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

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 an eight-inch putty knife and scrape the board off (You don’t have to open the hive if you’re using the Kelley bottom board with the slots.) 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 brings 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.



Bee Vampire Picks the Right Host to Suck

Michigan State University

Varroa mites feed on a honey bee larva. New MSU research is exploring the fertility of
the notorious mite, a pest that is devastating honey bee populations worldwide.
Credit: Zachary Huang, Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- New insights into the reproductive secrets of one of the world's tiniest and most destructive parasites - the Varroa mite - has scientists edging closer to regulating them.

"If you know your enemies better, you can come up with new ways of controlling them," said Michigan State University entomologist Zachary Huang, whose research explores the fertility of the notorious mite, a pest that is devastating honey bee populations worldwide. The mite sucks the blood of honey bees and transmits deadly viruses.

The Varroa mite's lifecycle consists of two phases: one where they feed on adult bees, called the phoretic phase, and a reproductive phase that takes place within a sealed honeycomb cell, where the mites lay eggs on a developing bee larva.

The MSU-led study, published in the current issue of Scientific Reports, shows that the mites clearly prefer to infest adult bees at mid-age, or during the nurse phase of a bee's lifecycle when they take care of larvae, rather than during the younger (newly-emerged) or older (forager) phases of an adult bee. The study also found that the physiological type of a host bee had significant effects on the mite's reproductive fitness and success later on.

"Our study clearly demonstrated that Varroa mites preferred nurses over the older and younger bees," said Huang, the study's lead author. "Further, we showed that feeding on different hosts gave them different reproductive outputs."

Mites chose bees in the nurse phase of their lifecycle - the nutritional prime of bee life - over their older and younger counterparts at significantly higher rates. Also, those who fed on nurses had the highest reproductive success rates and the lowest infertility rates.

Previous studies have shown that the mites can easily choose their reproductive hosts, but Huang's study shows that they can go one step further: the mites can correctly pick the most nutritious bees to suck blood from.

"This might seem very smart for the mites because they do not realize the reproductive advantage right away, but under natural selection this is rather easy to achieve." Huang said. "The mites who made the correct choice will have more babies and their genes will become more dominant over time."

The recent results have helped researchers zero in on mite reproductive and nutritional preferences and are a significant step in understanding the mysterious, parasitic relationship between the Varroa mite and the honey bee.

"This is an important step in understanding mite reproductive biology," Huang said. "We can utilize this information as a step toward finding ways to regulate them."

In future research, Huang will look to identify what precise factors the mites are relying on for their reproductive success.

"If they require a certain factor to have babies we can regulate that factor without affecting the bees - only the mites - and reduce their reproduction," Huang said. "Instead of killing them with a chemical, this could eventually lead to a more natural way of mite control and a better outlook for honey bees."

MSU entomologist Xianbing Xie and Zhijiang Zeng from Jiangxi Agricultural University joined Huang as coauthors of the study. Huang's research is supported in part by MSU AgBioResearch.


Putting Honey Bees to Work
for Veterans

By Kim Kaplan
Agricultural Research Service, USDA

The ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Lab and the Louisiana Armed
Forces Foundation are teaching beekeeping to veterans. Photo by Scott Bauer

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, June 23—Honey bees may reduce stress and become a new business venture for those who have served in the U.S. military. That premise guides a unique partnership between the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratoryand the Louisiana Armed Forces Foundation(LaAFF).

The lab, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service(USDA-ARS), and LaAFF are hosting a June 25 workshop in Baton Rouge to introduce veterans to beekeeping.

"We want to give back to the veteran community," explained ARS researcher Michael Simone-Finstrom. "We do that by helping veterans, both new and experienced at beekeeping, learn about honey bee biology including their pests and pathogens. Then we provide hands-on experience with sustainable honey bees our lab has developed so they can raise healthy bees from the start."

This coaching builds a strong foundation for maintaining healthy colonies, and adding more healthy managed honey bees to the environment which helps all beekeepers, added Simone-Finstrom.

While honey bees may sound like an odd stress reliever for veterans, beekeeping really interests veterans, according to LaAFF cofounder Jaye Townsend.

"People regularly say that working with honey bees is therapeutic and has potential as a business opportunity. So, we met with ARS scientists, decided to hold an open house and found lots of interest in connecting veterans with bees," Townsend said.

Veterans with a wide variety of bee experience are participating in the workshop. One of the more experienced is U.S. Army veteran C.J. Oliver, whose family produces about 60 gallons of honey annually in Arnaudville, Louisiana.

"We (my family) see this workshop as a good learning experience as we've gone from hobby to secondary income to hopefully a full-time business one day," Olivier said.

ARS' Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory is the developer of elite honey bee strains—including bees from Russia, where factors like prolonged winters allow only the sturdiest bees to survive. Today, the Baton Rouge lab is focused on breeding for better resistance to diseases and pests that pose major problems for honey bees.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. The Agency's job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to ensure high-quality, safe food, and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agricultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.