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

If you live in an area that provided you with a honey crop and you have already removed the supers from the hive, July is a good time to check the hive for a mite load.

At Lone Star Farms we use a check board that slides in under the screen bottom board. We place a fine coat of vegtable oil on the board surface to catch any mites or beetles that fall onto it. We will leave the board in place for 24 hours and then remove it. The brood rearing in our area has slowed down dramatically because of the drought and lack of available nectar sources. Mite loads change within a hive along with the amount of brood being raised at the time.

With the amount of brood present in our hives here at Lone Star Farms, we don't like to see more than 8 mites on the board in a 24 hour time period. Should the mite load exceed that amount, we will usually re-queen that hive with a hygienic queen.



Pollinators Make Critical Contribution to Healthy Diets.

Fruits and vegetables that provide the highest levels of vitamins and minerals to the human diet globally depend heavily on bees and other pollinating animals, according to a new study published in the international online journal PLoS ONE.

The new study was carried out by an interdisciplinary research team, comprised of pollination ecologists and a nutrition expert, based at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the University of Berlin in Germany, and the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. The research team showed that globally "animal-pollinated crops contain the majority of the available dietary lipid, vitamin A, C and E, and a large portion of the minerals calcium, fluoride, and iron worldwide. The yield increase attributable to animal-dependent pollination of these crops is significant and could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition if jeopardized." 

These honeybee hives are placed in a blooming orchard in Yolo County, Calif. Almond production heavily depends on pollinators and almonds are rich in energy, protein, lipid and many key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin E among others. Credit: AM Klein, Leuphana University of Luneburg.

More specifically, the team showed that in the global crop supply, several key vitamins and other nutrients related to lower risk for cancer and heart disease are present predominantly in crops propagated by pollinators. These include the carotenoids lycopene and ß-cryptoxanthin, which are found in brightly colored red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Other important antioxidants, including several forms of vitamin E and more than 90% of the available vitamin C, are provided by crops that are pollinated by bees and other animals. 

Many fruit and vegetable varieties at local markets are pollinated by bees and other animals for either seed or fruit production and are rich in minerals and vitamins. Credit: T. Niemeyer, Leuphana University of Luneburg 

Key minerals for the development of bones and teeth, including more than 50% of calcium and fluoride available in the global food supply, are present in crops produced with pollinators. Plant sources of calcium, such as sesame seed, almond or spinach, are particularly important in regions of the world where dairy production is often not culturally, environmentally or financially feasible.

The animal-pollinated crops included in this study vary in the extent of their dependence on animal pollinators, with many able to propagate via alternative mechanisms, such as wind or self pollination. Despite this, the researchers estimate that up to 40% of some essential nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables could be lost without pollinators.

Bees and other animal pollinators are experiencing declines in many parts of the globe. Many farmers around the world depend on the European honey bee, importing them seasonally to pollinate their fields. However, the European honey bee has suffered massive over wintering losses, proposed causes of which include disease, pesticides and lack of nutritional (floral) resources. Wild pollinators that provide pollination services "for free" are also declining rapidly as habitat is destroyed by intensive farming practices such as agrochemical-based monoculture. The results of this study demonstrate the potential impact of this pollinator decline on human health.