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Winter Loss Survey

23.2% of managed colonies died over this past winter according to the Bee Informed Partnership. This is the 8th year the survey has been conducted in collaboration with AIA and USDA. The acceptable range, or what is considered sustainable by beekeepers, is indicated by the blue bars which is in the 15% to 18% range. While bee deaths are down from the previous year, this survey data shows over-wintering losses and does not include summer and fall colony deaths.      Graph courtesy of BIP

The Value of Cover Cropping
Almond grower and cooperator in the PAm 'Seeds for Bees' honey bee forage project, Gino Favagrossa, shows off the root of a Daikon Radish. As part of PAm's seed mix, Daikon Radish has a tap root that can reach far into the soil to reclaim nitrogen while the branching or fibrous roots provide water infiltration and soil aeration. 'Daikon' in Japanese means large root. Also sowed were PAm's Capay Clover Mix. Gino's beekeeper left his colonies in the orchard post-almond bloom to take advantage of the natural floral diversity provided.         Photo: Meg Ribotto


Honey Bee Forage Plant

Persian Clover (Trifolium resupinatum) 

                                             Photo: Christi Heintz
PAm toured an almond orchard in mid-May in the Fresno area of California. Still blooming - the Persian Clover! Still buzzing - honey bees! The clover is part of PAm's Capay Clover Mix that was distributed throughout the Central Valley to growers in 2013 to provide additional forage resources for pollinators.

Hedgerows for Pollinators
PAm recently visited a hedgerow forage project at Windfall Farms in CA. In an effort to reduce the use of insecticides, Mark Fickett and Frank Williams, almond and cotton growers, teamed up with Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP). The half-mile long strip of perennials is adjacent to the orchard and provides for beneficial insects. Hedgerows, like cover crops, provide nutritional and diverse food resources for pollinators. Learn more at SCP.
                                          Photo: Meg Ribotto
Beekeeping Events 2014
Visit our 'Events' page.

  BUZZ Worthy

Articles, Books and Videos


Emergency Response Kit
Bee Informed Partnership offers this service to aid beekeepers with crashing hives that require immediate attention. With ERKs, beekeepers gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute to their colony loss and what may be ruled out. To order kits call (301) 405-3799 or

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Paso Robles, CA 93446


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PAm is 501 c(5) non-profit organization.
June 2014
PAm Flies High!
On any given day, PAm scientists might be using high-powered microscopes to artificially inseminate queens, detect pesticides in minute quantities with mass spectrometry, employ deep-sequencing to unravel the genetic codes of viruses, assess reproductive viability with a Nexcelom Visioning System or analyze for pathogens with a micro-array chip. If we can use technology in the lab, why not take it outside and use it to fly like a bee? We are excited this month to have a little fun with UAV technology to capture a drone's or 'bee's eye' view of a bee pasture. PAm has enrolled growers to sow wildflowers, mustards, clovers and vetch on their land. Enjoy the tour from a bee's perspective!
                                                       Meg Ribotto, Editor

 A Drone's View of Bee Pasture

  Project Apis m. - A Drone's (UAV) View of Bee Pasture
This 2:51 minute video was filmed at Capay Ranch in Hamilton City, CA this past Spring and features PAm's 'Seeds for Bees' honey bee forage mix of mustards, clovers and vetch. Enjoy the tour!

 PAm Builds MORE Tech Transfer Teams 

PAm was instrumental in the start of the Northern California and Midwest Tech Transfer Teams and is the main source of funds for the Florida Tech Team. We are now helping to launch the Oregon/Pacific Northwest Tech Transfer Team. Ramesh Sagili, OSU, will oversee. These teams provide an important service to help beekeepers. The teams objectively evaluate bees for the beekeepers, with the information anonymously going into a nationwide database that will ultimately tie management practices directly to bee health.

 White House Pollinator Initiative Update

Rain didn't dampen the April 30th Pollinator Initiative meeting in Washington, D.C. Christi Heintz, PAm Executive Director, participated in the stakeholder meeting. PAm was asked to provide a post meeting follow-up on concerns and areas in which bee health could be improved with involvement from Federal agencies. PAm has targeted: honey bee forage/habitat, Varroa control, pesticide use, outreach, and policy/budget. The five PAm initiatives below are what we see the Federal government could implement to improve honey bee health. These initiatives were sent to the Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs and the White House Domestic Policy Council in May.

 PAm Initiative #1: Honey Bee Forage/Habitat

Honey bee health is a land use issue. More acreage needs to be set aside for pollinator habitat. Lands under the Departments of Interior, Defense and Transportation could provide vast acreage of potential honey bee habitat. Geographical areas of concentration should be in two prime areas where bees migrate - to California October through March for almond pollination and then to the Northern Praire during the summer to build honey stores for over-wintering. Federal agencies could provide greater incentives for private landowners to consider honey bee forage plantings. CRP land should be expanded. USDA-NRCS needs to improve plant species recommendations for honey bees. A new perspective on invasive species should be adopted. Yellow sweet clover in the Prairie Region and mustards in the West will build honey bee health.

 PAm Initiative #2: Varroa Control


USDA scientists need to solve the Varroa problem. The USDA Bee Labs should be held accountable for efforts they have made to control Varroa. Biological controls should be developed.

 PAm Initiative #3: Pesticides

The Pellston Conference strategies for risk assessment should be implemented. The EPA should follow up on conditional registrations. Evaluations of sub-lethal effects, combinations of pesticides commonly used together, and adjuvants should be required. Pesticide product labels need to be improved to protect pollinators. Pest Control Advisors need better training in honey bee biology and safe use of crop protection tools when bees are present.

 PAm Initiative #4: Outreach and Education

Government-sponsored public outreach is needed to bring attention to the importance of honey bees to the food supply, the decline in honey bee health, and areas of opportunity to help honey bees (pollinator gardens, donating to honey bee research, and corporate initiatives to help the honey bee).

 PAm Initiative #5: Policy and Budget

Federal agencies should consult directly with beekeepers and honey bee experts on programs intended to help honey bees. Honey bees are a unique species with specific needs, while at the same time uniquely contributing to our food supply. Honey bees need to be considered separately from other invertebrates and other animals in setting policies. Additionally, the President's FY2014 budget proposal to increase honey bee research should be supported.

 New Hampshire Supports PAm

Beekeepers in the Granite State have kindly donated to Project Apis m. The New Hampshire Beekeepers Association's funding will help support research projects.  PAm is supporting honey bee health studies in 18 states and the U.K. Click on the NHBA logo to learn more about their club. Thank you!
 Matching Funds - Double the Research
Bob's Bees of Port St. Lucie, Florida, has generously donated over 5K to PAm. A migratory beekeeping operation, they bring their colonies to California for almond pollination in February. By providing pollination services to Paramount Farming, Bob's Bees' donation to PAm will be matched by Paramount. 'A buck a hive' becomes two bucks for this match! Thank you both for your support.
 June Bee Husbandry
  • Be aware that strong colonies in mid-summer can be highly infested with Varroa mites and can crash in late-summer and fall.
  • Check often for mites. Conduct a random sampling of hives.
  • Use biotech methods to suppress mite populations when surplus honey is being produced.
  • Exercise judicious treatment and use soft chemicals. Follow recommended label instructions.
  • Rotate treatments to prevent resistance.
  • Recheck for efficacy. Don't assume your treatments are working.
  • See Project Apis m. elearning module and  YouTube video on Varroa control. Click here.
Project Apis m | | |
6775 Chardonnay Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446

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