Participate in the First Ever Mite-A-Thon

A single Varroa mite infestation can quickly spread and devastate hives across an entire region. Early detection and control are key to supporting honey bee health and preventing catastrophic infestations. That’s why the Honey Bee Health Coalition, which has developed essential Varroa mite resources, is proud to support the first ever Mite-A-Thon.

The Coalition urges beekeepers to participate in this exciting and free event by visiting www.pollinator.org/miteathon. Continue reading

Finding of self-medicating behavior in bees not supported in further research

In Morning Ag Clips

A new study of possible self-medicating behavior in bumble bees conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reports that a once-promising finding was not supported by further experiments and analysis.

Doctoral candidate Evan Palmer-Young and his advisor, evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler, had reported in 2015 that a common parasitic infection of bumble bees was reduced when the bees fed on anabasine in sugar water. Anabasine is a natural alkaloid, nicotine-like chemical found in plant nectar. The researchers had hoped their finding was evidence that bees may use “nature’s medicine cabinet” to rid themselves of the intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi, which can decrease the survival of queen bees over the winter and hamper the success of young colonies in the spring. Continue reading

Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes – Save the Date

Two years ago Elsa Youngsteadt and Steve Frank from NC State joined forces with Dave SmitleyHeidi Wollaeger, and others from Michigan State University to organize the first national conference related to pollinator conservation in ornamental plant production and urban landscapes. Over 150 people with jobs in research, extension, industry, government, or NGOs spent 3 days in the North Carolina mountains with a lineup of renowned international speakers.

But this conference was not just about listening; it was also about talking and discussing pressing issues such as insecticide safety and habitat conservation. Folks studying bee conservation had dinner with folks from agrochemical companies. Extension folks trying to find real-world pest management solutions had beers with beekeepers and conservationists. Many of these interactions may not have ever happened without this conference. Continue reading

Feed A Bee announces plantings to celebrate National Honey Bee Day

In Morning Ag Clips

Mark your calendars now! August 19 is National Honey Bee Day, and Bayer’s Feed a Bee will be buzzing across the country to plant thousands of wildflowers from New York toCalifornia – all in one day.

Since 2015, the Feed a Bee initiative has distributed over 3 billion wildflower seeds for pollinator plantings, establishing additional nutrition and habitat sources across the nation. This National Honey Bee Day, Feed a Bee will be celebrating with special planting events to add even more to the pollinator gardens at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New YorkNorth Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and thePlacer Land Trust’s School Park Community Garden inAuburn, California. Continue reading

If you want a good pollinator plant, think about a cup plant

By Norman Winter, University of Georgia

When it comes to backyard wildlife, the cup plant does it all. To me, it is like the flag-bearing perennial for bees, butterflies and birds. It is a stalwart and is native in 34 states, from Louisiana, north to Canada and sweeping across all states east.

Its size makes it seem like it is the composite, or aster, that ate New York. It is big, bold and wonderful, and this is the time of the year it shines the most. Continue reading

Honey bee populations begin to improve

by Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg

The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday.

The number of commercial U.S. honeybee colonies rose 3% to 2.89 million as of April 1, 2017, compared with a year earlier, the Agriculture Department reported. The number of hives lost to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon of disappearing bees that has raised concerns among farmers and scientists for a decade, was 84,430 in this year’s first quarter, down 27% from a year earlier. Year-over-year losses declined by the same percentage in April through June, the most recent data in the survey. Continue reading

Students, teachers and community gardeners launch pollinator census this August

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

Calling the class roll is a time-tested way for teachers to start the school year, but when Georgia students head back to school this year, some of them will complete a roll call of their own.

Honeybees? Present. Leafcutter bees? Here. Swallowtail butterflies? Yo. Continue reading