While toilet paper was undoubtedly the hottest commodity this spring, the rush to stock up on pantry items also included honey. Are people buying it because it is comforting? Or because they know it does not go bad? The global pandemic has led to all kinds of anomalies and challenges so far this year. Here are some of the ways we have seen beekeepers and researchers respond.
Many of us know blueberries as the tart and sweet fruit that is mixed into yogurt or made into muffins. Beekeepers know blueberries as a source of pollination income year after year, often right on the heels of almond pollination. If the blueberry bushes bloom early, as they did this year in some areas, there can be a rush to get the bees there to pollinate in time.
Healthy Hives 2020 is a partnership between Project Apis m. and Bayer to support needed research and practical projects. This multi-year, $1.3 million research initiative is laser focused on finding measurable and tangible solutions for beekeepers to improve U.S. honey bee colony health. With PAm’s administrative support, Healthy Hives 2020 has funded 14 research and collaborative projects.
There has been a buzz of information this week about the "murder wasp". If you are looking for factual information about the Asian Giant Hornet, here is a good fact sheet from Washington State University. And here is a report on its damage in Asia, translated at The Ohio State University:
photo by Washington State Department of Agriculture. Not for commercial use. photo URL.
This video also shows how it raids a honey bee hive. If you live in an affected area, check out the Washington State Department of Agriculture's website for resources on what the wasp looks like, how to report a sighting, and a friendly reminder to stay safe.
For honey bees, queen health is synonymous with colony health. Failing queens are a common reason cited for colony losses. New research, funded in part by PAm, describes conditions when queens might be vulnerable to heat stress, which could damage fertility.
The first round of the North American Mite-A-Thon is right around the corner. From May 2nd through May 17th submit your mite counts to help keep track of varroa across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
You can also participate in the second round of mite counting, August 15th through August 30th.
Use a sugar shake, or an alcohol wash, to measure your varroa and submit your data here. The Honey Bee Health Coalition has a video demonstrating both methods.
On March 6, Washington State University (WSU) opened the doors to it’s new Honey Bee & Pollinator Research, Extension and Education Facility. WSU says “the new facility will give the research team enough room to do commercial-scale experiments. They will be able to measure the effectiveness of controlled atmosphere storage and dial in the best way for beekeepers to use it to help their bees.” As indoor storage becomes a more widely used management practice for commercial beekeepers, the new WSU facility is an important tool for researchers to help beekeepers understand and use Best Management Practices surrounding the practice.
Thursday, 03.26.2020 Time: 11 am-12:30 pm, PT
The Almond Board of California will host a webinar on recent research and commercial application of the use of cold storage to control Varroa mites and manage hive costs.
Download The Announcement Here
Download the new
Guide to the Indoor Storage of Honey Bee Colonies in the United States
As I get close to finishing my dissertation, I am reflecting on the way that the PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship has helped me to take my interest in honey bee foraging behavior and apply it to helping beekeepers and land managers who want to support honey bees.
I started studying bees a few years after increased colony mortality had drawn international public attention and concern. Research since that time has highlighted four major stressors that contribute to high mortality: parasites, pathogens, pesticides, and poor nutrition. Good nutrition is not only essential to day-to-day activities of bees, but it also helps colonies deal with the other stressors. Finding apiary spots that lead to good colony nutrition is challenging because honey bee colonies have a very wide foraging range, in some cases traveling over 8 miles to collect food. If we consider that most foraging happens within 2 miles of a hive, that’s still over 8,000 acres that foragers are covering to find rewarding flowers.
Blue Diamond Growers has been a long-time supporter of Project Apis m. (PAm). ) Since 2014, Blue Diamond Growers has supported select research projects and partnered with PAm to help educate growers and build positive grower and beekeeper communications.