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.
Right now, wildfires are decimating much of California, Oregon and Washington. This strain is conflated with the Coronavirus pandemic, which many of us hoped would be winding down by now, still raging in many states.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat and forage are burning, along with homes, businesses and hives. It can be difficult to think about the devastating losses experienced by our friends, family and in many cases ourselves. While the future is uncertain for many, PAm’s thoughts are with everyone being affected. You can learn more about what the outlook is for native bees after a fire, and what scientists know about how honey bees act in a smoke-filled environment from this article from Oregon State University.
On Sunday, September 13th Foothills Honey Farms was working hard to remove colonies from evacuation zones in Oregon where they are in danger from the Beachie Creek and Riverside Fires. Some beekeeping operations have already lost their homes and businesses to fires*, and many more have lost colonies and equipment.
BIP released preliminary results for the 14th annual survey in June of 2020. This exchange has been edited for length and clarity.
We have all seen the chart showing the percentage of bees lost over the years. In recent years it has included “Total Annual Loss” in addition to winter loss-a reflection of requests from beekeepers who emphasize the importance now of losses year-round. Loss rates are estimates of colony turn-over over a season; a mortality rate of colonies and units lost to combinations. It is not a count of the total number of colonies in the country.
The survey began via the Apiary Inspectors of America in 2006 and was taken over by BIP a few years later. Since 2019 Auburn University’s Geoff Williams, who is now the president of BIP, and his Ph.D. student Selina Bruckner, are administering the survey for BIP with assistance from many organizations* and individuals who help get the word out. Winter loss was down 15.5% from last year, and 6.4% from the historic average.
Salt Lake City, Utah, August 25, 2020 – Scientific research provides us with the foundation of knowledge we rely on in order to understand honey bee health threats and address them.
Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board are requesting research proposals to support and enhance honey bee health. Proposals will be accepted between September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Please visit www.ProjectApism.org/rfps to view the full RFP. PAm and NHB supported research projects can be explored in detail at the Bee Health Collective.
The Bee Health Collective website is an effort to gather and share content and credible information about honey bee health, scientific research, the beekeeping industry, and how these relate to agriculture, resource management and the food supply.
Initiated by Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board in 2019, the Bee Health Collective website serves as a 'one-stop-shop' for information about bee health in the United States.
With many thanks to the generosity of her friends and family, we are excited to announce that the Christi Heintz Memorial Scholarship Award will provide $20,000 to one master’s student doing research aligned with PAm’s mission.
This student will be someone who can also demonstrate their embodiment of Christi’s spirit of curiosity, collaboration, and fearlessness. Applicants will be asked to submit a 3-minute video to demonstrate those qualities as well as examples of innovation in their life and addressing their interest in Project Apis m. and bee health
The window to apply for this award will be open from August 15th until October 1st* 2020. Applicants are also encouraged to read Christi's full memorial here.
Seeds for Bees is partnering with almond growers, Bee Friendly Farming, and Scientists at the University of California, Davis to plant bee forage and habitat in California and study the benefits. Learn about the program, and the science behind why it works by watching this pre-recorded webinar:
•Billy Synk, Director of Pollination Programs, Project Apis m.
How the Seeds for Bees® program benefits beekeepers and growers.
•Dr. Elina L. Niño, University of California, Davis
Ongoing research out of UC Davis related to the impact of
cover crops on bee health.
•Dr. Amélie Gaudin, University of California, Davis
Ongoing research out of UC Davis related to the impact of
cover crops on soil health.
•Laurie Davies Adams, President and CEO, Pollinator Partnership
The exciting Bee Friendly Farming certification.
Please join Project Apis m. for our first webinar of 2020.
We hope to see you there! Click here to join us June 23rd at 10:00am Pacific Time.
Download the Webinar Flyer with Links Here
The PAm Wildflower Mix pictured here is designed to increase the density, diversity and duration of blooming plants available for foraging bees. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year providing extended nutritional benefits for pollinators. Seeds for Bees cover crop and wildflower seed mixes can help farmers and growers become Bee Friendly Certified!
Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) is a farm certification program dedicated to providing farmers science-based guidelines to provide a healthy habitat for managed and native pollinators on their operations. Since 2013, the program has certified over 800 farms across North America through an online self-certification. Bee Friendly Farming is an initiative of Pollinator Partnership, the world’s largest non-profit dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. For more information about Pollinator Partnership and Bee Friendly Farming, visit pollinator.org/bff or Bee Friendly Farming on Facebook.
Bee Friendly Farming works closely with our partners Project Apis m. and its Seeds for Bees program to help farmers make good seed choices and incorporate cover crops into their management practices for free or at a reduced cost. Just like the synergy and mutual benefits of a cover crop to farm and pollinator, our partnership with Seeds for Bees mean that we can introduce our BFF members to a program offering superior and proven seed mixes. And Seeds for Bees can help promote Bee Friendly Farming certification.
In 2006, Project Apis m. began working diligently for commercial beekeepers by investing in research and science to solve honey bee health challenges. Founders contributed funds to support applied research projects to answer priority questions. Since then, PAm has become the largest honey bee non-profit. It has invested over $8 Million in 118 practical research projects and over $2 Million in restoring habitat to provide nutrition to honey bees. We think of ourselves as “by the beekeepers, for the beekeepers,” and strive to be the go-to resource for answers. We are proud of where we are, excited by where we are going, and we know that none of this would have been possible without the vision, hard work, and tireless enthusiasm of Project Apis m’s founding leader – Christi Heintz. With Christi’s recent untimely passing, we hope you will join us in recognizing her contributions and the legacy she left for the beekeeping industry, through her leadership and friendship by contributing to the Christi Heintz Memorial Award.