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 

Hello Everyone,

I hope that all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. This year seemed to pass by really fast. In a few weeks, the year will come to a close.

Our club only picked up about thirty new members this year. I was hoping that we could have convinced more beekeepers to become chemical free. It is always an uphill struggle to assure beekeepers that they don’t need to put chemicals in their hives.

If you enjoy being recognized as a chemical free beekeeper, please help me build our membership up this coming year. The more members we have, the more hives out there will be healthier and produce chemical free products. Saving hives is what our club is all about. Talk to all of your beekeeping friends and acquaintances. Have them join us.

The other thing I would like to see this coming year would be to have you send in beekeeping articles for our club newsletter. Every time we have another article that I can post, more beekeepers are able to learn about bees. So far, I have somehow managed to post 98% of the articles on my own for these past years. I am sort of running out of material to post. I know that all of you have enjoyed reading the newsletter since the beginning. Maybe, you could each send me at least one article during the coming year. One article or story shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I would really appreciate it, and I know that everyone would enjoy reading it.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and to remind you again to thank at least one veteran for their service..

Dennis

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Bad Breeding Between
European and Asian Honeybees
Concerns Australian
Beekeeping Industry

Beekeepers are on alert after tests found Australia's European honeybees are breeding with the destructive Asian honeybee. 

Sperm from the Asian honeybee, that carries the deadly Varroa mite, was found in one third of commercial queens tested in the Cairns region of Far North Queensland. 

It produces useless eggs, reducing the honey and pollination services from affected hives.

But beekeepers are not surprised or alarmed.

 Audio: Researcher and beekeeper discuss dangerous cross-breeding (ABC Rural)
 

The Asian honeybee was first detected in Cairns seven years ago, and since then, a plan has been set up to manage the incursion.

Research conducted as part of that plan has revealed the unnatural mating, which makes the European bees' eggs unviable.

Michael Hornitzky, from the Honey Bee and Pollination Program advisory committee, says it could damage honey and pollination capacity.

"As the Asian honeybee becomes more widespread, the inter-specific mating will increase, and that results in less worker bees."

Cairns beekeeper Maurie Damon's bees were involved in the research, and he says the findings are concerning but not critical.

He hasn't noticed any major impact, saying the queens, who mate with multiple drones, are still productive enough, and the reject eggs become a food source.

"The queen will be less productive than she should be, but it doesn't mean that it's going to completely lose production," he said.

"The workers... pick up immediately that the eggs that are hybrids... are not right... so they (eat) them as a protein source."

Mr Damon says the population levels are reduced, but it's hard to say how much.

In a positive twist, the mating doesn't work the other way .

Mr Damon says the Asian honeybee queens can die if they mate with the European honeybee drones, because they're much larger.

He's urging Cairns beekeepers to source queens from further afield to maintain a robust genetic pool.

Other beekeepers are also encouraged to get queen bees from areas other than Cairns, which Mr Damon denies will affect business.

"The queen breeding exercises in Cairns are mostly beekeepers breeding their own. There is practically nothing going outside the Cairns area."

But Mr Damon does expect the bad crossbreeding to worsen when the bees breed up in warmer, wetter weather.

Trevor Weatherhead, from the Australian Honeybee Industry Council, which has funded the new research, says the inter-specific breeding is exactly what the industry expected.

He says he's asking the State Government to set up a control area in North Queensland to protect domestic and international bee markets.

"We've been proposing that we have either a control area or biosecurity zone from about Kennedy north, so that bees in that northern area wouldn't be able to come south without a permit."

There is a national bee pest surveillance program in place to detect new incursions of bee pests and pest bees.

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EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed

Treatments of Little or No Benefit to

U.S. Soybean Production


U.S. EPA News Release


Washington, October 16, 2014 --- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an analysisof the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for insect control in soybeans. Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of insecticides widely used on U.S. crops that EPA is reviewing with particular emphasis for their impact on pollinators. The analysis concluded that there is little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all. A Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the analysis will publish in the near future.

“We have made the review of neonicotinoid pesticides a high priority,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “In our analysis of the economic benefits of this use we concluded that, on a national scale, U.S. soybean farmers see little or no benefit from neonicotinoid seed treatments.”

During the review of the neonicotinoids, EPA found that many scientific publications claim that treating soybean seeds has little value. Part of our assessment examined the effectiveness of these seed treatments for pest control and estimated the impacts on crop yields and quality, as well as financial losses and gains. The law requires EPA to consider the benefits of using pesticides as well as the risks.

The analysis concluded that: 

This analysis is an important part of the science EPA will use to move forward with the assessment of the risks and benefits under registration review for the neonicotinoid pesticides.  Registration review --- the periodic re-evaluation of pesticides to determine if they continue to meet the safety standard --- can result in EPA discontinuing certain uses, placing limits on the pesticide registration, and requiring other label changes. 

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USDA to Provide $4 Million for

Honey Bee Habitat

Announcement Builds on Previous Investment in Michigan, Minnesota,
North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin


WASHINGTON, Oct.29, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that  more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees, which play an important role in crop production.

“The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees, and this funding will allow us to work with farmers and ranchers to apply that knowledge over a broader area.”

An estimated $15 billion worth of crops is pollinated by honey bees, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is focusing the effort on five Midwestern states: Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. This announcement renews and expands a successful $3 million pilot investment that was announced earlier this year and continues to have high levels of interest.  This effort also contributes to the June 2014 Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, which directs USDA to expand the acreage and forage value in its conservation programs.

Funding will be provided to producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications are due Friday, November 21.

From June to September, the Midwest is home to more than 65 percent of the commercially managed honey bees in the country. It is a critical time when bees require abundant and diverse forage across broad landscapes to build up hive strength for the winter.

The assistance announced today will provide guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops or rangeland and pasture management may provide a benefit to producers by reducing erosion, increasing the health of their soil, inhibiting invasive species, and providing quality forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators.

This year, several NRCS state offices are setting aside additional funds for similar efforts, including California – where more than half of all managed honey bees in the U.S. help pollinate almond groves and other agricultural lands – as well as Ohio and Florida.

The 2014 Farm Bill kept pollinators as a high priority, and these conservation efforts are one way USDA is working to help improve pollinator habitat. 

USDA is 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 in Land Grant Universities. The Animal and 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. The Forest Service is restoring, improving, and/or rehabilitating pollinator habitat on the national forests and grasslands and conducting research on pollinators. 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.