Another soggy day! Sure is looking like spring out there, however. And it has the added benefit of allowing me to get in front of a computer for a bit. When was the last time you saw dandelions like this year? What a pleasure!
The Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) released its latest report on US Bee losses this month to quite an uproar! Well worth a run to the BIP website to read the comments alone. Bottom line is that the Industry reported 44% losses with Summer losses exceeding Winter losses yet again. This seems to me to be pointing a finger directly at pesticide issues but, apparently, I know nuthin'. This was not the take home from BIP. The take home from BIP was that you hobbyist beekeepers who are not treating your hives for Varroa mite are to be blamed.
I am certainly not going to get in the middle of the debate on Varroa treatment options but do want to let you know that there are new options available for treatment: Oxalic acid (in both drip and vapor form) and Formic acid. Formic acid is approved for organic control, too. If you have not yet considered these options, perhaps you should. They are far more palatable to most beekeepers and are having terrific results. These will be demo'd at the CSBA Summer Bee College taking place in less than a month on June 11 in Silt/Rifle. (See the Summer Bee College section below.)
I know there are more than a few of you who think that varroa control is propogating weaker bees. While I believe there is merit to this argument, I also highly value scientific innovation. Consider the polio vaccine. Before its creation, millions were killed and maimed by polio. One could apply the same logic in that the polio vaccine perpetuated a weaker version of our own species. I, for one, am delighted that it was invented and happy to be one of the survivors. I do not feel weaker for the effort. I admire those of you who are choosing to try to manage your bees without any mite treatment. You are on a long and arduous path. Many of you, however, are not making a conscious choice. You are simply taking the path of least resistance. And you are losing an awful lot of bees annually. These annual losses are pressuring the bee supply industry and resulting in package bee and nuc shortages across the industry. If you do get package bees, many of them are not the quality that you used to find. We have created a perfect storm of conditions and we need to figure out a better way. I, for one, have decided to try to get off of this bandwagon by setting survivorship goals for my beekeeping operation. I would like to see 25% or less losses this year. Consider setting some survivorship goals yourself. As a hobbyist with 2 hives, you only have 3 possible outcomes: 100% loss, 50% loss (or survivorship) and 100% survivorship. Consider what you can do to increase your survivorship and DO IT!
CSBA Summer Bee College Right Around the Corner!
You guys are doing a terrific job of pre-registering for the College! The College will be held in Silt/Rifle on June 11, 2016. The Early Bee discount will be ending at the end of May! Take advantage of the super deal to attend--a mere $5. Add another $10 for a full lunch including tip and taxes. All information, including pre-registration forms, maps, schedule and speaker bios are to be found here. I have posted a bio and photo of another of our guest speakers, Randy Mandel of Golder and Associates.
Tony Fronczek has worked with the Farm Fresh Cafe in Rifle and has a wonderful meal lined up for us for lunch. Remember that the cost of the College WITH lunch included is only $15!!!!!!! It would be really, really helpful if you would continue to pre-register so that we can get an estimated head count to the restaurant by the end of the month when the Early Bee discount runs out. So--take advantage of the discount and pre-register NOW!
The Beekeepers Ball is over half full already. Have you checked out the menu? Molly and crew have come up with another winning menu and you should treat yourself to a delightful evening of fine food and conversation at Maud's in New Castle. Pre-register here.
Summer Bee College--Master Beekeeper Apprentice Test
will be administered at the Summer Bee College. Are you interested in taking your beekeeping to the next level? You should consider the CSBA Master Beekeeper Program (MBK) program. Dr. Nyarady and her team have done a wonderful job putting together this program. The Apprentice level is the first step on your journey to the Master level. All info on the program can be found on the Master Beekeeping Program web page. I encourage you to join your fellow beekeepers in improving your knowledge and beekeeping skills.
Summer Bee College--QUEENS!
I was unable to attend the ABF conference this past January but sent Laurent Cilia as the delegate for Colorado. One of the responsibilities of the delegates is to sell raffle tickets. The CSBA lessened this burden by purchasing a book of tickets. Laurent won us 50 queens from Wooter's and Strachan's in California. The queens will arrive in Silt on Thursday, June 9, and will be placed in a queen bank for the meeting. Do you need queens? Take a chance of winning some at the Summer Bee College--merely by showing up. The rest of the queens will be sold as a fundraiser for the CSBA. Make an offer at the meeting and take home some queens while simultaneously supporting the CSBA!
Summer Bee College--Swarm Photo Contest
Have you taken a great shot of a bee swarm? Share it and see if you can win the CSBA's Swarm Photo Contest. Send all entries to me at email@example.com by June 4 and I will put together a presentation and ballots for attendees to vote for the winner. I am still figuring out a prize but assure you it will be worth your while to submit your photo. I've seen some great ones so far this season and am looking forward to seeing some more.
Swarm season is back on schedule which means that it is just entering the prime window. It had been running a bit early but these past two weekends of negligible weather has kept most of them in their hives. Sunday afternoon, between 4 and 7 pm, I had 5 swarm calls! Who would've thought there was warm enough, and dry enough, weather to get out the front door? Bottom line remains the same. BE READY! Now is NOT the time to quit looking IN your hives. The swarm you may win the photo contest with may well be your own if you are not diligent!
I still have interested parties looking to hive host in the following locations; NE Fort Collins, Franktown (NEW), Northglenn (NEW), Perry Park, Bennett, Castle Rock (NEW) and Lakewood.
The CSBA is pleased to be joint sponsor, along with People and Pollinators Action Network (PPAN) and the Butterfly Pavilion, of the first ever Colorado Pollinator Summit. This gathering will bring together organizations working on the conservation and protection of Colorado’s pollinators. This timely meeting will include featured speaker Michele Colopy of Pollinator Stewardship Council, breakout sessions focused on collaboration, and networking opportunities. The event will be held at the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC) in Boulder. The event is FREE. Pre-registration is available on Eventbrite. Are you working on pollinator issues in your community? Then you should attend! Know someone else who is? Then you should invite them, too! I hope to see you there.
I am in need of a structural removal in Lamar. Anyone interested in going that way or know someone who will provide this service in the area? Contact me please.
Pesticides and Poisons in the Hive: An Overview of Bee Toxicology
Reed Johnson, OSU Department of Entomology
Reed will also be making a speaking appearance here in Colorado in August. Stay tuned!
Unsafe at any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, from DDT to BPA
by Jonathan Latham, PhD
AHPA Seeking NHB Board Member Nominees Deadline June 1, 2016. Contact Cassie Cox at: firstname.lastname@example.org