The August 2016 edition of the Apis Information Resource News has been published. It contains information on a potential trip to Cuba, government programs, honey bee gut bacteria, and Nosema research.
Joe Traynor’s August newsletter discusses the 2017 almond crop and likely pollination prices, Varroa history and treatment., Canadian Varroa control (Apivar registered), protein content of canola, and at least one example of how human immigration has helped the U.S. and Canadian beekeeping industry. Here’s Joe’s take on what have been declared “Varroa bombs”:
“Dr. Dennis van Englesdorp and his BIP team at the University of Maryland have done a great job gathering and disseminating information on bee problems, esp. Varroa. Dennis emphasizes that just one bee colony with high Varroa populations can spread mites through a multi-colony apiary (and neighboring apiaries). Randy Oliver, and others, have taken this to heart and isolated these ‘Varroa Bombs’ from their other colonies. Dennis and others propose a Community Treatment Day three times a year – possibly subsidized by the government.”
Hold it! Wouldn’t this be another government boondoggle without much upside like the pollinator health task force where the taxpayer got stung by beekeepers? What did $82 million get us for this program? Not much is the the author’s conclusion . He concludes honey bees are doing fine thank you and don’t need government help. It looks like the author needs to read the full report. It is 53 pages long and considers a lot more than just honey bees.
Adding to the discussion on government funding, the most important government office you never heard of is The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) and includes Honey Bee Health Decline among its Interactive Public Dockets (IPD) : .
“The Bee Health Decline IPD is devoted to an interactive discussion of EPA’s handling of bee health issues. CRE will cover and report on significant news items related to bee health issues. We will also research, write and post articles examining various factual, scientific, legal and policy issues on this subject. We welcome and will post all points of view, including those opposing and critical of our own.”
CRE liked my short history of Varroa so much they tweeted it out. I don’t know whether to be glad or sad. “The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) was established in 1996, after the passage of the Congressional Review Act, to provide Congress with independent analyses of agency regulations. From this initial organizing concept, CRE has grown into a nationally recognized clearinghouse for methods to improve the federal regulatory process.
If you would like the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness to consider including your site on TheCRE.com’s links page, please send an e-mail to email@example.com, with the Internet address and a description of your site.” Those not interested in more regulations by Uncle Sam might like this agency to disappear along with many others, if certain politicians get their way.
Transeair is organizing another trip to Cuba from December 1 to 11, 2016 to include 1 night in Miami, 4 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Vinales (Pinar del Rio) and 3 nights in Cienfuegos ( and Trinidad). “You will be visiting Bee Farms, Packaging plants, Bee Research Center, Wine making with Honey, and other productions using honey (candles etc).” Stay tuned for more details.
As summarized from a recent USDA release:
“Because young honey bees don’t have gut bacteria, entomologist Jay Evans and post-doc Ryan Schwarz at ARS’ Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, and University of Texas at Austin professor Nancy Moran conducted tests to determine the impact different combinations of a common bacterium and a common parasite had on honey bee health. The scientists hypothesized that increasing the gut bacterium would make the bees more resistant to the parasite, but instead it lead to surprising results.
” ‘This was 180 degrees opposite of our original hypothesis,’ said Schwarz. ‘We suspected introduction of the bacterium would promote a resistance to the parasite, but the opposite occurred.’ ”
“If the gut of the young bees were colonized by parasites and/or by an unusually large number of the gut bacterium, they would have a much different gut make-up (microbiome) in later life than normal bees.
“Bees treated with combinations of the bacterium and/or parasites showed greater key detoxification gene activity when placed in a stressed (low-protein diet) condition. This is significant as these genes affect a bee’s ability to breakdown foreign molecules, including insecticides.
“Bees with greater parasite infestations might spend more time in the hive as workers and thus increase the likelihood of parasite transmission within the colony and impact the ability of the bees to gather food.
These results highlight how shifts in the bees’ gut make-up might play a crucial role in the health of the honey bee colony.
” ‘Bee keepers need to be more mindful of what goes into their hives whether antibiotic, probiotic, or parasite,’ said ARS entomologist Jay Evans. ‘Eight types of bacteria usually inhabit a bee’s gut. It’s clear that more research is needed in order to gain a better understanding of these microbes and their impact on bee health.’ ” Amen.
New Nosema research concludes: “Though selective breeding of Nosema-resistant or tolerant bees may offer a long-term, sustainable solution to Nosema management, other treatments are needed in the interim. Furthermore, the validation of alternative treatment efficacy in field settings is needed along with toxicology assays to ensure that treatments do not have unintended, adverse effects on honey bees or humans.
“Finally, given variation in Nosema virulence, development of regional management guidelines, rather than universal guidelines, may provide optimal and cost-effective Nosema management, though more research is needed before regional plans can be developed.” Read the full paper linked the the bottom of this page.