These state-of-the-art Varroa-resistant bees show promise as a practical, sustainable Varroa control option for commercial beekeepers, which could pay great dividends in healthier bees, reduced colony losses and improved pollination security.
Detailed project history, progress and videos are available at www.HiloBees.com.
The flush of color the almond bloom brings to valley is a spectacular indicator that a new year is upon us. It is also a time to reflect and congratulate each other on the productivity and hard work of the previous year. Like 2020, 2021 will have its own unique set of challenges. The fall rain growers with drip irrigation rely on to germinate their cover crop in order to feed bee colonies before almond bloom was non-existent this year. Orchards with micro-sprinklers, flood or solid set irrigation that germinated the seed by late October achieved bloom as early as mid-January. Choosing the right cover crop mix is important. However, depending on the circumstances the timing of planting and germination is often more crucial. Even during a very dry fall and winter, achieving successful cover crops that bloom early enough to feed bees before, during and after almond bloom can be accomplished with very little water. For example, an almond grower In Ceres who planted the PAm Brassica Mix in October and irrigated only once for 24 hours on 10/21/2020 experienced excellent ground coverage and bloom by January 15th!
The following information will help you accomplish your regular orchard management tasks without posing a risk to bees and their ability to pollinate effectively. The honey bee is a small creature, and attention to small details regarding their health and safety is an important factor in achieving high yields.
The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund and the Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District (Ohio) will be hosting a series of Pollinator Habitat webinars later this month. These webinars will cover a variety of topics related to the design, establishment and management of pollinator habitat as well as new options to provide support for pollinator habitat being established on private, public and corporate lands.
The webinars are free and open to the public, but do require a registration. Please register for the webinars at:
Tuesday, January 26th at 5:00 pm CST/6:00 pm EST
Thursday, January 28th at 9:00 am CST/10:00 am EST
Since beginning in 2006, Project Apis m. has endeavored to fund bee research that will improve honey bee health. Translating the research into improvements on a large scale means not just funding the work, but providing beekeepers with the knowledge and tools quickly so they can benefit from the research. Over time, with the help of an engaged research community, PAm has created a funding process and pipeline to drive innovation and solutions for years to come.
In 2014, a new pollinator habitat collaboration was initiated by a group of stakeholders that saw land use changes threatening pollinator health in the upper mid-west region. Acres of row crops were rapidly rising, conservation land was being lost, and with the expansion of row crops, agricultural chemical use was also expanding. From the initial success of that collaboration, The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund (BBHF) was formed.
While beekeepers and environmentalists have been aware of land use changes impacting bee health for a long time, these changes have intensified over the past few decades – and at the same time, honey bee and native bee health issues have come to the forefront of public awareness.
The above images represent how land use changes and increased agricultural chemicals can sometimes correlate. Pesticides are a complex issue. You can read more about pesticides and bee health here. Read the publication “Land-use change reduces habitat suitability for supporting managed honey bee colonies in the Northern Great Plains” here, and visit the USGS Pesticide National Synthesis Project’s interactive pesticide maps here.
Everyone should have the experience of opening up a honey bee hive. That first interaction brings up so many emotions: curiosity, a touch of fear, awe, all mingled with the scents of the hive. I fell into beekeeping almost by accident in 2001 and honey bees have completely changed my life trajectory. I went from English major to beekeeper, then, just enthralled, earned my PhD in bee science.
In the spirit of gratitude: We could not be more grateful for the outpouring of support to honor PAm’s founding leader, Christi Heintz, with scholarships for graduate students doing bee health research. We thank the donors who made this scholarship possible, along with additional funding from Costco Canada and Project Apis m., we are pleased to announce the winner of the CHMA scholarship and three runners up. All awardees demonstrated Christi’s spirit of curiosity, collaboration, and fearlessness. You can read Christi’s memorial here.
Awards: 12 highly qualified and especially creative individuals submitted applications, which included a 3-minute video. A review panel including a 6-member panel of PAm staff and board members who worked directly with Christi during her tenure, as well as Christi’s daughter, Tara McCall, weighed every application and made the selections for the award. Tara and her brother, Kevin Heintz were able to give the good news to the winners over the phone.
“This is so awesome that the industry respected Christi’s contribution so much that they can help fund 4 students... I applaud the industry, PAm, all the contributors and these sponsored students for continued success in bee research” -Mike Heintz, husband of Christi Heintz.
Almond growers have a lot of inputs to consider to produce their crop. They must balance the cost of labor, pest management, water, and bees for pollination. Those costs are not fixed year-after-year, especially renting the bees. The fact is the cost of colony rentals for pollination has steadily increased, and remained, at a premium. And almond acreage is projected to outpace the number of available colonies sometime in the next decade. Growers take these factors very seriously and it is not surprising that self-pollinating almond varieties have been a hot topic lately.