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 September 2016
Danielle's Discourse
Calling For Your Best Ideas to Help Our Industry: PAm is Administering National Honey Board research proposals and the Request for Proposals is Now!  
  Honey bee colony losses in the United States in 2015-2016 worsened compared with last year. United States honey production in 2015 from producers with five or more colonies fell 12 percent from 2014. As many crops which rely on honey bees for pollination are expanding, the need for a sustainable beekeeping industry is more clear than ever. Colony losses are attributed to pathogens, parasites, pesticides, hive management (queen mating, genetics, maintenance), climate, and available nutrition. With the National Honey Board as the funding sponsor, and PAm administering the proposals, accountability and funding process, together we are seeking solutions for a more sustainable industry.
With this call for research proposals, priority will be given to projects that focus on honey bee health and productivity that provide practical and tangible solutions to the beekeeping industry. Research outside the U.S. is possible, as are multiple year proposals. The goal of this research is to help U.S. producers maintain colony health, honey and crop production. The funds available for a particular proposal will depend on the number and merit of successful proposals; the estimated funds available for 2017 is $400K. The submission format can be reasonably short as long as proposals include the items specified in the submission guidelines, found here. Proposals will be accepted until midnight Pacific Time, October 22. 

Danielle Downey
Executive Director 

Billy's Blog
Last call for Seeds for Bees 2016 signup! 
  Participants are very excited about the program this year and are enrolling early.  Growers are starting to understand how crucial it is to plant as early as possible.  In almond orchards with drip irrigation, rainfall is the only source of moisture for the cover crops.  Ideally, the fall planted cover crops will get exposed to every drop of rain that is available. This is how the PAm Mustard Mix can provide a great stand of bloom before almonds and how the PAm Clover Mix can provide bloom after almonds.  The options we offer include:

PAm Mustard Mix is a mixture of Canola, Braco White Mustard, Nemfix Mustard, Common Yellow Mustard, and Daikon Radish. At a rate of 12 pounds per acre if broadcasting or 8 pounds per acre if using a drill, you can plant from mid-September to mid-November.  However, for those with less rainfall and/or limited irrigation allotments, planting before October 5 th is best.   This cover crop option is great at adding organic matter, alleviating soil compaction, and capturing available nitrogen.  The Mustard Mix requires the least amount of water of our options and is the best at reseeding itself.  Bees love this mix because of the ample pollen it provides. 

PAm Clover Mix is a mixture of five different species of clover (Crimson Clover, Hykon Rose Clover, Nitro Persian Clover, Frontier Balansa Clover, Beseem  Clover) and Annual Medic.   At a rate of 15 pounds per acre if broadcasting or 10 pounds per acre if using a drill, you can plant from mid-September to mid-November.  Unlike the rapid fall growth of the Mustard Mix, the Clover Mix grows very slowly over the winter.  Depending on the planting date, bloom will begin in March and can be prolonged with irrigation or rainfall.  Clovers are nitrogen fixing.  Crimson Clover, for example, can add about 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre to the soil.  

Lana Vetch  is a single species sometimes called Woollypod Vetch.  At a rate of 25 pounds per acre if broadcasting or 15 pounds per acre if using a drill, you can plant from mid-September to mid-November.  Vetch, like clover, has nitrogen fixation properties and can easily add nitrogen at a rate of 100 pounds per acre.  This cover crop is also good at weed suppression and erosion prevention.  If nitrogen fixation is a goal, and you don't have a lot of rainfall in your area, Lana Vetch is a good option.

Interested?  Read more on our website here.  Please email me at or call me at 614-330-6932.

Billy Synk
Director of Pollination Programs

Time to Plant Seeds for Bees 
To hear a brief radio interview with Billy Synk about the Seeds for Bees program, click here.

CSBA Request for Proposals

Click here for the California State Beekeepers Association Request for Proposals. Focus is on varroa management, queen health and nutrition. Proposals are due on October 7th, 2016.

Register Now for These Conferences

Click here  to register for the 2017 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow

Click here  to register for the 2016 NAPPC International Conference 

The Word From Wardell

Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile.   - William Cullen Bryant

  The autumnal equinox has arrived in the northern hemisphere, derived from the Latin aequus or equal and nox for night, an appropriate term for a word that describes the day of the year when the daytime and nighttime are of equal length.  Soon the days will become appreciably shorter and our bees will respond by shutting down brood production and begin to hunker in for the coming winter.  Hopefully, all management preparations have been made.  Surplus honey has been removed, mite treatments have been done, and entrance reducers have been placed on the colonies.  In the late fall my father would always wrap our Michigan colonies in black tar paper.  I really don't know if it did much for the colonies, but it made us feel better.  There are a lot of rituals we have, especially in beekeeping, of which we are not really sure that they do much good, but they make us feel better.  Last fall my mother asked me to wrap her two colonies there in Michigan.  I started to discuss the physiological pros and cons of wrapping colonies, but then I stopped and said, "Sure; let's do it."  We worked together to cut, wrap, secure the cumbersome black stuff around the colonies, and cut entrances.   And when it was done, we both felt so much better.  For me it was as much about being able to do this chore together as it was for the bees.  I'm not convinced that wrapping the colonies does much for their wintering ability in Michigan.   And I'm sure you are wondering...  Yes, the bees made it through the winter just fine that year.  

That's what the autumn is to me--a time to share, to marvel, to rejoice in the abundance of the summer, and to prepare for the coming winter.  But that is not necessarily the case in all parts of the country, at least the part about the bees hunkering down for the winter.  This week I'm in southern Florida where the Brazilian pepper and melaleuca trees are in bloom and beekeepers are making their last splits of the year from their colonies.  The bees are growing like crazy.  With care and nurturing, these colonies will be ready for California almond pollination in February, meaning they will have 8 to 12 frames of bees by that time barring major weather calamities.  It's just amazing to think that in one part of the country bees have finished their brood rearing, and in another they are ramping up for one more big push.  The diversity in American apiculture is truly amazing.

So, enjoy the autumn harvest, prepare for the coming winter and we will see you next month.

Dr. Gordon Wardell
Chairman, Project Apis m.

Quick Links
We THANK our Recent Donors!
Browning's Honey Co., Inc.
Scientific Ag Co.
Indonesian Imports
EN-R-G Foods (Honey Stinger)
Droga Chocolates
Wella Bars
Veronica Swarens
Laurel Przybylski

The BIP Box

BIP Technical Transfer Teams are expanding!

  Our Bee Informed Partnership Technical Transfer Teams are the eyes, hands and heart of our organization. Through them, we are able to work and collaborate directly with ~90-100 commercial beekeepers around the country. We currently have 5 teams and are looking to fill some slots within those teams and perhaps start a few new teams. If this work interests you and you think you have the skills, please contact us directly. For more information on the requirements for this posting, please click here. If you know of someone who may be interested, please send them this information. Applications will be received until Friday, September 30 th.

New York Sampling
  Earlier this summer, the Bee Informed Partnership was asked to help the New York Department of Agriculture sample 30 beekeepers throughout the Empire State. We have had the good fortune of working with  Dr. Scott McArt (Research Scientist, Cornell University) and Emma Mullen (Cornell University Honey Bee Extension Associate) to provide this service with the goal of helping them determine how beekeeper management practices are related to disease levels and honey production. Dan Wyns of our Pacific Northwest team at Oregon State University, in addition to Andrew Garavito from our UMD lab, hit the road for 2 weeks in September. The days were long, but we got to meet such a great range of beekeepers with varying management practices in very different landscapes. Surprising to those of us from Oregon and Maryland was the intense nectar flow in and around Ithaca due to the proliferate goldenrod, aster and Japanese knotweed (a highly invasive species related to buckwheat). Knotweed is also known locally as bamboo due to its hollow stems and raised nodes. Many colonies had 2-3 supers on in this area to capture this intense flow, and bear fencing seemed a requirement in most remote locations.
  We were able to meet 10 commercial beekeepers in NY and hope that if all goes well a Technical Transfer Team serving this community, as well as others along the East Coast may be on the ground soon.

BIP Data hot off the press:
  Averages for Nosema and Varroa loads across all tech teams thus far in September are at 0.08 million spores/bee and 4.96 mites/100 bees respectively. We've seen a wide range in Varroa this month as mite levels creep up. The median mite levels are at 1.89 mites/100 bees with a range of 0 - 38.

Honey super near Ithaca, New York in mid September. Note the reddish brown honey from the goldenrod and Japanese knotweed. Photo courtesy of the Bee Informed Partnership.

Bee Informed Partnership NY team photo. From left to right are Emma Mullen (Cornell), Andrew Garavito (BIP), Dan Wyns (BIP) and Karen Rennich (BIP). Photo courtesy of Emma Mullen.

See the entire BIP report on our website  here .
 Bee Husbandry
-Inspect, monitor and treat for Varroa.  This is the time of year to get serious about Varroa. This may be the last opportunity to treat before cold temperature set in. The health of the hives now will determine their survival for the coming winter.
-Inspect and monitor for Nosema - check often.

-Keep feeding pollen patties.  If bees are taking it in, they need it.  Once the bees have had their fill, or it gets too cold, they will stop eating.  Remove any unused pollen patties pieces, as they provide the perfect breeding ground for small hive beetle and other pests. 

-Begin thinking about preparing colonies for transport to California orchards.  Think about scheduling colony inspection for the upcoming year.

-In warmer places the bees are still flying.  Are they robbing each other?  Reduce entrances and consider dry feeding pollen supplement and brewer's yeast.  

-Start thinking about spring 2016 pollination contracts.  Maintain a reserve; don't commit all your colonies to contract.

Project Apis m. | |
6775 Chardonnay Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Project Apis m. is a 501 (c) (5) non-profit organization.