Join Dr. Brandon Hopkins (WSU) and Bryan Ashurst (Ashurst Bee Company) in two NEW videos all about storing bees indoors...in the desert!
Bryan Ashurst of Ashurst Bee Company has been coming up with innovative uses for his cold storage facility that serve the unique needs of his operation. Located in the desert between the Salton Sea and Mexico, outdoor temperatures often skyrocket higher than is safe or comfortable for his crews. To combat this issue, Bryan uses cold storage as a venue for some of his spring and summer management, starting as early as the bees return from almond pollination.
Join the Almond Board of California, Washington State University, Project Apis m., and bee researchers and beekeepers for a virtual conference on December 14th and 15th!
This event is free to attend. Each half-day session will feature live presentations and a guest panel with live Q & A. Please feel free to share this event with friends.
The agenda and attendee link will follow. We can't wait to see you in December!
Please contact: email@example.com with any questions.
By: Dr. Kelly Kulhanek and Dr. Brandon Hopkins
In the Imperial Valley of Southern California, the average high temperature in July is 107°F. This region of desert stretches south from the Salton Sea all the way down to Mexico. The highest temperature every recorded in the Valley was 121°F, only 13 degrees shy of the world record recorded in nearby Death Valley, CA. Despite these conditions, the Valley is home to several commercial beekeepers keeping thousands of colonies in the Valley during summer. One family, the Ashurst’s, has dominated beekeeping in the area for generations. The Valley’s winters are mild which provides good conditions for wintering colonies outdoors. The summers, however, are tough and require special considerations for bees. Some of these methods are relatively simple, like providing shade for every apiary. More recently, novel use of cold storage facilities have offered both bees and workers a respite from the heat. We spoke with Bryan Ashurst of Ashurst Bee Company about how he uses his cold storage facility in July and August to help his bees beat the heat.
In November of 2021, Project Apis m., The Almond Board of California, and Washington State University hosted a 2-day Indoor Storage of Honey Bees Conference featuring commercial beekeepers and researchers.
Project Apis m. and Washington State University have been working together to provide beekeepers with an online practical guide to indoor storage of honey bee colonies. This in-depth resource continues to grow with new information and chapters. A newly released chapter addresses a common question for many beekeepers – “How can I find out more about CDFA Pre-inspections?”
One of the difficulties that beekeepers face when transporting bees to California is long lines and sometimes hours of waiting at the border inspection stations. In 2018, the California Department of Agriculture premiered a new program, allowing pre-inspections for beekeepers in some states. This allows truck drivers to spend less time at the borders, reducing the risk of overheating or flying bees.
Currently, Pre-inspections are only available in a few states and there are many questions about who can qualify and how to sign up. The new chapter in our online guide explains why the pre-inspection program is important, what to expect, and provides information and resources to help interested beekeepers participate.
Sections of the new chapter include:
CDFA PRE-INSPECTION PROGRAM
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR INSPECTION
INDOOR STORAGE IS WELL-SUITED FOR PRE-INSPECTION
PRE-INSPECTION BENEFITS EVERYONE
FUTURE OF THE PROGRAMCONTACT INFO FOR INTERESTED BEEKEEPERS
We invite you to read more about CDFA Pre-inspections here, and visit the online Guide to Indoor Storage of Honey Bees in the US here.
The past year has been one of unexpected changes for most of us. One thing that remained, however, was the resiliency and dedication of beekeepers. Despite all obstacles, hives had to be managed and crops had to be pollinated. Beekeepers adapted to changing conditions to keep up with demand and keep their operations strong. As we enter another season of almond pollination, it is clear that beekeepers as busy as ever and still
looking for solutions to the ever-present challenges of mites, nutrition, and overwintering.