If you are a member and have anything that you feel is important to chemical free beekeeping, please email it to me. I will post it in this section in a future issue. Thank you. Dennis

For those of you who have a tallow flow going on , make sure that you add supers on the hive as the bees need them. Back in the day, I stacked honey supers on 4 or 5 high because I wouldn't be back to that yard for a while. Commercial beekeepers are probably still doing that because of the time involved in going back and forth from yard to yard.

If you you have your bees close by, it is best to add a honey super when your bees are working on the 8th frame (of a 10 frame super) on the top box. This will keep you just ahead of their progress and eliminate the fear of hive beetles taking over the hive because there is too much room for the bees to care for.

Make sure your extracting room is clean and ready to go a head of time. Dennis

Dear Fellow Beekeeper , 

USDA/AIA Survey Reports 

2010/2011 Winter 

Honey Bee Losses 

WASHINGTON - Total losses from managed honey bee colonies nationwide were 30 percent from all causes for the 2010/2011 winter, according to the annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA). 

This is roughly similar to total losses reported in similar surveys done in the four previous years: 34 percent for the 2009/2010 winter, 29 percent for 2008/2009; 36 percent for 2007/2008, and 32 percent for 2006/2007. 

“The lack of increase in losses is marginally encouraging in the sense that the problem does not appear to be getting worse for honey bees and beekeepers,” said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) who helped conduct the study.  “But continued losses of this size put tremendous pressure on the economic sustainability of commercial beekeeping.”  Pettis is the leader of the Bee Research Laboratory operated in Beltsville, Md., by ARS, the chief scientific research agency of USDA.  

The survey, which covered the period from October 2010 to April 2011, was led by Pettis and by AIA past presidents Dennis VanEngelsdorp and Jerry Hayes. 

Beekeepers reported that, on average, they felt losses of 13 percent would be economically acceptable.  Sixty-one percent of responding beekeepers reported having losses greater than this. 

Average colony loss for an individual beekeeper’s operation was 38.4 percent. This compares to an average loss of 42.2 percent for individual beekeepers’ operations  in 2009/2010.  

Average loss by operation represents the percentage of loss in each operation added together and divided by the number of beekeeping operations that responded to the survey. This number is affected more by small beekeeping operations, which may only have 10 or fewer colonies, so a loss of just five colonies in a 10-colony operation would represent a 50 percent loss.  Total losses were calculated as all colonies reported lost in the survey divided by the total number of bee colonies reported in the survey.  This number is affected more by larger operations, which might have 10,000 or more colonies, so a loss of five colonies in a 10,000-colony operation would equal only a 0.05 percent loss. 

Among surveyed beekeepers who lost any colonies, 31 percent reported losing at least some of their colonies without finding dead bee bodies—one of the symptoms that defines Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  As this was an interview-based survey, it was not possible to differentiate between verifiable cases of CCD and colonies lost as the result of other causes that share the "absence of dead bees" as a symptom. The cause of CCD is still unknown. 

The beekeepers who reported colony losses with no dead bee bodies present also reported higher average colony losses (61 percent), compared to beekeepers who lost colonies but did not report the absence of dead bees (34 percent in losses). 

A total of 5,572 beekeepers, who manage more than 15 percent of the country’s estimated 2.68 million colonies, responded to the survey.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 27, 2011:  Today at 2pm in Park Slope, Brooklyn at the corner of Douglass and Fourth, a bee swarm settled gently on a post by the BP gas station (photos attached). An alert passerby, noticing the huddled swarm, contacted Jim Fischer, co-director of NYC Beekeeping, New York's not-for-profit umbrella group for beelovers & beekeepers throughout the five boroughs, who immediately brought the group's “Bee Rescue Team” into play. 

“NYC Beekeeping’s Bee Rescue Team" are well-trained member beekeepers in various parts of the city who respond to calls about swarms and other bee rescue situations,’” said Jim Fischer.  “Swarming is a normal and non-aggressive behavior that typically happens during a several week period in the spring when an older queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees to find a new home, allowing one of her daughter queens to remain in the original colony.  These flights are an awe-inspiring and natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies.” 

Back in Park Slope, Jon Derow, a new member of the Bee Rescue Team, arrived with a box and brush. With minimal fuss he coaxed the queen into the box and watched with satisfaction as the rest of the bees marched in following her. "This was my first capture, and it was more excitement than I was expecting on a Friday afternoon,” said Jon. 

By the time Jim arrived to take the bees to their new home, Jon already had the swarm mostly settled into the box, ready for adoption. "After evaluating the situation, my professional evaluation is that the bees really had to pee, so they stopped at the ‘Bee Pee’ gas station," Jim teased. 

The bees and their queen were offered a new home in a community garden where they will join a colony that suffered the loss of their queen earlier this season and had been dwindling. There they will enjoy the attentions of several NYC Beekeeping members who tend hives around Fort Greene. "We hope they'll thrive in their new home!" said Jon afterward. 

For more information about this particular bee colony, for other Bee Rescue stories, to join NYC Beekeeping, please see www.NYCBeekeeping.org or contact us at the email: nycbeekeeping@gmail.com below….And ask about our Adopt-a-Hive program!