Cletus Calendar
November 2017

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 easy to use book link above*****

Cletus Notes

Hello Everyone,

For all you Veterans out there, thank you for your service.  I know it wasn’t easy being away from home and your loved ones. I appreciate your sacrifice.

Our club only picked up about twenty 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 us 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 chemical free beekeeping friends and acquaintances. Have them  join us. It’s free.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and to ask you to take the time to thank at least one veteran for their service. They have earned that much from each of us.

Dennis

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More Than 75 Percent Decrease
in Total Flying Insect Biomass
Over 27 Years

We often hear from gardeners and friends that they don’t see the bees they used to on their property. With all the headlines about bee declines, are people just looking more closely? Or has the insect population truly decreased in the last few decades?

According to new research from Germany, the total flying insect biomass decreased by more than 75 percent over 27 years in protected areas. Insects play a crucial role in ecosystem functioning, pollinating 80 percent of wild plants and providing a food source for 60 percent of birds. Previous research has shown an overall pattern of decline in insect diversity and abundance, but has focused on single species or taxonomic groups, rather than monitoring insect biomass over an extensive period.

To gain a better understanding of the extent and underlying causes of insect decline, Hallmann and colleagues measured total flying insect biomass using Malaise traps (see photo), deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany. They found that the average flying insect biomass declined 76% (up to 82% in midsummer) in just 27 years in these locations. Their results align with recently reported declines in vulnerable species such as butterflies, wild bees and moths, but also suggest a severe loss of total flying aerial biomass, suggesting that the entire flying insect community has been decimated over the last few decades.

The researchers found that this dramatic decline was apparent regardless of habitat type. Changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics were not able to explain the overall decline. They suggest that large-scale factors must be involved, and additional research should further investigate the full range of climactic and agricultural variables that could potentially impact insect biomass. The authors urge further investigation of causes for this decline, its geographical extent, and how its potential impact on the ecosystem.

Hallman states: "Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 percent. This decrease has long been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought."

The full article is freely available in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

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Coal Miners Shift to Beekeeping

University of Delaware researcher helps establish socioeconomic growth program for displaced miners in West Virginia

University of Delaware

 

Former coal miners or citizens whose lives have been shaped by the coal mining industry in southern West Virginia spent their summer learning how to establish and operate bee colonies thanks to help from the University of Delaware's Debbie Delaney.

Delaney, associate professor of entomology in UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spent her summer in Summers County working as a consultant through Appalachian Headwaters which is a non-profit organization that formed the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. Delaney said that the goal was to help get the socioeconomic growth program up and running for displaced miners in 14 counties in southern West Virginia.

"We got about 500 nucleus colonies or nucs, which are small colonies of bees, and a queen and all summer we've been erecting bear fences and creating bee yards so we can grow the colonies over the season and get them through the winter," said Delaney.

Beginning next year, local partners will come on board and get hives which will be a way for them to generate income.

Delaney said that how much income will vary depending on what kind of forage is available during that time of year--and that since the initial installation began after foraging season, they have had to feed the bees a lot to get them up to weight to make it through winter.

"Typically, I'd say in that area of West Virginia, if they do things right, they should be able to get close to 200 pounds [of honey] off of each hive," said Delaney.

The way the program operates, the local partners will get the colonies, pull their honey off and bring it to the experts at the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective to extract.

"I've been helping them design a big honey processing building that will be able to process 100,000 pounds of honey and then we will bottle it, we'll market it and we'll sell it to a higher end community," said Delaney. "We're not just selling the honey but also a story which is really cool."

Kate Asquith, program director at Appalachian Headwaters, said that starting a beekeeping operation can be a risky and expensive endeavor and they wanted to help the first-time beekeepers get over those hurdles.

"This is a way to make sure that they're getting as much profit from their beekeeping as they can," said Asquith. "Our hope is that we can help people get a lot more money for the work that they're doing and Debbie is a really big part of all of it. She's been a wonderful piece of helping us plan out the program."

Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is headquartered at an old camp that was once owned and operated by coal mining companies that saw thousands of kids of coal miners go through the camp from different mining states.

"These people are so tied to this place. When I was there over the summer, at least twice a week somebody would drive by and say, 'I went to camp here 50 years ago. This place means so much to me' so it's a really special spot," said Delaney. "There's so much rich history there."

Because the people are tied to the land and invested in the history of the area, Delaney said that it made sense to get them involved in beekeeping.

"They're native and they've been there for generations and they know every mountain, every hill has a name even though it might not be on a map. Because they're so tied to the land, this operation had to be something that was sustainable and that was also very connected to the environment and beekeeping is definitely both of those things," said Delaney.

The area also has a rich history of beekeeping as Delaney said she would find antique beekeeping equipment at area flea markets.

"Everybody's grandfather had bees. It's because it's all hardwood forests there, which all produce nectar and pollen and so it's a really good area for beekeeping, really high quality forage. I think both of those things make it ideal," said Delaney.

The plan is for those beekeepers to keep their own apiaries but get bees raised by the Appalachian Bee Keeping Collective.

"We're trying to raise a strain of Appalachian honey bee that is mite resistant and that's a big piece of what Debbie is doing," said Asquith. "She's really skilled with natural beekeeping methods and has been a really big help for us."

Asquith said that the first class of beekeepers, who will be trained over fall and winter, will number around 35 but next year the program will ramp up to include 85 beekeepers.

For the first-time beekeepers, Delaney said that the biggest challenge is going to be overcoming the fear of being stung.

"They're going to be working with an insect that stings and learning the social behavioral cues of a colony, to read them, to know when they need to apply smoke or how much protective clothing they should wear; just learning to feel comfortable around them so that they are safe and that the participants can work them safely," said Delaney.

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Honey Samples Worldwide Test Positive for Neonicotinoids

A global sampling of honey finds 75% to be contaminated with neonicotinoid pesticides. Of note, the concentrations detected are below the amount authorized by the European Union for human consumption. The situation is more bleak for pollinators, however. Widespread application of neonicotinoids has been identified as a key factor responsible for the global decline in pollinators, particularly bees.


Edward A.D. Mitchell et al. sought to explore the extent of exposure by testing 192 honey samples for five commonly used neonicotinoids: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam. Samples were taken across all continents (except Antarctica), as well as numerous isolated islands. Overall, 75% of all honey samples contained at least one neonicotinoid; of these contaminated samples, 30% contained a single neonicotinoid, 45% contained two or more, and 10% contained four or five. Concentrations were highest in European, North American, and Asian samples.

While the authors emphasize that the concentrations of neonicotinoids were below levels that the EU authorizes in food and feed products, they do cite some emerging studies on the effects of neonicotinoids in vertebrates, such as impaired immune functioning and reduced growth, which may result in a re-evaluation of these restrictions. As for the effects on bees, 34% of honey samples were found to have concentrations of neonicotinoids that are known to be detrimental. These results suggest that a substantial proportion of world pollinators are probably affected by neonicotinoids.

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Luring Hornets: Scientists Unlock
Sex Pheromone of Notorious
Honey Bee Predator

Traps baited with synthetic pheromone could become
solution to invasive Asian hornet

Over the past decade, Asian hornets, predatory insects with a widespread and expanding population, have invaded parts of Europe and Korea. Vespa velutina has a growing reputation as a species that proliferates rapidly, preys on honey bees and poses risks to humans.


Now a biologist at the University of California San Diego and his colleagues in Asia have developed a solution for controlling Asian hornets derived from the insect’s natural chemical mating instincts. 

As reported in Scientific Reports, UC San Diego’s James Nieh and researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Yunnan Agricultural University discovered the identity of the sex pheromone of Vespa velutina. Further, they developed a method of controlling Asian hornets by luring males into traps baited with synthetic versions of the pheromones.
 
“We have successfully tested the key sex pheromone compounds of this species and the results show that males are highly attracted to them,” said Nieh, a professor in UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences.


Nieh noted that recently Turkey and Balkan nations have been invaded by Asian hornets, with much of Western Europe at risk. A single hornet can bite and kill hundreds of honey bees in its quest to obtain honey bee larvae. European honey bees have not evolved with this deadly predator and have poor defenses. As a result, “the European economic impact is high,” said Nieh, and “major colony losses have led some beekeepers to abandon apiculture.”  
Nieh noted that Asian hornets are difficult to control because their colonies can spread rapidly and their nests are difficult to find in non-urban areas. They pose dangers to humans with stings that are painful and, in rare cases, deadly.
 
Pheromones are chemical signals that transmit information between members of the same species. Sex pheromones play a key role in mating and the continued survival of the species. In the case of Asian hornets, which have limited vision, sex pheromones likely play a key role in long-distance attraction. The new research demonstrates a simple, reliable way to monitor and potentially reduce the populations of these invading insects.
 
Videos:
Asian hornet attacking an Asian honey bee, Apis cerana
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lTvj2fxq0Y&list=PLCE2CyTXcd6VXDZtsI_MTDwWpXZB7hqaQ&index=6
 
Dwarf Asian honey bee defending itself from a giant hornet attacker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzvdCoEu8F0&list=PLCE2CyTXcd6VXDZtsI_MTDwWpXZB7hqaQ&index=7