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I have heard a lot about "bee kills" from beekeepers who transport their bees for pollination services to the different growers. Some growers spray their crops with little to no reguard for the beekeepers bees and the chemical kills all the bees. After a couple of times the beekeeper will not pollinate for that grower but, the grower seems to always be able to find another beekeeper who will take the risk and then another and another...

 The only way beekeepers can protect their hives and to put pressure on the chemical companies/growers is to stop their pollination services to the grower. Then the grower will be forced to care more about the bees because they need those bees to pollinate their crop. Until then, the grower will keep killing the very thing they need to grow their product. Some growers have no respect for the bees or the beekeeper.

Member "Wil Spencer" sent in this interesting web site listed below after I posted the newsletter. Read it. It's good.  



Bee Talk 


I hope all is well with you.  I have a new nuc at my farm that has a superseded queen.  Something happened to the marked queen, the colony is not progressing well. Should I pinch her & boost another hive?  Bill

Hello Bill,

 Sometimes a new queen doesn't lay a whole lot in the first couple of months. Look at the brood pattern of what she has laid. If the pattern is tight, I would add a frame or two of sealed brood from another hive to give it a boost. If the pattern is not tight, I would pinch her and unite the hive. The other thing that would cause the queen to not lay well is that the hive does not have enough food stores in the hive. If that is the case, feed the hive and see if that makes a difference.



 I walked past one of my hives yesterday late afternoon (I just inspected it earlier in the day!) and there was a small ball of bees on the side at the roof.  I did what you said and kept poking through the ball.  Couldn't spot a queen, but every time I brushed them into a bucket to look at them more closely, they would fly back up and ball up at the area where they had been.  SO...I suspected a queen was there.  Finally I noticed a ball of them on top of the lid around a large rock I use to keep the lid on the hive.  Kept poking through them and FINALLY I spotted her.  Dispatched her to "African Queen Hell" and saved my hive from being infiltrated (for now!!).

 It was just like you taught us!!  WOW!  I also noticed that those bees looked very different from mine (in color - more black than my golden ones in the hive).   I dumped a few at the entrance (before I had found the queen) to see if they were left over from my inspection earlier in the day.  There was instant fighting (which clued me to their being a foreign swarm).

 Anyway, thought I'd let you know of your instruction taking root in one of your students!!! :)  Thanks for all your help and support,

Chuck Durham

 Hello Chuck,

And all this time I thought you were snoozing in class. I guess I had better stop throwing the chalk at you during class.

 I am glad that you are able to have the knowledge to take care of your hives when the need arises. You don't feel so helpless when problems occur.

 You are welcome and continue to keep me posted.


 Hey Dennis,

      Can you ask your buddy Cletus if he has heard of anyone using aromatic cedar to build bee box parts? I am thinking of making three bottom boards out of this wood. I know it keeps some bugs and moths out, What about bees?


 Hello Mark,

 I believe that the cedar is a natural insect repellent and probably not a good product to build bee boxes out of. If the bees could stand it for a while, they would probably coat it in propolis.


 Hi Dennis,

 Just found out our water coop is changing to chloramine next month.  We have only had our bees for a couple of weeks and are very concerned about the change to our water.  I have done some research and found that it is unsafe for bees and other animals and plants.  Also kills fish.  Do you have any suggestions?

 Thanks, Sherri Gilbert

 Hello Sherri,

 I am not familiar with chloramine. It sounds like something humans should not be drinking as well. I can't believe that it is approved for human consumption if it kills all the other wild life. If that is indeed the case, you should buy a bottled water dispenser and use that for you and your bees water needs.



Concerned about Chloramine in Your Drinking Water?

Why are we concerned? Blue Earth Labs is committed to helping municipal water companies deliver safer, cleaner, better® water to all living things. Because of our commitment to water quality, we feel it is important to let you know when the quality of your water is being compromised.

Today, we are seeing many municipal water systems treat their drinking water with chloramine.

What is chloramine? Chloramine (often referred to as monochloramine) is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. It is used as a secondary disinfectant in municipal water distribution systems as an alternative to chlorination.

Why are utilities using chloramine? Municipal water systems need to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new, stringent regulations for drinking water under the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule. To comply, water utilities need to reduce the levels of disinfection byproducts, which result when disinfectants react with naturally-occurring materials in the water. According to the EPA, these byproducts “may pose health risks.” Water utilities believe chloramine produces less amounts of regulated disinfection byproducts than chlorine. Thus, utilities are transitioning from chlorine to chloramine as their form of disinfectant.

But chloramine should not be added to water. Here are five reasons why it has no place in our drinking water:

1) Chloramine is an ineffective disinfectant.  According to Hach, a global company in water quality testing, chloramine is 25 times less effective than chlorine in disinfection.  This is important because, if dosing and mixing are not precise, utilities effectively expose everyone in the system to raw water.  In fact, chloramine is so ineffective that utilities that use them are required to at least annually go back to just chlorine to clean out the bacteria that has become accustomed to ammonia.

2) Ammonia is a food source for bacteria, so when the chloramine breaks down, the ammonia actually feeds the bacteria it is supposed to stop.  Further, a byproduct of this is nitrification. Nitrogen is released into the water that causes more growth of bacteria. Nitrates can reduce hemoglobin a newborn baby’s blood resulting in blue baby syndrome.

3) In a study conducted by the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana shows that genetic damage occurs when exposed to chloramines.  This is consistent with the fact any chloramine water must have chloramine removed before use in fish tanks and kidney dialysis. Further, chloramine is five times more damaging to respiratory illnesses in hospitals where routine use of chloramine was used to disinfect.

4) Chloramine is very corrosive, particularly with lead and copper.  In Washington D.C., chloramines were the cause of lead leeching into the water and causing learning disabilities in children under five years old.  They settled the lawsuit for $250 million.

5) The purpose of chloramine is only to trick the system so the utility can pass current regulatory standards.  It is NOT to disinfect, it is to reduce the amount of disinfection byproducts by averting the chlorine from reacting with organics (the cause of disinfection by products) and thereby manage the result.   More bluntly, chloramine is, as described by one person, “neutered chlorine.”   Worse is that it generates NDMA, or nitrosamines, a disinfection byproduct 10,000 time more carcinogenic than anything it purports to displace.

For more information on the health effects of chloramine, visit: http://www.chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm

Days Gone By