winter colony loss declared by the survey participants in each year of the survey.

1 Previous survey results estimated total winter colony loss values of 21% in the winter of 2016-17, 27% in 2015-16, 22% in 2014-15, 24% in 2013-14, 30% in 2012-13, 22% in 2011-12, 30% in 2010-11, 32% in 2009-10, 29% in 2008-09, 36% in 2007-08, and 32% in 2006-07 (see reference list).

References

Kulhanek, K; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Caron, DM; Sagili, RR; Pettis, JS; Ellis, JD; Wilson, ME; Wilkes, JT; Tarpy, DR; Rose, R; Lee, K; Rangel, J; vanEngelsdorp, D (2017) A national survey of managed honey bee 2015-2016 annual colony losses in the USA. Journal of Apicultural Research 56: 328-340.

Lee, KV; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Tarpy, DR; Caron, DM; Rose, R; Delaplane, KS; Baylis, K; Lengerich, EJ; Pettis, J; Skinner, JA; Wilkes, JT; Sagili, R; vanEngelsdorp, D; for the Bee Informed Partnership (2015) A national survey of managed honey bee 2013–2014 annual colony losses in the USA. Apidologie 46: 292-305.

Seitz, N; Traynor, KS; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Ellis, JD; Rose, R; Tarpy, DR; Sagili, RR; Caron, DM; Delaplane, KS; Rangel, J; Lee, K; Baylis, K; Wilkes, JT; Skinner, JA; Pettis, JS; vanEngelsdorp, D (2016) A national survey of managed honey bee 2014-2015 annual colony losses in the USA. Journal of Apicultural Research 54: 292-304.

Spleen, AM; Lengerich, EJ; Rennich, K; Caron, D; Rose, R; Pettis, JS; Henson, M; Wilkes, JT; Wilson, M; Stitzinger, J; Lee, K; Andree, M; Snyder, R; vanEngelsdorp, D (2013) A national survey of managed honey bee 2011-12 winter colony losses in the United States: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research 52: 44-53.

Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Caron, DM; Ellis, JD; Koenig, P; Kulhanek, K; Klepps, J; Lee, K; Milbrath, M; Range; J; Rose, R; Sagili, RR; Sallmann, B; Skinner, J; Snyder, R; Topitzhofer, E; Wilkes, JT; Wilson, ME; Williams, GR; Wyns, D; vanEngelsdorp, D (2017) Honey Bee Colony Losses 2016-2017. Preliminary Results. https://beeinformed.org/results/colony-loss-2016-2017-preliminary-results/ (Accessed 20 May 2019).

Steinhauer, NA; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Caron, DM; Lengerich, EJ; Pettis, JS; Rose, R; Skinner, JA; Tarpy, DR; Wilkes, JT; vanEngelsdorp, D (2014) A national survey of managed honey bee 2012-2013 annual colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research 53: 1- 18.

USDA (2018) National Agricultural Statistics Service – Honey Report. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1191 (Accessed May 16, 2018).

vanEngelsdorp, D; Caron, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, R; Henson, M; Rennich, K; Spleen, A; Andree, M; Snyder, R; Lee, K; Roccasecca, K; Wilson, M; Wilkes, J; Lengerich, E; Pettis, J (2012) A national survey of managed honey bee 2010-11 winter colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research 51: 115-124.

vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Caron, D; Pettis, J (2011) A survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the USA, fall 2009 to winter 2010. Journal of Apicultural Research 50: 1-10.

vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Pettis, J (2008) A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008. PLoS ONE 3: e4071.

vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Pettis, JS (2010) A survey of honey bee colony losses in the United States, fall 2008 to spring 2009. Journal of Apicultural Research 49: 7-14.

vanEngelsdorp, D; Underwood, R; Caron, D; Hayes, J (2007) An estimate of managed colony losses in the winter of 2006-2007: A report commissioned by the apiary inspectors of America. American Bee Journal 147: 599-603.

It's the First World Bee Day

United Nations
World Bee Day
20 May

The value of bees

Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity - a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also serve as sentinels for emergent environmental risks, signaling the health of local ecosystems.

Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices may reduce available nutrients and pose threats to bee colonies.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

Why this date?

20 May coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.

http://www.un.org/en/events/beeday/

RELATED:

euronews    By Louise Miller     May 20, 2018

Sunday the 20th of May 2018 is the first World Bee day.

It was created last year by the UN General Assembly, after Slovenia initiated the idea, to focus on the essential role of bees and other pollinators in keeping the planet healthy.

Bee keepers from around the globe will work towards having the insects declared as an endangered species.

The stripy pollinators are declining every year largely due to human activity.

There are calls for modern intensive farming methods to be have more of a sustainable approach.

Threats include habitat loss, climate change, toxic pesticides and disease.

A third of the world’s food production is estimated to be dependent on the yellow and black creatures and other pollinators

Why we need bees:

- bees pollinate as many as 170,000 species of plants

- 80 percent of domestic fruit and vegetable varieties need them to ensure a good harvest

- Every third spoonful of food we eat is dependent on pollination

The brightly coloured insects don't just make honey. They're the largest pollinators in the world.

They're worth a tidy sum.

- economic worth of bees worldwide is 265 billion euros per year

- and 22 billion euros in Europe

An EU court upheld on Thursday (17 May 2018) a partial ban on three insecticides, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees.

A German supermarket in Hannover emptied its shelves of pollinated products to show the significance if bees died out.

60 percent of the shelves remained empty.

http://www.euronews.com/2018/05/20/it-s-the-first-world-bee-day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Bee_Day

Celebrate Free Cone Day By Supporting the Buzz!

MONDAY   4-8PM    AT A PARTICIPATING STORE NEAR YOU

It’s that extraordinary time of year again. Häagen-Dazs® Free Cone Day is back, so come join us for the celebration on May 8th at a participating shop near you. Indulge in one of our extraordinary flavors and enjoy a mini cone completely on us. 

A Day For Our Hardest Workers 

We dedicated this Free Cone Day to our buzziest workers- the honey bees. In recent years, the honey bee population has been disappearing at an alarming rate, affecting pollination and putting our food system at risk. For the past decade, Häagen-Dazs has been a big defender of honey bees who help us create our most beloved flavors like Strawberry, Rocky Road and Mango. As a part of the "Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees Initiative", we hope to give our flying friends some much needed recognition this Free Cone Day. 

How You Can Help      

Support the buzz by visiting a Häagen-Dazs shop for Free Cone Day      

Donate to further the research about the bees and how best to protect their habitat      

Bee a friend of the bees and spread the word

Come Join Us!

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The Ultimate Guide to British Bees: How to Protect Their Declining Population

DIY Garden (UK)    By Clive Harris    January 9, 2018  

(NOTE: Good reading out of the UK from DIY Garden.)

Bees are a part of our landscapes and gardens, we know what they are and we know they make honey, but our bees are in danger of disappearing due to habitat destruction, chemicals and disease.

Without bees the human race will struggle to harvest enough food. That sounds dramatic but our pollinators are responsible for the fruiting of our harvest. In short, we have to change bee fortunes not only for their sake but for our own.

Bee numbers are a good indication of environmental health. Like our native hedgehogs and butterfliesthey are in decline and this points to environmental problems – but there are ways you can help reverse their fortunes.

The majority of people know bees make honey and they sting, but there is so much more to this fascinating creature – did you know they have five eyes? Two standard ones and then three on top of their head, and were you aware there are hundreds of different types in the UK alone?

Here’s the ultimate guide to bees and how we can help them survive.

Continue reading: https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/ultimate-guide-to-bees/?msID=615f1a74-c9a6-4763-8ee2-56c24bb2a7f5

Breakthrough Could Aid Development of Bee-Friendly Pesticides

Science Daily    University of Exeter     March 22, 2018

A new discovery opens up the door to designing bee-friendly insecticides. Credit: © Igor / Fotolia

Efforts to create pesticides that are not toxic to bees have been boosted by a scientific breakthrough.

A joint study by the University of Exeter, Rothamsted Research and Bayer AG has discovered the enzymes in honeybees and bumblebees that determine how sensitive they are to different neonicotinoid pesticides.

The potential impact of neonicotinoids on bee health is a subject of intensive research and considerable controversy, with the European Union having restricted three compounds on crops that are attractive to bees in 2013.

However, both honeybees and bumblebees exhibit profound differences in their sensitivity to different members of this insecticide class. The researchers aimed to understand why this is, in order to aid the development of pesticides that are non-toxic to them.

Just as in other organisms, toxins in bees can be broken down by enzymes called cytochrome P450s. The study identified one subfamily of these enzymes in bees -- CYP9Q -- and found it was responsible for the rapid breakdown of certain neonicotinoids.

"Identifying these key enzymes provides valuable tools to screen new pesticides early in their development to see if bees can break them down," said Professor Chris Bass, who led the team at the University of Exeter.

"It can take a decade and $260 million to develop a single pesticide, so this knowledge can help us avoid wasting time and money on pesticides that will end up with substantial use restrictions due to intrinsic bee toxicity."

Dr Ralf Nauen, insect toxicologist and lead investigator of the study at Bayer added: "Knowing the mechanisms contributing to inherent tolerance helps us and regulators to better understand why certain insecticides have a high margin of safety to bees."

"The knowledge from our study can also be used to predict and prevent potential harmful effects that result from inadvertently blocking these key defence systems, for instance by different pesticides (such as certain fungicides) that may be applied in combination with insecticides."

Professor Lin Field, Head of the Department of Biointeractions and Crop Protection at Rothamsted Research added: "Some neonicotinoids are intrinsically highly toxic to bees but others have very low acute toxicity, but in public debate they tend to get tarred with the same brush.

"Each insecticide needs to be considered on its own risks and merits, not just its name."

The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analysis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever attempted.

Comparing the effects of two neonicotinoids, they found bees metabolise thiacloprid very efficiently, while they metabolise imidacloprid much less efficiently.

Although previous work had suggested rate of metabolism might explain why bees react differently to different neonicotinoids, the specific genes or enzymes were unknown until now.

The research was part funded by Bayer, which is a manufacturer of neonicotinoid insecticides.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

Cristina Manjon, Bartlomiej J. Troczka, Marion Zaworra, Katherine Beadle, Emma Randall, Gillian Hertlein, Kumar Saurabh Singh, Christoph T. Zimmer, Rafael A. Homem, Bettina Lueke, Rebecca Reid, Laura Kor, Maxie Kohler, Jürgen Benting, Martin S. Williamson, T.G. Emyr Davies, Linda M. Field, Chris Bass, Ralf Nauen. Unravelling the Molecular Determinants of Bee Sensitivity to Neonicotinoid Insecticides. Current Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.02.045

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180322125021.htm