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  

 Hello Everyone,

Beekeeping is hard work and working bees in August is insane in the Southern states when the temperature is 100 degrees or higher. But, we do it anyway. A good manager of bees understands that the bees need to be worked no matter how hot it is outside and makes sure that the bees come first.

Here in Texas in August the bees have put the tallow flow behind them and are coasting along until September rolls around when the fall nectar flow begins. Here at Lone Star Farms however we are busy storing the honey supers and cleaning up the honey house and extracting equipment. August is the month that the Southern beekeeper assesses how well he managed his/her bees for the past year. The proof is in the “honey” so to speak. If Mother Nature has provided lots of nectar resources for the bees during the honey flow and the bees were strong enough at the right time to store a good surplus for the beekeeper, then the beekeeper has been successful in his/her management skills for the past year.

It is important for the beekeeper to manage the bees all year long not to start a month before the honey flow begins. Good beekeeping is all about timing. If you want to be successful with your bees, then you need to learn good timing for your area. “Enjoy your bees”.

Dennis Brown

Author of; “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey” and “Beekeeping: Questions and Answers”.





Posted By News On March 4, 2013 - 2:30pm - Researchers

id queens, mysterious disease syndrome as key factors in

bee colony deaths. A new long-term study of honey bee

health has found that a little-understood disease study

authors are calling "idiopathic brood disease syndrome"

(IBDS), which kills off bee larvae, is the largest risk factor

for predicting the death of a bee colony.

 "Historically, we've seen symptoms similar to IBDS

associated with viruses spread by large-scale infestations

of parasitic mites," says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor

of entomology at North Carolina State University

and co-author of a paper describing the study. "But now

we're seeing these symptoms – a high percentage of larvae

deaths – in colonies that have relatively few of these mites.

That suggests that IBDS is present even in colonies with

low mite loads, which is not what we expected." The study

was conducted by researchers from NC State, the

University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University and

the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The study evaluated the health of 80 commercial

colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the eastern

United States on an almost monthly basis over the course

of 10 months – which is a full working "season" for commercial

bee colonies. The goal of the study was to track

changes in bee colony health and, for those colonies that

died off, to determine what factors earlier in the year may have contributed to colony death. Fifty-six

percent of the colonies died during the study.

"We found that colonies affected by IBDS had a

risk factor of 3.2," says Dr. Dennis vanEnglesdorp of the

University of Maryland, who was lead author on the paper.

That means that colonies with IBDS were 3.2 times more

likely to die than the other colonies over the course of the


Researchers have identified key risk factors in bee

colony deaths. While the study found that IBDS was the

greatest risk factor, a close runner-up was the occurrence

of a so-called "queen event."

 Honey bee colonies have only one queen. When a

colony perceives something wrong with its queen, the

workers eliminate that queen and try to replace her. This

process is not always smooth or successful. The occurrence

of a queen event had a risk factor of 3.1.

 "This is the first time anyone has done an epidemiological

study to repeatedly evaluate the health of the

same commercial honey bee colonies over the course of a

season," Tarpy says. "It shows that IBDS is a significant

problem that we don't understand very well. It also highlights

that we need to learn more about what causes

colonies to reject their queens. These are areas we are

actively researching. Hopefully, this will give us insights

into other health problems, including colony collapse disorder."




A bee here or a hive there may be chalked up to chance of a landscaping company with heavy-handed pesticide

applications, like the case where an estimated 25,000 bees were killed in a small Oregon town. But when millions of bees are dying at once, in locales across Canada, there may be something more serious afoot. One thing these casualties have in common—recent corn plantings and the related insecticides.

 According to The Ontario Post, one local Elmwood beekeeper lost 600 hives, a total of 37 million bees following

nearby corn planting. He and others believe the culprit may be a class of insecticides, neonicotinoids, made by

Bayer CropScience Inc. A smaller operation in nearby Hanover was similarly wiped out this spring when neighboring

farmers began planting corn. “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Dave Schuit said, the beekeeper who experienced the loss of 600 hives and 37 million bees. “I feel like we all have something at stake with this issue.”

 Neonicotinoids were recently banned by the European Union for two years (a period starting Dec. 1, 2013) so that they can study how they are related to the dying bees in Europe. They are completely legal in both the U.S. and Canada, however. The pesticides coat the corn seed. New air-seeders launch the seeds for planting while the pesticide dust is blown into the air. These tiny particles make their way to nearby honey operations and the bee population at large.

 Purdue University looked closely at the mass casualties of U.S. bees and found, “Bees exhibited neurotoxic symptoms, analysis of dead bees revealed traces of thiamethoxam/ clothianidin in each case. Seed treatments of

field crops (primarily corn) are the only major source of these compounds.” Sort of like injecting beef cattle with antibiotics “just in case”, farmers are using seeds covered with insecticides. This so-called preventative use does more harm than good in both cases. “Large scale prophylaxic use in agriculture, their high persistence in soil and water, and their uptake by plants and translocation to flowers, neonicotinoids put pollinator services at risk,” said an investigative team of international scientists in the research that spurred the EU ban.

 While beekeepers used to replace their queens every few years, they are doing it every few months in an effort to keep up with the decimated population. Meanwhile, officials in the U.S. and Canada alike seem content to watch these all-important pollinators die.

 Additional Sources:

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22335520







By Leah Zerbe

 Recent testing comes as a bit of a buzz kill if you love natural honey. More than 75 percent of the honey sold in the

U.S. isn't the unadulterated form of the natural sweetener that most consumers expect, according to testing performed recently by Food Safety News. In fact, most honey sold in the United States is processed through major filtration that removes virtually all of the pollen naturally occurring in the product. This practice would flunk quality standards in many of the world's food safety agencies; in other words, it's not technically honey anymore. The problem with removing these microscopic pollen particles is this: without the pollen, there's really no way to trace where the honey originated, or if the source is safe and uncontaminated. (Previous reports have found honey laced with antibiotics and heavy metals.) And for this filtration to work, the honey is often heated, which can damage some of the natural products' disease-fighting properties.

 To analyze the state of honey sold in America, Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs, and plastic bears of honey in supermarkets, discount warehouses, big box stores, pharmacies, and honey packets served in mini-markets and fast-food joints in 10 states and the District of Columbia. An expert in pollen in honey from Texas A&M University studied the samples and found most had the pollen removed, making traceability impossible.

However, honey sold at farmer's markets, co-ops, and natural stores contained normal amounts of pollen. The Workaround: If you want real honey, look for local sources and buy directly from the beekeeper. By knowing where your food comes from, you can ask about how the bees are treated and how the honey is processed. Sure, raw honey might not be crystal clear like the little honey bear bottles you see in the store, but it's swimming in health-promoting antioxidants and left in its natural form, which is definitely a good thing when it comes to honey.




The study looked at bee aggression in European and Africanized honey bees. (Credit: Photo by Diana

Yates) ScienceDaily (Aug. 18, 2009) — A new study reveals that changes in gene expression in the brain of the

honey bee in response to an immediate threat have much in common with more long-term and even evolutionary differences in honey-bee aggression. The findings lend support to the idea that nurture (an organism's environment)

may ultimately influence nature (its genetic inheritance)

 The study, appearing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used microarray

analysis to measure changes in gene expression in the brains of European honey bees and the much more aggressive Africanized honey bees. Microarrays offer a snapshot of the thousands of genes that are activated at a given point in time. By comparing microarrays of bees in different environmental and social conditions, the researchers were able to look for patterns of gene expression that coincided with aggression.

 Honey bees respond aggressively only if their hive is disturbed. But when disturbed they mount a vigorous defense – the all too familiar bee sting. The researchers observed that changes that occur in the brain of a European honey bee after it is exposed to alarm pheromone (a chemical signal that the hive is in danger) look a lot like the more gradual changes that occur over the bee's lifetime. (Old bees are more aggressive than young bees.) Even more striking was the finding of a very similar pattern of brain gene expression in Africanized honey bees. In terms of brain gene expression, Africanized bees "look" like they were just exposed to a whiff of alarm pheromone, even though they weren't.

 "Microarray analysis is revealing large-scale gene expression patterns that are giving us new insights into the

relationships between genes and social behavior," said Gene Robinson, a professor of neuroscience and of entomology at the University of Illinois, who led the study. "Some of the same genes associated with aggression that

vary due to heredity also vary due to environment. This shows how nature and nurture both act on the genome,

which provides an alternative to the old 'nature versus nurture' dichotomy."

 The new findings may begin to explain how the evolutionary diversity of behavioral traits is achieved, he said.

"We suggest that the molecular processes underlying environmental effects on aggression – that is, responsiveness

to alarm pheromone – could have evolved into molecular processes underlying inherited differences in aggression exhibited by Africanized honey bees and European honey bees – nurture begets nature," the authors wrote.

 The study was made possible by a National Science Foundation Frontiers in Biological Research grant, led by University of Illinois medical information science professor and department head Bruce Schatz, who is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology. "The study is one of the most exciting to emerge yet from 'BeeSpace,' an NSF-sponsored project which is the first of its kind to use genomics and new bioinformatics on a massive scale to understand how nature and nurture influence behavior," Schatz said.

 Additional funding was provided by the Fyssen Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Illinois Sociogenomics Initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The research team also included scientists from

Purdue University; the University of Guelph; CENIDFA-INIFAP, in Ajuchitlán, Mexico; the Carl Hayden Bee Research

Center of the USDA Agriculture Research Service; and the University of Illinois departments of animal sciences, cell

and developmental biology, chemistry, and computer science.




Posted By News On

June 17, 2013 -

2:30pm -

 Researchers find genetic diversity key to survival of honey bee colonies When it comes to honey bees, more

mates is better. A new study from North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that genetic diversity is key to survival in honey bee colonies – meaning a colony is less likely to survive if its queen has had a limited number of mates.

 "We wanted to determine whether a colony's genetic diversity has an impact on its survival, and what that impact may be," says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper describing the study. "We knew genetic diversity affected survival under controlled conditions, but wanted to see if it held true in the real world. And, if so, how much diversity is needed to significantly improve a colony's odds of surviving."

 Researchers have found that genetic diversity, determined by the number of times a queen bee has mated, is crucial to maintaining the health of a honey bee colony. Tarpy took genetic samples from 80 commercial colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the eastern United States to assess each colony's genetic diversity, which reflects the number of males a colony's queen has tracked the health of the colonies on an almost monthly basis over the course of 10 months – which is a full working "season" for commercial bee colonies. The researchers found that colonies where the queen had mated at least seven times were 2.86 times more likely to survive the 10-month working season. Specifically, 48 percent of colonies with queens who had mated at least seven times were still alive at the end of the season. Only 17 percent of the less genetically diverse colonies survived. "48 percent survival is still an alarmingly low survival rate, but it's far better than 17 percent," Tarpy says. "This study confirms that genetic diversity is enormously important in honey bee populations," Tarpy says. "And it also offers some guidance to beekeepers about breeding strategies that will help their colonies survive." Research shows that honey bee colonies with a queen who has mated more than seven times are almost three times more likely to survive than colonies with queens who have mated less often.

 Source: North Carolina State University


 This article was sent in by member Teddi Irwin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service offers practices to help farmers create pollinator habitat, harnessing their value to production.
The NRCS is promoting the importance of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds. Pollinators provide essential assistance to fruit, vegetable and seed crops, but many species are seeing their numbers fall, said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty.

“Making room for pollinators on your land isn’t too difficult or expensive, and NRCS wants to help you make those improvements that will not only benefit pollinators, but help your land, as well,” she said.

Agricultural producers and other private landowners across Indiana work with the NRCS to create ideal habitat for pollinators and increase populations in simple and significant ways.

Field borders, hedgerows and conservation cover are just three of 37 practices that the NRCS offers through the farm bill to help producers create the perfect places for pollinators to feed and take shelter.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce – or, to put it another way, one of every three bites of food people eat. Many plants would be unable to reproduce without the help of pollinators, Hardisty said.

“Bees and other pollinators help keep the whole environment healthy, and that’s why thousands of producers have worked to attract them to their land,” she explained. “When you create habitat for pollinators, you also provide habitat for other wildlife, reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.”

Scientists point out a number of factors, including habitat loss, disease, parasites and overuse of pesticides for the drop in pollinator population.


 This article was sent in by member “Teddi Irwin.”

Why to Support Labeling GM Foods

Many U.S. states have mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods on their legislative agendas. Survey after survey shows that more than 90 percent of us want GM foods to be labeled. Now is the time to contact your elected representatives and let them know you’re concerned about genetically modified food.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/gm-foods-zm0z13aszmar.aspx?newsletter=1&utm_content=07.15.13+HE&utm_campaign=2013+HE&utm_source=iPost&utm_medium=email#ixzz2ZAJV8RgG

An editorial from MOTHER EARTH NEWS
August/September 2013

Genes form the building blocks of all life. Genetic modification — the technological shuffling of those building blocks among unrelated species — has been heralded since the 1990s as a potentially powerful agricultural tool. But pretty much all the genetically modified (GM) foods that have come to market so far have been crop varieties engineered to resist herbicides or produce insecticidal compounds (so farmers could, theoretically, apply fewer chemicals), and milk from dairy cows given a GM growth hormone that forces them to give more milk. Some countries have adopted these products, but others have banned them because the actual benefits of GM varieties remain unclear, especially as pests adapt to the traits upon which the technology relies.

Both benefits and downsides for consumers are controversial. In 1992, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled, based on woefully limited data, that GM foods were “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts. That ruling has been under fire ever since, but the government has failed to require new safety testing. Meanwhile, thousands of foods containing GM corn and soy have been introduced into our food supply (see the chart at How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foodto learn how to avoid GM foods).

Recent studies have escalated public concern and renewed demands that GM foods be labeled. Studies have linked genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to cancer, deterioration of liver and kidney function, stomach inflammation, and impaired embryonic development.

Whether you’re for or against GM foods, one thing’s for certain: The science is incomplete.

A GMO labeling initiative on the 2012 ballot in California failed by 53 to 47 percent. Proponents of labeling spent $7.3 million; Big Ag and food processors spent $44 million. Labeling GM foods is about much more than just food safety. It’s about our right as consumers to know what we are eating. But labeling is also about how dominant we are going to allow Big Ag to become. Some of us don’t want to eat GM foods or feed them to our livestock. Others push for labeling because we want to make sure our food policy isn’t set by a handful of multinational corporations.

In the United States, we expect food to carry a label that tells us what’s in it. We require that our orange juice reveal if it is made directly from oranges or “from concentrate.” We require labels to tell us if salt, sugar, MSG, artificial flavors or colors, vitamins, or other ingredients have been added. We require meat labels to reveal when it has been pumped with up to a 12 percent saltwater “flavor solution.” And we require milk to indicate whether it is skim, 1 percent fat, 2 percent fat or whole. GM foods should be labeled; there is simply no good argument against telling consumers the whole story.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/gm-foods-zm0z13aszmar.aspx?newsletter=1&utm_content=07.15.13+HE&utm_campaign=2013+HE&utm_source=iPost&utm_medium=email#ixzz2ZAJvy0KK

Monsanto and big food companies like to claim that genetic engineering is essential to feed the world’s ever-growing population. That’s nonsense — most hunger is due to economic inequality and systemic corruption that prevents food from getting to where it’s needed, not due to food shortages. And on the note of the “world’s ever-growing population,” it’s time for society to recognize that unlimited population growth is not sustainable to begin with. We need to choose a wiser course.

Survey after survey shows that 90 percent or more of us want GM foods to be labeled. The GMO-labeling initiative in California almost passed last year, despite the oceans of money pouring in to defeat it. Nearly half of U.S. states now have mandatory GM labeling on their legislative agendas.

If you’re concerned about labeling GM foods, now is the time to contact your elected representatives.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/gm-foods-zm0z13aszmar.aspx?PageId=2#ixzz2ZAJFeRAx