High Country Bee, 5th ed., Vol. 4, April, 2016

If it were not for Pi(e) Day and the First Day of spring, I could totally live without March. April is here and with it, the feeling that we are on the weather upswing. Sure, there will be more cold and snow—but the force is out of it—and the bees and I know it.

My bees have been bringing in great masses of pure golden pollen. From this pollen chart, it looks to be willow. Whatever it is, there is a boatload of it out there. Orange is common, too. My bees are also bringing in nectar and I have begun pulling feeders. Last year, with the extended cold and rain in May, I had to put them all back on again! I hope to not repeat that marathon again this year.

Swarm Season

I have never had much luck predicting swarm season but I think it is going to start a bit early this year. Due to the heat effect of the city, the swarm season in Denver typically begins before we do out here in Timbuk 2. Usually, we begin seeing a few swarms in mid April and then really turn up the heat by May 10th or so. This being said, you all need to be looking IN—not AT--your hives weekly this time of year so you can stay ahead of the curve. I know you love swarms—but your neighbors and your municipality do not. Consider taking a splits class, too. Bottom line is—get ready!

National Bee Informed Partnership Survey Open!

The Bee Informed Partnership, BIP, opens their annual winter/summer loss survey on April Fools Day. This survey has become the definitive measure of colony health in the US. PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY!

From BIP:

We need you! We know it is one of the busiest times of the year for beekeepers and we thank you for taking valuable time from your colonies to participate in the National Colony Loss and Management Survey created by the Bee Informed Partnership and sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Please go to our online survey at http://10.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=BIP2016 and complete the survey there. It will be live on April 1st and close on April 30th. Please do not complete the survey more than once.

Information about past Winter Loss and National Management Surveys and the annual reports can be found online at http://beeinformed.org/.

The Colony Loss Survey has evolved from our winter loss survey conducted 10 years ago. Now we monitor summer losses as well. Last year, for the first time in the history of this survey, beekeepers reported higher losses in the summer than in the winter.

The National Management Survey is conducted annually in conjunction with the Colony Loss Survey. The two surveys are aimed at looking for relationships between colony losses and colony management (including disease treatment strategies, supplemental feeding, etc.) and/or other factors that may influence colony health (such as colony location, honey production, and forage type).

Your participation in this research is voluntary and your responses will be kept confidential. In any publication or presentation resulting from this research, no personally identifiable information will be disclosed. We are also thrilled to release our Best Management Practices in the next few months. Please check back on our website soon for those exciting results!

Some of you may be contacted independently by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA to participate in their first quarterly colony loss survey. We encourage all beekeepers contacted by NASS to answer both BIP and NASS surveys. But we need your responses!

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at askbeeinformed@gmail.com. Once again thank you for your participation.

CSBA Summer Bee College—Mites and More!

Here we are just entering spring and the CSBA has the Summer Bee College ready to go! It will be held on Saturday, June 11th, from 9-5:30 at Silt/Rifle. We have reversed the usual schedule and will be conducting the hands-on sessions in the morning and the lectures in the afternoon in order to minimize issues with the weather. In addition, the CSBA is pleased to announce that, as a member, you can attend for ONLY $5 if you take advantage of the Early Bee Special and pre-register by May 31. Further, CSBA will be partially subsidizing your lunch so that it is ONLY $10 this year!

Summer Bee College EARLY BIRD Registration


The main problems facing honey bees can be broken down into 3 categories: forage (food), pesticides and Varroa mite. This year’s Summer Bee College will bring you information on all 3 with a major focus on mite testing and the latest in treatment options.

Our keynote speaker this year will be Dr. Vera Krishik of the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. A link to Dr. Krishik’s professional biography can be found here.

Dr. Krishik will be joined by Randy Mandel speaking on Pollinator Habitat Design as well as Julie Zahniser of the American Bee Project.

Randy is with Golder Associates and lives, handily enough, in New Castle! (I did not know this when I contacted him.) He comes highly recommended from a friend of mine who is working on flood remediation.

Attorney Julie Zahniser, as founder of The American Bee Project, has been named 2014 Pollinator Advocate of the United States for her innovative approach to making forage land available to beekeepers by expanding agricultural tax benefits to beekeeping. (Colorado does NOT allow agricultural exemptions for beekeeping at this time.)

Beekeepers Ball menu will be published in next month’s newsletter and a PayPal button will also be available then.

Shout Out

To Ray Story of High Land Beekeeping Club. Ray is a true Beekeeping Ambassador. He sent me the following on a presentation he had just done. WOW!

“Most of my school presentations are 1 hour. Last week I did a two hour presentation and I never lost the attention of the 2-3 grade kids. We talked about the bees... then I set up 4 stations. #1: I bought two blooming Columbines that the kids used Q-Tips to pollinate the flowers while buzzing. #2: I had the kids get water with a coffee stirrer and put it in empty burr comb(the nectar). #3: I baked sugar cookies in the shape of bees and the kids had to decorate them before they could eat them. #4: I brought honey comb for them to taste. All four stations where busy and I had to keep the kids moving. The last thing they had to do was draw me a picture of a bee in detail. Some of the pictures had so much detail.

1.5 hours into my presentation, someone from the Denver School district (science) came by and asked for my business card. Since I was still doing the presentation I didn't get his. Denver schools took notice.”

A HUGE thank you for putting together such a captivating presentation for DPS!

CSBA Brochures/Stickers/Honey Sticks

are available for your Education and Outreach efforts. April is a high demand month for VOLUNTEERS due to Earth Day. ALL OF THESE ITEMS ARE FREE AS PART OF YOUR CSBA MEMBERSHIP

The CSBA has 4 full-color brochures available. “Solving your Pest Problems without harming Pollinators” and “Inviting Bees to your Property—No fear of stings” are reprinted from the Pollinator Partnership. In conjunction with the CO Master Gardeners, we self produced a brochure entitled “Plant Forage/Reduce Pesticides” which features Colorado plants for pollinators as well as IPM suggestions for home lawn and garden management. Finally, we stock “Be a Friend to Pollinators” from NRCS.

I have just reprinted sticker for kids and adults alike! “The future of the bee depends on me”.

Finally, I have in stock several thousands of honey sticks in clover and alfalfa.

Please contact me if you need any of the above materials. president@coloradobeekeepers.org would be the preferred method. I will need quantities and mailing address for most of you.

Speaking of volunteering, Joanie Bock has kindly volunteered to keep track of our Education and Outreach efforts. I will be sending each of the regional clubs a sheet on which to track our efforts. This is very important information to collect for our Sponsors! They want to know where their money is going and I cannot blame them. Please take a minute to fill out the brief (VERY BRIEF) report every time you conduct an outreach or education event. It takes less than a minute.

Of Interest

Pesticides, Honeybees and Political Influence

.Nominations being taken for the National Honey Board

National Honey Board announces new online catalog

BIP Sentinel Apiary Program—WAS was supposed to be subsidizing some of these. Anyone want to follow up for the money?

Honeybee head-butts say more than we thought

I have a student looking for an internship position with a Front Range beekeeper. Contact me if you can assist. 970-213-3099

US Government Accountability Office Report on Bee Health

Honey Bee Hive Collapse Mystery Rooted in Hive Size

For Sale

My neighbor has some miscellaneous beekeeping equipment for sale. Please contact me if you are interested in any of it. 970-213-3099

1 6 1/4 inch super box with 10 plastic frames, new, $15

10 6 1/4 inch plastic super frames. $12

2 deep boxes, used $10

As always,

Thank you for being a member.

Beth Conrey