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  September 2015 
Christi's Corner
 
We are in the business of making your life easier.  Project Apis m.'s mission to improve honey bee health gives us the opportunity to interact with a wide array of stakeholders - adding value every step of the way: 1) PAm works to make beekeepers' lives easier by investing in research that will help their honey bees.  2) PAm makes our scientists' jobs easier with quick and easy access to funding and a minimum of paperwork, giving them more time at their lab bench. 3) PAm assists our industry volunteer leaders by providing efficient organizational support that doesn't waste their valuable time.  4) PAm helps ag producers of pollinated crops by showing them how they can help bees and make the most of their bee rental investment.  5) PAm is a great vehicle for those organizations desiring to invest in bee research because we know the people and players, the industry, how best to utilize funding to help bees, and we do so with minimum overhead and maximum accountability.  Finally, 6) PAm makes bees better by working towards solutions that will increase the span of their lives and the quality of their health.  We've found our niche, and hope we're making your niche a little better.

Christi Heintz
Executive Director  

More Flowers...Better Bees


Here are three compelling reasons to plant honey bee forage to support bee health, land stewardship, and efficient agricultural systems.  In this video produced by Project Apis m.'s Tara McCall and Billy Synk, you will enjoy photos, video footage and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone).  

Billy's Blog
Billy hard at work contacting Seeds for Bee participants
The time for cover crop planting is upon us. All over California growers are busy harvesting, preparing ground, and thinking about how they will use the last of this year's water allotment.  Beekeepers are feeding pollen supplements so they have strong colonies for the almond bloom in the spring.  Decisions are being made now that will impact honey bees and almond orchards in the spring.  Enrolling in Project Apis m.'s Seeds for Bees program is a great way to help honey bees and improve the health of your almond orchard.  The Seeds for Bees program objective is to improve honey bee health by providing cover crop seed, information, and advice to growers.  Participants are mostly almond growers interested in providing forage in a location which will be accessible to over-wintering  colonies.  The planted forage should be available to colonies pollinating CA's specialty crops, including almonds.  The seed and shipping are free.  For the 2015/2016 growing year we are offering three different options of cover crop seed. [Click here to see those options].
 
If anyone is unsure about planting cover crops for bee forage and would like to speak with me, feel free to contact me via email or phone.  I will try to answer any questions you may have.  If anyone has planted our cover crops and would like to tell me about concerns or successes they have had please do so! California has many different climates and soil types, and I may be unaware of what works best for your area.  Every year there are chances to learn something new.  Do you have an idea of how we could improve?  I would love to hear  it.  Don't like a particular species in our mixes?  Tell me why.  Would you like to see a species added to one of our mixes?  Would you like to see another option all together?  Let's work together to improve honey bee health in a way that is convenient and beneficial to growers.  
Please contact me for questions, comments, or seed orders at (614) 330-6932 or billy@projectapism.org.    
    
Billy Synk
Director of Pollination Programs

Two Brandi's Speak out on Behalf of Beekeepers
PAm board member, Gene Brandi, has a lot of bee media experience.  Here's his latest, an audio commentary on the California drought and bees  (click here).  BUT, have a look at this!  Gene's son, Mike, is following in his dad's bee boots, not just as a beekeeper, but in handling media inquiries.  

Here Mike gives a perspective on what it's like keeping bees given today's challenges (click here).  Beekeeping itself is getting difficult, but the next generation of beekeepers AND bee spokespersons look to have a bright future.




The Word From Wardell
Dr. Gordon Wardell
If I were to describe a thriving bee industry where parasitic mites are out of control, varroosis is common, bacterial pathogens are on the increase, queen failure is rampant, viruses are common stressors, climate change and a shift in rainfall patterns is blamed for diminished floral availability, nutritional stress is common, moving colonies to better floral resources has become a necessity, where migratory beekeeping only leads to more exposure to agricultural chemicals, and  beekeepers are concerned about maintaining profitability in their operations, you might think I'm talking about beekeeping in North American or possibly Europe.  Actually I just described what I saw on a recent trip to Northern Thailand.  Beekeepers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, an area of lush northern rainforests, are beset with all the problems we are experiencing here in the United States and then some.  I was stunned.  Other than the tropical trees amid a hot and humid environment, I would have sworn I was looking at bees in Florida or anywhere in the US. They are having all the same problems we experience. Often our perspective on issues impacting our operations never goes beyond our local community or migration pattern.  

To make matters worse the Thai's have an additional parasitic mite, Tropilaelaps clareae which I hope we never see in this country.  The mite is slightly smaller than Varroa with a more elongated brown body. Tropilaelaps is primarily a parasite of the brood. Unlike Varroa who can live on adult bees for months, Tropilaelaps can only survive on adult bees for three days so they concentrate in the brood.  You can see how this could be a problem across the south or in operations preparing for almond pollination where the bees rarely go broodless.  

When talking with Thai beekeepers, they were very interested in the supplemental forage programs that Project Apis m. is promoting for honey bee health here in the US.  They have been looking into hedgerow plantings and are interested in multi-use cover crops that could bridge the gap between their major nectar and pollen flows.  Additionally, these honey bee forage plants could be used as animal fodder.  They feel that nutritional issues are a major factor in colony failure and overall colony health.

We can call it CCD, climate change, or a transformation of the agro-ecosystem, but no matter how you look at it, the face of apiculture and bee management is changing, not just in the United States but around the world.  With a growing world population and greater demand for food, honey bees and all pollinators have to be a part of that equation.  There is little doubt in the scientific community that environmental conditions will continue to shift and food production will continue to move into more marginal production areas, while good production areas may become more marginal.  Bees will no doubt go along on this journey - but as they do, we have to be cognizant of their needs.  Supplemental plantings and hedge row developments can be pivotal in maintaining healthy colonies.  Plant some seed, feed some bees. 

Dr. Gordon Wardell
Chairman, Project Apis m.

In This Issue:
Quick Links
Backyard Bees?
We THANK our recent donors!
Lockhart Fine Foods
Veronica Swarens
Bloom Honey

What's Buzzing at the Almond Conference?

 
This year's Almond Conference will feature a Bee Pavilion and take the anticipated 3,000 attendees through the yearlong journey from a beekeeper's perspective. Growers will have a chance to learn about bees through a highly visual exhibit highlighting steps being taken to ensure honey bee health.  The Annual Almond Industry Conference will be held December  8-10, 2016, at the Sacramento Convention Center.  Be sure to attend the Pollination Symposium from noon to 3 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 8th.   Click here for more information on tighter almond supplies.

New Colorado Bee Organization

 
Commercial beekeepers are the hardworking backbone of agriculture.  The Colorado Professional Beekeeping Association represents over 80% of Colorado's commercially-managed colonies.  Their first meeting will be  held October 23-24th in Longmont, CO, and Project Apis m.  will participate in support of their efforts.  Founding PAm Board member Lyle Johnston is President of the organization, Colorado-California beekeeper Derrick Mannes is Vice President and 4th generation beekeeper and honey product marketer Jacy Johnston Eylar is Secretary/Treasurer.  
Visit ColoradoProBeekeeping.org for more information.

September Bee Husbandry
Transportation
Begin thinking about preparing colonies for transport to California orchards.  
Have colonies inspected and certified in state-of-origin to mitigate border station delays.  Self-inspect colonies prior to shipment.  
Keep hives and pallets free from soil, weeds and plant debris.

Business Management
Nail down your Spring 2016 pollination contracts.
Maintain a reserve; don't commit all your colonies to contract.

Inspect and Monitor
Continue to inspect colonies and apply treatments as necessary to control pests and diseases.

Kelsey says, "Now that I can walk, can't I be a beekeeper?"

Project Apis m. | christi@projectapism.org | www.ProjectApism.org
6775 Chardonnay Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Project Apis m. is a 501 (c) (5) non-profit organization.