Friday, July 26, 2013

Caging Queens

So the date I plan to cage my queens this season is around August 10th depending on the weather.  It looks like I will have four out of seven successful colonies this season.  How are your colonies doing? 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Now Enrolling Students (1st through 12th grades) in Science-Based Art Classes!

Read, Write, Publish! (3 spaces left) Mondays 9:30-11:30AM
Soar Through the Solar System (4 spaces left) Mondays 12-2PM
Human Body (5 spaces left) Tuesdays 12-2PM
Primary Science (Due to Popularity) (2 spaces left) Tuesdays 2:30 - 4:30PM
Primary Science (Full) Wednesdays 9:30 - 11:30PM
Creative/Essay Writing (2 spaces left) Wednesdays 12-2PM
Intermediate/High School Art (2 spaces left) Fridays 10:30AM-1:30PM
Marine Marvels (Full) Fridays 2-4PM
Literature-Based Art (5 spaces left) Thursdays 9:30-11:30AM

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's Time To Add Honey Supers & Pulling Pollen Frames for Next Season!!

I am adding my supers without the queen excluder now! 
The pollen frames you pull shouldn't have any brood.  They can have some honey in the corners and some empty cells in the center.  If you don't have any frames like this yet, just wait until you do or till the end of the season.  They should be stored in the freezer to keep them from mold or mildew. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Labrador Retriever Takes Care of Bees in Beekeeper Suit

Thanks to Ginny Kinney for this Report!!

Bazz is a specially-trained beekeeper. Photo: Josh Kennett A Labrador Retriever named Bazz is assisting a beekeeper in South Australia keeping beehives and bees healthy. Josh Kennett keeps beekhives in Tintinara and wanted an effective way to control American foulbrood, a bee disease that destroys beehives if they are not quarantined. In the United States, apiary dogs successfully sniff out the disease. But Josh had an unusual challenge that his US counterparts do not. He had to figure out a way to protect Bazz from being stung, so he developed a unique suit for his dog. Josh explained to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, why in the US, such suits for their dogs are not necessary. "Their winters are far colder than ours, with snow over the top of beehives," he said. "We don't have that situation here in South Australia. So I've tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung." Josh said it was a long process to develop the suit, but he finally got a working prototype and has been getting Bazz used to wearing it. Josh said he's proven the concept and Bazz can find the infected hives wearing his protective, one-of-a-kind suit. Listen to Josh's interview with ABC Radio here (MP3 file).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Queen Esther - The Queen of Hearts!

Last night I had the pleasure of working with the Fussell family out at Eielson Airforce Base.  Their queen, Esther, has managed to rub off a portion of her red dot in the shape of a heart.  I'm going to try to post the picture here on the blog for all to see.  It has been beautiful working with Tom, Anna, Ethan and Seth over the past year.  They took a summer, hands-on, honeybee lab with me last season, then the spring class this year.  Since they are military, they couldn't purchase a hive so they asked if they could rent one.  They have been meticulous at caring for their colony.  It has been great seeing how they faithfully homeschool their boys. Thank you, Anna, for sharing these photos!
Queen Esther - The Queen of Hearts!

Throwing My Bees a Pollen Patty!

I decided to throw my bees a half a pollen patty tomorrow morning as I want to give them a treat and ensure they have everything they need.  When we go on our annual fishing trip, we will throw them another half in-case it rains for more than a couple days at a time. 

Research Finds Insecticide Causes Changes in Honeybee Genes

New research by academics at The University of Nottingham (UK) has shown that exposure to a neonicotinoid insecticide causes changes to the genes of the honeybee.

The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, supports the recent decision taken by the European Commission to temporarily ban three neonicotinoids amid concerns that they could be linked to bee deaths.

There is growing evidence connecting the decline in the honeybee population that pollinates one-third of the food that we eat, and insecticides, but this is the first comprehensive study to look at changes in the activity of honeybee genes linked to one of the recently banned neonicotinoids, imidacloprid.

The study, led by Dr Reinhard Stöger, associate professor in Epigenetics in the University’s School of Biosciences, was conducted under field realistic conditions and showed that a very low exposure of just two parts per billion has an impact on the activity of some of the honeybee genes.

The researchers identified that cells of honeybee larvae had to work harder and increase the activity of genes involved in breaking down toxins, most likely to cope with the insecticide. Genes involved in regulating energy to run cells were also affected. Such changes are known to reduce the lifespan of the most widely studied insect, the common fruit fly, and lower a larva’s probability of surviving to adulthood.

Dr Stöger said: “Although larvae can still grow and develop in the presence of imidacloprid, the stability of the developmental process appears to be compromised. Should the bees be exposed to additional stresses such as pests, disease and bad weather then it is likely to increase the rate of development failure.”

The study was funded by The Co-operative Group, as part of its Plan Bee campaign.

Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative, said: “This is a very significant piece of research, which clearly shows clear changes in honeybee gene activity as a result of exposure to a pesticide, which is currently in common use across the UK.

“As part of our Plan Bee campaign launched in 2009 we have adopted a precautionary approach and prohibited the use of six neonicotinoid pesticides, including imidacloprid, on our own-brand fresh and frozen produce and have welcomed the recent approach by the European Commission to temporarily ban three neonicotinoid pesticides as this will allow for research into the impact on both pollinators and agricultural productivity.”

The research paper Transient Exposure to Low Levels of Insecticide Affects Metabolic Networks of Honeybee Larvae is published in PLOS ONE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Early Honeyflow? I Don't Think So

I spoke with Steve Petersen today and together we agreed there has not been an early honey flow as we had suspected. Recent hive checks have revealed the honey flow will probably be in the mid to latter part of July as normal.  Right now our bees are rather hungry since they are only getting the beginning of the fireweed nectar and pollen and waiting upon the clover to become available. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pulling Pollen Frames for Next Year

Right now is a great time to pull two frames (per colony for next year) out of your hive which have pollen stores.  These will be frames you will start next years bees out with so they get some local pollen and not just the pollen patties.  So if you plan on having two colonies next year, pull four frames with plenty of pollen packed into the cells.