February came in like a lion and out like a lamb with record high temperatures and a welcome break from the extended cold and accumulated ice of the previous three months.  I felt like I lived in Minnesota!  I just got back from a weeklong trip to Salt Lake City for my final ski trip of the season.  Conditions there were spring skiing-slush and ice—but it was nice to ski some different areas.  

I am officially moving to “bee” season now and have put feeders out on all the surviving hives.  There is, as with everything else in the bee management category, controversy regarding feeders.  Personally, I think they are a cheap insurance policy compared to buying bees in the spring.   Don’t be fooled into thinking you are in the downhill slide on getting bees through the winter until March has come and gone.  March kills a lot of bees.

Master Beekeeping Program Update

The MBK Committee is pleased to announce that the following individuals have successfully completed the Apprentice level written and field tests

CONGRATULATIONS!

David Baker                                       Dan Rau

Greg Bowdish                                    Kira Roberts

Beth Conrey                                       Sunny Rothove

Lisa Dysleski                                     Tina Sebestyen

Todd Hochwitz                                  Eric Smith

John Leonard                                     Susan Sommers

Anita Mayhew                                   Carol Tyrrell

Kerry Mayhew                                  Josh Vaisman

Greta Olsen                                        Kevin Vendegna

Curtis Pattillo                                     Faith Worden

                                                            Jo Zeimet

They are now eligible to begin work on the next phase of the MBK program—The Journeyperson level. 

The Master Beekeeping Committee announces the spring dates for the Journeyperson class, which are April 16-17 and May 21-22.  The third class will take place in the fall.  Date yet to be determined.  For those of you who have completed your Apprentice level exam and field test, you will receive further information shortly from the MBK committee on course subject matter, venue information, and how to sign up.

Interested in participating in the Master Beekeeping Certification Program yourself?  We’d love to have you.  Click here to be redirected to the CSBA Master Beekeeping Apprentice Program page to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications and to submit your application and fee.  Apprentice level field test dates for the spring have also been determined.  They are May 15, June 11 (at the Summer Bee College) and August 27.  4 Corners Beekeepers president, Tina Sebestyen, is also conducting field tests.  If you live in the western part of the state, please contact Tina to express your interest in the field test.  She can be reached at: bee.seeking@gmail.com.

Finally, the MBK program is also delighted to announce that four courses have been granted provisional certification as “qualifying” apprentice programs.  Kudos to the 4 Corners, Butterfly Pavilion, To Bee or Not to Bee and to NCBA’s beginning beekeeping classes for meeting the MBK criteria.   Would you like to certify your class?  Contact Carolina Nyarady at csbambk@icloud.com for further information. 

A personal thank you from the CSBA Officers and Advisors to the MBK team.  We sincerely appreciate all of your efforts!

CSBA Summer Bee College and Winter Meeting Dates Announced

The CSBA Summer Bee College will take place in Silt/Rifle on Saturday, June 11, 2016.  Featured speaker will be Dr. Vera Krischik of the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.  This College will focus on mite management with the opportunity to properly test your bees to determine if mites have exceeded treatment thresholds as well as to learn how to work with oxalic and formic acids.  CSBA members will be able to attend for a mere $5!!!  The CSBA website will be updated soon with the schedule, speaker biographies, pre-registration forms, Beekeepers Ball menu, etc. 

The CSBA Winter Meeting will be held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Saturday, November 5.  Mark your calendars and look for forthcoming updates. 

Bee Virus Spread Manmade and Emanates from Europe (from ABJ Extra)

The spread of a disease that is decimating global bee populations is manmade, and driven by European honeybee populations, new research has concluded.

A study led by the University of Exeter and UC Berkeley and published in the journal Science found that the European honeybee Apis mellifera is overwhelmingly the source of cases of the Deformed Wing Virus infecting hives worldwide. The finding suggests that the pandemic is manmade rather than naturally occurring, with human trade and transportation of bees for crop pollination driving the spread.

Although separately they are not major threats to bee populations, when the Varroa mite carries the disease, the combination is deadly, and has wiped out millions of honeybees over recent decades. Varroa feed on bee larvae while the Deformed Wing Virus kills off bees, a devastating double blow to colonies. The situation is adding to fears over the future of global bee populations, with major implications for biodiversity, agricultural biosecurity, global economies, and human health.

The study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and supported by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship. It involved collaborators from the universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, Salford and California, as well as ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

Lead author Dr. Lena Wilfert, of the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation, on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said: "This is the first study to conclude that Europe is the backbone of the global spread of the bee killing combination of Deformed Wing Virus and Varroa. This demonstrates that the spread of this combination is largely manmade - if the spread was naturally occurring, we would expect to see transmission between countries that are close to each other, but we found that, for example, the New Zealand virus population originated in Europe. This significantly strengthens the theory that human transportation of bees is responsible for the spread of this devastating disease. We must now maintain strict limits on the movement of bees, whether they are known to carry Varroa or not. It's also really important that beekeepers at all levels take steps to control Varroa in their hives, as this viral disease can also affect wild pollinators."

Researchers analysed sequence data of Deformed Wing Virus samples across the globe from honeybees and Varroa mites, as well as the occurrence of Varroa. They used the information to reconstruct the spread of Deformed Wing Virus and found that the epidemic largely spread from Europe to North America, Australia and New Zealand. They found some two-way movement between Europe and Asia, but none between Asia and Australasia, despite their closer proximity. The team also looked at samples from other species suspected of transmitting the disease, including different species of honeybee, mite and bumblebees, but concluded that the European honeybee was the key transmitter.

Professor Roger Butlin, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sheffield, said: "Our study has found that the deformed wing virus is a major threat to honeybee populations across the world and this epidemic has been driven by the trade and movement of honeybee colonies.

"Domesticated honeybee colonies are hugely important for our agriculture systems, but this study shows the risks of moving animals and plants around the world. The consequences can be devastating, both for domestic animals and for wildlife. The risk of introducing viruses or other pathogens is just one of many potential dangers."

Senior author Professor Mike Boots of Exeter and UC Berkeley concluded: "The key insight of our work is that the global virus pandemic in honeybees is manmade not natural. It's therefore within our hands to mitigate this and future disease problems."

Carl Hayden Bee Research Center Open House  March 18, 2016 8:30AM to 4:00PM

You are cordially invited to an Open House at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, 2000 East Allen Road, Tucson, AZ 85719.

The open house will have a morning program and afternoon program—lunch will be provided.

In the morning, scientists will discuss the research they are conducting on nutrition, pesticides and Varroa mites. We will follow this with forums on honey bee nutrition, Varroa mites and pesticides. The forums will be opportunities to engage in discussions with the scientists conducting research in each of the subject areas.

In the afternoon, there will be hands-on demonstrations of queen rearing and factors affecting queen health, identifying Nosema, Varroa mite sampling and control, and preparing diets and feeding colonies. Please bring your bee veil! Following the demonstrations, attendees will have the opportunity to meet the scientific staff in their laboratories to hear more about the research they are conducting.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Milagra.Weiss@ARS.USDA.GOV  before March 1st

Please specify if you will attend in the:

[    ]   morning and afternoon

[    ]   morning only

[    ]   afternoon only

If you know other beekeepers that might like to attend our Open House, please pass on this invitation.  Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

(I have been to this facility and found this to be a very worthwhile experience.)

Join Today! 2016 Complimentary ABF Membership for New Members

We want you to see all the ABF has to offer YOU as a beekeeper!

The ABF Board and Membership/Marketing Committee would like for you to understand what all the buzz is about. All first time members in 2016 can receive a complimentary membership! We want you to see all the ABF has to offer you as beekeeper! This is at no cost to you until December 31, 2016. Click here to join today! 

ABF is here to serve you and your needs as a beekeeper through:

• Live and on-demand educational webinars

• Online beginning beekeeping courses

• Nationwide conferences

• Legislative actions and beyond

Our 2016 Complimentary Membership is free to anyone who has never been a member of ABF. You will receive electronic access to our educational webinars, discounted conference pricing, the monthly ABF E-Buzz, and much more! All memberships will expire December 31, 2016. We are excited to have you join the largest national beekeeping organization in America! Click here to join today! 

Of Interest

Don’t know how YOUR packages performed last year but I know how mine did.  Maybe this is part of the problem?  Colony Failure Linked to Low Sperm Viability in Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Queens and an Exploration of Potential Causative Factors http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147220

Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?—a brief review. [PDF]

For your morning buzz:  Bee Bold Coffee: https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/friends-of-the-earth-c124.aspx

Colorado Capital Conference—If you’ve any interest in Federal policy and how the Federal government works, you should apply.  I was accepted 5 or so years ago and had a wonderful trip.  http://www.coloradomesa.edu/capital-conference/index.html.

I have quite a few people looking for hives to be placed on their properties in Bennett, Lakewood and Parker.  If you have an interest in doing this, please get in touch with me and I will get you their contact information. 

Man jailed in Hotchkiss for inappropriate and illegal pesticide use: http://www.westernslopenow.com/news/local-news/pesticide-use-nets-hotchkiss-man-two-days-in-jail-and-fine Rumored to be the first guy in the country.  Imagine that!

USDA NRCS Conservation Webinars on Pollinators.  Nice resource.  http://www.conservationwebinars.net/search?SearchableText=pollinator

EPA Role on Federal Strategy on Pollinator Health

http://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/federal-pollinator-health-task-force-epas-role

Bee Sperm Bank: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/02/08/honey-bee-sperm-bank-research-fargo?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email

Survey Request: 

To whom it may concern

I am a student studying in my third year at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. I am emailing out questionnaires for an investigation working towards my dissertation, into the decline in the honey bee populations and the issues surrounding this topic. I have been keeping bees myself for many years now and I am really interested in investigating this topic and applying it to my Agricultural course. I am sending this email to associations in the hope they will be sent through to individual beekeepers, if you would be able to do this I would be very grateful. I understand this is a blanket email however, I wanted to collate research from around the world to see the differences in response. I also understand this is a lot of effort in sending this out to each society but if you would be able to do this I will be forever grateful.  The link to the questionnaire will be attached to the bottom of this email and shouldn’t take too long to fill in. 

Many Thanks  Alex

https://rau.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/beekeepers-questionnaire

As Always,
Thank you for being a member.
Beth Conrey
President
970-213-3099
president@coloradobeekeepers.org