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

Where ever you live in the world you should apply the information on working your bees that is given below when the weather conditions in your area are right. So take notes and be ready.

___________________________________________________________________________

Cletus Notes

It is important for everyone to understand that this time (In the South) of year, it is not unusual for the hives mite count to appear higher than normal and to find that the bees are a little more aggressive than normal. The hive population is at its peak. The queen has dramatically reduced egg laying. The available brood level is down and there is a lull in available nectar sources.
 

What does all this mean?

The breeding mites have no place to retreat to because there are fewer brood cells available to them. That means that they are out in the open where the bees are able to pick them off more easily. If you have screen bottom boards, you will be able to test and find a higher mite count at this time because of their exposure to the bees. This would also be a great time to perform a powdered sugar treatment because there are more exposed mites in the hive.

Most of us who have had a good honey flow and have removed the honey supers (and more space from the bees) have also found that our hives are more aggressive than usual. The reason for this is because the hive population is between 50 and 60 thousand bees at this time. All of these bees are now squeezed into 2 brood boxes. At the moment, there is very little for the bees to do because there are no nectar sources available to them. (If your hive population is lower, you won't notice a difference.) It is like when football season is over and the guys get bored and moody. The bees get bored and moody as well when there is nothing for them to do. Each day, the population begins to decline and when the nectar sources become available again, the hive gets back to normal. All this takes place during about a 6 week period.

So don't freak-out. Take advantage of the exposed mites in the hive and perform a powdered sugar treatment to help the bees out.

Dennis
 _____________________________________________________________________________

Finally, there is a new bee law in Texas. If you own land and you want to get it "Agriculture" exempted, this new law may pertain to you. Don't count on every county to be on board with this new law at this time. Some of them don't really understand it.

 

ARTICLE 46. AD VALOREM TAXATION OF LAND USED TO RAISE OR KEEP BEES

SECTION 46.01. Subdivision (2), Section 23.51, Tax Code, is amended to read as follows:

(2) "Agricultural use" includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food or of fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; planting cover crops or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in a governmental program, provided the land is not used for residential purposes or a purpose inconsistent with agricultural use; and planting cover crops or leaving land idle in conjunction with normal crop or livestock rotation procedure. The term also includes the use of land to produce or harvest logs and posts for the use in constructing or repairing fences, pens, barns, or other agricultural improvements on adjacent qualified open-space land having the same owner and devoted to a different agricultural use. The term also includes the use of land for wildlife management. The term also includes the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value, provided that the land used is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres.

SECTION 46.02. This article applies only to the appraisal of land for ad valorem tax purposes for a tax year that begins on or after the effective date of this Act.

________________________________________________________________________________ 

 This article was sent in by member “Brian Isham”.

By Dr. Mercola

An Illinois beekeeper whose bee hives were stolen and allegedly destroyed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture has stirred up a hornet's nest with his questions on why the state did this, and most importantly, what they did with his bees.

The state claims the bees were destroyed because they were infected with a disease called foulbrood.

But when the 58-year apiary keeper had his hearing—three weeks after the removal of his bees without his knowledge—the state's "evidence" had disappeared, leaving more questions than answers about the raid on the beekeeper's hives.

Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram's 15 years of research on Monsanto's Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.

Interestingly, the state's theft targeted the queen bee and hive he'd been using to conduct the research.

The Ingram Case

A recent article by Tom Kocal in the Prairie Advocate retells the full story of how Terrence Ingram's bees and hives wound up being taken by the Illinois State Department of Agriculture (IDofAG)i.

While the state claims the removal of the property was due to Ingram's failure to comply with the Department's notice instructing him to burn the affected hives, they have been less than open about why the inspectors came in and took the bees and hives without due process.

At a time when the Ingram's were absent from the property. Ingram claims the Department also conducted three out of four inspections on his private property while no one was home.

While Department inspectors claim his hives had foulbrood—an allegedly highly contagious disease—Mr. Ingram believes he could prove that this was not the case. As reported by the featured Prairie Advocate article:

"Ingram knew that the inspectors could not tell what they were seeing and had warned the Department that if any of them came back it would be considered a criminal trespass. Yet they came back when he was not home, stole his hives and ruined his 15 years of research."

Ingram initially reported the missing bees and hives as having been stolen on March 14, unaware that they'd been removed by the IDofAG. News of the theft was published in the Prairie Advocate on March 21.

As a result of that article, an area County Farm Bureau manager called the reporter, stating he knew the equipment hadn't been stolen, but that it had been "destroyed" by the Department of Agriculture because they were infected with foulbrood and Ingram hadn't disposed of them as instructed.

The most nonsensical part of this story is that Ingram didn't get a hearing to determine whether his hives were affected by the disease until three weeks after they were removed and destroyed.

Kocal quotes Mr. Ingram as saying:

"I own four businesses. I am here all the time. Yet they took our bees and hives when we were not home. What did they do, sit up on the hill and watch until we left? We had not yet had our day in court to prove that our hives did not have foulbrood!"

Making matters worse, during that April 4 hearing, the Department couldn't produce any evidence of what they'd done with the bees and the hives. Meanwhile, Ingram ended up being ordered to pay the $500 fine for violating Sections 2-1 of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act. According to Kocal:

"There are 2 questions that Ingram wants answered:

1) Did the IDofA, a state agency, have the right to enter Ingram's property and confiscate a suspected "nuisance," before Ingram had his day in court?

2) Where are his bees? The "evidence" has disappeared, and the IDofA refuses to tell Ingram where they are, before, during, and after the hearing.

"I have been keeping bees for 58 years," Ingram said during an interview at his home and apiary. "I am not a newcomer to beekeeping, and I definitely know what I am doing. I have been teaching beginning beekeeping classes for 40 years..." At the April 4 hearing, Ingram said he felt he was able to show the court that the inspector could not tell the difference between "chilled brood" and foulbrood. He also proved to the court that the inspectors did not know the symptoms of foulbrood."

15 Years of Research Destroyed

Ingram believes the destruction of his bees and hives is more likely to be related to his research into the effect of Roundup on honey bees. He claims some 250 of his colonies have been killed off over the years by Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide, used in large quantities on both conventional- and genetically engineered crops. Ingram's research shows that Roundup can lead to what's called chilled brood, which is an entirely different scenario.

According to Ingram, quoted from Kocal's article:

"When Round-Up kills the adult bees there are not enough bees left in the hive to keep the young bees (brood) warm, and the young bees die from the cold (chilled brood). I tried to prove that just because foulbrood can be detected once the hive has been disturbed, doesn't mean the hive has foulbrood.

Inside a honeybee hive is one of the cleanest places you can find. Anything that is a problem, if the bees can't remove it, they cover it with propolis, which is an antiseptic... When you go into the comb and cut it up, disturb it like the investigators did, then send it to a lab, it exposes foulbrood to the world. In the beehive, it's covered up. The bees aren't affected by it. But you can find it by sending it in to a lab."

Ingram has studied the effects of Roundup on honeybees for the past 15 years, and he believes he had built up sufficient amount of data to show that the herbicide causes not just bee die-offs, but also Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)—a mysterious phenomenon that has decimated an estimated one-third of all honey bees since 2006. While some bees inexplicably die, many simply vanish and never return to their hives. Ingram told Kocal that:

"CCD is a calamity that is affecting honeybee colonies across the nation. In fact, I had one queen, which had survived three summers of spraying and three winters. I was planning to raise daughters from that queen to see if she may have had some genetic resistance to Roundup. But she and her hive were taken during the theft. I don't even know where the bees and my equipment are. They ruined 15 years of my research."

... "I asked Rep. Sacia to take the teeth out of the current law, preventing untrained inspectors from doing sneak inspections without the beekeeper present, killing their bees and burning their equipment, or forcing organic beekeepers out of business, telling them that they have to use chemicals to keep bees in Illinois. Are the chemical companies really running our food supply?"

... "Is Illinois becoming a police state, where citizens do not have rights?" Ingram asked in desperation. "Knowing that Monsanto and the Dept. of Ag are in bed together, one has to wonder if Monsanto was behind the theft to ruin my research that may prove Roundup was, and is, killing honeybees. Beekeepers across the state are being threatened that the same thing may be done to their hives and livelihood. I was not treated properly, I don't want to see this happen to anyone else in this state, and I want this type of illegal action to end."

Monsanto is the New Owner of Leading Bee Research Firm

Ingram is quite correct about chemical companies like Monsanto—they are seeking to take nearly full control of the food supply by controlling virtually every aspect of crop production. So he has cause to be suspicious when it comes to the question of who ordered the theft and destruction of his bees. It wouldn't be the first time the biotech giant has used questionable tactics to get rid of its adversaries. And research implicating Monsanto as the cause of CCD could definitely cause some harm to the company's bottom line.

One of the forerunning theories of colony collapse disorder (CCD) is that it's being caused by genetically engineered crops—either as a result of the crops themselves or the pesticides and herbicides applied on them, such as Roundup. Ingram's research could potentially have strengthened this theory. Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is one of the most widely used herbicides there is. As a result, Monsanto has received increasing amounts of bad publicity over their potential role in the devastating demise of bees around the globe.

There's no doubt that CCD is a serious problem. To get an idea of the magnitude of the importance of bees, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that without bees to act as pollinators, the United States alone could lose $15 billion worth of crops.iiResearch into the phenomenon is therefore absolutely crucial, to identify the sources of the problem.

Monsanto however, keeping true to form, appears to have taken measures to control the direction of the research into their products' effect on bees. As I recently reported, Monsantohas purchased one of the leading bee research firms – one that, conveniently, lists its primary goal as studying colony collapse disorder! Monsanto bought the company, called Beeologics, in September 2011, just months before Poland announced it would ban growing of Monsanto's genetically modified MON810 maize, noting, poignantly, that "pollen of this strain could have a harmful effect on bees."iii

The ongoing blight of genetically engineered crops has been implicated in CCD for years. In one German study,ivwhen bees were released in a genetically engineered rapeseed crop, then fed the pollen to younger bees, scientists discovered the bacteria in the guts of the young ones mirrored the same genetic traitsas ones found in the GE crop, indicating that horizontal gene transfer had occurred.

But Roundup is not the only herbicide that has come under scrutiny. Newer systemic insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, two prominent examples of which include Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are also frequently used on both conventional- and genetically engineered crops and have been implicated in CCD. In fact, bee colonies started disappearing in the U.S. shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market. Even the EPA itself admits that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of bee colony collapse as these pesticides weaken the bees' immune system.

What Can You do to Help the Honeybees?

If you want to learn more about bees and CCD, I highly recommend watching the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees. The film recommends four actions you can take to help preserve honeybees everywhere:

If you are interested in more information about bee preservation, the following organizations are a good place to start.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 Mite Helps a Bee-Killing

Virus Spread     

The spread of a parasitic mite across Hawaiian honeybee colonies has enabled a virus to thrive within colonies of these valuable insects, researchers report. In other parts of the world, the appearance of both the mite and the virus has coincided with major colony deaths, though this has only occurred on Hawaii where the mites have been established for at least two years. The mite's arrival there, where it has only spread on certain islands, is relatively recent. Stephen Martin and colleagues took advantage of this unusual opportunity to monitor Hawaiian honeybees during the invasion and learn how the virus was spreading and evolving. Deformed wing virus (DWV) can infect bees by itself, but the Varroa mite helps things along by acting as a host and incubator.

The mites' feeding behavior also allows the virus to be transmitted directly into the bees' circulation system. The authors report that the introduction of the Varroa mite has increased the prevalence of  DWV from about 10 percent to 100 percent within honeybee colonies. The amount of virus in the bees' bodies also skyrocketed, while the diversity of the viral strains did the opposite. In fact, just one DWV strain is now dominant in Varroa-infected colonies. The authors conclude that the global spread of Varroa has selected DWV variants that have emerged to allow DWV to become one of the most widely distributed and contagious insect viruses on the planet.

______________________________________________________________________________

Canada to Re-evaluate Neonicotinoid Insecticides

  The purpose of this document is to notify registrants, pesticide regulatory officials and the Canadian public of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) decision  to initiate a re-evaluation, under section 16 of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), of the nitro-guanidine neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, and their associated products registered in Canada. Currently, another nitro-guanidine neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, is under re-evaluation. The re-evaluation of this cluster of active ingredients, will focus on resolving issues related to environmental risk; in particular, the potential for effects of nitro-guanidine neonicotinoids on pollinators in light of changes in the information required and global updates to the pollinator risk assessment framework. This re-evaluation will consider all agricultural uses of nitro-guanidine neonicotinoid insecticides including soil applications, seed treatment, as well as foliar and greenhouse uses.

There continues to be emerging science on neonicotinoids and their potential effects on pollinators. The PMRA is collaborating with international regulatory partners to discuss further data requirements and in the development of enhanced risk assessment methodologies and risk mitigation measures for pollinators. The PMRA has requested additional data on neonicotinoid insecticides and is working with international partners to develop additional data requirements and risk assessment methods. As well, the scientific community continues to publish additional research results. All new information must be evaluated to confirm that these products do not pose an unacceptable risk. To facilitate the evaluation of these chemically similar products, all nitro-guanidine neonicotinoids, outlined in Table 1, are being placed under re-evaluation to ensure a comprehensive environmental evaluation, including consideration of new scientific evidence emerging from the research community and to reflect the new methodologies being developed at the international level.

 The PMRA has received reports relating to bee mortalities occurring in Canada and internationally. Should evidence become available demonstrating reasonable grounds to believe that health or environmental risks of a pesticide are unacceptable, the PMRA will take appropriate regulatory action. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is collaborating with our international regulatory partners to fully evaluate the potential risk to pollinators from neonicotinoid pesticides. The PMRA is committed to only registering pest control products that meet stringent health and environmental standards and do not pose unacceptable risks.

 ______________________________________________________________________________