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.

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

 Hive beetles don’t have to be a problem.

 Keeping strong hives is priority. Removing hiding places like frame spacers/holders and yes, those “Club Med” for beetles inner covers. The bees will run the beetles up into the inner cover where the beetles will lounge around in comfort until they get hungry or want to lay some eggs. Then they dash down onto the comb, lay a few eggs, grab something to eat and then get chased back up into the inner cover. Don’t leave inside feeders on for long periods. Old equipment with cracks and holes should be repaired or replaced. I buy the Kelley bottom board that has the slide-in screen and the slide-in monitoring board.

From December to the first of March (where I live in Bryan, Texas) I slide the monitoring board in place. I first take a paint brush and spread some inexpensive vegetable oil on the board. This board provides better hive insulation from the winter drafts and it provides a trap for any beetles that may be hanging out.

 About every two or three weeks I take a four-inch putty knife and scrape the board off (You don’t have to open the hive.) after first looking the board over for mite loads and any other stress signs. The bees will run the beetles through the screen and they fall onto the oil that I spread on the board. In my part of Texas we get some warm days so I can easily pull the boards off or out to provide good ventilation.

 So, don’t worry about those pesky hive beetles. Keep strong hives, don’t provide your bees with more room than they can take care of and take away their hiding places. “Enjoy your bees”

On a liter note;

 July bring about a second occasion for us here in the South to decide if we need to increase our hive numbers. The first occasion came about in early spring. Sometimes hear at Lone Star Farms, we make a few splits to increase our hive count in July. The hives have just come off a strong tallow flow and are loaded with bees and honey. A split will have ample time to build-up into two brood boxes and collect fall nectar from aster and goldenrod that will carry them through the winter months.

So, if hive numbers are needed in your bee yard and you live in the South, July is a great time to make those splits.

Dennis

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It's a sad thing that the government is going to waste another $8 million on another doomed program for the beekeeping industry. They should put that money into getting rid of the GMO program and the chemicals that beekeepers are dumping into their hives. These are the real killers of our bee population. I'm sure that down the road they'll admitt that the GMO's are affecting our health as well. I hope they don't  purchase GMO tainted seeds for this new program.   Dennis 

USDA Provides $8 Million to

Help Boost Declining

Honey Bee Population

 

Five Midwest States Receive Additional Incentives to Establish Honey Bee Habitats

 
WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), today announced $8 million in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations. More than half of the commercially managed honey bees are in these five states during the summer. Today's announcement comes in addition to $3 million USDA designated to the Midwest states to support bee populations earlier this year through the Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

"American agricultural production relies on having a healthy honey bee population," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "In recent years, factors such as diseases, parasites, pesticides or habitat loss have contributed to a significant decline in the honey bee population. This $8 million is part of the Administration's ongoing strategy to reverse these trends and establish more plant habitat on Conservation Reserve Program lands to restore the bee population."

The new CRP pollinator initiative is designed to further enhance current CRP land, allowing it to provide better access to nutritious pollinator forage. The program allows for managing or replacing existing vegetation, known as 'covers', with lower cost, high nutrition seed mixes that can support distinct blooming cycles of plants that benefit pollinators. Honey bees, the pollinator workhorse of U.S. fruit and vegetable agriculture, will have more blooms from which to collect nectar and pollen to sustain and promote colony growth and honey production throughout the growing season. By assisting honey bees, the pollinator initiative helps USDA continue to secure the food supply. More than $15 billion worth of agricultural production, including over 130 fruits and vegetables, depend
on the health and well-being of honey bees.

Now is a critical time for efforts to support honey bee populations. The honey bee population in the United States has been declining for decades. The number of managed U.S. honey bee colonies dropped from 6 million in 1947, to just 2.5 million today.

This week, President Obama issued a memorandum directing U.S. government agencies to take additional steps to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will co-chair a new Pollinator Health Task Force to focus federal efforts to conduct research and take action to help pollinators recover from population losses. This includes a public education campaign to teach people ways that they can help pollinators in their own homes or businesses.

USDA is already actively pursuing solutions to the multiple problems affecting honey bee health. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) maintains four laboratories across the country conducting research into all aspects of bee genetics, breeding, biology and physiology, with special focus on bee nutrition, control of pathogens and parasites, the effects of pesticide exposure and the interactions between each of these factors. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports bee research efforts through grants and research to Land Grant Universities. The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts national honey bee pest and disease surveys and provides border inspections to prevent new invasive bee pests from entering the U.S. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) and NRCS work on improved forage and habitat for bees through programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and EQIP. Additionally, the Economic Research Service (ERS) is currently examining the direct economic costs of the pollinator problem and the associated indirect economic impacts, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts limited surveys of honey production, number of colonies, price, and value of production which provide some data essential for research by the other agencies.

The CRP pollinator initiative, administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), takes advantage of the new pollinator seed mixes developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. FSA also recently announced the restart of continuous enrollments in CRP, including its Pollinator Habitat Initiative to enroll 100,000 acres of longer lasting meadows of high-quality native wildflowers that support honey bees, pollinators and other wildlife populations.

For more information about new the pollinator initiative in the five Midwestern states, the continuous enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program, and the pollinator habitat initiative, agricultural producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or go online at
www.fsa.usda.gov.

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 How Varroa Amplifies Honey Bee

Viral Infections

Scientists have discovered how a bloodsucking parasite has transformed Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) into one of the biggest threats facing UK honeybees.

Honeybees are a key pollinating insect, adding around $40Bn globally to crop value. Over recent years the spread of parasites and the viruses they transmit has resulted in high overwintering colony losses.

New and emerging threats to insect pollinators are putting increasing pressure on the agricultural sector to meet the demands of a growing population.

DWV is one of the most common viruses infecting European honeybees. Although present in almost all colonies, high levels of deformed wing disease – characterized by developmental deformities, reduced foraging ability and longevity – are only common when Varroais also present.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered how the disease is amplified in the presence of Varroadestructor, a tiny parasitic mite invading hives across the globe.

In colonies free from Varroa, DWV is present at very low levels and generally causes symptomless infections. However, the team found that when Varroafeeds on honeybee haemolymph ('blood'), specific virulent strains of the virus are transmitted and amplified, explaining why colonies infested with the mite suffer most severely.

The researchers also demonstrated that direct injection of a mixed DWV population in the absence of the mite, resulted in the same virulent strain being amplified – suggesting that this route of virus transmission bypasses the insect's anti-virus defense systems.

Professor David Evans, from the University of Warwick, who led the study explains: "We found that a harmful variant of the virus only multiplies rapidly if it is directly injected into honeybee haemolymph by Varroa. Once injected, the variant takes over. In mite-exposed bees, levels of this single virulent form can be 10,000 times higher than in the absence of Varroa."

"Although exposure to Varroacaused disruption to a number of genes involved in the bee's immune response, it is the route of transmission which has caused this severe strain of DWV to become widespread."

The introduction and global distribution of the mite has had a significant impact on the health and survival of honeybee colonies. The research, published today in the journal PLOS Pathogenscould lead to informed breeding programs for Varroaand virus resistance.

Professor Evans added: "Our results strongly suggest that DWV is widespread in UK honeybees – even where Varroais absent. However, the identification of a single virulent form of the virus is an important step in developing strategies to boost honeybee health, to prevent colony losses and to safeguard this important pollinator."

The project is part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative, jointly funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Government and the Wellcome Trust under the auspices of the Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership.

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive commented: "This important study, part of the BBSRC-supported Insect Pollinators Initiative, provides important clues that could help to protect honeybee colonies. We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate food crops. We must sustain a healthy and diverse population of pollinating insects to ensure that we have enough food for the future."