California Beekeeping Statistics by gqe14638


									                                               July/Aug 2004

     California Beekeeping Statistics         Apitherapy Connection

                   Review of the 2004 WAS Conference

   California Beekeeping                      More specifically, I
   Statistics                           tabulated the data from the
                                        2002 County Agricultural
        First, the big picture.         Commissioners’ Crop Reports,
   Depending upon the reference         by county. Those reports do
   source, here is what our             not tell how many beekeepers
   beekeeping looked like in            are included, but their
   2002. The USDA Farm Census           reported value of the honey
   reported that we had 864 “bee        crop that year was $51,090,
   farms” in California (an             723. Tulare County, alone,
   individual kept one or more          reported almost enough honey
   hives of bees) and 720               to cover the state total
   (83.8%) of them reported             given in the Honey Market
   obtaining honey income from          News.
   421,523 colonies. USDA Honey
   Market News reported honey                California’s total
   from 440,000 colonies. Those         beekeeping income was
   numbers are fairly close, but        $126,651,220. The largest
   the total number of pounds of        share came from pollination
   honey produced in California         rentals ($68,771,878).
   that year differed signifi-          Honey, as noted above, was
   cantly between reports: Farm         right behind. Bee Breeders
   Census = 16,303,281 lbs.             reported $5,542,901. But,
   (38.68 lbs./colony) vs.              the greatest value was to
   Market News = 23,320,000             growers, who realized yields
   lbs.(53 lbs./ colony).               worth $4,353,460,249 of crops

requiring honey bee pollin-         Conference brought out the
ation.                              warm weather – about ten
                                    degrees warmer than the
     The details of this data       normal eighties in Missoula.
set, by county, can be              That was an ideal reason to
reviewed on my Web page:            walk across the bridge and             visit the Big Dipper ice
faculty/facpage.cfm?id=mussen       cream store. “The Kid” still
. Look for the article              resides in some of us – I had
titled “Don’t Underestimate         licorice. You just don’t
the Value of Honey Bees!”           find licorice ice cream that
                                    often. Heat wasn’t a problem
                                    inside the conference hotel.
Apitherapy Connection               Members wore sweaters to the
                                    lecture room.
     The American Apitherapy
Society has spruced up its
Web page. There are articles        Pre-conference Activities
on using hive products for
medicinal purposes. I found              The conference format
the one on using diluted            was somewhat different from
venom on various parts of the       previous meetings. The
head to be especially intri-        official WAS Conference was
guing (look under heading           only two days in length. A
“Journal”). There now is a          day earlier, WAS President
STORE where one can purchase        Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk devoted
books, CD’s, and videos on          the morning to pre-conference
apitherapy. There are cages         activities. While Bill
for holding bees and tools          Ruzika shared his experiences
for administering bee sting         using formic acid for mite
therapy. Credit card orders         control in beehives at the
can be submitted through            hotel, other participants
PayPal or an order form can         piled into vans and were
be printed from a PDF file          taken to the area around
and mailed to them.                 Jerry’s apiary. A portion of
                                    that group investigated the
     If you wish to visit the       Native Plants Garden which is
site and perhaps become an          adjacent to the apiary.
AAS member, go to:                  Another group dispersed to                 see the workings of Jerry’s
                                    electronics group: electronic
                                    hives, bee mazes, using
          WAS 2004                  electronic chip tags to mark
                                    hives for identification, and
     As usual, the 2004             observing bees finding sour-
Western Apicultural Society         ces of trained odors.
     Jim Bach gave the rest              Little temperature
of us a very thorough session       spikes (2-3 degrees C) were
on how to examine your bee          seen daily on days preceding
colonies and how to interpret       swarming. When the swarm
what you see when you look at       issued, there was a quick 2-3
them. Many observations are         degree increase in tempera-
open to numerous interpreta-        ture throughout the hive that
tions, but a solid knowledge        lasted for 10 minutes. Dur-
of honey bee biology and bee        ing that time worker bees
behavior can limit the number       were running all over in the
of erroneous interpretations        hive, trampling nurse bees
by quite a bit.                     that tried to hold their
                                    ground on the brood combs.
     Jerry had one of the           The temperature receded back
“Frankenhives” at that apiary       to normal in about 20 minutes
location. A Frankenhive is a        after the swarm left. Other
nuc (1/4 size of normal hive        observations that Bill Madsen
body) that has up to 96             and Jerry have noticed are:
thermistors imbedded in it.         honey bees will regulate
Connected to a computer, hive       temperatures in queenless
temperatures can be taken           hives, as long as there is
every few minutes, 24 hours a       brood present; colonies of
day. In an empty nuc box,           honey bees being moved on
the temperature increases           trucks will regulate their
from the top down as the sun        temperature only if they do
warms up the box. In an             not become “dry” – moving air
occupied nuc box, morning           and some water evaporation
temperatures are a bit low,         really help. When the truck
reach “normal” by mid day,          stops for fuel, hive tempera-
then get a bit warmer only at       tures begin a steep climb,
the bottom of the hive in           unless water is sprayed on
late afternoon, then cool off       the hives. So, Jerry is
at sunset. The temperature          thinking about adding a “drip
differential observed is            line” of misters under the
about 0.5 degrees Celsius.          hive covers for moving bees
It appears that the bees do         on trucks in warm weather.
an excellent job of keeping
the brood nest area at a                 When the researchers
level temperature all day.          introduced a small volume of
Early in the six year study,        hot air into the hive, the
one side of the hive seemed         heat registered on the
to get warm daily, but that         equipment, but it was moved,
turned out to be an artifact        nearly intact, to a corner of
due to heat being brought in        the hive very quickly – too
from the outside by sunlight-       quickly, in fact, to have
heated thermistor wires.            been accomplished by fanning.
     If and when Jerry gets a       hymenopterans, might be used
bit of free time, he and his        to demonstrate environmental
co-workers are going to try         changes. One of the biggest
to determine how that heat is       problems that came to the
moved. They have seen some          surface was determining what
really different behavior by        and how to measure the
bees in the area of the heat,       environmental parameters. We
but they have not been able         have very little field data
to determine for sure what          on any of these animals. To
the bees are doing to move          prove that things are getting
the heated air.                     better or worse, you need to
                                    have data to compare. After
                                    hearing a day of pollinator
Emphasis on the Environment         biology, a “contracted staff”
                                    was going to get back to Gabe
     The first afternoon,           with a plan on how to
Jerry brought quite a number        approach this project. He
of speakers to a session that       hasn’t heard from them, yet!
focused on pesticides and
their effects on pollinators.            Unfortunately, most of
Nearly all the WAS members          the attention that EPA pro-
were in attendance, as were         grams get is on the negative
about 30 additional individ-        side. That particularly
uals who were very interested       seems to be the case with
in hearing about the                honey bees. A number of
pesticide issue.                    audience members had, or are
                                    continuing to find, losses of
     Jerry began the session        honey bees to insecticide
with a presentation by Gabe         applications. Since the
Patrick, head of EPA’s Office       labels on the insecticides
of Pesticide Programs. Gabe         tend to carry language that
has the unenviable job of           prohibits use of the chemi-
documenting the positive            cals where they will kill
effects that EPA pesticide          honey bees, the question is,
programs have had on the            “Who is supposed to be enfor-
environment. Actually, it           cing the labels?” EPA is
seems that atmospheric and          ultimately responsible, but
aquatic environments and            enforcement has been dele-
animals tend to be more             gated to the states. And,
amenable to monitoring than         that is where the problem
do terrestrial organisms,           lies. Enforcement varies
other than plants. At a             immensely from state to
meeting in early May, Gabe          state, and at times it seems
attended a one-day session on       that local economic consider-
how honey bees, and other           ations outweigh honey bee
social and solitary                 health. That sends the issue
to the courts, where politics       much safer to handle, persist
play an important role.             in the environment much
Although not mentioned too          longer than the original
much at this meeting, there         botanical, and tend to become
is an attempt being made to         systemic in the organism that
exempt bee warnings from            is treated with them. For
labels of insecticides used         some reason they are extreme-
to kill adult mosquitoes.           ly toxic to aphids but appear
Until West Nile Virus runs          to have no detrimental ef-
its course, and individuals         fects on Lygus bugs, another
are no longer becoming              plant sucking insect. The
infected and in some cases          question is, what do they do
killed, people aren’t going         to honey bees? The Europeans
to worry too much about what        have devoted an enormous
else besides mosquitoes may         amount of effort toward
be killed when the public           trying to determine what, if
agencies are fogging or             anything, the neonicotinoids
spraying to protect their           do to bees in the trace
clientele.                          amounts that tend to occur in
                                    pollen and nectar. While
     For those of you who do        European beekeepers are con-
not read Bee Culture, Dr.           vinced that exposure to
James Tew requested that            contaminated plant products
beekeepers who suffer what          leads to colony dwindling and
they believe to be pesticide        death, laboratory and field
losses to their colonies            studies have not yet backed
contact him with all the            those claims.
specific information they can
generate on the incident(s).             Gabe has access to the
Please send the information         company data on the currently
to Jim at: State Specialist,        registered neonicotinoids.
Beekeeping; The Ohio State          There are a couple that seem
University, Wooster, OH             to be relatively harmless to
44691. Jim’s e-mail address         honey bees. At the other end
is:                  of the spectrum are those
                                    that are highly toxic to
                                    honey bees that contact the
Neonicotinoids – the Newest         wet spray or residues for up
Class of Insecticides               to three days. Studies
                                    conducted by and for the
     Neonicotinoids are             manufacturers of these
called “environmentally             products have not determined
friendly” by the companies          any detrimental effects from
that sell them. Nicotine is         exposure to nectar and pollen
extremely toxic, but the            containing trace amounts of
neonicotinoid analogs are           the systemic insecticides.
      It was interesting to         for many consecutive days.
note that a study conducted         So, you would not anticipate
on rape sprayed with cloth-         that the residue would break
ianidin demonstrated 1 part         down at nearly the same rate
per billion (ppb) in nectar,        in New England as in the
but 8.6 ppb in the honey            desert West. So, how many
stomach. Currently, in              labels have to be written for
conjunction with the Canad-         the same product? How can
ians, studies are being con-        you predict the weather? I
ducted to determine what, if        do not envy Gabe in either of
any, effects on eggs, larvae,       his roles: providing proof of
adults, and hive production         how EPA programs have
130-day or longer exposure to       enhanced the environment or
neonicotinoids has on honey         developing labeling that will
bees.                               allow effective use of
                                    insecticides to protect crops
                                    while simultaneously protect-
Better Pesticide Labels             ting honey bees.

     Gabe finished his
presentation by describing an       Promoting Pollinators
effort to re-design insecti-
cide labels to allow better              On the up side, Kimberly
decisions to be made for            “Kim” Winter reported on the
their use. The idea is to           efforts of the North American
explain on the label how long       Pollinator Protection and
the insecticide will be toxic       Conservation program (NAPPC –
to honey bees that visit the        she calls “Napsie”) to raise
plant after the application         the conscience level of and
is made. The “Residual Time”        promote the protection of
might be minutes or days.           pollinators. NAPPC has
The problem is, there are no        members from all walks of
standard environmental              life who deal heavily in
criteria for conducting the         public relations. The
residue experiments. A chem-        organization has numerous
ical applied to an alfalfa          task forces, among which are:
field in the Central Valley         environmental stewardship,
of California is going to be        international trade in
irradiated strongly, heated         pollinators, ecosystem health
significantly, and dried to a       indicators (Kim was at the
crisp. The same chemical            May meeting with Gabe, maybe
sprayed on an alfalfa field         that will help), curriculum
in New England may be pro-          for schools, and research –
tectted by a heavy cloud            NAS study on baseline data
cover, kept quite cool, and         for non-Apis pollinators.
the humidity can be very high       They have a Website
( and they have       with other interested indi-
steering committees that            viduals, you send the info to
correspond by conference            the site. It is read and
calls.                              reviewed by Dick before he
                                    puts it on line for others to
     The next day Kim shared        see. There is a lot of in-
photos of the elaborate and         formation at that site. Some
beautiful exhibits on pollin-       is available for all to see,
ators that NAPPC prepared for       some reserved for registered
display at the Botanic Garden       guests. If you would like to
in Washington DC until Octo-        visit the Website, it is:
ber 11th of this year. Indi-
vidual displays feature pol-
linators from wind, through
insects, to birds and bats.
It is too stunning to ignore.       Focus on Insecticides
Color photographs of pollin-
ators were solicited from                Despite the fact that
around the world. One of            some participants felt that
Gail Bromenshenk’s (Jerry’s         there was a little too much
wife) gorgeous honey bee            emphasis on insecticides at
close ups was chosen for the        the conference, Dr. Dan Mayer
display. Each of the daily          feels otherwise. Dan is one
700 visitors to the area are        of the few remaining individ-
offered a poster sized fol-         uals who has spent decades
der, with pollinators on the        testing the toxicities of
front and descriptive text on       various agricultural chemi-
the back. Hopefully, the            cals to arthropod pollina-
message will sink in and many       tors. From the observations
legislators will keep pollin-       and stories coming from the
ators in their minds when           field, Dan feels that the
they are deliberating envir-        honey bee/pesticide problem
onmental issues.                    may be as “bad” as it was in
                                    the 1960’s. It appears as
     Another promoter of            though there now is very
honey bees, Dick Rogers from        liberal interpretation or
Canada, shared his affilia-         complete dismissal of the
tion with the International         label warnings about killing
Apis Health Assessment Com-         honey bees.
mittee (IAHAC – he called
“eye hack”). Maintained at               One very frustrated
Wildwood Labs, Inc., there is       beekeeper, Jeff Anderson from
a Website that functions a          Minnesota, has lost colonies
bit like a bulletin board,          from applications of honey
but it is interactive. If           bee toxic sprays to popular
you have something to share         plantations. His question
is: “Who is the enforcement
agent to force compliance           Sincerely,
with the labels?” There has
been a lot of “buck passing”
and no one seems to wish to
take direct responsibility.         Eric Mussen
That has pushed the issue
into court, where judges now
appear to be the ones who
will decide how to interpret        Extension Apiculturist
the labels. The relatively          Entomology / Univ. Calif.
new Montana state entomolo-         Davis, CA 95616
gist, Patty Denke, said that        Phone – (530) 752-0472
she would look very carefully       FAX   - (530) 754-7757
into cases that appeared to         Email –
be pesticide misuse in              Website:
Montana. (Cont. next issue)         entomology.ucdavis,edu/faculty/ussen.cfm

Eric Mussen
University of California
Davis, CA 95616


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