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.

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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 what the weather conditions are and makes sure that the bees come first.

 In August here in Texas the bees have put the tallow flow behind them and are coasting along until when September rolls around and the fall nectar flow begins. (If it isn’t too dry and the flowers appear.) Here at Lone Star Farms however, we are busy storing the honey supers and cleaning up the honey house and extracting equipment. We are also performing a thorough hive inspection to make sure the bees are in good shape before the August/September flow begins. We never remove any honey at this time of the year. We leave the fall flow for the bees to winter on. The bees are much healthier going through winter with honey than they would be eating sugar water. Besides, we don’t want to spend money buying the sugar and all the labor that goes with it.

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 flows 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 flows begin. 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”.



Exposure to Neonics Results in Early Death for Honeybee Workers and Queens, York U Study

York University

TORONTO, Thursday, June 29, 2017 - Worker and queen honeybees exposed to field realistic levels of neonicotinoids die sooner, reducing the health of the entire colony, a new study led by York University biologists has found.

The researchers were also surprised to find that the neonicotinoid contaminated pollen collected by the honeybees came not from crops grown from neonicotinoid treated seeds, but plants growing in areas adjacent to those crops.

The role of neonicotinoid insecticides in honeybee colony deaths in Ontario and other parts of North America has been controversial. Some critics dismissed studies that found negative effects on worker behavior and colony health as unrealistic, suggesting bees were exposed to higher doses of pesticides for much longer than realistically found in the field.

"This debate about field realistic exposure has been going on for a long time," said York U biology Professor Amro Zayed of the Faculty of Science. "We needed season-long monitoring of neonics in bee colonies to determine the typical exposure scenarios that occur in the field, which we have now done.

The research team studied honey bee colonies in five apiaries close to corn grown from neonicotinoid-treated seeds and six apiaries that were far from agriculture. These colonies were extensively sampled and tested for pesticides from early May to September.

"Honeybee colonies near corn were exposed to neonicotinoids for three to four months. That is most of the active bee season in temperate North America," said York U PhD student Nadia Tsvetkov.

However, the neonicotinoid contaminated pollen the honeybees collected did not belong to corn or soybean plants - the two primary crops grown from neonicotinoid treated seeds in Ontario and Quebec.

"This indicates that neonicotinoids, which are water soluble, spill over from agricultural fields into the surrounding environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very attractive to bees," said Tsvetkov.

The researchers then chronically fed colonies with an artificial pollen supplement containing progressively smaller amounts of the most commonly used neonicotinoid in Ontario, clothianidin, over a 12-week period. The experiment mimicked what would occur naturally in the field.

The worker bees exposed to the treated pollen during the first nine days of life had their lifespans cut short by 23 per cent. Colonies that were exposed to treated pollen were unable to maintain a healthy laying queen, and had poor hygiene. "We found that realistic exposure to neonicotinoids near corn fields reduces the health of honey bee colonies," said Tsvetkov.

While chronic exposure to neonicotinoids has negative effects on honeybees, the researchers also discovered that a commonly used fungicide can interact with neonicotinoids to make them more dangerous.

"The effect of neonicotinoids on honey bees quickly turns from bad to worse when you add the fungicide boscalid to the mix," said Professor Valérie Fournier of Laval University who collaborated with the York U team. "The researchers found that field realistic levels of boscalid can make neonicotinoids twice as toxic to honeybees."

The research, "Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honeybee health near corn crops," is published today in the journal Science.


Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis

Daniel Hellerstein, Claudia Hitaj, David Smith, and Amélie Davis

A report summary from the Economic Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture


What is the issue?
Crops that depend on pollinators account for up to one-third of total U.S. food consumption. However, honey bees and other pollinators face a variety of stressors, including diseases, insect pests, pesticide exposure, and changing landscapes. Over the last decade, annual losses of managed honey bee colonies have been high according to Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis, a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).Better nutrition for pollinators may help alleviate the effects of some of the stressors. Changing the Nation’s land uses and land covers (LULC) — such as by planting vegetation rich in nectar and nutritious types of pollen—may improve the forage available to pollinators. This study reviews the literature on the effects of land use on pollinator health and examines trends in pollinator forage quality as LULC has changed in the United States over the last 30 years.

What did the study find?
A review of the literature reveals that both managed honey bees and native pollinators face several sources of stress that affect colony health. The main findings include:

•  Honey bee mortality, as measured by the loss of a honey bee colony, is higher than in previous decades. Annual losses varied between 29 and 45 percent of colonies from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
•  Assessing the status of native pollinators is difficult because long-term population data are not available. However, evidence points to population decline for several wild bee species (notably bumblebees) and some butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds.
•  A variety of stressors affect the health of honey bee colonies. Beekeepers reported that in spring 2015, nearly 45 percent of colonies were affected by varroa mites, 20 percent were affected by other pests, and 17 percent were affected by pesticides.

Beekeepers in the United States have maintained and even increased the number of colonies over the last decade through intensive management of honey bee colonies:

•  Adapted practices include splitting a honey bee colony and adding a new queen to one of the splits, systematic monitoring of colonies for pests and pathogens, and supplemental feeding.
•  The number of honey-producing colonies has increased by 9 percent from 2.44 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2015. Over the same period, the value of production of the top 10 pollinator-dependent crops grew by a weighted average of around 76 percent.

The literature review also reveals evidence of how LULCs that contain vegetation beneficial to pollinators improve both pollinator abundance and health and can lead to better agricultural outcomes. The LULC-related needs of native pollinators differ from those of managed honey bees.

•  Native pollinators benefit from access to nearby high-quality forage habitat—habitat that is both rich in plants that provide pollen and nectar and that contain nesting opportunities.
•  Managed honey bees are often transported from location to location by their beekeepers to provide pollination services and to increase honey production. Thus, the overall availability of forage may matter more than its exact placement. For example, the provision of high-quality forage land in the Dakotas, where many honey bee colonies spend the summer refortifying themselves, may help improve colony survival rates.

To examine how broad land-use changes have affected the ability of the land to provide forage to pollinators, ERS developed a forage suitability index (FSI) that links pollinator forage quality to LULC. Findings show that forage suitability was unchanged for most (75 percent) of the Nation between 1982 and 2012. Overall LULC changes in this timespan led to a small increase in the average FSI nationally. This is in part due to land taken out of agricultural production under USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

However, the overall results mask regional and temporal variation:

•  From 1982 to 2002, FSI improved on about twice as many acres as it declined. But from 2002 to 2012, the index declined on more acres than it improved.
•  In North and South Dakota's summer foraging grounds, FSI declined more than the national average between 2002 and 2012. This change is driven by decreases in acres with high FSI LULCs (such as CRP) and increases in acres in low FSI LULCs (such as soybeans).

These findings are limited by the study’s focus on estimated changes in the FSI. Other factors that may affect pollinator health—such as changes in land management, including pesticide use, and changes in field size and associated densities of uncultivated field edges—are not considered.

The report concludes with a summary of economic insights on issues facing the development of markets for forage-rich pollinator habitat. Pollinator habitat has “public good” features, so markets to provide better pollinator habitat may not readily develop. This can lead to under-provision of forage-rich landscapes. For example, if a landowner converts land to honey bee-friendly habitat, his or her honey bees may benefit from this conversion but so, too, will honey bees managed by others. Thus, the landowner incurs the full cost of this conversion without reaping full benefits. Assigning exclusionary rights for hive placement—as is done in a few States— may encourage beekeepers and landowners to work together to install pollinator friendly habitat. In addition, the Government can support the creation of pollinator habitat, such as through pollinator-friendly covers on CRP land.

How was the study conducted?
The study reviews the economics and ecology literature on land use, land cover, and pollinators. Data from the National Resources Inventory (NRI) are used to supply land cover/use for 970,000 points in the conterminous United States from 1982 to 2012. Using an expert assessment of the average pollinator forage score for different types of land use, along with this land use/cover variable, researchers assigned each NRI point an FSI. Trends in pollinator habitat quality are computed by aggregating these index scores over regions. Lastly, economic theory informs the discussion of factors that can lead to under-provision of pollinator-friendly habitat.

For the full report
click hereor on the image below.


Bee Antennae Offer Links Between the Evolution of Social Behavior and Communication

Princeton University

As bees' social behavior evolved, their complex chemical communication systems
evolved in concert. An international team of researchers, including those from Princeton
University, reported that a certain species of bees, called halictid bees, have more
sensorial machinery compared with related solitary species. The difference is measured
by the density of tiny, hollow sensory hairs called sensilla on their antennae.

Credit: Sam Droege, U.S. Geological Survey


As bees' social behavior evolved, their complex chemical communication systems evolved in concert, according to a study published online by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

An international team of researchers, including those from Princeton University, reported that a certain species of bees, called halictid bees, have more sensorial machinery compared with related solitary species. The difference is measured by the density of tiny, hollow sensory hairs called sensilla on their antennae.

Because social living requires the coordination of complex social behaviors, social insects invest more in these sensory systems -- used to communicate information about resources, mates and sources of danger to their colonies and, therefore, are integral to survival -- than their solitary counterparts, according to Sarah Kocher, an associate research scholar at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the paper's corresponding author.

Kocher and her colleagues imaged the antennae of adult females from 36 species that Kocher netted in the wild, mostly in France, or secured from specimens from the Museum of Comparative Zoology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Using a scanning electron microscope at Princeton, they obtained information about the antennae's surface topography and composition and observed convergent changes in both sensilla structures and the chemical signals of the groups as sociality was gained and lost.

Kocher and her colleagues chose to examine halictid bees because they exhibit remarkable diversity in social behavior, from eusocial to solitary. Eusocial refers to an organizational structure in which individual insects in a colony forgo their reproductive capacity and perform a specific task, such as caring for young or gathering food, as seen in many ant, wasp and honeybee species. Also, within this family of insects, social behavior has evolved independently several times, and there are numerous examples of reversion, or a reappearance of an earlier physical characteristic, and replicated losses of sociality. These repeated gains and losses make the species one of the most behaviorally diverse social insects on the planet, and good candidates for studying sociality, according to Kocher. "What we have is a system with tremendous comparative power," she said.

Relatively little is known about the evolutionary transition between solitary and social living, according to Kocher. But in this paper, "[The researchers] provide an elegant solution to this problem," said Tom Wenseleers, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Leuven in Belgium who is familiar with the research but had no role in it. "By studying a group of primitively eusocial insects that evolved sociality more recently and on several occasions reverted back to a solitary lifestyle, [they] succeed in making an accurate comparison of the investment in chemosensory systems made by social and derived, closely related, nonsocial species."

In the paper, the researchers also noted that ancestrally solitary halictid bees -- those bees that had never evolved social behaviors -- had sensilla densities similar to eusocial species, while secondarily solitary halictid bees -- those bees that evolved from social to solitary and back -- exhibited decreases in sensilla density. Kocher was surprised by these patterns, but concluded that "sensilla density may be an important precursor to the evolution of social behavior."

"This study demonstrates that changes in social structure are reflected in changes to the sensory systems of insects," she said. "[It] not only illustrates the evolutionary shift from reproducing as an individual to having to coordinate reproduction as a group, but also how this behavioral change can create an evolutionary feedback loop in which traits are selected in order to increase sociality in subsequent generations."