THE BEEYARD REPORT
July has started out fairly well. There has been a lot of rain in the Pella/Knoxville area but those yards seem to be holding their own. There is a lot of Dutch clover out there. Bees will work that right after a rain if it's hot enough. The petals cover most of the florets so the rain is kept out. The florets in the center of the cluster are erect so the floret is exposed to rain but the lower ones are shielded. Honey production overall has been spotty. The bloom looks great but some yards have almost nothing while others are doing well. For the most part, it has been a summer without heat. That's usually detrimental to the honey crop.
Things were developing so slowly early on, I didn't have the cut comb supers ready when the honey started to trickle in. Adam doesn't like to put those boxes on for the early flow. Unless it's a really strong flow, many colonies will swarm before they draw wax. My feeling is that if we get a 60# year, we better have the CC boxes on early or we aren't going to get any comb honey. We pulled our first box on the 12th but it's going to be a while before we get any more.
Our building addition is coming along. The concrete was finally poured July 2nd. The building was framed by the 7th. It's now the 17th. We are waiting for the doors and the electrician. I had hoped to extract in the new addition. It's not going to happen this year. Things aren't moving fast enough.
We have one line of mating nucs that have been no end of trouble. They were started with one frame of brood at the end of May. They got our first lot of cells and some extra queens we had purchased. The queens emerging from the cells tried to mate during the monsoons. The few that were successful are starting to expire now. I'm glad I didn't sell them.
The bees have disappeared from several boxes for what appears to be no good reason. A number of others have come down with European Foulbrood.
The few "good" ones that remain are breaking down with American Foulbrood. It just a few cells but they definitely have it. We had pulled a few colonies out of that that row and spotted them in the yards. I spent an afternoon chasing them to make sure we weren't spreading foulbrood around the country. They proved to be all right.
EFB used to be a rare event in our operation; AFB too, for that matter. We are seeing both of them with increasing regularity. EFB infected larva are most commonly yellow, or partially yellow, and seen in the coiled position. Sometimes they appear in the transition stage as they are starting to elongate. In this position, they looked twisted and are usually white. Here's the hard part. Mites can also cause larve to unwind. The nurse bees stop feeding the larva. Sometimes, a mite will run out if you pull that larve out of the cell. I'm always amazed at how fast Varoa mites can run. I still don't want to use Tylan. There is already too much crap in our food. Once in a while we catch a colony that is just starting to break down. We have given those Tylan. That is maybe 4 or 5 colonies. We may have to change some of our management practices. We swap equipment around all the time. This may have to change.
Last summer I had two yellow sweet clover plants come up in the gravel by the loading dock. I had intended to harvest the seed. As it happens with many things, I never got the job done. This year, there are hundreds of plants coming up. They are about 6" tall. There is no practical reason to let them grow there but I like to see them. Maybe I'll get some seed this year. It's not a very practical project. The seed is microscopic in size.
One night at supper I felt a tick crawling up my leg. I pulled my pants down to remove it. Adam's comment was what a cool move that would be for a first date. With that, I believe I will close. I hope to see a lot of you at the fair.
Amber Connett, who was in our 2007 mentoring program, suffered some tough luck when the Skunk River invaded her home during recent flooding.
FEMA says the house is a total loss. Amber is slated to attend Iowa State in the fall.
Andy Joseph has a motorized 4 frame Dadant extractor with uncapping knife that is available for loan. You have to put down a deposit and schedule a time to use it. Contact Andy at his office to make arrangements.
Submitted by Phil Ebert
Honey bees 'crucial to Aust food security'
Posted Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:26pm AEST
Updated Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:24am AEST
The industry is facing biosecurity threats and a shortage of access to native forests for honey production. A federal parliamentary committee is warning that Australia's food security could be compromised if the future of the honey bee and pollination industry is not supported.
The committee's deputy chairman, Liberal MP Alby Schultz, says the industry is very important to Australia's wider agricultural sector, and must be supported.
"Taking into account all plant-based industries and wool, meat and dairy production it is estimated honey bees contribute directly to between $4 and $6 billion worth of agricultural production," she said.
But the committee's chairman, Labor MP Dick Adams, says the industry is facing biosecurity threats and a shortage of access to native forests for honey production.
"The committee has made a number of recommendations which, if implemented will provide resource security for the honey bee industry and pollination dependant industries into the future," he said.
The committee has called for $50 million to be provided to the organisation Pollination Australia for research into biosecurity threats and the future of the industry.
Mr Adams says the importance of honey bees can not be overstated.
"It might be an exaggeration to say 'no bees, no food', but the food security and economic welfare of the entire community depend on a considerable degree on the humble honey bee," he said.