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News from Clemson's Apiculture Program

 

*NOTE: The Beltsville USDA Bee Lab's diagnostic testing service is currently on hiatus until further notice due to being understaffed.


  

Recent scientific papers on parasitic mites of honey bees raise awareness about monitoring and management...

The effectiveness of Russian honey bee stocks again Varroa may be limited when reinfestation is more likely to occur. Click here for the scientific article.

*Manage your apiaries to decrease the likelihood of drifting between colonies and robbing behavior - these behaviors can increase the transmission of mites as well as other pests & pathogens between colonies!

 

Varroa mites are a huge challenge for U.S. beekeepers but beekeepers in other parts of the world (mostly Asia) must also deal with Tropilaelaps, another parasitic mite. This mite has similarities to Varroa but are smaller, much faster crawlers, and need brood as a food resource (they do not feed on adult bees). Please be aware of this mite but do not panic - surveillence programs are in place and the regulation of international trade reduces the likelihood of spreading this mite. While there is still a lot to learn about this mite, THIS NICE REVIEW ARTICLE provides a lot of valuable information on Tropilaelaps and its management in other countries.

 


 

Clemson Extension Live - in case you missed it...

Dr. Bob Polomski and Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda talk plants and bees. We only scratched the surface so look forward to another event in the future!

*If you do not have time to watch the entire show, the last 6 minutes are great - Dr. Polomski quickly appreciates the awesomeness of bees! 

fbcelive

 

  

Bees playing soccer?!  

Check out this exciting and fun work by Dr. Lars Chittka, revealing the amazing learning abilities of bees!

Watch a video of bees playing

If you have access to Science Magazine, you can click HERE for a link to the scientific paper.

 


 

Attention Small Hive Beetle Fans!

 Here's some information on work being done in Australia to help trap our little friends!


 

New disease testing to be available soon...

Click here for Bee Culture's news release. Scroll down (or see Contact page) for information on the existing diagnostic testing performed by the USDA's Beltsville Bee Lab.

  

  


Hurricane preparedness

Hurricane Matthew may affect the coastal beekeeping community in SC. Time is limited to take action - the situation exemplifies the importance of having an emergency plan (such as a secured location to move hives) set before the threat of an incident, just like with pesticide treatments.

Smaller beekeepers can move hives to alternate locations that are further inland and on higher ground. If the storm passes through quickly, hives can even be closed off and moved into a garage or other protected structure for the duration of the storm. Moving hives against a building can help as well.

Those who can not move hives can do their best to secure them. While cinder blocks can work well against regular storms, the strong gusts of hurricanes may require more security. Ratchet straps can keep the hive together. Hives can be placed next to one another to reduce the risk of blowing over.

This storm is likely to be short-lived, however, it is important to remember that the weather will result in a reduction in foraging so providing supplemental feed for bees following the storm (and before, if time allows) might be needed.

Keeping good records is important for beekeepers, not only with hive management, but with expenditures. Having records for your operation is essential when applying for emergency assistance. Please see the Farm Service Agency's page on their Emergency Assistance Program for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish if you encounter a loss due to the storm.

Stay safe, all!

 


University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Resources

Check out the Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings - a resource that helps guide consumers on pesticides in relation to possible bee poisoning. Please note that the ratings are not the pollinator protection statements on the pesticide labels and not all pesticides are registered for legal use in SC.

 

For those interested in farming or pollination services, please check THIS RESOURCE for specific crops - many have information on the relative toxicity of pesticides used in those crops to natural enemies and honey bees. Again, please note that not all of the pesticides listed will be available for legal use in SC and there may be some options in SC that are not listed in UC IPM's resources - pesticides are registered on a state-by-state basis.

 


SC Bees in the News

You have likely seen or heard about the bee kill in SC. Mosquito control and pollinator protection can lead to conflict - communication break downs can be devastating. This is a complex issue and simple and easy answers are lacking. Complicating the human and pollinator health issues is that Aedes mosquitoes are active during the day so night time sprays are not as effective as those at dawn & dusk. Also, SC's climate is very suitable for these mosquitoes and can lead to exposure of bees thanks to warm and humid nights (bees beard on the outside of the hive, increasing ventilation in the hive).

bee bearding

One positive thing to note is that there are measures we can take to limit mosquito population growth. Eliminating standing water reduces breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the use of biological control methods, like Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), can reduce larvae with little risk to honey bees and other bee pollinators. By knocking down the larval population, we should have fewer adults, which lowers the likelihood of bites and Zika transmission (and therefore, sprays). We beekeepers should work to become advocates for bee-safe(r) mosquito control methods that can lead to reduced sprays (and risk for bees). 

Please see and use the following resources to help prevent another bee kill incident. PLEASE COMMUNICATE with one another to protect pollinators and human health. Contact your local mosquito control agency to see if they keep a beekeeper notification list and be prepared to cover, close, or move your hives before a treatment is to take place.

 

Know who to contact - SC has several agencies that deal with honey bees, each with a different aspect. Please look over the chart below to make sure you contact the appropriate resource - time can be of the essence and contacting the wrong agency will likely lead to a delay.

agencies

Clemson University Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)

Dr. Mike Weyman (mweyman@clemson.edu)- Department Head

Mr. Ryan Okey (rokey@clemson.edu) - Pesticide Program Chief

CLICK HERE for a map of regions and a list of DPR inspectors across the state 

Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) Apiary Inspection for disease

*NOTE: The Beltsville USDA Bee Lab's diagnostic testing service is currently on hiatus until further notice due to being understaffed.

 *If you want to send samples for diagnostic testing without the assistance of DPI inspectors, please see the Beltsville USDA Bee Lab's website for information on what they test for and how to submit samples.

 

SC does not have a mandatory hive registry. As a result, it is imperative that beekeepers sign up for pesticide notifications. Below are links to local mosquito control contacts and Clemson's voluntary Bee Stewardship Program.

http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Insects/Mosquitoes/LocalMosquitoControl/

*If you are a member of a local bee club, please let mosquito control know of any social media your club has so they may post planned treatments and notifications.

 

*Homeowners, if you hire a private contractor, make sure they know if you or your neighbors have bees so the applicator can speak with the beekeeper.

 

  

Clemson’s Hive Mapping/Bee Stewardship Program (see more information in earlier post)

Beekeeper portal:

http://www.kellysolutions.com/clemson/beekeepers/

 

Pesticide applicator portal:

http://www.kellysolutions.com/clemson/pesticideapplicationnotifications/

 

*Mosquito control applicators - please contact your local bee club to find out what social media resources they have so you can post notifications in a timely manner.

http://scstatebeekeepers.com/home/local-associations/


Beekeepers and homeowners:

Protect pollinators by eliminating breeding grounds for MOSQUITOES! The better we control mosquitoes, the fewer bites, the smaller the population, and the lower the need for treatments (which can harm pollinators). Visit the DHEC website for more information about Zika virus in SC. 

mosquito_control_homeowner_guide

Beekeepers should contact their local mosquito control program to see if they maintain a beekeeper notification list and can sign up for Clemson's voluntary bee stewardship program:

bee_stewardship

 

Beekeepers can also look over recommendations from Florida's Department of Ag on Zika control programs & beekeeping:

fresh from florida



chewed_mitesAttn beekeepers - monitor and control your mites!

The Colony-Killing Mistake Backyard Beekeepers Are Making 

By Dan Gunderson