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  October 2015 
Christi's Corner
October started off with the Western Apicultural Society Meeting (WAS) in Boulder, CO, and meetings will continue through the national meetings in early January.  What do we hope to accomplish by all these get-togethers?  Here are 3 items:  1) A renewed passion to help the hard-working honey bee and our hard-working beekeeping industry, 2) to make the connection between industry needs and those who can help, and 3) to personally interact with people having similar vocations and ideas.  The best part is learning - gaining knowledge about who's doing what with bees.  I admire the scientists who take the time to listen to their peers' presentations and begin to discuss collaboration and ideas.  I like to see our researchers talk to real beekeepers.  It's fun to renew friendships.  I'm overwhelmed at the generosity of those who give so much of their time to organize bee meetings.  Make yourself a goal:  attend at least one bee meeting in the coming months; and if you're already going, make a goal to meet at least one new friend.  If you've been in the industry a while, find a new beekeeper and give them some encouragement!  Get involved.  Bees could use your help.

Christi Heintz
Executive Director  

PAm Extends Research to Canada
Canadian Flag
Our supporters like the way we handle our bee research projects.  Costco likes our model of defining research needs that meet their goals and our reporting and accountability.  Project Apis m. will now receive 2 cents for every pound of honey sold at their warehouses in Canada, as we do for U.S. honey sales.  And similar to our U.S. program, we have identified strategic areas for research investment and are currently developing the program.  U.S. and Canadian bee research should not be duplicative, but complimentary.  We've got lots of challenges to surmount, and the more we are aware of what's going on elsewhere, the quicker we'll reach our goal of maintaining robust bee colonies.

The Coalition Descends upon DC
HBHC meeting in DC
The Honey Bee Health Coalition met for two days in Washington, DC, Oct 19-20.  In addition to further development of the four priority areas of nutrition, pests, hive management and communication, a highlight was hearing Dr. Bruce Rodan of the White House staff say with earnest that the Federal Pollinator Strategy is truly a high priority.  Comments like "we're going to move the dial" and "we're going to shake it up" [to help pollinators] motivated the attendees.   PAm's executive director, Christi Heintz, teed up the Coalition's activities for the federal panel members; and Director of Pollination Programs, Billy Synk, participated in the Forage and Nutrition and the Crop Pest Management Workgroups.  Shown in picture, Christi and Billy attended the joint Coalition-NAPPC evening mixer on the rooftop of the Department of the Interior.

Billy's Blog
deGrassi_s Backyard
All honey bees need access to quality forage.  Any landscape can be home to a starving hive - urban, suburban, or rural areas alike.  Of course the biggest impact on the most colonies is made by providing forage and preserving habitat in agricultural settings to which commercial colonies have access.   Initiatives outside of the ag areas are worth mentioning, too.  The California Department of Water Resource's Save Our Water Program will rebate homeowners who replace their turf with more water-wise options.  Drought-tolerant, native, and pollinator-friendly plants and trees are acceptable and encouraged.  This state program will rebate $2 per square foot of turf replaced, with a cap of 1,000 square feet.  The application process is easy and can be done entirely online.  The photographs here show Ria de Grassi's (CA Farm Bureau Federation) backyard, where she does not just talk about pollinator habitat, but replaced her lawn with goldenrod, lavender, germander, sage, buckwheat and other pollinator plants.  Nice job, Ria! 
Billy Synk
Director of Pollination Programs

The Word From Wardell
Dr. Gordon Wardell
Many of the calls I've been getting lately are about honey bee health.  To quote Yogi Berra, "It's like deja-vuall over again."  I'm going to miss Yogi, but I can't say I'd miss Varroa mites if they weren't around any longer.  Beekeepers I've talked to out of the Midwest and as far west as Montana say that mites are a problem again this year.  It's likely a function of a strong honey year and the bees plugging out the brood nest, effectively reducing the queen's egg-laying ability.  And when the mites shift to the worker brood in the late summer, the mites have the advantage.  By the time the honey came off, the mites had done severe damage, and it's difficult to rebuild healthy bees late in the season using compromised bees.  Hopefully, the cases I'm hearing about are isolated and not a regional trend.  

Again this summer, queens have been a major issue in colony health.  Reports of wide-spread queen failure, supersedure queens that aren't accepted, rejected replacement queens and young queens that go drone layer have been reported across the country.   There is definitely something going on with queen health.  The Bee Informed Partnership recently reported that beekeeping operations whose queens were less than 6 months old lost significantly more overwintering colonies than beekeepers whose queens were aged between 6 months and 2 years.  There are a lot of factors that come to play in losses like this, but there is no doubt that we need to figure out what is going on with queens today.  

On another issue, I got two calls this weekend from beekeepers with trucks stopped at border crossing into California.  One was for a beetle, and the other was an unspecified ant.  Both loads were held until the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Border Inspection staff could positively identify the insects.  Both loads were eventually cleared and released, but this is a reminder to take sanitation seriously.  Spending a little extra time cleaning the hives and pallets prior to loading could save a lot of time at the border inspection station.  

I spoke with Roger Cline earlier this week.  He's the Director of the CDFA Border Inspection stations.  He said nothing has changed this year in regards to border inspections.  Insects found on trucks entering California must be identified.  Their entomologist in Sacramento will be available to do pest IDs 8 AM until 5 PM Monday through Friday and after-hours and on weekends from his mobile device until 10 PM.  I asked Roger what were some of the big problems last year at the inspection stations.  He said the beekeepers should pay close attention to mud and weeds between pallets, Bagworms, Cereal Leaf Beetle, Red Imported Fire Ants (of course, but any ant is enough to hold a load), and even Hive Beetles.  A number of CA counties don't have Small Hive Beetles (SHB), and the State restricts movement of SHB-infested colonies to hive beetle-free counties.  Most stations have water and hose bibs available to wet down the load if needed.  Roger did say that the well at the Yermo Station has gone dry, and a holding tank has been installed.  Water availability at Yermo Station depends on the tank being refilled.  

More bees than ever left California this year due to the drought looking for greener pastures, so we will likely see record numbers of colonies being trucked back into California this fall and winter.  It promises to be a very interesting season for migratory beekeepers.  So, as Yogi so aptly put it, "It ain't over till it's over."

Dr. Gordon Wardell
Chairman, Project Apis m.

In This Issue:
Quick Links
Drought Raises Bee Costs
Future of Almonds and Honeybees 
We THANK our recent donors!
CA Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
Wisconsin Honey Producers Assn.
B Dyer Honey Farms
Costco Wholesale
Glenn Nease
Veronica Swarens
Laurel Przybylski

El Nio
NOAA Forcast  
 Our weather outlook sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - some like it hot, some like it cold, and some like it just right.  Watch the development of El Nino on the NOAA links.  Some are going to be wet, some dry and some just right.  Where do you live or move your bees?  Bee prepared.  This upcoming season will certainly result in weather news.  Click here for a winter outlook. 

Migratory Commercial Beekeepers
transportation video
Transporting honey bee colonies to California for almond pollination?

Dr. Gordon Wardell narrates this 6 min how-to video!

October Bee Husbandry
Prepare colonies for transport to CA orchards.

Maintain bee strength and build baby bees for Feb 1st.

Over-wintering colonies fare better if young. Requeen if necessary.

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

Colony Management 
Maintain a reserve; don't commit all of your colonies to contract. 

Project Apis m. has developed BMPs for beekeepers and growers, including hive, colony and business management. All can be accessed here.

Poln8r  license plate
License plate found at the Montana State Beekeepers' meeting

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