©2017 BY BLOOM SKIN CARE BY CACKLE BEE LLC.

Wisconsin, USA

JUST A TASTE OF THE FASCINATING WORLD OF BEES!

Bees are fascinating creatures and we have included descriptions of hive life and the work of making and collecting honey. We have also included ways in which everyone can help support the wide variety of solitary native bee pollinators in order to support continuing pollination of our crops as research continues to protect our honey bee population that is currently being threatened by disease and hive collapse.
Here is a compilation of web and library research on bees and honey, with stories from our own beekeeping experiences too!
*All Authors and sources noted where appropriate

HONEY COMPOSITION:
 Honey is a source of carbohydrates — mainly fructose (about 38.5 percent) and glucose (about 31.0 percent). The remaining carbohydrates include maltose, sucrose and other complex carbohydrates. On average, honey is 17.1 percent water. 
In addition, honey contains a wide array of vitamins, such as vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Essential minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc as well as several different amino acids have been identified in honey. (Some of these compounds exist in quantities less than 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement.)
Of recent interest is the antioxidant content of honey. Honey contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals, which may help delay the oxidative damage to cells or tissues in our bodies. Known antioxidant compounds in honey are chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase and pinocembrin.  Generally, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys.
Research has shown that unlike most other sweeteners, honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.
 
HOW IS HONEY MADE?
Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. In fact, if you have ever pulled a honeysuckle blossom out of its stem, nectar is the clear liquid that drops from the end of the blossom. In North America, bees get nectar from flowers like wildflowers, native trees, grasses, vegetable and decorative garden plants, clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms.
They use their long, tube like tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honey stomachs.
 The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. These "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive.
The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey.
Honey bees are the only insects that produce a food consumed by  humans.  Honey is produced in one of the busiest yet most efficient factories in the world — a beehive.   
Honey bees are social insects with a marked division of labor among the various bees in the hive. A colony contains one queen, 500 to 1,000 drones and about 30,000 to 60,000 workers.
     
The matriarch of the colony is the queen. Nurtured on a special diet of royal jelly, the queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive.  A few days after hatching, the queen mates with drones in flight.  The drones, which are stout male bees that lack stingers, fulfill their single purpose in the colony by mating with the queen.

 During this “mating flight,” the queen receives millions of sperm cells that last her entire life — often two years or more. A productive queen will lay up to 3,000 eggs in a single day.  The sexually undeveloped female bees perform the work of the colony. Once hatched, these worker bees do a sequence of jobs – cleaning the nursery, caring for and feeding the larvae, collecting nectar, making wax comb, guarding the hive and fanning their wings to keep the hive cool.
To make a pound of honey, worker bees must forage nectar from millions of flowers. To communicate the location of nectar sources, bees perform several different and distinct dances.

Honey Production:  
In the fall, beekeepers prepare their hives for winter, ensuring that each hive has adequate honey “left on” (not extracted) to feed the colony.  Many beekeepers also move their hives to warmer states during the winter. About one half of all commercial beekeepers are migratory beekeepers. Some rent their bees to farmers, moving their hives to pollinate various crops.  Others relocate their hives near blossoms for honey production.

Extracting the Sweet Liquid: 
Fortunately, honey bees normally make more honey than the colony needs. On average, a colony will produce about 80 pounds of surplus honey each year.  To harvest the honey, beekeepers remove the honeycomb frames from each hive. The wax cappings covering the honeycomb are scraped off to expose the liquid honey.
Using a honey extractor (typically a centrifuge-type apparatus), the honey is spun out of the comb. The honey then passes through a filter and drains into a storage tank. The honey is often placed in 55-gallon drums and transported to a honey packer.  Or, the beekeeper may bottle the honey for local sale.

BENEFITS OF HONEY RESEARCH:
Cleopatra is said to have ruled Egypt with an iron fist. Apparently, it was also a smooth fist, since she was one of the more famous people in history to use honey for its skin-enhancing properties. In fact, Cleopatra's legendary milk and honey baths are just one of many historical examples of people using honey to pamper their complexions. While Cleopatra didn't know why honey softened her skin, new research suggests the queen of the Nile was definitely onto something. Manufacturers have used honey in everything from hand lotions and moisturizers to bar soaps and bubble baths. One reason they use honey is for its wholesome, all-natural image; more and more consumers are demanding cosmetics and personal care products made from natural ingredients. In the case of honey, however, image is just the beginning. First, honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. This makes honey a natural fit in a variety of moisturizing products including soaps,, creams, shampoos and conditioners. Honey also acts as an anti-irritant, making it suitable for sensitive skin and baby care products.

Historical Honey Beauty Secrets
•Madame du Barry, the infamous last mistress of Louis XV, used honey as a form of facial mask, lying down for a rest while the honey did its work.
•Cleopatra of Egypt regularly took honey and milk baths to maintain her youthful appearance.
•It was said that Queen Anne of England used a honey and oil concoction to keep her long hair lustrous, thick and shiny.
•It was claimed that another famous Englishwoman, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, used her own secret recipe for a honey water to keep her hair beautiful.
•Chinese women have a tradition of using a blend of honey and ground orange seeds to keep their skin blemish-free.

NHB-(National Honey Board) Funded Study Finds Honey an Effective Cough Treatment

 Honey has been used as a home remedy for centuries to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a common cold. Now researchers have found through a recent study that honey proves a better option for childhood cough than over the counter medicines.

 Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine recently published a study, funded by NHB, comparing honey to over-the-counter medicines for relief of upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as cough. Providing a safe alternative for children more than 12 months old, honey out-performed the cough medicine in offering a better night’s sleep and reducing cough severity.

In the study, the researchers enrolled 105 children between the ages of 2 and 18 at a single university-affiliated physician practice site. On the first night of the study, children received no treatment. Parents answered five questions about their child’s cough and sleep quality as well as about their own sleep quality. On the second night, children received either honey, artificial honey-flavored dextromethorphan (DM) or no treatment about a half hour prior to going to bed. Parents answered the same five questions the following morning.
Across the board, parents rated honey as significantly better than DM or no treatment for symptomatic relief of their child’s nighttime cough and sleep difficulty. In a few cases, parents did report mild side effects with the honey treatment, such as hyperactivity.
Ian Paul, M.D., M.Sc., a pediatrician, researcher and associate professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Children’s Hospital said “Additional studies should certainly be considered, but we hope that medical professionals will consider the positive potential of honey as a treatment given the lack of proven efficacy, expense, and potential for adverse effects associated with the use of DM.”
 
Pollination – The Bees vital Second Shift
     In addition to gathering nectar to produce honey, honey bees perform another vital function;  pollination of agricultural crops, home gardens, orchards and wildlife habitat.  As bees travel from blossom to blossom in search of nectar, they transfer pollen from plant to plant, thus fertilizing the plants and enabling them to bear fruit.

     Almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, sunflowers, watermelon and many other crops all rely on honey bees for pollination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and that the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.
 A 2000 Cornell University study concluded that the direct value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is more than $14.6 billion.
Our bees have an enormous variety of flowers to make honey from as we are located away from huge monoculture crop fields and abut 180 acres of Dane County Parkland. We believe this is why our honey is so special!Reproduction and Development The queen controls the sex of her offspring. When an egg passes from her ovary to her oviduct, the queen determines whether the egg is fertilized with sperm from the spermatheca. A fertilized egg develops into a female honey bee, either worker or queen, and an unfertilized egg becomes a male honey bee, or drone. The queen lays the eggs that will develop into more queens in specially constructed downward-pointing, peanut-shaped cells, in which the egg adheres to the ceiling. These cells are filled with royal jelly to keep the larvae from falling and to feed them. Worker bees are raised in the multi-purpose, horizontally arranged cells of the comb. Future workers receive royal jelly only during the first two days, compared to future queens, who are fed royal jelly throughout their larval life. This difference accounts for the great variation in anatomy and function between adult workers and queens. On average, the development of the queen from egg to adult requires 16 days; that of the worker, 21 days; and that of the drone, 24 days.Activities Field honey bees collect flower nectar. On entering the hive with a full honey sac, which is an enlargement of the esophagus, the field bee regurgitates the contents into the mouth of a young worker, called the house, or nurse, bee. The house bee deposits the nectar in a cell and carries out the tasks necessary to convert the nectar to honey. When the honey is fully ripened, the cell is sealed with an airtight wax capping. Both old and young workers are required to store the winter supplies of honey. Pollen is carried into the nest or hive on the hind legs of the field bees and placed directly in the cells. The pollen of a given load is derived mostly from plants of one species, which accounts for the honey bee's outstanding role as pollinator. If it flew from one flower species to another, it would not be effective in the transfer of pollen, but by confining its visits on a given trip to the blossoms of a single species, it provides the cross-pollination required in many varieties of plants. Communication An amazing symbolic communication system exists among honey bees. In studies of bees begun in the early 1900s, the Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch determined many of the details of their means of communication. In a classic paper published in 1923, von Frisch described how after a field bee discovers a new source of food, such as a field in bloom, she fills her honey sac with nectar, returns to the nest or hive, and performs a vigorous but highly standardized dance. If the new source of food is within about 90 m (about 295 ft) of the nest or hive, the bee performs a circular dance, first moving about 2 cm (about .75 in) or more, and then circling in the opposite direction. Numerous bees in the nest or hive closely follow the dancer, imitating her movements. During this ceremony, the other workers scent the fragrance of the flowers from which the dancer collected the nectar. Having learned that food is not far from the nest or hive, and what it smells like, the other bees leave the nest or hive and fly in widening circles until they find the source. If the new source of nectar or pollen is farther away, the discoverer performs a more elaborate dance characterized by intermittent movement across the diameter of the circle and constant, vigorous wagging of her abdomen. Every movement of this dance seems to have significance. The number of times the bee circles during a given interval informs the other bees how far to fly for the food. Movement across the diameter in a straight run indicates the direction of the food source. If the straight run is upward, the source is directly toward the sun. Should the straight run be downward, it signifies that the bees may reach the food by flying with their backs to the sun. In the event the straight run veers off at an angle to the vertical, the bees must follow a course to the right or left of the sun at the same angle that the straight run deviates from the vertical. Bees under observation in a glass hive demonstrate their instructions so clearly that it is possible for trained observers to understand the directions given by the dancers. Certain aspects of the dance language, such as how attendant bees perceive the motion of dancers in the total darkness of the nest or hive, are still unknown. The dance language is an important survival strategy that has helped the honey bee in its success as a species.Challenges to Survival Honey bees are subject to various diseases and parasites. American and European foulbrood are two widespread contagious bacterial diseases that attack bee larvae. A protozoan parasite, Nosema, and a virus cause dysentery and paralysis in adult bees. Two species of blood-sucking parasitic mites are particularly troublesome for beekeepers and are currently affecting wild honey bees worldwide. The honey bee tracheal mite lives in the breathing tubes of adult bees; the varroa mite lives on the outside of larvae and adults. These mites have killed tens of thousands of honey bee colonies in North America during the past ten years. Scientific breeding programs are attempting to develop tolerant strains of domestic honey bees to replace the mite-susceptible ones currently used. Tracheal mite infestations can be reduced by fumigation of the hive with menthol fumes. Varroa mites are controlled with a miticide or, in some European countries, with fumes of formic acid. Certain hive management techniques also can reduce infestations. Many other animals prey upon individual honey bees, which may sometimes weaken colonies. Examples are cane toads and bee eaters (birds), which pick off foragers near the colony entrance; robber flies, which take individual foragers as they visit flowers; and hornets and bee wolves (wasps), which may enter the nest or hive and steal larvae. Bears have an insatiable appetite for honey and bee larvae and may destroy many nests or hives in a single raid.Honey bee colonies used in commercial pollination and those kept in urban areas are exposed to pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and other agricultural chemicals and are frequently poisoned by accident. This is a major concern of modern beekeepers. Importance Honey bees have become the primary source of pollination for approximately one-fourth of all crops produced in the United States and some other countries. The value of the crops that rely on such pollination has been estimated as high as billion annually in the United States. Examples of fruit crops that rely on honey bees are almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, pears, raspberries, strawberries and watermelons. The seeds of many vegetables are also produced with honey bee pollination; examples include alfalfa, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, clover, cotton, cucumbers, onions, radishes, squash, sweet clover, and turnips. Many species of wild pollinators have disappeared from the land as their habitats have been destroyed or altered by humans. The honey bee has taken over as pollinator of many of the wild plants that remain; its ecological value in this regard is tremendous. Honey bees are the sole source of honey and beeswax, a fine wax with unusual qualities. Honey bees also produce propolis, a gummy substance made from tree sap that has antibacterial properties, and royal jelly and pollen for human consumption. Honey bee venom is extracted for the production of antivenom therapy and is being investigated as a treatment for several serious diseases of the muscles, connective tissue, and immune system, including multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Scientific classification Honey bees comprise the genus Apis in the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera. The European honey bee is classified as Apis mellifera, the Indian honey bee is A. cerana, Koschevnikov's honey bee is A. koschevnikovi, the dwarf honey bee is A. florea, the andreniform dwarf honey bee is A. andreniformis, the giant honey bee is A. dorsata, and the mountain giant honey bee is A. laboriosa. The Italian race of the European honey bee is A. m. ligustica, the Carniolan race is A. m. carnica, and the Caucasian race is A. m. causcasia.

Our bees have an enormous variety of flowers to make honey from as we are located away from huge monoculture crop fields and abut 180 acres of Dane County Parkland. We believe this is why our honey is so special!

Reproduction and Development

The queen controls the sex of her offspring. When an egg passes from her ovary to her oviduct, the queen determines whether the egg is fertilized with sperm from the spermatheca. A fertilized egg develops into a female honey bee, either worker or queen, and an unfertilized egg becomes a male honey bee, or drone.   The queen lays the eggs that will develop into more queens in specially constructed downward-pointing, peanut-shaped cells, in which the egg adheres to the ceiling. These cells are filled with royal jelly to keep the larvae from falling and to feed them.
Worker bees are raised in the multi-purpose, horizontally arranged cells of the comb. Future workers receive royal jelly only during the first two days, compared to future queens, who are fed royal jelly throughout their larval life. This difference accounts for the great variation in anatomy and function between adult workers and queens. On average, the development of the queen from egg to adult requires 16 days; that of the worker, 21 days; and that of the drone, 24 days.
Activities
Field honey bees collect flower nectar. On entering the hive with a full honey sac, which is an enlargement of the esophagus, the field bee regurgitates the contents into the mouth of a young worker, called the house, or nurse, bee. The house bee deposits the nectar in a cell and carries out the tasks necessary to convert the nectar to honey. When the honey is fully ripened, the cell is sealed with an airtight wax capping. Both old and young workers are required to store the winter supplies of honey.  Pollen is carried into the nest or hive on the hind legs of the field bees and placed directly in the cells. The pollen of a given load is derived mostly from plants of one species, which accounts for the honey bee's outstanding role as pollinator. If it flew from one flower species to another, it would not be effective in the transfer of pollen, but by confining its visits on a given trip to the blossoms of a single species, it provides the cross-pollination required in many varieties of plants.
 
Communication
 
An amazing symbolic communication system exists among honey bees. In studies of bees begun in the early 1900s, the Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch determined many of the details of their means of communication. In a classic paper published in 1923, von Frisch described how after a field bee discovers a new source of food, such as a field in bloom, she fills her honey sac with nectar, returns to the nest or hive, and performs a vigorous but highly standardized dance. If the new source of food is within about 90 m (about 295 ft) of the nest or hive, the bee performs a circular dance, first moving about 2 cm (about .75 in) or more, and then circling in the opposite direction. Numerous bees in the nest or hive closely follow the dancer, imitating her movements. During this ceremony, the other workers scent the fragrance of the flowers from which the dancer collected the nectar. Having learned that food is not far from the nest or hive, and what it smells like, the other bees leave the nest or hive and fly in widening circles until they find the source.
If the new source of nectar or pollen is farther away, the discoverer performs a more elaborate dance characterized by intermittent movement across the diameter of the circle and constant, vigorous wagging of her abdomen. Every movement of this dance seems to have significance. The number of times the bee circles during a given interval informs the other bees how far to fly for the food. Movement across the diameter in a straight run indicates the direction of the food source. If the straight run is upward, the source is directly toward the sun. Should the straight run be downward, it signifies that the bees may reach the food by flying with their backs to the sun.  In the event the straight run veers off at an angle to the vertical, the bees must follow a course to the right or left of the sun at the same angle that the straight run deviates from the vertical.
Bees under observation in a glass hive demonstrate their instructions so clearly that it is possible for trained observers to understand the directions given by the dancers. Certain aspects of the dance language, such as how attendant bees perceive the motion of dancers in the total darkness of the nest or hive, are still unknown. The dance language is an important survival strategy that has helped the honey bee in its success as a species.

Challenges to Survival

Honey bees are subject to various diseases and parasites. American and European foulbrood are two widespread contagious bacterial diseases that attack bee larvae. A protozoan parasite, Nosema, and a virus cause dysentery and paralysis in adult bees. Two species of blood-sucking parasitic mites are particularly troublesome for beekeepers and are currently affecting wild honey bees worldwide.
The honey bee tracheal mite lives in the breathing tubes of adult bees; the varroa mite lives on the outside of larvae and adults. These mites have killed tens of thousands of honey bee colonies in North America during the past ten years. Scientific breeding programs are attempting to develop tolerant strains of domestic honey bees to replace the mite-susceptible ones currently used. Tracheal mite infestations can be reduced by fumigation of the hive with menthol fumes. Varroa mites are controlled with a miticide or, in some European countries, with fumes of formic acid. Certain hive management techniques also can reduce infestations.


Many other animals prey upon individual honey bees, which may sometimes weaken colonies. Examples are cane toads and bee eaters (birds), which pick off foragers near the colony entrance; robber flies, which take individual foragers as they visit flowers; and hornets and bee wolves (wasps), which may enter the nest or hive and steal larvae. Bears have an insatiable appetite for honey and bee larvae and may destroy many nests or hives in a single raid.
Honey bee colonies used in commercial pollination and those kept in urban areas are exposed to pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and other agricultural chemicals and are frequently poisoned by accident. This is a major concern of modern beekeepers.
Importance
Honey bees have become the primary source of pollination for approximately one-fourth of all crops produced in the United States and some other countries. The value of the crops that rely on such pollination has been estimated as high as billion annually in the United States. Examples of fruit crops that rely on honey bees are almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, pears, raspberries, strawberries and watermelons. The seeds of many vegetables are also produced with honey bee pollination; examples include alfalfa, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, clover, cotton, cucumbers, onions, radishes, squash, sweet clover, and turnips.
Many species of wild pollinators have disappeared from the land as their habitats have been destroyed or altered by humans. The honey bee has taken over as pollinator of many of the wild plants that remain; its ecological value in this regard is tremendous.
Honey bees are the sole source of honey and beeswax, a fine wax with unusual qualities. Honey bees also produce propolis, a gummy substance made from tree sap that has antibacterial properties, and royal jelly and pollen for human consumption. Honey bee venom is extracted for the production of antivenom therapy and is being investigated as a treatment for several serious diseases of the muscles, connective tissue, and immune system, including multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Scientific classification
Honey bees comprise the genus Apis in the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera. The European honey bee is classified as Apis mellifera, the Indian honey bee is A. cerana, Koschevnikov's honey bee is A. koschevnikovi, the dwarf honey bee is A. florea, the andreniform dwarf honey bee is A. andreniformis, the giant honey bee is A. dorsata, and the mountain giant honey bee is A. laboriosa. The Italian race of the European honey bee is A. m.

 

CLUCK PRESENTATION NOTES:

 

From Lisa Lewis of Cackle Bee, http://www.cacklebee.com

THE BEEKEEPER'S YEAR

This is a suggested checklist of activities for the beekeeper, adapted from the Backyard Beekeeper website. Note that weather, climate, neighborhood and even the type of bees you have will influence such activities. The list gives you an overview of what's going on each month in the hive. It also suggests some important tasks for the beekeeper, and provides a rough estimate of the amount of time you might spend with several hives of bees during a given month.

January

  1. The Bees. The queen is surrounded by thousand of her workers. She is in the midst of their winter cluster. There is little activity except on a warm day (about 45-50 degrees) when the workers will take the opportunity to make cleansing flights. There are no drones in the hive, but some worker brood will begin to appear in the hive. The bees will consume about 25 pounds of stored honey this month.The Beekeeper. Little work is required from you at the hives. If there is heavy snow, make certain the entrance to the hive is cleared to allow for proper ventilation. If a January thaw presents itself (in January or February) you provide supplemental, emergency food for the bees such as Dadants MEGABEE winter patties  (on the top bars) or granulated sugar (on the inner cover). This is a great time to catch up on your reading about bees, attend bee club meetings, and build and repair equipment for next season. Order package bees (if needed) from a reputable supplier. I use Dadant Beekeeping supply: Address: W2763 E Gate Dr, Watertown, WI 53094

Phone:(920) 261-5363, the person who used to sell the bees is named Lee Haney, he retired from managing Dadant, but still sells bees, ask for his contact info at Dadant

Time Spent. Estimate less than an hour.

February

The Bees. The queen, still cozy in the cluster, will begin to lay a few more eggs each day. It is still "females only" in the hive. Workers will take cleansing flights on mild days. The bees will consume about 25 pounds of honey this month.
The Beekeeper. There is not too much to do this month. Attend those bee club meetings. Read. Attend bee club meetings, and get your equipment ready for spring.
Time Spent. Estimate less than one hour.

March

The Bees. This is the month when colonies can die of starvation. However, if you fed them plenty of sugar syrup in the autumn this should not happen. With the days growing longer, the queen steadily increases her rate of egg laying. More brood means more food consumed. The drones begin to appear. The bees will continue to consume honey stores.
The Beekeeper. Early in the month, on a nice mild day, and when there is no wind and bees are flying, you can have a quick peek inside your hive. It's best not to remove the frames. Just have a look-see under the cover. If you do not see any sealed honey in the top frames, you may need to provide some emergency food (Mega Bee or granulated sugar if cold temps prevail, syrup if the weather is mild). But remember, once you start, you should not stop until they are bringing in their own food supplies. If you are going to do a spring Varroa mite treatment, because they show signs of infestation, now (or soon) is the time to start its application. I usually treat in the fall for Varroa mites, but I occasionally treat in spring with Api-Life. It is 95% effective while leaving the least residue of any product available to beekeepers. Treat each colony by breaking 1 wafer into 4 pieces and placing around the brood nest. Leave 7 to 10 days and replace with another wafer and after 7 to 10 days replace for a 3rd time. This will complete the treatment. Treatment most effective at average daytime temperatures of 65°.
Time Spent. Estimate 2 hours this month.

April

The Bees. The weather begins to improve, and the early blossoms begin to appear. The bees begin to bring pollen into the hive. The queen is busily laying eggs, and the population is growing fast. The drones will begin to appear. I have planted lots of spring crocus because they LOVE the early pollen!
The Beekeeper. On a warm and still day do your first comprehensive inspection. Can you find evidence of the queen? Are there plenty of eggs and brood? Is there a nice pattern to her egg laying?  I do not root around looking for the queen herself… You can begin to feed the hive medicated syrup .I DO treat for  Nosema disease in the spring, it causes more small honey crops than any other bee disease. It quietly robs the colony of strength and vitality. Nosema is especially prevalent in over wintered colonies in spring and in package bees. Fumagilin-B is the only registered antibiotic effective in the control of Nosema. Feed in the fall, again in spring and for all newly installed package bees. Fumagilin-B. I  Also treat for Europeen Foulbrood. Tetra-B Mix is a ready-to-feed mixture containing the antibiotic Terramycin. It is recommended as an aid in the prevention of American and European foulbrood. Tetra-B can be used for fall treatment of colonies prior to winter or for the spring treatment of over wintered colonies. Spread over the top bars of the frames in each section of the brood nest. All use should stop at least four weeks prior to a surplus honey flow.
Later in the month, on a very mild and windless day, you should consider reversing the hive bodies. This will allow for a better distribution of brood, and stimulate the growth of the colony.

Time Spent. Estimate 3 hours.

May

The Bees. Now the activity really starts hopping. The nectar and pollen should begin to come into the hive thick and fast. The queen will be reaching her greatest rate of egg laying. The hive should be bursting with activity.
The Beekeeper. Spring treatments should be completed, and any packaging or strips from medications removed prior to adding any honey supers. Place honey supers on top of the top deep. Watch out for swarming.  Gently inspect the hive every week to see if the supers are getting just past ½ full. Then add a super to help ward off swarming.
Time Spent. Estimate 4-5 hours this month.

June

The Bees. Unswarmed colonies will be boiling with bees. The queen's rate of egg laying may drop a bit this month. The main honey flow should happen this month.
The Beekeeper. Inspect the hive weekly to make certain the hive is healthy and the evidence of the queen is present. Add honey supers as needed. Keep up swarm inspections.

Time Spent. Estimate 4-5 hours.

July

The Bees. If the weather is good, the nectar flow may continue this month. On hot and humid nights, you may see a huge curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive.
The Beekeeper. Continue inspections to assure the health of your colony. Add more honey supers if needed. Keep your fingers crossed in anticipation of a great honey harvest.
Time Spent. Estimate 2-3 hours.

August

The Bees. The colony's growth is diminishing. Drones are still around, but outside activity begins to slow down as the nectar flow slows.
The Beekeeper. No more chance of swarming. Watch for honey robbing by wasps or other bees. There is not too much for you to do this month. Have a little holiday.
Time Spent. Estimate about an hour or two.

September

The Bees. The drones may begin to disappear this month. The hive population is dropping. The queen's egg laying is dramatically reduced.
The Beekeeper. Harvest your honey crop. Remember to leave the colony with at least 60 pounds of honey for winter. Check for the queen's presence. Feed and medicate towards the end of the month (the first 2 gallons is medicated with Fumigilan). Apply mite treatment. Continue feeding until the bees will take no more syrup.
Time Spent. Estimate 2-3 hours.

October

The Bees. Not much activity from the bees. They are hunkering' down for the winter.
The Beekeeper. Watch out for robbing. Configure the hive for winter, with attention to ventilation and moisture control. Install mouse guard at entrance of hive. Setup a wind break if necessary. Finish winter feeding.
Time Spent. Estimate 2 hours.

November

The Bees. Even less activity this month. The cold weather will send them into a cluster.
The Beekeeper. Store your equipment away for the winter.
Time Spent. About one hour this month.

December

The Bees. The bees are in a tight cluster. No peeking.
The Beekeeper. There's nothing you can do with the bees. Read a good book on beekeeping, and enjoy the holidays!
Time Spent. None

Dadant Beekeeping supply:  W2763 E Gate Dr, Watertown, WI 53094, 920) 261-5363

Brushy Mountain Beekeeping Supplies (in North Carolina): http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Beekeeping-Supplies/departments/1/

Sloped ( for drainage) beehive stand instructions:  http://www.sustainable-gardening-tips.com/Bee-Hive-Construction.html

ABOUT COLONY COLAPSE DISORDER

Journal of Economic Entomology 102(5):1808-1815. 2009
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0511

Translocation of Neonicotinoid Insecticides from Coated Seeds to Seedling Guttation Drops: A Novel Way of Death for Bees

ABSTRACT

The death of honey bees, Apis mellifera L., and the consequent colony collapse disorder causes major losses in agriculture and plant pollination worldwide. The phenomenon showed increasing rates in the past years, although its causes are still awaiting a clear answer. Although neonicotinoid systemic insecticides used for seed coating of agricultural crops were suspected as possible reason, studies so far have not shown the existence of unquestionable sources capable of delivering directly intoxicating doses in the fields. Guttation is a natural plant phenomenon causing the excretion of xylem fluid at leaf margins. Here, we show that leaf guttation drops of all the corn plants germinated from neonicotinoid-coated seeds contained amounts of insecticide constantly higher than 10 mg/1, with maxima up to 100 mg/1 for thiamethoxam and clothianidin, and up to 200 mg/1 for imidacloprid. The concentration of neonicotinoids in guttation drops can be near those of active ingredients commonly applied in field sprays for pest control, or even higher. When bees consume guttation drops, collected from plants grown from neonicotinoid-coated seeds, they encounter death within few minutes.

 

 

 

SUPPORT YOUR NATIVE BEES!
 ligustica, the Carniolan race is A. m. carnica, and the Caucasian race is A. m. causcasia.


Horticulture Technical NoteBy Lane Greer NCAT

Agriculture SpecialistAugust 1999Abstract

 

This publication discusses using solitary or native bees as pollinators. Some of the larger groups of bees are discussed, including alkali bees, leafcutter bees, alfalfa leafcutter bees, bumblebees, sweat bees, squash bees, digger bees, orchard mason bees, shaggy fuzzyfoot bees, and hornfaced bees. Information is also presented on how to attract and conserve populations of wild bees for pollination purposes. There is also a list of suppliers of native bees and bee equipment.

Introduction There are more than 3500 species of solitary bees in North America. Also called pollen bees or native bees, these efficient pollinators often do the lion's share of pollinating crops. Pollen bees have a number of advantages over honeybees as pollinators (1). Many are active early in the spring, before honeybee colonies reach large size (1). Pollen bees tend to stay in a crop rather than fly between crops, providing more efficient pollination (1). Because they fly rapidly, pollen bees can pollinate more plants (1). Unlike honeybees, the males also pollinate the crop (1). Pollen bees are usually gentle, with a mild sting, and do not get disoriented in greenhouses (1).

Encouraging Native Bees

One of the first steps for a grower to take is to observe what kinds of native bees exist in the area. Most solitary bees are highly seasonal, timing their emergence with peak flowering in their area (6), and are more diverse and abundant in undisturbed natural habitats. Bumble, digger, and sweat bees make up the bulk of pollen bees in most parts of the country.

Dr. Batra notes that Europeans have made significant advances in the field of bee study. There, native bees have been evaluated and encouraged in much the same way that hummingbirds and butterflies are accommodated in U.S. gardens (7). In order to encourage pollen bees, we must:

*  understand their biologies,
*  provide nesting habitats,
*  stop using harmful pesticides,
*  and furnish suitable crops and wild forage.

 

Understand Bee Biology's

Although bees are recognized as some of the most important pollinators in almost all ecosystems where flowers occur, their precise roles in pollination are not well documented (4). At this point, only a few species have been studied. Most wild bees, unlike honeybees, are solitary and don't form large colonies. Bumblebees form small colonies of one to five hundred workers, but most bees are independent, with the females producing and laying eggs in single cells. Many pollen bees hibernate for most of the year—up to 11 months. When they finally emerge, they pollinate with enormous energy (3).

The life cycle of most solitary bees fits into a regular pattern. Females make nests using leaves, soil, or mud, and provision them with honey and pollen. They lay single eggs in divided cells. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat, grow, and pupate inside the same cell. The adults remain in the nest until spring or summer. The males usually emerge before the females, which are mated immediately after emergence from the nest. The cycle then repeats itself.

 

Provide Nesting Habitats

"It is time to protect our native beneficial bees through habitat conservation and sustainable agriculture," says Suzanne Batra (7). The best way to preserve bees and continue to gain from their pollination services is to preserve wildland. In addition, gardeners and farmers can help preserve and increase native pollinator populations by setting aside undisturbed land (1).

Most bees love sun and prefer to nest in dry places. For ground nesting bees, this means a patch of undisturbed soil in a sunny spot. For wood- and stem-nesting bees, this means piles of branches, bamboo sections, hollow reeds, or nesting blocks made out of untreated wood. Mason bees need a source of water and mud, and many kinds of bees are attracted to weedy, untended hedgerows (1).

 

Stop Using Harmful Pesticides

The extensive use of pesticides not only on farmlands, but also in suburbia and in managed woodlands, has contributed to the loss of many pollinators, including bees (2). Even natural herbicides and botanical insecticides can harm bees. Any kind of pesticide should be applied in the evening when bees are in their nest (7).

 

Furnish Suitable Crops and Wild Forage

The pollinators that are enticed to occupy habitats need alternate sources of forage when crops are not in bloom. Many solitary bees have relatively short lifespans that may not coincide exactly with the timing of a specific crop bloom. Therefore, additional forage must be encouraged or sown. This forage should last through spring, summer, and fall, but should not be in bloom at the same time as the target crop. For example, willow is an excellent source of nectar and pollen in early spring. Clover is a good source of nectar in summer, and asters provide fall forage. Plants like these could be planted along the edges of arable land, in fence-rows and hedgerows. The greater the habitat diversity, the greater the insect diversity (4).

Another example: Hornfaced bees (Osmia cornifrons) are excellent pollinators of apples, but they are active before apple trees bloom. In Maryland, the bees use winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), which finishes blooming just as apples come into bloom. After the apples bloom, Tatarican honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) begins to bloom, and the bees then use this plant for forage (7).

 

Suggested Plants for Native Bees

The following plants attract pollen bees. Native bees, unlike honeybees, do not fly great distances from their nests to forage. Plantings for native bees should be within 200 yards of the target crop. Some of these plants are also good for attracting beneficial insects

 

 

 

Blackberry (Rubus)

Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Dogwood (Cornus)

Raspberry (Rubus)

Fruit trees (apple, cherry, plum)

Sumac (Rhus)

Juneberry (Amalanchier)

Willows (Salix)

 

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Goldenrod (Solidago)

Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)

Goldfields (Lasthenia chrysostoma)

Asters (Aster)

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) (single varieties)

Beard tongue (Penstemon)

Impatiens (Impatiens)

Bee balm (Monarda)

Milkvetch (Astragalus)

Birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Milkweed (Asclepias)

Borage (Borago officianalis)

Mints (Mentha, Saliva)

Buttercup (Ranunculus)

Marjoram (Origanum)

Calendula (Calendula) (single varieties)

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus)

Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema)

Pincushion (Chaenactis)

Crown-beard (Verbesina)

Red clover (Trifolium pratense)

Daisies

Scorpion weed (Phacelia)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Sunflowers (Helianthus)

Evening primrose (Oenothera)

Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Forget-me-not (Myosotis)

Wild mustard (Brassica)

Fuchsia (Fuchsia)

Vervain (Verbena)

Gilia (Gilia)

Wild buckwheat (Eriogonum)

Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea)