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.
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.