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THE Bees Thread (merged)

Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Lore » Thu 14 May 2015, 07:51:25

My local bee guy said he lost over half his hives this past winter. Another thing that's weakening hive vitality is in order to make up for losses beekeepers are splitting hive colonies earlier.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 14 May 2015, 09:06:51

Lore wrote:My local bee guy said he lost over half his hives this past winter. Another thing that's weakening hive vitality is in order to make up for losses beekeepers are splitting hive colonies earlier.


How much of that is the ongoing die off problem vs the wild climate swings we had the last two winters in the Great Lakes?
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Lore » Thu 14 May 2015, 09:27:26

Average losses should be around 25% - 30%. Beekeepers supplement hives till they reach a supporting number of workers. This has also been the subject of some speculation as to natural bee health. I'm sure violent swings in weather doesn't help either.

The disappearance of meadows and bee habitat along with disease and pesticides in general has all but eliminated wild bee and insect pollinators. We are desperately close to losing a vital link in the human food chain.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby careinke » Thu 14 May 2015, 19:00:22

I lost one of my two hives this winter. On the other hand, my remaining hive spawned two swarms that I captured so I now have three. :) I don't supplement their food, I just leave enough honey for them to winter over. I also use no chemicals on them.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Lore » Thu 14 May 2015, 19:58:51

careinke wrote:I lost one of my two hives this winter. On the other hand, my remaining hive spawned two swarms that I captured so I now have three. :) I don't supplement their food, I just leave enough honey for them to winter over. I also use no chemicals on them.


I think everyone who can, should keep a couple of beehives and tend to them as naturally as possible.

Unfortunately though commercial beekeepers, from whom we get most of our pollinated food supply, are pushed towards stressing the little critters for maximum output and resort to any means towards that end.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 19 May 2015, 11:10:42

Pesticide Curbs May Be Needed to Save Bees, White House Says

Additional restrictions on pesticides may be needed to save honeybees and other pollinators crucial to agriculture that have been devastated over the past decade, a White House task force report said.

The government also should step up efforts to increase habitats for bees, butterflies and other species while boosting research on rapid population declines, the task force said Tuesday in its report. Efforts to boost pollinator populations will require a 70 percent increase in U.S. spending, to $82.5 million next year, the group said.

“Mitigating the effects of pesticides on bees is a priority for the federal government, as both bee pollination and insect control are essential to the success of agriculture,” the report said. “These complex considerations mandate care in all pesticide application.”

... To combat the losses, the government’s goal over the next decade is to add 7 million acres of land as pollinator habitat. Government and private-sector activities to combat bee maladies and improve the quality of forage also should reduce bee deaths seen during winter months to 15 percent of managed colonies. That’s a loss rate last seen in almost a decade; beginning in 2006-2007, U.S. beekeepers have reported losing an average of 30 percent of their bees during winters.


Press Release: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05 ... tor-health

Report: National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul ... 202015.pdf

Appendices to the National Strategy https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul ... 202015.pdf

Report: Pollinator Research Action Plan https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defaul ... 202015.pdf

Report: Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices for Federal Lands http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/BMPs/
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Timo » Tue 19 May 2015, 13:31:41

We lost our queen. Don't know when or how, but the bees that remain are too few to create a new hive. The queen exited the building before she was able to lay any eggs that could be used to generate a new queen. 2nd year in a row that's happened.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 19 May 2015, 13:33:28

Timo wrote:We lost our queen. Don't know when or how, but the bees that remain are too few to create a new hive. The queen exited the building before she was able to lay any eggs that could be used to generate a new queen. 2nd year in a row that's happened.

Pay the extra ten bucks and get her wings clipped.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Timo » Tue 19 May 2015, 14:52:27

Hmmmmmmmmmm...............

Any unintended consequences to doing that?
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 19 May 2015, 15:40:43

Timo wrote:Hmmmmmmmmmm...............

Any unintended consequences to doing that?

There are plusses and minuses. But it beats losing a package if you can't get a replacement queen in time. And sometimes the package won't accept the new queen.

I've had 4 colonies and I've always used a clipped queen. Never noticed rejection but others may have different experiences.

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthr ... g-Clipping

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthr ... g-clipping
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby careinke » Tue 19 May 2015, 17:17:40

Timo wrote:We lost our queen. Don't know when or how, but the bees that remain are too few to create a new hive. The queen exited the building before she was able to lay any eggs that could be used to generate a new queen. 2nd year in a row that's happened.


Timo,

Check with your supplier, you may be able to buy a queen and establish her.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Thu 04 Jun 2015, 11:02:55

Leap of faith proves pollination can be honeybee free

A leap is paying off now at Cornell Orchards in Ithaca, as researchers and managers from the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science and the Department of Entomology celebrate a solid spring pollination season for the site's apple trees. While crisp apples and fresh cider are no strangers to fans of the 37-acre research and outreach site, this year's crop provides an extra bonus for New York apple growers: proof that pollination can be done commercial honeybee free.

"This is a food security issue," said entomology professor Bryan Danforth. "We need to know if growers can continue to produce food in the absence of honeybees."

As one of the nation's leading advocates for native bees as an agricultural asset, Danforth is among 11 faculty members who rely upon Cornell Orchards for research support. Since 2008, he and members of his lab have been surveying bee activity at 20 upstate orchards, including Cornell's Ithaca and Lansing sites. His team has found more than 100 wild bee species at these orchards, far more than previously thought, with often surprising levels of diversity and abundance. Danforth's group has detected a total of 26 wild bee species at Cornell's Ithaca orchard alone.

While he's quick to concede wild bees will never replace honeybees in massive agricultural settings, Danforth said research and fieldwork is proving wild bees can play a critical role in saving growers money, easing pressure on vulnerable honeybee hives, increasing sustainability and, most importantly, enhancing food security. His current work, such as the new study he co-authored with Park on the impact of pesticides on wild bee populations (see related story), will focus on exploring what keeps wild bee populations high. That will let Cornell promote best practices and develop assessment tools so growers know when they, too, can afford to take the leap.


Pesticides harm wild bees, pollination in N.Y. orchard crops

A new Cornell study of New York state apple orchards finds that pesticides harm wild bees, and fungicides labeled “safe for bees” also indirectly may threaten native pollinators. “We found there is a [negative] response of the whole bee community to increasing pesticide use,” Park said, adding that fungicides also are contributing to the problem.

The effects of pesticides on wild bees were strongest in the generation that followed pesticide exposure, Park said, possibly suggesting pesticides affect reproduction or offspring. Park said her research only looked at one generation to the next, and more study is needed.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 9/20150299
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby dinopello » Sat 20 Jun 2015, 10:35:21

Honey Bees swarm the US Capitol Building !

Sounds like a happy ending though.

In an unusual sight on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon, beekeepers were called in to capture and remove about 15,000 honey bees that had swarmed around the main Senate entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building, frightening onlookers before landing in a tree.

Three volunteer beekeepers, including one who is a top congressional aide, worked carefully but without protective suits to capture the queen and her thousands of offspring.

Wearing just a scarf hanging over her head, Perry sat patiently beneath the tree luring the bees into a hole in a medium-sized cardboard box that was sealed with gaffers tape, gently nudging with a brush the last stragglers inside.

U.S. Capitol Police officers, one carrying a large automatic rifle that probably wasn't going to help him against the bees, cordoned off the area with yellow tape and kept passersby at bay. They gazed with amusement as the beekeepers did their daring work, a welcome distraction from their typical police duties.


Beekeeping is quite a big thing around the DC area - in the city and in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. In Virginia, the laws are a little vague so most people keep it on the down low. But, several of my neighbors have hives and I'll do it eventually.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby ralfy » Sat 27 Feb 2016, 08:09:56

"Vital to food output, bees and other pollinators at risk"

http://news.yahoo.com/vital-food-output ... ector.html
http://sites.google.com/site/peakoilreports/
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 11:05:15

Bees news, good news I think.


http://apnews.excite.com/article/201604 ... 1fc19.html

DENVER (AP) — Garden-care giant Ortho said Tuesday it will stop using a class of chemicals widely believed to harm bees.

The company plans to phase out neonicotinoids by 2021 in eight products used to control garden pests and diseases.

Ortho will change three products for roses, flowers, trees and shrubs by 2017 and other products later, said Tim Martin, vice president and general manager of Ortho, a division of Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

The chemicals, called neonics for short, attack the central nervous systems of insects. Some advocates say neonics are one of several reasons behind declining populations of bees, which are major pollinators of food crops.

About one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and honeybees are responsible for 80 percent of that pollination.

Ortho is acting out of concern for possible threats to honeybees and other pollinators and to reassure customers that "Ortho's got their back, taking care of whatever they need controlled in the most responsible manner," Martin said.

The change might require gardeners to apply the reformulated products more frequently, but it will be easier to target pests while reducing the chances of hurting bees, he said. The cost of the products won't change significantly, Martin said.

It wasn't immediately clear what effect Ortho's decision would have on the health of the overall bee population. Neonics are used in a number of chemicals applied to food and textile crops such as corn and cotton as well as individual gardens.

The severity of the effects of neonics on bees appears to vary depending on what type of crops or plants they are used on, according to a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California's environmental agency that was released in January. Another study published last year showed neonics might hit wild bumblebees harder than domestically raised honeybees.

Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, the top manufacturers of neonics, have said the research has exaggerated the risks and understated the benefits.

Concern about bee health is growing. Last week, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that would allow only certified applicators, farmers and veterinarians to apply pesticides containing neonics. In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would consider whether to protect two species of wild bumblebees under the Endangered Species Act amid declines in their numbers.

The environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, which asked the service to consider protecting the bees, said neonics were one a factor in the bees' decline.

---

Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/dan-elliott .
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Lore » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 11:18:29

It's also habitat destruction, mono culture, introduction of bee mites and other pesticides of the Monsanto type. The bee is a rather delicate creature that depends on a fairly stable environment to thrive. A canary in the coal mine.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Timo » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 12:27:40

We just brought back our new queen and around 6,000 workers this past weekend. So far, so good. We'll release the queen probably tomorrow, but that might change if it's supposed to freeze again.

We have 7 beehives in our neighborhood, and have had for the past 3 years. Every year, we lose two of those 7. Last year, one guy lost both of his hives. The year before that, it was us and someone else. We're newbies at keeping bees. We're surmising that we extracted too much honey from the hive the first year, not leaving them with enough to last through the end of the summer and fall. By mid October, the hive was nearly empty, and all of the honey had been extracted by bees from other hives.

We have learned, however, that a good way to keep the mites off of the bees is a weekly sprinkle of powdered sugar over all of the frames inside the hive. The sugar causes the mites to fall off of the bees and down to the bottom of the hive where they can be easily removed. We're anxious to see how well that works this summer.

Hoping for the best.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 14:10:29

Timo wrote:We just brought back our new queen and around 6,000 workers this past weekend. So far, so good. We'll release the queen probably tomorrow, but that might change if it's supposed to freeze again.

We have 7 beehives in our neighborhood, and have had for the past 3 years. Every year, we lose two of those 7. Last year, one guy lost both of his hives. The year before that, it was us and someone else. We're newbies at keeping bees. We're surmising that we extracted too much honey from the hive the first year, not leaving them with enough to last through the end of the summer and fall. By mid October, the hive was nearly empty, and all of the honey had been extracted by bees from other hives.

We have learned, however, that a good way to keep the mites off of the bees is a weekly sprinkle of powdered sugar over all of the frames inside the hive. The sugar causes the mites to fall off of the bees and down to the bottom of the hive where they can be easily removed. We're anxious to see how well that works this summer.

Hoping for the best.


Do you powder granular sugar or use the commercial stuff that has the anti caking ingredients in it?
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby Timo » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 14:47:21

Dunno. We haven't tried it yet. We've on ly read about it as a treatment and preventative for the mites that infest bee hives. From what i recall, however, the powdered sugar is what you buy at the grocery store. It's silky smooth, like baby powder, only it tastes much better. Just take my word on that. Anything granular would not stick to the bees, and if it doesn't stick to the bees, then it can't cause the mites to fall off. What you're after is a light coating of sugar on the bees. Too much is too bad. Too little is useless. Like i said, we haven't tried this for ourselves yet, so don't take anything i say as gospel.

Amen.
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Re: THE Bees Thread (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 13 Apr 2016, 13:10:47

Rising CO2 levels reduce protein in crucial pollen source for bees

Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees, a Purdue University study shows.

Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century.

Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice - staple crops for much of the global human population - but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees.

"Bee food is less nutritious than it used to be," said Jeffrey Dukes, study co-author and professor of forestry and natural resources and biological sciences. "Our findings also suggest that the quality of pollen will continue to decline into the future. That's not great news for bees."

Goldenrod, a common North American perennial that blooms from late July through October, offers bees some of the last available pollen before winter. Bees that overwinter must store substantial amounts of pollen to rear their winter young. Declines in pollen protein could potentially threaten bee health and survival and weaken bees' ability to overwinter on a continental scale, said Jeffery Pettis, study co-author and research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

"A poor diet sets bees up for failure," he said. "Previous research shows bees have shorter lifespans when fed lower quality pollen."

Dukes collaborated with a team led by USDA-ARS researchers to examine protein levels in historical and experimental samples of goldenrod pollen. They found that pollen protein levels dropped about a third in samples collected from 1842-2014, a period during which the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere rose from about 280 parts per million to 398 ppm. The greatest drop in protein occurred during 1960-2014, a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose dramatically.

A 2-year controlled field experiment that exposed goldenrod to a gradient of carbon dioxide levels from 280 to 500 ppm showed strikingly similar decreases in pollen protein, Dukes said.

"Bees already face a lot of factors that are making their lives hard," Dukes said. "A decline in the nutritional quality of their food source going into a critical season is another reason to be concerned."

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 8/20160414


Alternate Opinion

Just an observation ...

Most of the "managed" hives in our area seem to have a 1-3 yr life span, no matter what.

While a wild hive I've observed (in an exposed porch) for the past 7 years is perfectly strong. No feeding, no mite strips, no medicine, no supplements. Go figure.
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