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.

*****Check out the new book link above*****

Cletus Notes

Hello Everyone,

February is a busy month here at Lone Star Farms in Bryan, Texas. This is the month that I put together all that equipment I ordered last month. It is time consuming to put together several boxes, frames, tops and bottoms. Then, when you finish all that, you still have to get the equipment painted.

By working with that good plan I made in January, I am able to have all the parts I need to complete my February work load. I don’t have to re-order anything which would only slow the process down.

I believe in keeping my bee yard in good order, so February is a good time to perform that task. I make sure that all the hives are sitting level on their stands, and that the grass and bushes are cut away from the hives. I like to have plenty of work space around each hive. The bees will need unobstructed access into their hive entrance when the nectar sources become available to them.

February is a good time to inspect all of my feeders to make sure they are clean, in good working order, and ready to go, in case they are needed when I perform my first hive inspection around the first of March.

The start of the bee season will be exploding here in Texas by the first of March, and if you have a passion for beekeeping like I do even after 50 years, you know how hard it is to contain your excitement.

Love and enjoy your bees.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EPA Releases the First of Four
Preliminary Risk Assessments
for Insecticides Potentially
Harmful to Bees

First-of-its-kind assessment delivers on President Obama’s
National Pollinator Strategy

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA’s assessment, prepared in collaboration with California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.

“Delivering on the President’s National Pollinator Strategy means EPA is committed not only to protecting bees and reversing bee loss, but for the first time assessing the health of the colony for the neonicotinoid pesticides,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Using science as our guide, this preliminary assessment reflects our collaboration with the State of California and Canada to assess the results of the most recent testing required by EPA.” 

The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, which sets a threshold above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen, and at that level and below which effects are unlikely. These effects include decreases in pollinators as well as less honey produced. .  

For example, data show that citrus and cotton may have residues of the pesticide in pollen and nectar above the threshold level. Other crops such as corn and leafy vegetables either do not produce nectar or have residues below the EPA identified level. Additional data is being generated on these and other crops to help EPA evaluate whether imidacloprid poses a risk to hives. 

The imidacloprid assessment is the first of four preliminary pollinator risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for three other neonicotinoids, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, are scheduled to be released for public comment in December 2016. 

A preliminary risk assessment of all ecological effects for imidacloprid, including a revised pollinator assessment and impacts on other species such as aquatic and terrestrial animals and plants will also be released in December 2016.

In addition to working with California, EPA coordinated efforts with Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Canada’s Imidacloprid pollinator-only assessment – also released today – reaches the same preliminary conclusions as EPA’s report.

The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register. After the comment period ends, EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received and, if necessary, take action to reduce risks from the insecticide. 

In 2015, EPA proposed to prohibit the use of pesticides that are toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids, when crops are in bloom and bees are under contract for pollination services.  The Agency temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor neonicotinoid pesticide uses until new bee data is submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete.

EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the imidacloprid docket and sign up for email alerts to be automatically notified when the agency opens the public comment period for the pollinator-only risk assessment. The risk assessment and other supporting documents will be available in the docket today at:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;dct=SR;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844.

EPA is also planning to hold a webinar on the imidacloprid assessment in early February.  The times and details will be posted at:  http://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/how-we-assess-risks-pollinators

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MN beekeeper: Feds Must Tighten Rules on Insecticide Coated Seed

MN beekeeper: Feds must tighten rules on insecticide coated seeds
Minnesota Public Radio News

Jeff Anderson is a beekeeper and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency to label insecticide-coated seeds.

Minnesota beekeeper sues EPA over insecticide-coated seeds- TwinCities.com
Pioneer Press
Full Coverage

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conflict Among Honey Bee Genes
Supports Theory of Altruism

PENN STATE

If a worker behaves altruistically and helps rear her sisters' offspring, she will ensure
that her matrigenes -- those genes she inherits from her queen mother -- are passed on
to the next generation.

Using modern genetic approaches, a team of researchers has provided strong support for the long-standing, but hotly debated, evolutionary theory of kin selection, which suggests that altruistic behavior occurs as a way to pass genes to the next generation.

The researchers -- who include Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology, and David Galbraith, postdoctoral scholar in entomology, both at Penn State; David Queller, Spencer T. Olin Professor, Washington University in St. Louis; and others -- investigated kin selection by examining the social behavior of worker honey bees, which are all female.

They found that the genes the workers inherit from their queen -- matrigenes --direct worker bees' altruistic behavior -- forgoing production of their own offspring to help rear their siblings. When the queen dies, the workers can begin to selfishly compete with one another to lay eggs. The genes they inherit from their different fathers -- patrigenes -- direct this behavior.

"We usually think of honey bees as ideal cooperators, with all the members of the colony working together harmoniously," said Grozinger. "Our studies demonstrate that there is actually conflict -- called intragenomic conflict -- among the genes inherited from the father and those inherited from the mother."

According to Grozinger, in a normal colony, the queen lays all the eggs and the workers remain sterile and help raise the queen's offspring. When the queen dies, the workers either behave altruistically by remaining sterile and helping rear the remaining offspring and the new offspring of their sisters or they behave selfishly by activating their own ovaries and laying their own unfertilized eggs, which develop into males.

"In 2003, David Queller published a key model using kin selection theory that predicted that under queenless conditions in a honey bee colony, the patrigenes would promote selfish behavior in the workers, while the matrigenes would promote altruistic behavior," said Galbraith.

According to Queller, this conflict is the result of unequal distribution of the matrigenes and patrigenes among the workers. All the workers in the colony share the same set of matrigenes. In contrast, because the queen mated with 10 or more males, the workers have different patrigenes. If a worker behaves altruistically and helps rear her sisters' offspring, she ensures that her matrigenes are passed on. However, more of her patrigenes pass to the next generation if she behaves selfishly and lays her own eggs.

"It is very strange to think that your genes might be fighting with each other based on whether they came from your mother or your father," said Queller. "Yet, this is just what we found. It turns out that when a queen dies, worker bees behave the way their fathers want them to, producing sons when possible." The results appear today (Jan. 11) the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to Queller, this intragenomic conflict supports the theory of kin selection first proposed by William Hamilton in 1964. Altruism is defined as reducing one's own reproductive output to help others reproduce. So kin selection theory predicts that altruism will only evolve to help related individuals. Using kin selection theory, David Haig, professor, Harvard University, developed models predicting intragenomic conflict, which Queller then extended to social insect societies.

In 2010, however, biologist E.O. Wilson and colleagues published a paper that argued kin selection is not needed for altruistic behavior to evolve.

"While Queller's model made very specific predictions about the behavior of matrigenes and patrigenes in social insects, it was not possible to test this prediction until modern genomic tools were developed that allowed us to specifically track both matrigenes and patrigenes in the same individual," said Grozinger.

The researchers created 18 different male-female crosses of two different genetic stocks of honey bees -- Africanized bees, which produce larger ovaries, and European bees, which produce smaller ovaries. The crosses enabled the workers to determine which of the genes -- those from fathers versus those from mothers -- were active in the offspring. The team housed the worker bee offspring without a queen, stimulating some to start producing eggs.

The researchers first demonstrated that worker bees with Africanized fathers and European mothers had larger ovaries and were more likely to become reproductively active than bees with European fathers and Africanized mothers. According to Grozinger, this demonstrated that the reproductive traits of the workers were more strongly influenced by their patrigenes than matrigenes.

"We identified more than 100,000 sections of DNA, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, that were present in the genomes of either the mother or the father, but not both," said Galbraith. "This exercise enabled us to determine which pieces of RNA in their worker offspring were produced by the matrigenes versus patrigenes."

Next, the researchers harvested workers bees' ovaries and sequenced the entire set of RNA molecules to see which of their inherited genes were expressed to a greater extent.

"We found that expression of the patrigenes, but not matrigenes, was strongly associated with worker egg-laying behavior," Galbraith said.

According to researchers, they next plan to explore intergenomic conflict in other systems.

"What is amazing about Queller's model is that it provides very detailed predictions for how matrigenes and patrigenes behave in different social insect species and different contexts -- in some cases, matrigenes are the selfish ones," Grozinger said.


Other authors on the paper include Sarah Kocher, associate researcher, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University; Tom Glenn, owner of Glenn Apiaries; Istvan Albert, associate professor of bioinformatics, Penn State; Greg Hunt, professor of entomology, Purdue University; and Joan Strassmann, Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis. The National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation supported this research.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New ARS Bee Genebank Will Preserve Honey Bee Genetic Diversity and Provide Breeding Resources


by Kim Kaplan
 

Semen collected from honey bees and cryopreserved (frozen) will form the basis of a
new national bee genebank. Click the image for more information about it.

The Agricultural Research Service(ARS) is organizing a national bee genebank as part of the agency's response to ongoing problems facing the country's beekeepers. Average losses of managed honey bee colonies have increased to more than 30 percent per year due to pathogens, pests, parasites, and other pressures including deficient nutrition and sublethal impacts of pesticides. These stresses have threatened the continued business sustainability of commercial beekeepers.

The genebank, which will be located in Fort Collins, Colorado, will help preserve the genetic diversity of honey bees, especially for traits such as resistance to pests or diseases and pollination efficiency. It will also provide ARS and other researchers access to resources from which to breed better bees, according to entomologist Robert Danka, with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unitin Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Danka is helping shape the bee genebank—the Russian honey bee and Varroa Sensitive Hygiene lines developed at the Baton Rouge lab will be among those conserved first.

To help make the genebank a practical reality, ARS researchers are developing better long-term storage techniques for honey bees, including improving cryopreservation of bee sperm and embryos. Their work will include creating a way to reliably revive frozen embryos and grow them into reproductively viable adults after storage.
Another component needed to create the new genebank is a germplasm species committee, which will decide which species and subspecies to collect and preserve. ARS and
Washington State Universityare working with beekeepers on the next steps for the committee.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Read moreabout the new genebank in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.