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 July 2016
Danielle's Discourse
On the Wings of Bees 
I picked up the August issue of Modern Farmer magazine--an artsy, glossy take on farming--marketed toward 'foodies.' I was amazed that page after page was focused on bees and honey! 
Fully 15 of the 100-page publication--including the cover, a 9-page story, and 5 additional full-page ads--were 'apiary forward.' I admit that it's still a surprise to me that studying bugs is a legitimate career. I love bugs, but I know most of the world doesn't. Many of us who study honey bees are still surprised at how the interest and support for bees continues to  grow. Of course, it makes sense to us to love bees, but we wonder if it's a fad? Will it end? PAm's work is supported by companies who give real support to our industry, so I looked very closely at these pages to see if there was any real support, or were they just leveraging bees for marketing and selling. 
Pages of bees and honey in Aug 2016 Modern Farmer magazine.
We do benefit from all attention bees get, but imagine the difference it could make to have a fraction of those proceeds invested back into bees--through research and habitat development! 

Danielle Downey
Executive Director 

Are you interested in planting Seeds for Bees?

Watch the video!

Billy's Blog
It's that time of year again!  The 2016/2017 Seeds for Bees program is here.  I am pleased and excited to be managing this great project for a second time.  I have learned a lot during the past year.  Traveling throughout California to see big healthy stands of forage being utilized by bees from around the nation was a pleasure.  Talking with growers and beekeepers about what strategies worked is how I gained knowledge about how our seed mixes are performing.  We are still offering three options:  PAm Mustard Mix, PAm Clover Mix, and Vetch.  However, to better serve your needs, I have made some minor adjustments to the ratios and species of the mixes.  Please read about this year's mixes here

Starting this month I will be calling growers and beekeepers to enroll them in our Seeds for Bees program.  If you are interested in planting cover crops in or near your almond orchard please give me a call.  I know late summer/early fall is a busy time for growers harvesting an almond crop.  But planting early is very important.  Proper planning is needed to get the best stand possible.  Do it for soil health; do it for bees--either way give me a call!  I look forward to hearing from you.  Billy Synk (614) 330-6932. 

Billy Synk
Director of Pollination Programs

The Word From Wardell

All organisms, including honey bees, go through specific phases in their growth.  First is a lag phase; this is where the organism adjusts to its environment. In the case of honey bees, this occurs in late winter, when the colony is moving resources around the combs, preparing a brood nest.  The workers are consuming stored pollen and honey and beginning to produce royal jelly again for the coming larvae.  In the lag phase there isn't much growth, but all the preparations are being made for the rapid growth that is just around the corner.  The foundation is being laid.

When all is ready and the conditions are right, the organism, or colony in our analogy, will break into exponential growth.  The growth happens so fast it is hard to comprehend.  In humans, the closest analogy would be our teenagers, and in our honey bee colonies it is springtime.  Nectar and pollen begin coming in, the colony heats up the brood nest, the first brood cycle is welcomed into the nest and the colony takes off.  It's a beautiful thing to watch: frames and frames of brood and the colony reaching for peak population.  But it couldn't be done without a good foundation, a good queen, with strong healthy workers to support the growth, plenty of resources and a clean, healthy environment in which to grow.  

The analogy also reminds me of where we are with Project Apis m. (PAm).  Recently, the PAm Board met, and we installed our new Executive Director, Danielle Downey, who brings exceptional organizational skills and a wealth of bee knowledge with her.  We also welcomed new Board members, Gary Shilling and Pat Heitkam, who bring fresh perspectives and valuable skills to the Board.  In the meeting, we had a detailed discussion of PAm's recent accomplishments and immediate opportunities to support the beekeeping industry and address critical research needs.  PAm is poised and ready for exceptional growth.  Over the years PAm's growth was often slow, but it was well directed.  The growth we see today only comes because of the foundation that was laid over the last decade by former Chairman Dan Cummings and Executive Director Christi Heintz.  Chris, Dan and a strong Board of Directors has put in place a foundation that has allowed PAm to become one of the most influential honey bee research funding institutions in the United States.  Project Apis m. is entering a new phase of growth, and it is exciting.  Hold on tight, because PAm is poised for exponential growth.  Great things are just around the corner!  

Dr. Gordon Wardell
Chairman, Project Apis m.

HH2020 Funded Research Announced
Seven new research projects will be funded by our Healthy Hives 2020 initiative! $1million over 4 years will support critical bee health topics such as bee nutrition, Varroa and disease management, and enhanced management techniques through smart-hive technology. Here are summaries of the first selected projects, and a  link to read more about HH2020. 

Steve Sheppard--comparing stocks at Washington State Univ.
Arathi Seshadri--phytochemicals study at Colorado State Univ.
Jody Johnson and Jeff Pettis--testing new miticides at USDA ARS
Brandon Hopkins--RFID technology on hives in Washington
Joseph Cazier--smart hive and analytics at Appalachian State
Quinn McFrederick--gut biome studies at UC Riverside
Steven Martin--DWV strains in USA, from Univ. of Salford

Quick Links
We THANK our Recent Donors!
Doug Hauke, Hauke Honey Farms

The BIP Box

It is hot everywhere, and especially at BIP

Mid July is the beginning of the hottest time of the year in most regions of the US. It is the perfect time to eat cold watermelon and limit work outside to the morning and dusk, if you can. Our tech teams, and most beekeepers, don't always have that luxury. In July, tech teams are alternately avoiding both heat stroke and getting stuck in the mud off the beaten path on their way to a sampling yard. But for 3 days in July, we were able to get everyone together at the University of Maryland for our first (and hopefully annual) tech team summit.

Thanks to generous funding from Project Apis m. and the California Almond Board, we were able to kick off our newest endeavor and one we are all very excited about: A Commercial Beekeeping Manual. Suggested to us by a few commercial beekeepers last year, the idea was just too good to pass up, and we spent a majority of the tech team summit covering the full gamut of topics you would expect in a commercial beekeeping guide, from what makes a good operation to crop specific management techniques to a guide to knots and locks. This pocket guide will be produced in full color, graphic heavy and ready in 2017. Look for it on the bestseller list. If you have content you think absolutely needs to be included, please contact us. If we don't have it already, we'll try to incorporate it.

July averages for Nosema and Varroa loads thus far are at 0.05 million spores/bee and 3.69 mites/100 bees, respectively; however, this average only represents one team and 32 samples.

Honey bee in watermelon pollination, Oregon. Pollination and contracts are part of the commercial beekeeping guide.

See the BIP report on our website.
 Bee Husbandry
* Inspect and Monitor for Varroa
-  Be aware that strong colonies in mid-Summer can be highly infested with Varroa mites and can crash late-Summer and Fall.
-  Check often.  Conduct a random sampling of hives.
-  Use biological controls to suppress mite populations, especially when surplus honey is being produced.
-  Exercise judicious treatment and use soft chemicals.  Follow recommended label instructions.
-  Rotate treatments to prevent resistance.
-  Recheck for efficacy.  Don't assume your treatments are working.
 * Inspect and monitor for Nosema
-  Check often using a random sampling with microscopic examination.
-  Be aware that Nosema in the presence of high Varroa mite levels can compromise colony health.
-  Practice judicious chemical control treatment. Follow proper prep, storage and application.
-  See Project Apis m.'s YouTube video on Nosema control. Click here.

Look at those flowers! This gorgeous seed mix is great for bees and butterflies. It's part of the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership program founded by PAm, Browning's Honey Co., Inc., and Pheasants Forever.

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

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