The Nachbaur Papers

A gentleman named Andy (Anton J.) Nachbaur had some interesting and occasionally clever things to say about beekeeping, honey bee regulations (and regulators), bee science, and bee scientists. He was connected with beekeeping since 1954 and was a commercial beekeeper in Los Banos, California, Meeker, Colorado, and Arivaca, Arizona.

Mr. Nachbaur was well known in the state and national legislatures and in the beekeeping industry and by those who would regulate it. He was responsible, at times single handed, for the "beekeeper indemnification program", and deregulation of beekeeping in California and other states. He has proven that a few beekeepers can effect change in the USA if armed with the weapons of truth and no money. He was well known for his support of beekeeping research and was one of the few beekeepers who actively supported both basic and applied beekeeping research.

We have gleaned a few of Andy Nachbaur's timely remarks from his submissions to the Bee-L mailing list and the sci.agriculture.beekeeping news group and re-printed them here.

Andy Nachbaur, retired beekeeper, and cyber-beekeeping pioneer, died on March 17, 1999, following a long illness. Andy was a great sting in the side of many beekeepers, regulators, researchers, and inspectors. We will all miss his wit, courage, and stamina. He posted hundreds of letters to the Bee-List, bee news groups, and on his web page. Since 1954, he kept thousands of hives in the American southwest - Colorado, Arizona, and California. Later, he was one of the first ever to make use of the electronic medium - a bulletin board system, or BBS, which he started in 1988. Years ago, I would phone his California computer and download files and programs he kept there. In recent years, he was vocal and instructive with his rambling wit, wisdom, and opinions. Although I could not always agree with his ideas - and certainly our politics were completely polarized (Andy leaned so far right that our ideologies sometimes met as I lean much too far left) - I have proudly kept some of Andy's public notes on this web site for the past few years.

November 19, 1998 Bee Losses From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Bees in the trees? At 08:17 AM 11/9/98 -0500, you wrote: >There are still a few occupied bee trees in this area (western West >Virginia) and one of the largest swarms I captured this year came from a >house in town that is said to have been there for many years. AFB is not a >problem here so this may help. Hi Steve and Friends, "Yes, Virginia there still are bees in the trees." If this is not a quote from a famous Christmas letter it should be. Virginia is not the only area in the US that still has bee trees but you would never believe it by what is quoted in the hype we are exposed to every day about our bees. What started as a simple observation in one area of the US has exploded by its re-telling into a problem that never was. As long as bees swarm there will be bee trees and this is the bottom line. Sure bees in the trees suffer the same as bees in our hives from the problem of the day be it lack of pasture, poor forging conditions as well as disease, pests, and predators. There is NO separate feral or wild honey bee populations despite what some would like to believe. What makes the feral population different is the competition for nesting sites and some natural selection but most important is the number of kept hives in any one area that naturally restock the bee trees. Today we practice a migratory system of beekeeping trading our production for gasoline by keeping our bees on wheels. This has caused a great change in swarming patterns with the location of swams having shifted from the north to the south and east to west. Bees that swarm in California almond orchards at the end of the bloom would in the past normally swarmed in their northern or eastern home state. Let us not forget that good beekeeping also does not permit uncontrolled swarming and we have become more expert at preventing it. At one time here in Central California a beekeeper could increase 100% every year just by catching swarms today catching swarms would not make up normal winter loss or 10% of our bees. All this good beekeeping combined with good and bad pasture seasons has of course resulted in less bee trees in this area that never had that many because of the lack of nesting sites as our older building have be replaced by tighter modern constructions. Few today remember the wooden sidewalks of old. >Speaking of small cell size, I noticed my older hives without queen >excluders move up into new honey supers as I add them through the summer. I >know this could be from many reasons but wonder if bees do prefer newer >comb. Its the heat. The queen prefers the warmest area of the hive and will not lay on cold combs. Many wonder how a good queen catcher can catch so many queens when they spend so much time themselves looking for their queens. Most fast queen catchers know to look in the warmest part of the hive which of course varies with the time of day so in the am the queen may be found on the side facing the sun while on a warm afternoon she may be found in the middle of the hive and if the hive is really warm she may be found on the bottom side of the top or even at times not found at all. Most beekeepers find that darker combs are preferred by queens and this to maybe because of the heat a old black comb can attract and hold compared to a nice white extracting comb. Its also easier for the beekeeper to see the queens work in the bottom of a dark cell and miss it in the bottom of a white comb. >>another post. Just a few years after the onset of varroa there are >>practically no feral colonies here in Western New York. Farmers and long >>time residents have told me of bee trees that have been around for many >>years, were always populated and are now dead. Sure I believe this, the only question I would ask any beekeeper how many feral hives do you know about and how long you have known about it. It surprises me that most can only count a few, many none other then the old bee tree they knew as a child, and most do not follow the condition of these feral hives for any length of time. >> Gardeners and vegetable farmers tell us there are no bees visiting their crops. It seems likely >>that many of these colonies had small cells as you mentioned and bee >>trees are seldom disturbed by beekeepers. This would seem unusual because honeybees and their problems actually are said by some to make it better for other types of wild bees so garden pollination should be no problem. It is true that some years the weather keeps the bees in during the part or all of the pollination season causing less then maximum yields even under controlled condition where hundreds of thousands hives are available to do the job. And it is also true that if all the commercial hives in one area are moved to another area a dramatic reduction in available honeybee pollinators can be expected. This may be critical in areas that for what ever reason had few kept hives to began with. Nothing prevents any farmer from keeping his own bees which would be one way to remedy the pollination problem and at the least spend lots of production dollars keeping their own bees alive which is a type of poetic justice for all the years of spraying those same bees when own by beekeepers and generally making life miserable for real beekeepers. I like the rumor of giving every farmer with a beehive $100,000.00 and expect that it would be gone in a short time and they would be back looking to rent bees for pollination. Reminds me of the lucky beekeeper who won a million in the lottery and was asked what he would do with it and said "I will continue keeping bees until its gone". In the end the farmer will not only lose the money but also will have no bees.. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
November 13, 1998 More on the Killer Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: "killer" bees returns At 06:08 PM 11/12/98 -0700, you wrote: >> One reason for this is that in the past we have been able to >> demonstrate bad behavior in bees that exceeds anything reported in >> Africanized bees prior or since to its introduction into the US. >Part II : This reason is just not true - Dr Spangler, of our lab, has developed >an inexpensive device to measure aggressiveness, which has not been widely >used. I have personally witnessed tests of aggressiveness which would literally >knock your socks off. I cannot accept the statement that the level of stinging >bees has not gone up since the AHB arrived. I have worked with hived and feral >bees for 34 years in Tucson, seldom selected for gentleness. Hi John & Bee Friends, No doubt about it your area is different, having myself been able to bring 500 hives into your area that I actually shook down at the end of the almond bloom from doubles without a veil in California only to have them turn into aggressive beasts that would comply with all behavioral characteristics of "killer" bees within a few days of being placed in out yards in your area. I have unique hands on experience myself as a commercial beekeeper in your area and agree with all descriptions of their aggressive behavior. I believe you and what you say and if you say the bees are different today then they must be different, you are there and I am here. What I do not believe is that all is lost and that we should all get into the honeybee extermination business, yet. This aggressive behavior I am writing about, the old aggressive behavior that I experienced, is not limited to a few locations or a few miles of bee pasture but may extend far west into Mexico and east to Texas, "and north into New Mexico according to Jaycox at the time", and according to beekeepers I have visited with in these areas. Most all have a story about why their bees are aggressive. The one I heard the most was " we selected for aggressive bees to reduce vandalism" by the public. I heard many more stores like we made a mistake and used queens from Hawaii, when bees from Hawaii had a little problem with fire in their belly even in California. I am sure today most would say it is the "Afro" bees from Mexico and all say they can tell the difference in some of their bees if not all. Before I moved bees into your area I spend several seasons working bees there, killing "all" old queens each season and replacing them with gentle stock from Oliver Hill and others in Northern Californian picked because of years of personal experience with individual genital stock. These queens did well in your area and their hives produced excellent crops of honey depending on the season but their aggressive behavior matched the local stock and they were without quantization "killer" bees by all written description in the best of times. All of this was BEFORE the advent of any new race of bees entering the US. One thing I did not do that I really wish I had is to move truck loads of these bees back to California so I can not say first hand what would happen only guess and my guess is that in a short time without intervention by man they would be no more aggressive then local stock. Though only a guess I am pretty secure in this because so many bees are being moved each spring from known "killer" bee areas to California with NO unusual problems reported other then what one would expect from any bees. California regulatory officials do not check these bees because of the value of their work to the almond industry without regards to their race or origins so I can not say how they measure up other then I would guess they would be the same as if they were checked in their home states and that is Africanized when recovered as swarms. Before the advent of the Afro bees introduction into Texas tests were conducted here by Daly I believe and he was able easily to demonstrate Africanized bees boarder to boarder in California in both hive and feral populations. At least one of these feral hives has been shown by all tests to be the only 100% African stock found in the Americas. NONE OF THESE BEES WERE AGGRESSIVE. None were measured for aggressive behavior because none were aggressive. This work was paid for by the Calif. Dept. of Agriculture and was not made public.(wonder why) I did get a copy and reproduced it and tried to get it out to all the bee labs and interested persons at the time, you may have one in your library I don't know. Now I have no doubts that bees are aggressive in your area. I believe what I have seen with my own eyes and felt the real proof on my own skin many times. I do have serious concerns with what has and is reported as the scientific reason from this difference including measurements, and expensive DNA tests. This cynicism has not been helped by the hyping of the problem by some in the public funded Bee Research/Regulatory Business and the setting up of phoney, less then honest demonstrations for the public and press by the same. No reflection on your own organization or their work as over the years I have found you all to be good people and tireless scientists, others are not. I am somewhat disappointed in the fact that no solution has been found for this aggressive behavior as I know there is one and believe it will turn out to be simple and have nothing to do with DNA or the WWII science of morphometrics. I suspect to much effort is being made in identifying problems and looking for new ones and I am sure more will be found. ttul, Andy- Los Banos, Left Coast of the Republic of America
October 15, 1998 Mad Bee Attack From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Angels? Do You Believe in ANGELS? Well the beekeepers have one in Bisbee Arizona. A Debrah Strait after being stung maybe 500 times last month by mad bees has taken her time to write one of the newspapers that has been hyping the "killer" bees and ask that the bees "not be killed". I don't have her address but my bet having been to Bisbee Arizona a old fashion small town she would receive any thank you cards from beekeeper sent there. If you are interested your post office can supply you with the right zip code. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
October 28, 1998 Using Extender Patties From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Extender Patties >At 07:33 PM 10/28/98 -0500, you wrote: >>Dave and I were having a hard time this year getting our bees to 'remove' >>or 'use' the extender patties when we placed it on the inner cover or as a >>single patty over the frames. Sure can't help the bees if they don't touch As a rule in feeding honeybees, matters not what, the more sugar the grater or faster it's used. Does not mean they get any good out of it but it will disappear. Being close to Halloween I will confess I have even fed my bees a few hundred pounds of dried cows blood in a dozen different formulations. (barf-) I was lucky I did not kill any bees that time but I did get caught in a rain storm going out to a yard and if you saw that old Halloween flick with the bucket of blood falling on the queen of the prom you have some idea of what I looked like after putting out that batch of super high protein patties. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
October 14, 1998 Pollen and Supplemental Feeding From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: oak honey At 10:39 PM 10/13/98 -0400, you wrote: >As an aside to Tony's remarks I have a concern. With the massive flows we've >had all summer our wintering hives don't appear as large as usual. >We are putting our hives to bed and noticed the clusters are smaller >than normal. I think the massive flows have plugged the hives more than >normal and prevented the usual amout of brood production. Hi Friends, First back to the Oak Honey, even in this area of mild winters oak, fir, willow, or any honeydew can be a problem with carrying the bees through a long period with little or no brood rearing. Some of this may be because of the quality of the honey itself or the lack of pollen during these good extra floral flows. In some cases even small amounts of honeydew can cause the bees gastro intestinal problems if they can not fly and relieve themselves. Here in California our first spring pollen comes early enough to make up for some of this, but I am sure in areas that the bees do not get out early but start brooding about the same time with what pollen and honey is stored in the hive, that these hives do have problems and end up an unexplained deadout with lots of stored honey. Because of our open winters here gastro intestinal problems seldom are seen except as expressed in yellow rain. The only spotting inside or outside the hive I have seen is in bees from out of state that were already in trouble and in one newbee who fed his bees prune juice and other juices for his own personal reasons. >So I wonder if they will winter well? Lots of stores though. Anyone else with smaller clusters? In my own efforts to perfect the benign neglect methodology of keeping bees I have found the single most detrimental effect is from leaving too much honey on them for what ever reason. Yes they look good and its nice to heft a heavy hive in the fall but as you report there can be less young bees in the dormant cluster and it seems to me that the efforts the bees make to keep warm are made more difficult when the hives is blocked out with honey that normally would have been extracted. Every area is different as every year seems also but the most productive commercial beekeepers today appear to be the ones who feed the most sugar syrup and protein supplements. Admittedly this goes against my own benign neglect system but I have found that some compromise may be necessary if success is the goal even in keeping bees. So my advise is take off the honey even if you are going to keep it for feed at a later date, and feed the bees to increase brood rearing during the times they will respond to that diets, does no good to feed them in the dead of winter and may do harm, but in the fall and early spring it can make a big difference. All feeding should include some kind of protein as well as sugar un less one or the other is available naturally. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
October 14, 1998 Andy's Opines on Politics and Imported Honey From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Who's watching the store? At 08:27 AM 10/13/98 -0500, you wrote: >>this string has hit a nerve that I have been dealing with about imported >honey. >we eat it any way. Whats the logic. Who are the laws portecting? >all of it. I hope that this clears up your questions about that. >As for who are they protecting? The Communist Chinese have broken our >polical campaign finance laws (along with Clinton and Gore). Who knows what >influence they have purchased with the USDA which comes under the purvue of >the Clinton administration as a result. You got that right. Its called "fair trade", they sell us honey, we sell them political influence and plans for rockets. We will have to wait to see who got the best deal. I hate it, and I am for throwing the bums in jail, others of the different bent would slam them on the back of the hand and move on. I do have to remember what one of our old bosses here in California said about the subject of lobbying which went something like this, "if you can't take their money, drink their booze, use their women and then vote against them you don't belong in politics". Its too bad this generation of Democrats have forgotten their old hero who said that, and Willie don't drink. It does seem that todays political heros have forgotten about the "vote" against them part and may have passed on some of our national secrets that could come back in a ballistic form. Back on earth we US beekeepers have created a real problem, a demand for honey that we can not supply even with our barns full of it. This increased demand is supplied by producers in countries that have much lower costs then we do in the US so we are forced into competition with those who can always sell at our lowest price or under us. We have changed the consumer protection laws to require honey produced outside the US to be identified on the honey label, as far as I know it has made no difference, as consumers are less concerned with the area of production then they are other differences such as price and floral source. Strange not long ago in the 50's the government paid us to export honey and we did. Even stranger is some of our solutions to insuring the future of the honey producers, including promoting generic honey which is mostly imported honey, re-starting the honey price support program that what ever price is set it becomes both the bottom world price and top price for US honey. That is OK for those who would ship honey here but a bummer for our own producers who already are suffering because of low prices and high cost. How much honey does it take to buy a new truck? I guess we will be able to clear the decks of honey in storage, but without import controls I don't see any lasting benefit other then just another generation of beekeepers dependent on the government. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
September 15, 1998 Africanized Honey Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: AHB, DNA, and Quarantines At 10:38 AM 9/15/98 +0000, you wrote: >Although both Smith and Ruttner are reputable researchers they based >their research on a very old fashioned and practically useless >technique - morphomentrics - which distinguishes bees on a basis of >wing vein angles and a bunch of other screw balled measurements. Oh my gosh Garth, this is blast-O-me! How in the world could you say such a thing when so much in the USDA BS morphing is based on this pre WWII research in Germany. My ears are bigger then yours so I must be purer. >I believe that the only real tell tale distinguishment between bee >races can be made by various genetic techniques. Of these various DNA >fingerprinting techniques (OK, but suspect to being messed up by >random factors etc) and sequencing of certain characterisitic regions >seems to be the best way of distinguishing a species. I believe as >yet the results of such work has not been released. This is for >fingerprinting work. Nobody has the cash to do comprehensive >sequencing surveys of AHB races. The OJ trial in Hollywood showed what reasonable people who are informed by the biggest legal minds think about DNA. This is not to say that I do not believe that DNA ,or OJ did not kill his wife, is not a good tool and I have been impressed myself with tests that can determine the food source of individual strains of imported insects but suspect with honeybees our BS has read more into this science then is really there. Too much reminds me of getting finger prints from a man with no hands so you would use his ears as it must be that no two sets of ears are the same. It is interesting to note that when the USDA put a effort into finding the zone of translocation between Mexican Afro bees and Texas bees via the latest DNA methods it was/has never been found and thats why the story/exclamation is that Afro bees migrate into an area and take over the hives which is pure BS. Tex-Mex bees moved to California have not migrated into the local bees after years of such movement at a time that includes the early spring swarming season. Bees moved into California from Texas in the spring contain large and increasing populations of drones compared to few in the over wintering local hives, this alone would allow for the increased possibility of early virgin queens mating with Tex-Mex bees. Of course this has happened and without a problem. It also must be remembered that all bees that are moved into California do not necessarily return to the state of their origin and some could be moved to the North (Washington state) for Apple pollination before moving East (North Dakota) for honey production and then South (back to Texas). I should say this is an over simplification of what actually happens and really know of no such movement but would bet the farm that it has happened knowing the great love beekeepers have for the smell of diesel and pollination cash. Early tests in California before the so called Kern County "1st find of Afro bees in the USA" was able to show one feral hive, (out of many identified from boarder to boarder in California), that over the years continues to be 100% African using all know tests. This hive was docile as was all other feral and hive honey bees tested up to the Kern County find using morphometrics which continues to be the backbone of regulatory testing for Afro bees. This fact alone should set off a red flag and questions on what we are looking for and that maybe we need to understand why individual hives and hives in individual locations are aggressive. When we understand this then we could possibly show a difference between different strains or races of bees. This work has never been done or even started and is basic. IMHO. I have stood alone ostracized for years as I do not believe what others have reported as scientific fact and present as scientific evidence is understood by the reporters or is truly the results of the cross breeding of bees with African drones because so much can not be explained or is explained away in ways that have nothing to do with science. In the Kern County African bee story the more times individual hives were tested the more Africanized bees were found but not consecutively. That is one hive would test negative and then in a repeat of the test a few weeks later would be positive. When it became apparent that these hives had been requeened with Northern California stock that spring all testing was halted. This is one reason why the quarantine had to be lifted and one reason why in the US all federal regulatory quarantines stopped for fear of a law suit that could not be defended by the government. Texas continues to test but their quarantine is political and like a skive and Texas bees can be found in all bee keeping commerce via movement by truck and mail. What I do believe is that if my dog or my bees kill my neighbors kids for what ever reason that after the 2nd or third kid I will no longer have a dog or bees. Some who for their own personal reasons would have the public believe that African bees are more dangerous then European races of bees and have killed more people then European bees and they have inflated the numbers but this is false and world health statistics have not shown any real changes in bee caused deaths. Statistics in the US actually may show a small decrease in "honey" bee caused deaths in the years since the advent. This fear mongering may get increased government BS funding for study but have had a very negative impact on the beekeeping industry in the US with many public and private bee pasture areas now out of bounds for the keeping of bees and increased expense because of unreasonable insurance requirements in others. ttul, the OLd Drone Follow the daily public hype of the "killer" bee & worm story at:
September 16, 1998 About the Queen's Stinger From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Queens stinging At 10:12 AM 9/16/98 -0400, you wrote: >I can recall some time ago reading a tale on this List of >someone in California who used to (believe it or not) >store Queens in his mouth as he was working away. Yep, after a cool one on a very hot afternoon as my buddy went for some more queen cages I did do that. >He did get stung inside his mouth one or more times >once and quit the practice. >Probably in this case, the Queens were trying to kill >one another inside his mouth and accidentally stung the >beekeeper. Thats a good idea but does not explain the times I have been stung by queens as I pinched them between my fingers. My own theory is that virgin or non laying queens are more adapted at stinging but I have never taken the time to check it out or have I read of anyone else doing it. >[ Aside .... at age 65, I am "finally" learning never to >say never.....contrary things do happen :-) ] Some people take longer, I learned long ago and I am only 60. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
September 11, 1998 Lolita (The Book, that is...) From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Lolita At 09:34 AM 9/11/98 -0500, you wrote: >My wife's book group is reading "Lolita" and they came across a passage about the pair driving through Arizona and California, where at the border "a policeman's cousin would peer with such intensity at us....[and ask] Any honey?" > Do any of you know whether there were such inspections 40 years ago and if so, what would they be looking for? Or is this just part of Nabokov's imagination? Yes, California did have agricultural inspections stations 40 years ago on most of the boarder highways and they would ask if you had any fruits and vegetables, don't recall if they asked about honey but do believe judging by some of the smart ass people I have come across working at these stations myself that is about the level of question they would ask if you had a young girl with you. They were looking from the same thing they look for when they inspect a package of queen bees at the post office and that is the permits issued by some other state certifying that the honey or bees are disease free. Thats OK but having worked in these other states the permits or paper work are issued by the book to anyone that asks and more for friends and they are not worth the paper they are written on. The same goes for California, I used to get my package bee and queen certificates by the box of 500 each winter before the shipping season started, but of course in this case they were as good as my inspection which was OK but I objected to having some state inspectors name on them when it was I who did the work and stood behind the product. Several years ago I came through a boarder station with two identical pick-up's both carrying identical loads, brand new extractors from the manufacture in Utah. We were about three minutes apart. I was in the lead pu and was waved passed and my driver in the 2nd pu was held up for two hours as they tried to find out if his load was legal which required going through three levels of command all whom had gone home for the night. After that experience if there is an alternative route I take it and save a lot of agitation and time on the road. Other beekeepers have had to dump off in the desert drums of bees wax and the like because they lacked the proper permits. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
September 11, 1998 Botulism Talkback From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Learning Curve botulism Hi Honey Producers & Honey Consumers! Hunter remarked: >honey contains very small amounts of the botulism bacteria. This bacteria >produces the most powerful bacterial toxin known to man. Many believe this, the question could be can we as honey producers and honey consumers reduce the amount of spores by changing our own actions such as covering supers of honey with dust proof covering when transporting supers of honey from the bee yard to the extracting site or on our own tables? I don't know the answer just asking the question. >Fortunately, it occurs in such small amounts that the normal immune system can knock it down >without trouble. This must be true as people including their infants and children have been eating honey for several generations since we left the trees and there is nothing to indicate in our written records of a massive man or even a baby kill because of it. A tie to crib death has not been linked to botulism as once was claimed by a certain zealot in the California State Department of Health who was singly responsible for the campaign against honey. One rotten bureaucrat can increase the amount of anxiety in the life of all who live in the honey barrel. >Infants, however, are a different story. Supposedly, their immune systems (as well as those of the very >elderly) aren't up to the challenge. Its a shame infants have to miss out on honey, but there is no >reason for anybody to take unnecessary risks. Some say with authority that what you say about infants is true, I have never seen anything at all about older humans having any problem at all with normal use of honey in their diets and doubt there is any such information. I think there is confusing information or thoughts on immune systems because of our new knowledge of AIDS and this is not what we experience as we age but of course in any serious health problems there are changes made in our life but in the majority of ageing persons even with problems of the ageing the use and even increased use of honey to replace other sweeteners is a positive experience and may even extend life for some of the same reasons some mother's are careful about feeding to much honey to babies. As for the infants...I have read the record of those who proposed botulism in honey as a threat to infants in the legislature of California and then in the courts and I was not convinced of a problem or were the majority of others who were interested other then those on the fringe who proposed the idea in the first place. The honey industry went along with the orders of the court to supply information to infant care givers because it was the least costly alternative the other being years of costly litigation over including "infant warnings" on every consumer container of honey. Some say that it reduces our liability as honey producers but this is not true and anyone who thinks that the death of any infant that could be prevented is not serious has no heart and may be their own worst enemy. If there is no liability it is because there is no real danger that could be prevented by excluding honey in the infants diet. IMHO Mothers who do not mind changing diapers should not fear the use of honey as a sugar replacement in children's food, those who would rather not maybe should at least wait until the infants can be potty trained as the real documented effect of honey on infants is softening of the stools. But please remember I am not a doctor or lawyer and what I am repeating is only the experience of others who also may not be doctors or lawyers and only parents if that makes any difference. The truth is that if you put some strains of natural occurring botulism in honey it will not disappear on its own. Most honey at retail has little or no botulism but any honey once the container is opened will in time be contaminated with any botulism that is present in the dust of the living area, which is true for most any foods. Honey used in processed food that are cooked do not contain viable botulism until those foods are opened and exposed. I am not recommending the feeding of honey to infants as I don't recommend the dosing of their bottle with wine to promote peaceful afternoon naps which may or may not lead to alcoholism in the adult child. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
September 6, 1998 Amitraz as Used Elsewhere From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: amitraz At 12:46 PM 9/6/98 -0400, you wrote: >Gentlemen! In my recent trip to Europa I picked up some liquid amitraz. Does >anybody knows how to use this chemical in the liquid form. (25% solution). >They told me amitraz is effective agains both mites. I would appreciate any >help I could get in this matter. Thank You. Attila Hi Attila, The best way to find out how to use it is to talk with other local bee keepers in your area that have or are using it. I am sure by this time the problems such as killing your own bees have been worked out. If you can't find this information search the Internet as formulations have been posted in the past for this chemical and formulations of other products that contain it. Stock men are good sources of information as they have several mite problems and solutions that could be adapted to honey bees. Some of these can be purchased at larger farm supply stores if you know the name of the chemical you want to use and have time to read the label on consumer products.. Posting questions like that here in an international list group with so many US bee keepers only gets you lots of remarks about the legalities of its use as here in the US its use is not allowed at this time in the US because of problems with bee kills in the one prescribed product that was in use for a short time and then only in a limited area. Some say this and other products are being used here, I can not say other then what I have heard which is different then what I have seen which is heavy reliance of APISTAN strips that are very costly and may be less effective then other products or methods of Varroa mite control. US beekeepers have a problem believing that our own laws, rules, and regulation are not world wide in scope and if you do not identify the country you are from they are fast in assuming that you are asking for information for use of products that are clearly not permitted locally in our country. We have a hard time believing that if we can not use something that others may be within their own rights and laws to do so as we lost ours long ago. We are sometimes called Ugly Americans but in reality we have a ugly system of Bee Regulation that is hard to differentiate from other support systems of bee keeping such as Bee Science, and Bee Keeper Education because of an incestuous relationship between them here in the US and we are fast becoming brain washed and sadly brain dead. Our system does not tell us if this chemical does not work or that it is any more or less desirable to use as a Varroa mite killer as any other chemical only that we may not use it as it is not registered to use in bee hives. In other countries wood strips, such as tough depressors or popcycle sticks are allowed to soak up the chemical and then they are placed in the hive and the chemical is released over a period of time. Some have used card board or paper or other organic absorbent materials to do the same thing having the benefit of the bees removing the dispenser over a period of time. I suspect as the value of honey retreats to the levels of the olden days more interest will be generated in finding less costly methods of controlling bee pests if needed at all. Direct application of chemicals is another method of use, and one that for sure will in a short time tell you if you have the right mix as with many of these chemicals a little to much will kill your bees. Most topical applications are based on information developed that determines the amount that will kill the target pest and not the host and at the same time its use will not contaminate the products of the hive. These are determined by trial and error and the use of a good chemical lab that can work with wax and honey. And of course if any Texas, USA, bee keeper were to pass you this information on how it could be used he could find his self with personal legal problems as one did experience not so long ago in another public on line group. You see our bee cops are also part of the thought police at least in Texas and with all its extreme bee keeper regulation has manage to spread the Tex-Mex Afro bee and "killer" fire ants all the way to California. ttul, the OLd Drone Los Banos, California (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 26, 1998 AFRICAN BEES SOUTH OF THE BORDER From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: AFRICAN BEES SOUTH OF THE BORDER Question for Andy: HAS ANYONE HEARD HOW THE AFRICAN BEES HAVE DONE AS FAR AS PEOPLE AND CROPS ALONG WITH ANIMALS SOUTH OF THE BORDER? In Mexico they are killing everything within flight range of several miles, please send relief money fast, as it was in the beginning and will be at the end. More to consider, the bees of Northern Mexico have always been aggressive and many beekeepers in the past have considered this an advantage as it kept unauthorized people away from the bees. It was possible to pay a little here and a little there and keep your bees right along the road without any problems. Today from what has been reported by BS and is available on line to read, Northern Mexican bees have all of a sudden become much more aggressive in their behavior and are all 100% Africanized. As far as in the US, in California they do well at pollinating the almonds but must be moved out soon as the bloom is done to protect irrigators and other farm workers. This for most beekeepers is something we have wanted to do for years but the almond growers insist that we stay until the last blossom falls which do NOT set fruit. With the fear and reality of the African bee hybrids, fire ants, and the like farmers are not as sure they want the bees in their crops any longer then necessary because of the liability. If this trends continues beekeepers will have more time to do beekeeping in the spring here in California or at some other location. There is an information overload about the so called Africanized bees try this Ural for a sample: ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 25, 1998 ...Formic Acid and Apistan Strips From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: What are the methods to treate bees with Formic Acid Hi Dale, You asked: What are the techniques currently being used with Formic Acid? In the US NO use of Formic Acid to control bee pests is permitted at this time. The product that may ask for approval is a single application package of Formic Acid in a gel form. The beekeeper or applicator will have to put the package inside the hive and split or open it to release the fumes. He will then after the recommended period of time return and remove the packaging material and residue. What are the treatment plans that a professional beekeeper with a mite problem uses? For the use of Formic Acid and its different forms of use outside of the USA I will leave it for those with the experience to say. The possibilities are only limited by ones imagination and local regulations when one can use the real thing which may be sprayed, evaporated in the hive, mixed in a foaming or gel agent, you name it. Is it a considered the valuable tool that some would like you to think it is....I think not? You also said: Thanks if you have an answer you can share, I have five hives in central Indiana with five more on order for next year... For your size operation I would suggest you stay on the righteous path and use whatever is prescribed in your area which for most in the US is the Apistan strips BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVE VARROA MITES! ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 21, 1998 ...More Regulatory Outrages from Andy From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Bees and Cat Death It's a free country and all is fair when it comes to selling "killer" bees to the public. We sell newspapers, BS, (bee science), beekeeper regulation, cheep farm chemicals that may or may not work at inflated prices, and now comes another effort to sell poorly designed bee veils. IMHO. It just boils my blood every time I see fancy bee ads in our bee journals relating honey, or good beekeeping to farm chemicals and I have for a long time felt sold out by these publishers who have played a big part in the hooking of beekeepers on farm chemicals which alone is bad enough but just the sight of a jar of pure honey and a pesticide strip shows how low we have all got to allow that use of the good name of pure honey without beekeeper rebellion. Sure I let my own subscriptions run out but feel I am the loser by doing so and not the publishers as what's one more lost subscription they have been going down for years and they still have the advertising revenues and less publishing costs. Well now its hit me again, some outfit from Roanoke VA, selling bee vails and using the super hyped newspaper story's on the "killer" bees to do it that I have used myself in the Killer Bee & Worm Journal to illustrate the hype being used to sell newspapers and mislead the public on the danger of bee keeping. I guess that's the way it is, but I for one will never buy a bee veil from the "Sting Shield Company", they look like a real rip off anyway, IMHO. If you have not seen their web site here it is, its a good one, I won't mention which part did not function but for up to date bee disaster news and nice maps and graphics give it a hit. Interesting to note that several bee cop sites link here must be they are happy customers or maybe something more sinister: ttul, the OLd Drone Los Banos California (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 13, 1998 Can Bees Kill a Cat? From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Bees and Cat Death Rune wrote: >Question is can cats die from bee stings? If she played with some near the >front of the hive, maybe several stung here, and this was too much? >Has anybody any experience with cats or other animals close to hives? May >they become allergic? Hi Rune, Sorry to read about your kitten. I have never heard of a cat being allergic to bees and being killed because of bee stings, but I am sure it is possible. I did have a problem with a family of skunks at one time that I found the mother and her three kittens dead. They were covered with bees and I am sure they died from the bee stings which is not the norm as I have watched other skunks scratch on the hives and then pick and eat the bees from their fur for hours at a time and I am sure they were getting stung at the same time. I once had a long haired black dog that would follow me in the bee yard and get stung and try to rub off the bees on the hives only collecting more and I would have to rock him to get him to leave about the time he would be trying to dig a hole with his noise about the only part of him not covered by bees. He always came back for more so I guess they did not hurt him that bad. Had another dog that would hide from the bees in the truck and kill any that got in with her which saved me a few stings at times. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 12, 1998 Bees on TV From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Bees in TV ad Has anyone noticed the nice ad running on TV for the, a on-line stock trading company? Something does not look right to me, but it could be tired eye's or something but is not the frame upside down with the honey at the bottom and the brood at the top? I guess it makes no difference its really a nice picture and at least its not showing the "killer" bees running the customers into there homes or something, but I would think a stock trading company would want to set the record straight the same as if they made a mistake with someone's trade. For sure I would not want them working in my bee yard if they don't know which end is up. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 12, 1998 Afro-Beetles in Bee Hives From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: No Beetles In Ohio -Forwarded Bee cops fail in search for Afro-Beetles in Ohio, as reported in the "Killer Bee and Worm Journal" It could be that my sources got it wrong, if so I am embarrassed and apologize to those who feel they were wronged. It also could be that what the beekeepers involved are finding is not the same as the bee cops or maybe my source was just being prophetic in the information I used to write on 8.7.98 this report: BEENEWS SPECIAL 8.7.98 AFRO-Beetles have been found in six state's and looking. Damage in most cases is NOT expected to be great and control my be as easy as moving to new locations,..often. Several controls includes both chemical and biological. One includes a chemical now used for Fire Ants and registration could be pending label changes. Some questions have not been answered such as if damage is greater closer to the coast and the route this pest used to get to an island off the coast of SC with heavy infestation to bees there reported? The states are SC, FL, GA, OH, ND, and ME. *editor. * Of course you may not have read about this in your local newspapers as it is from un-named sources close to the investigation and invasion. Additional information on the Small Hive Beetle indicates that the beetles themselves can live quite a while in the hive but the worms must pupate in the ground. The ground must be moist, about the same moisture that would support fishing worms. This would limit the generations produced in many areas of the country. The worms may also be susceptible to at least two strains of BT. Also it has been reported that Carbolic Acid a chemical once used to drive the bees from honey supers is better at driving the adult beetles out of the hives then the bees. Nothing has been reported on the chemicles now used today in the US to do the same or their effect on the beetles. ttul, the OLd Drone
August 9, 1998 Swarming Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Swarming in August? Marc wrote: >Can bees swarm in August? How can you tell swarming >behavior from mere mustering of the troops for a good >honey flow? Good Question from Marc, 1st swarming can take place anytime of the year that the bees are active and they become crowed with bees, honey, and/or pollen. In many areas the bees do swarm more then once and in some areas they do not swarm in the spring but will swarm later in the summer because of the timing of plants useful to bees. Beekeepers who move their bees from South to North many times increase the numbers of swarms and over the years most have developed methods to prevent this swarming. The most popular is by making divides with new queens before moving. In some locations not necessarily the best for honey production such as coastal areas with warm days alternating with cool fogy days the bees will swarm out, that is they will keep swarming until nothing is left behind but a queen cell and a few hundred bees. These yards are excellent for making increase and if the bees are left alone and only the swarms caught many times the number of swarms caught will exceed the original number of hives. Some of these areas are notorious for NOT catching back mated queens because of the same weather conditions that may cause them to swarm. Careful examination of commercial bee hives in California finds queen cells present all season long. We think of these as supersedure cells but all outward appearances of the hives will be normal. No signs of a failing queen such as shot gun brood and the like. Most beekeepers do not cut this type of cell and for sure queens are being replace naturally all season long and some of these may swarm in the process if they become crowded with pollen and/or nectar. Most think of the swarming behaviors as being caused by crowding by bees and it may be, we also think that a queen must be present but in running queen banks of several hundred mated queens and young bees added every few days from hatching brood I have had these hives swarm without any queen in the swarm.. It is interesting and exciting, very exciting if you know the value $$ of 250 queens in a full bank, to see them take wing filling the air and heading out of town only to park in a big cluster on a tree limb 50 to 100 yards away. They usually rest there for up to an hour and then again take flight and return to the hive. I once had a bank hive that you could set your clock by as it would take off each afternoon about the same time and always returned. In time even an old drone can learn new tricks and all that was needed to stop this brazer and dangerous activity was to remove one or all of the gallon feed cans on these hives and cut the sugar with water so they will blow most of it out each night and not become so crowded. Old time beekeepers this area used to finish extracting and their bee work for the year and take of for a month of hunting in October - November. One year they all got back to find swarms hanging everywhere as they hit a unheard of late cotton flow and had removed all the supers so the bees blocked out and swarmed. They started up again and did not finish extracting until Thanksgiving turkey time. I once hit a crop of Golden Eye, a cool season wild sunflower, on the Mexican boarder a flow that only hits every 17 years or so and I never finished extracting but quit at Christmas as it was cold enough to make it an impossible job in an area that having heat in the honey house was never thought of, normally never needed, as the air temperature is normally warm enough to extract and pump honey as fast as you can extract it. We did well over 200 pounds per hive anyway and had hives wanting to swarm to the last day of the flow which in total was almost a year long and some of the different wild flowers bloomed three times that normally only bloom once. Beekeeping on the higher Snorian Desert is a different and as difficult beekeeping as can be found. Most beekeepers in the area never were able to take real advantage of this late flow as they had never experienced it before and by the time they figured it out their bees were so weak from swarming to do much. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 5, 1998 Andy talks back to a Canadian censor... From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Afro Beetles Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 21:46:47 -0400 From: David in Canada Subject: Re: Another thing to worry about (Afro Beetles!) > beetles also. It may be the case that freezing grounds will kill off the > pupal stage of the beetle and the only Northern problem will come from > hitch hiking beetles in migratory hives. It is NOT KNOWN if beetles will (be > more than a) > curiosity to Northern beekeepers, but the short of it is WE DON'T KNOW > AT THIS TIME! Now doesn't this make all you southern beekeepers want to > head for the tundra? >Just one more reason to keep the border between Canada and the U.S.A >closed. No doubt that will bring howls of anguish! Subject: My Apology to the Group & Mr. Eyre >I certainly did not anticipate nor appreciate the insults to my >nationalistic pride that came pouring forth. Fellow Bee Keepers & Friends, WOW, the pot is calling the kettle black...after posting his total collective thoughts on the subject of RE: "Another thing to worry about..AFRO-Beetles", in which all he had to say was: "Just one more reason to keep the border between Canada and the U.S.A closed. No doubt that will bring howls of anguish!" said David. Well, maybe we could all think a little more before we post and not make posts knowing very well and admitting in the post that what we were posting could be hurtful to others, especially if we can not take what heat our own posts generate. I gave back to Mr. Eyre what it seemed to me and others he was asking for. His and my post added nothing at all to the subject "AFRO-Beetles", and were at the least gratuitous and now Mr. Eyre in a different voice "howls" to me personally and in this List expressed more of his own brand of "howls of anguish!" He wants it both ways and it just don't work that way. He has a right to express his opinion and I have a right and maybe an obligation to express my own on his if I think he is wrong. Its called social intercourse and has nothing to do with his or my pride or national origins or our citzenship. I hope only that we all have in common being bee keepers or their friends here. >Finally I would point out, even with moderation, inflamatory, derogatory >insulting remarks still get through and if it continues I can forsee the Bee-L >being a party of one, both posing and answering it's own questions. Is Mr. Eyre calling for a vote or just complaining because his original post was not censored? I for one am not going to beg anyone with such a thin skin to do anything they don't want to do. I do not think that my own apology to Mr. Eyre, or my own censorship or removal from this List would make any difference other then reduce the band width used and produce a void but no sucking sounds. I can not speak for Mr. Eyre, an experienced poster, other then to offer some advice to him and others and that is if you find your own words unpalatable don't post them and you won't have to eat them. ttul, the OLd Drone Andy Nachbaur Los Banos, California Love Letters Hate Mail (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
August 5, 1998 Andy Defines Canadian Beekeepers From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Weevil Eradication A Canadian beekeeper wrote: >Just one more reason to keep the border between Canada and the U.S.A >closed. No doubt that will bring howls of anguish! Is this one of those anguish howls you asked for? Is your border really "closed"? You could not prove it by me other than in the spring my neighbors don't have any Canadian beekeepers that they have to pay while training them on which end of the hive tool is up. One thing about them you don't have to teach 'em how to light a smoker you just have to have good fire insurance on your bee hives and trucks. You could never tell that the border was closed from this vantage point - judging by the amount of Canadian honey and sometimes honey that is not Canadian shipped from Canada that is in our markets, or the nice made in US bee equipment that is helping move bees and extract honey in Canada. As for the marketing of bees and queens it is nice to know that the Canadian beekeeper can pay what they are paying to fly them in from the other side of the world so if the border ever does open the US bee breeder can start to make some real money. But you are right keep that border closed so if and when you ever need to pasture your bees south of it or want to make some pocket money pollinating crops this side of the border you can but you can't take your bees home, that's too bad. It always is nice to know how our brother beekeepers who wanted so much to be US trading partners are happy when a new bee disaster hits their neighbors. Gosh I sure hope the Mexican honey crop is big this year so the price drops to new lows so the Canadian honey producer has to eat their own honey. You know if we could close the US border to all honey imports US honey would be hard to find, now that makes sense. In any case I am sure the closing of the border which is a one way closure has hurt more Canadian beekeepers than US beekeepers judging from the number of failed bee operations in Canada since it was closed and if that's the way Canadian beekeepers want it then who are we in the US to object. Every bee man should have the right to fail, it's the democratic way, and if they can make laws to speed the process up more power too 'em. ttul, the OLd Drone
July 17, 1998 Weevil Eradication Program From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Weevil Eradication Bill wrote: >Thanks all for responding. Yesterday I had a meeting with the BWEP >bee and environmental coordinator and the USDA representative and Hi Bill, Sounds like you are doing more then most beekeepers get the chance to do. I still would document the condition of my bees before any loss and I would get pictures of as many of these government men who are working near or in your bee yards as by their interest they are acknowledging what they are doing is putting what you do at risk and your bees at risk or they would not be doing it as you are not a chemical man or cotton grower. If you do have a big loss you will be surprised how fast they disappear and how fast their mission will change. (They will swear they were only trying to demonstrate to you that what they are doing could cause you damage and you should have protected yourself.) The idea that bee loss is from drift is an example of they way they think and putting the blame on someone else and something they don't control. If you have a loss it will be because of the chemical they are using drifting or not and their program that I repeat will NOT do what they say it will and that is "eradicate" anything but your bees and beneficial insects, fish, birds, and harm people. They will be back next year with another program. >... So this should suggest my feeling about Al Jr. If only us good beekeepers and friends ran the government this country would indeed be in better shape and our bees would be safer but they don't and it sometimes become's necessary to work with people you would not necessarily want in your home or around your kids. Sucking up to ALgore or any other government official must be looked at in the light of protecting your bees from government sponsored damage, both are repulsive to most normal people. BTW, how are your bees doing now anyway? It would be a good idea to find a copy of "Babies Names" and name all your hives like you would your children. This is much more impressive to a jury in court when the other side tries to put a low value on your bee hives as a whole when you know that the loss of one is just like losing a family member. I would use biblical names if I lived in your area. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
July 16, 1998 Moving Bee Hives From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Hive Move A beekeeper asked Andy: >It has become necessary for me to immediately move one of my hives to >another yard. My problem is that there is a large cluster of bees on the >landing board and adjacent area every night. Does anyone have a method of >moving hives such as this while retaining the exterior cluster ? Get an early start, take a clean garden sprayer and extra water. Gently spray the bees on the outside of the hive, repeat as necessary until they go in. Save some water to spray them before unloading. You still will need to smoke them but they should be able to use the water to cool the hive enough to not hang out on the porch. This also works to some extent with bees that are aggressive in the heat and you want to inspect them. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
July 16, 1998 Feeding Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: feeding syrup A beekeeper wrote to Andy: >'s my understanding that bee's have invertase in their >stomach which inverts sucrose (table sugar) to fructose and glucose. >Inverted sugar is sweeter than sucrose. Its true bees can invert sucrose but it will in time use them up. Its better to feed sugar that is already a inverted sugar and not burn your bees out. >Hence, it is impossible for bees to store the syrup that I feed them as >sucrose syrup. The bees may store the syrup that I feed them, but it >will be modified/inverted and sweeter than the syrup that I feed them. Yes this also is true it becomes a super saturated solution of sugar syrup. The bees will mix it with nectar from flowers blooming in your area. >With that in mind, I have no hesitation to continue to feed the bees >syrup as long as they take it. This is OK with me but it could be less expensive to buy honey for your table and to feed your bees as after you feed your bees all this sugar anything you remover from your hive will be OK for you to eat but it will not be legal to sell it as "Honey" or "Pure Honey" as it will remain a product not unlike manufactured sugar syrup that you can buy for a fraction of the cost of honey ready to eat. It would be interesting to see how much sugar syrup one hive will take. I am sure it would be in the hundreds of gallons and compare that to what you could recover which would be a small percentage of what they would take in and could even approach zero. Good Luck, ttul, the OLd Drone
July 15, 1998 Weevil Eradication Program From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Boil Weevil Eradication Program Bill wrote: >Tennessee is going to spry from planes ULV Malthion on every acre of >cotton in the southwestern part of the state. >will spray up until October. My question is how much loss should I >expect. Moving all of my 100 hives is out of the question because I >have no place to move them that cotton is not within foraging distance. Hi Bill, Its always hard to answer these kind of questions as it makes me feel like someone selling a dyeing cancer patient a pre arrange funeral. As to the question of what loss to expect I would if I were you not only expect NO loss I would insist on it. When birds, bees, fish, people or any non target species is damaged by any regulated chemical applied by anyone it is in itself an unlawful use and act, and you should have every expectation of full re numeration regardless of your own interests if you own the property damaged. You should not care what chemical it is or how it is used as long as it does not damage your property, or injure your personal well being. The above is easy said but now you have some obligations to document your own loss. At one time this was impossible for the ordinary person but today it is much easier if you follow some easy rules which include an assessment of the actual condition of your bees before the loss. Get your local friendly bee inspector to come out and make a 100% inspection of all your hives right now before the loss would be one step you could take. It is not necessary to let it be know why you are doing this other then looking for pests, or disease. Maybe its time to search your hives for the Killer AFRO wax beetles. Make a note of their condition as to number of bees, brood and laying queens. Don't worry if they are in sorry shape now and improve between now and the end of October you will not have to pay for the cotton spraying. I would have and use a video camera, if you don't have one now is the time to get one. I once paid for a new Camera in one hour in a pesticide damage situation that just could never happen but few experts can explain away pictures that show dead bees. Always have someone with you when taking samples or pictures and if you can it should be someone without an interest in your bees or personal welfare unless they work for the Welfare Department or something. If you have loss take samples of fresh killed bees and all the pollen you can find. I would even put on a pollen trap in every yard now just to have something that is easy to analyze for chemicals. You can label and freeze any samples and again it is better to have a disinterested party take and store the samples if you can, in any case have a witness along with any film exposed or samples taken. If there are any public schools within a few miles of your bees and the crops sprayed take plant samples and always identify your bee yards by the distance from the closest school if you can. Churches, public parks, fishing holes would be a 2nd choice if you lack schools. Pesticides can be detected on most plants especially ones with a waxy coating on the leaves or plants closely related to animal forage plants such as clovers. Samples need not be big, I have used a old ticket punch that cuts out small disks from the plant leaves like a leaf cutter bee and they worked great as long as you get a hundred or so. Anyway if you are going to do this you should get with the lab that will run the samples to see what their requirements are. I would stay away from any government labs or send duplicate samples to a private lab for obvious reasons. If you do all the above I can guarantee that the word will get around and you will be the most hated beekeeper in your area but you may find that your bees will not be damaged if they are not burned up from fire escaping from the cross burning in your bee yards. But if you never had a friend in the pesticide business you would not suffer from it as for the most part they do not make good friends anyway. Here in California the Bee Cops are also the Pesticide Regulators and sleep in the same bed with the chemical industry so we have lost lots of bees. Anyone who has been in the bee business has replaced all of their hives once every twenty years because of the regulated use of pesticides and some more. Its always a case of the value of the bees vs the value of the crop being protected. Considering that its the same with the poor people who work on the farms what can we expect anyway. The last time someone deliberately sprayed a crew of farm workers picking tomatoes here they took his licence away for 90 days....the next winter when its too foggy to even find the air field let alone spray crops like there were any to spray in the winter. The only good thing about crop dusters is they don't live very long, if they pesticides don't kill em the crash does. Years ago we had a old beekeeper who used to shoot at them when ever they flew over his bees which all were kept around his home. They complained to the authorities and the next night the old plane burned up. Never could prove who did it but a five gallon honey can was found in the cockpit of the burned out plane. They did haul the beekeeper off to the funny farm. He had a good rest on the county and returned a new man with a special sparkle in his eyes which lasted I am told until he moved off to better bee pasture in Heaven. I learned a lot from this crazy old Russian bee man, and a lot more about the law and the bravest and dumbest thing I ever did was to drive my old pickup straight down the road one day that was being used in violation of the law for a crop duster landing strip. I was never so shocked in my life and relieved to see that plane take the briar ditch, and I never realized just how big those old crop dusters were until seeing this one coming down the highway right at me and to see it in the ditch still brings a smile to my face. The pilot got out and ran over to me screaming and yelling about my family roots and how he would get me and my bees. But I went to the state house the next day and that was the last crop duster to ever use a public road in our county and I could not tell the difference in my bees as they were killing them anyway or I would have not been in a frame of mind to do something so stupid. You see he also complained to the local bee pesticide cops and told them how close I had come to being killed and made my case for me at the state house as that was the reason crop dusters and cars don't use the same roads plus the fact the duster's was not paying any gas tax to support the damage being done to the roads anyway. Now the bad news. MALATHION itself is not a good bee killer, or even a good boil weevil killer, but repeated applications will increase the damage done to honeybees matters not how carefully done. Ultra Low Volume is just using less water or carrier so that more pure insecticide can be loaded in the sprayer reducing the cost. There is some BS about how bigger the drops are or is it smaller and they do less damage but it is BS. More acres can be treated with each load, more loads can be sprayed and that's the reason its used, it the money that talks. The bad news about this is that it makes it X times more toxic if birds, bees, fish, or your kids are exposed to it. But it is cheaper to use. In ending I would say ULV MALATHION can be used without bee loss. (I read that in some of their advertisements.) Don't believe it. I would also say that there are chemicals that are even worse as small amounts of them will cause your hives to die out next winter but at the time of application no big loss will be seen, at least with the malathion you should be able to see and document the loss at the time it is used. Bees get very aggressive during exposure to malathion and many other chemicals at the time they are exposed so have your smoker and veil handy before going into your bee yards. I wish you luck, I hope when all is said and done you can report back that your bees were not damaged and everything worked out great. Sorry for turning this post into a book, the bees make me do it. Between now and then if I were you I would get in touch with ALgore the environmentalist as most of these state programs are political favors being paid back by state and federal agricultural regulators to chemical company's, applicators, or farmers and really have no real benefit as they seldom reduce the target pest and the crop suffers the same damage with or without them and sometimes more because of them, such as a reduction of honeybees in cotton can reduce the seed yield by 15%+. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
July 13, 1998 Mean Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: getting mean Andy wrote: >And no, I don't have the answers. At this point, I simply know that saying >that the bees rush home due to changes in barometric pressure is an overly >simplistic assumption that doesn't hold up when you can see the actual >responses of bees correlated with weather. Hay Guys, Gals, and bee keepers too, The point is I never said that the bees rush home or do I know of any beekeeper who has ever said to me or that I even overheard anyone saying the "bees rush home because of any barometric change". I have seen bees do many things but never seen them rush home because of any barometric change. If that was true the coast would be unfit for bees as almost every day there are differences between AM and PM barometric reading. What I am saying is that beekeepers including myself who have a great deal of hands on experience working their bees report that in their experience they can tell the beautiful day we are enjoying one day is going to change the next because of the aggressive behavior of their bees. This is a "fact" it may not be the same everyplace, of that I am sure, but its unfair and not scientific to flatly say this is wrong because anyone else has observed something different. I have no argument that what Jerry is doing, in fact I think it is the greatest, and doing it in as many places and with as much technical equipment may make it the fact for the place, time, and conditions it was done but it is wrong to say that I or any beekeeper who reports what we have observed is not the way we observed it, without walking in our shoes, which many may have a lot of catching up if they want to do that as many of these coastal bee location are being black toped and roofed over. >Our weather station doesn't include light intensity. The Alpha system >covers this information plus hive temperatures, weight changes, RH, etc. >One of these days, we will add an Alpha system to our observation hive. >And yes Andy, we do have electronic hives at different elevations and in >different parts of the country. We don't post all of this to the web - we >doubt that most beekeepers want to look at hundreds of Mb of data per day. >We can make this information available to those who want to work with it. There is nothing wrong with any of this and I support your good work and you for sure you are developing and should have some interesting and useful data that may take years of careful study to understand....But I wonder if then we will know anything different other then what I know from the use of my rear end and noise. It won't change anything, a day before a weather change on the coast of central California beekeepers will know because they are experiencing a behavioral change in their bees. I suspect that beekeepers who are young now will someday be old and they also will be using their own rear ends and noises to do the same thing. In any case I surrender, you are right, what I observed was only an aberration and I misunderstood it. Oh, BTW my queen nucs are really aggressive today and.......will be tomorrow as they don't have laying queens, and I can prove it to anybody that wants a few stings. But then its 100+ degrees in the shade and the ants are bothering them and they are all hanging out on the front of their nuc boxes so my proof is a little weak. Anyway want to talk about how bees react during earthquakes as I also have first hand observations on that having kept bees at one time on a very active fault...that was active enough to find the beehives not in the same neat lines a week or two after unloading them because of the almost daily ground movement. ttul, the OLd Drone
July 11, 1998 Mean Bees From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Fwd: Re: getting mean Jerry wrote: >>>from storm fronts moving about. In many areas beekeepers are able to >>>predict tomorrows weather change by the behavior of their bees >>Andy goes on to say that this may be a reflection of floral responses. >>Our electronic systems clearly demonstrate that bees know when storms are Hi Jerry, Bee Keepers & Friends, I ain't got no systems other then the seat of my pants and the end of my noise. When I am working the bees bent over a hive and a bee comes out and lands tail up on the end of my noise everything else being equal I grab for a bee veil after pulling the stinger out of my noise. I don't need no electronic gismo's to tell me that I should have put my veil on before opening the hive. >>We can find days when the pressure drops and the bees come home. But we >>find as many or more days when the pressure is bouncing around or going up >>and the bees are still racing home. So -- like many explanations of bee >>behavior, the old "atmospheric pressure" answer is not correct. Bees may >>take pressure into consideration, but other factors must be factored in by >>the bees. Yes for sure this is a complicated subject and many factors in your experience are not clearly defined and could be area specific and do involve more then one science and need more study including replication at other sites and locations using many different flavors of bees and plants and even then it my be there is an exception that explains what other beekeepers have seen in their bees...kinda cheeky aren't I. I can assure all that I do not expect to be able to explain all that I have felt or seen in my bee yards over the years but at the same time I can say for a fact that at least on the coast of Monterey County California many beekeepers over a extended period of time, 70+ years, in the winter and spring, have been able to predict with an great accuracy that is as good or better then the information provided by the weather bureau, the changing of the weather before it happens by the temperament of their bees. In this area these are real life, real time, facts, if not good science that have not been explained by any science other the changes expressed by the flowering plants that grow at the time of year in these locations the observations were made that seem to correspond with early barometric pressure changes that come before any weather front moves in. It does not have to follow that these reports are mistaken or false because the same changes do no cause the same response in bees in any other area and only makes it of less value for the average beekeeper who makes no claim to being a scientist to make personal observations of his bees or report them to others and that why I am writing this reply to my friend Jerry the bee scientist and you all. It is well enough to announce that this is not that fact, which may be, but that does little to explain what many others have experienced. It would be better to say what caused what has been experienced as above and then say it was caused by this or that and not the pressure changes. I am not in any way challenging what Jerry reports as scientific fact in his area or areas of study that do not include my own areas and I would say maybe much more is to bee learned. At the same time the keeping of the same bees on the Mexican boarder area of south western Arizona would not be define by the bees temperament in a change of the weather because there is NO time that the bees would not come out and sting my rear end and noise as I struggle to put my veil on even if I had old truck tires burning in my smoker. Both of these experiences are verifiable and repeatable at these locations so they could be considered more then just one old beekeeper's observation and its a little premature to say these observations are correct or not correct without walking in the shoes of those with the experience and the fat lips. >>If you wish, start following the weather and our observation hive. Had a >>good illustration of a pressure drop, bees come home the other day - so if >>you find that one day, you could argue that point. But, look at lots of >>days and make up your own mind. I don't know nothing but I would suggest any environmental measurement of bee flight would require some additional information I have not found on your sight such as light polarization and intensity measurements which may explain why your bees behavior is different from those in other places as measured by my noise and the seat of my pants. From working bees in the higher elevations of Colorado I did see some flight behavioral differences not explained by experiences with bees in sea level California or the Sonora desert of SW Arizona beekeeping. I also had some performance denigration myself for the first day or so as this sea level beekeeper gave up his sea legs for mountain goat one's. In any case my observations are just that and only good for the area and time I made then and were not intended to be hard and fast rules of science as IMHO the first rule of bee science is that there will be an exception to all rules so I don't report anymore then observations which may or may not be the same in any other bees or bee yards. The only hard and fast Rule that follows beekeepers like a dark cloud is that if there is any bee disease, pest, or predator that your bees don't have just wait awhile and you will. ttul, Andy- (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
June 25, 1998 Varroa Mites and Chemicals From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Mites Andy replies to comments from another beekeeper on the subject of mites... At 02:23 PM 6/25/98 -0400, you wrote: >When checking the brood chamber of the smaller hive I noticed numerous >little mites running about on top of the frames. Now I am not sure what >kind of mites these are or if they even effect the bees. I don't think >the smaller hive will produce any honey this year but the larger hive is >producing honey now. Hi, Sometimes in a weak hive other mites and other insects will be noticed when the hive is first opened after a long period of (beenign neglect). Most all the mites found in bee hives are light sensitive and will scurry for cover when exposed to the light of day. If the mites are pin head sized, reddish brown, and oval in shape they may be varroa mites. To make sure you could check to see if you can find some attached to the bees themselves and on the pupa of any drone brood between the supers, (if any). > My question is should I do some kind of mite >treatment now ? If so what can I use during the honey flow. If you do not intend to use the honey, other then to feed that hive, from the smaller hive you could treat it at any time using the recommended number of strips and length of time. I would reduce it to a single, if possible, and use the number of strips recommended. I would warn that if the hive is already weak because of a old or failing queen, and has mites, it could be more economical to rebuild the hive with a nuc or divide and a young queen after destroying the old bees and queen and putting the original hive and frames in storage for a length of time so that all mites are dead. Thirty days is reasonable and seven will do the job for most hives. Sounds extreme but I am talking economics knowing full well that some would spend a $1,000. on health care for a stray cat because they have money and love cats, and I would not. From the bigger hive I assume you are planing on using the honey, you should wait to treat until you have removed the honey if you intend to treat it. This not only reduces the far out chance that you will get harmful chemicals in the honey but will reduce the area that needs to be treated and increase the effectives of the treatment and reduce the costs. If you are NOT going to consume the honey, I still would remove the honey before treatment. I would add that if the hive is in all other respects "healthy" and has survived with a low level of mite infestation or no visual mites I would consider NOT treating it at all. IMHO: Prophylactic treatments for mites is a waste of money and may be the good bee farming practice as preached by the majority and the chemical dusty's but only gets you a seat on the pesticide merry-go-around like most every other farmer. You will not be alone! You may be wondering how come the smaller hive has Varroa mites or more mites then the larger hive? All hives that have mites if they collapse for any reason will have more mites at the end then at the beginning of the collapse. So a 2nd swarm with less and maybe older bees would have more mites then a prime swarm. No different then a flattened cat that does not die right away, when it does die depending on the length of time it lingers on, it will have a population of flea's that anyone who does not know its history prior to its death will say the flea's surely killed that flat cat when you and I know it died because of the Mac truck that made it a flat cat in the first place. Treatment of the cats flea's will reduce their numbers to zero but will not overcome the fact that the flat cat is going to die sooner then later. The state of the art is such that it is not know how many mites per 100 or 1,000 bees should be a treatment level. It has never been demonstrated that adding any number of varroa mites to a healthy hive has any dramatic effect on that hive. And because all honeybees have several defence mechanisms against mites some could be afflicted less then others, or not at all. The "rule" in beekeeping is "that for every rule there is an exception". As for the treatment of bees for Varroa mites I believe that the majority of beekeepers in the US have been stuck on the pesticide merry-go-around and will not easily find a way off because their government regulators do not believe they are mature enough to use any farm chemicals reasonably and has collaborated with the chemical industry to keep them hooked on chemicals by forcing them to use a few products that do not work as advertised and are inflated in price by 1000x above what they should cost. Others say its the "American" Way,.. *(because of our censors I have removed the short graphic description of what the "American" Way really has become.)*, but if you get em down you stick it too em, and if you can pay your government to protect you in doing it, you can charge em any amount for the pleasure you get from doing it to them. Thats the new "American" its called "value added". My hope that a few so called "hobby" beekeepers will follow a different road and resist using chemicals at all no matter what any good bee regulator or bee doctor tells you. (If its the LAW I advise all to follow it.) My gut feeling is it will be years before the commercial bee industry wakes up and does the same even if the last Varroa mite on earth was to have disappeared or all bee hives were full and healthy. Good Luck, ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
June 11, 1998 Government Researchers Again From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Disturbing News Story - Hornfaced Bees Rory wrote: >Today I saw this in my local paper. What is the USDA bee lab thinking??? > Hi Rory, & Bee Keeping Friends, 1st, for sure these PR puff story's on wild bees have as a purpose to generate interest in continuing support for aging high cost USDA government research at small inefficient GI labs across the country that have little or no contact with main stream beekeeping or agriculture, for that matter, that should have been ended years ago with the "beekeeper support programs". We all would be better off if these labs were closed as they have a long history of creating false negative narrations about the honey bee keeping "industry" which is an industry while they are nothing more then bee keeping hobbyists playing a the public's expense. It is interesting to note that the funding for these projects are hidden in Federal legislation such as the "Honey Promotion Bill", as they can not stand on their own or the pass the test of "daylight" or review, and all are now finding that to bite (sting) the bee keepers hand (mostly backside) is not good public policy as we honey bee keepers are the one's that are asked by the public and legislature about the creditability of these PR story's. 2nd, some of the information provided by these labs is so close to being inaccurate they boarder on being just plain lies. There is no denying that these wild bees are interesting but the best of them do not stand up in the public market place. The "alfalfa" leaf cutter bees is still the only so called "wild bee" that enjoys any popularity in field crops supplemental pollination and it has serious health problems and is considered by many in the public a pest insect because of the damage it does to ornamentals when it enters the back yard environment. Some species of "bumble bees" are doing well in green house pollination at inflated costs to growers and in the big picture of who gets what to eat in this world are of little total importance. Other favorites of the day are the "blue orchard" bee and I am sure the "horned face bee" fits into this category of individual bee pollinators that outside of their favored environs are not dependable as pollinators in commercial pollination of orchards because of their own life cycle which are not the same as most of agricultures which could benefit by their presence. I have worked with the "leaf cutter" bees and co-discovered, (I did not know what I had.), a local sub species that gained notoriety as the "killer" leaf cutter bees years back because of their stinging behavior and aggressive expansion traits. Most all of these wild bees have self protection methods and many will sting and for those who are sensitive can be as deadly as the dreaded killer bee. Its mostly a case of their populations being small resulting human exposure is low, but if you had populations needed for commercial pollination of orchards and fields the odds would change. I have a unused "bumble" bee nest box as we have very low populations here and have failed to see my "blue orchard" bees increase in populations over several seasons. Maybe its the competition from the honeybees in this area and until they have all disappeared instead of the steady increase of the last 50 years the wild bees will suffer in total numbers. The increase in honey bee populations here is a direct results in their use for pollination and not because the price of honey or honey yields have increased as they have not and if honey were priced on a parity of 50 years ago it would be bringing the producer an excess of $2.50 US per pound today. Top price today is 1/3 of that and yields have dropped from a case or two of honey per hive average year, (120-240 pounds), to about 30 pounds this area. Beekeepers here do make more honey per hive by moving their bees to other areas in state and out of state. They trade fuel oil for honey yield in most cases, but are able to increase the per hive yield to 100 or more pounds per season. But the facts are the wild bees are here, they are interesting or people like me would not have them, but they are not replacements for honey bees and those in public service who call themselves scientist of one flavor or another who are trying to sell them as that to the public have lost my respect and support. Interesting and beneficial they are, in their place, but not as a replacement for honey bees and their keepers and if there is a fight between bee keepers who pollinate crops I stand with those who keep honey bees who have demonstrated for more then 50 years with successful management for crop pollination. For years none of these wild bee keepers have ever taken a positive stand on any issue concerning honey bee keepers and for the most have tried to capitalize on our problems with less then honest hot gas about their own abilities which few delivering more then the annual inflated PR report to the press. ttul, the OLd Drone
February 12, 1998 Alternate Varroa Mite Controls From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: HARD SMOKE "Hard Smoke' is what beekeepers do when their bees get out of control. We have all done it and sometimes in the heat of the battle a little fire comes out and oops some wings get flamed and a few handful of bees are prematurely aged and sent off to a better life. Today in many places in the bee world the varroa mite continues to cause beekeepers to Hard Smoke. Years ago, before the first ugly American beekeeper had discovered the first vampire mite on a bee attracted to the light of a window in his honey barn, European beekeepers had killed more bees controlling varroa mites and tried almost all agricultural chemicals on their bees than has been documented killed by the mites they targeted for death. (Some beekeepers also were able to degrade their own personal health in the effort to kill varroa mites and all should be aware that danger is real.) Of course history always repeats itself and I have held back a little on some of the horror stories passed on to me by US commercial beekeepers from all areas of the US because what they do to their own bees is really none of my business and repeating this kind of antecdotal information can cause problems to otherwise innocent and good people. Beekeepers who must make a living from bees have a real problem balancing that need with their responsibility of being good citizens - all these laws, rules, regulations, and bee research never seem to take into consideration that beekeeper can not wait years and years for the paper work to clear whatever committee when the bees they need to make a living to live like normal people are today's needs, so short cuts are made. We all live with the fear that some chemical will get into someone's honey and cause a problem for all. Of course you are right but at the same time there are private interests outside of the honey production side of the industry that are also concerned and do check bulk honey for adulteration and farm chemicals, and they do find these cheerless and adulteration in honey and because that honey is returned to the producer and any information that is required by law to be passed on to the Pure Food & Drug Administration and other government agencies is passed on, only a very small amount of the total honey produced in the US is found to be contaminated or adulterated as no honey producer can afford to not be able to sell his crop. It is no different for imported honey which is also checked by bulk purchasers and foreign honey is found to be contaminated, adulterated, or with farm chemicals and it is also rejected from sale. This also is a small percentage of the total amount imported because of the high costs involved to those who are caught. So we do have some protection from government and private interests checking our honey... Well let me tell you, yes I get reports of beekeepers doing some outlandish things to protect their bees and using other then prescribed methods to control the varroa mites resulting not in the contamination of their farm production but for sure causing the complete loss of their hives sometimes in numbers of 1,000 or more hives, dead, dead, at one time. Some of these losses were not because they were not able to control mites by legal methods but to pinch a penny or just out of curiosity and bad judgement, but more and more are reporting the failure of the legal and prescribed chemical in controlling mites, or using the prescribed chemical and following the directions and still having the bees go to hell in a hand basket. It is not really clear which it is. I suspect the later, but in any case beekeepers for whatever reason are having a real problem today with mites in some areas or operations that can not be met by the prescribed and lawful method of control and are using unapproved chemicals. It is not a general problem, yet, and I still think this loss is not all because of T or V mites, but it is a growing problem and it is real to those who are suffering. One case may shine a little light on what they are up against. A beekeeper picked up a load (500 hives) in Florida that had been treated lawfully and found on inspecting them, prior to loading them out, to be infested with numbers of mites that exceeded anything he had ever experienced, multiple varroa mites on every bee. He had to move them so assigned one man to smoke them and another to spray the entrances with an no longer approved chemical as they were being loaded. When these bees arrived at their out of state destination in the south west after a day and half on the truck they were unloaded. Close examination found NO dead bees out of the normal wind damage but so many varroa mites had died and were kicked out by the bees in transit that the tops of the hives on the bottom tier were covered as was the bed of the truck. I wish I had a picture because words can not describe what was seen, except his bee hive tops and the truck were carpeted red with dead mites. In this case without the unlawful treatment these bees would all be dead today instead of having taken another long trip on the semi truck and pollinating almonds in California before making the trip back to the south west and finally ending up in the north for the clover flow... Is this beekeeper a criminal and threat to all other beekeepers and the good name of honey? Well if he were to get caught you sure better believe that is what the bee police will testify too in court at his trial and I guess some would say he got what he deserved if here were locked away from the rest of the beekeepers, but I say to all we may be entering into a time when it is easier for the few who would see all honey bees destroyed by pestilence get their wish and hard times for those who wish only to have healthy bees for commerce or hobby and I see no way that someday we may all be outlaws if we wish to continue. I just hope these beekeepers who are doing these things are more clever on covering them up then our/your President has been keeping his thing covered up. In any case don't ask for names or even chemicals involved - if you are that interested come to California the next few weeks. Almost every commercial beekeeper in the US who has his bees on wheels is here and everyone of them has a set of these Hard Smoke stories. A keg of nails dropped on Highway 99 would catch an easy 20 to 30 truck loads of bees per hour after dark, or look for the real cheap motels that have big dark drug dealing parking lots or just about any all night coffee shop between Bakersfield and Mt. Shasta, and just look for the muddiest looking trucks, with the tiredest looking drivers toeing the newest forklifts covered from mast to rear end with fresh sticky mud. Beekeeping is a lot of fun!! ttul, the OLd Drone * Use tasteful words, You might have to eat them. (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
February 10, 1998 Apistan Resistance From: Andy Nachbaur >>The latest (Feb?) issue of American Bee Journal contains an article documenting fluvalinate resistance in Varroa mites in Florida. V-mites in infested hives treated with Apistan strips survived the treatments with no effect. What do you think is happening?<< Hi Bee Friends, Several important details are missing in these reports as reviewed here. One, which of the Varroa mites are they working with? Asian, or European? It would be nice to know of the other environmental conditions in the different bee yards tested. There is a world of difference between rearing insect's and bees in Florida and Arizona because of environmental differences. My guess would be that a good extra heavy smoking of bees in Arizona would have a much greater effect on the vampire mites in Arizona and little effect on the same mites in Florida because of these differences. Also, some reliable sources report that those who are lucky enough to have some of the original strips are not having the problem in controlling mites in Florida which would indicate some product or application change?? The last time I checked strips with other chemicals that do work on varroa were still available for use on other domestic and farm animals other then bees. (not registered or permitted for honeybees} I do not know of anyone using them because I do not know anyone having a problem with Varroa in this area and all seem to be satisfied with using and re-using their foofoo strips. And yes tens of thousands of hives that have been in Florida and Texas are right now being placed in the Almond Orchards in California. When all, maybe 800-900,000 hives are in place if you could line them up down the freeway back to front there would be no reason to have a white line between Bakersfield and Mt. Shasta in northern California. This action by a few hundred beekeepers in moving bees into a relatively small area is one of the wonders of the world of agriculture and the greatest consternation of honeybees anyplace in the world. It's all mind bogging when you think it all happens without any government direction and little government interference because of the billion dollar $$US value of the crop to California agriculture. These bee hives could be carrying the black plague and no one in government would interfere with the movement. (Maybe they would burn 'em all later after the almonds were finished blooming.) For sure if one of those hives would pass wind it would not take long for the total to know about it and this is what Bailey and others were warning us about many years ago, too many bees in one area is a prescription for disaster. The same for one of those TEX-MEX drones with presidential aspirations could impregnate one of our very desirable California virgins in the shade of some almond tree and no one would be the wiser until some zealous bee cop did a DNA test on the little son's of bee's. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
February 7, 1998 Andy responds to comments on bee colony hygiene... From: Andy Nachbar Subject: Are bee hives clean? What about propolis, FGMO and PGMO? (We have done some editting to this exchange - Ron, Bkprs Homepages) At 01:18 AM 2/8/98 +0200, M. P. wrote: >I was not aware that there are hives without propolis, (I saw that some hives >are well glued and there are others with almost nothing, but a thin layer >is always there) . If those bees do not use propolis (Do not have >ingredients or do not know to produce it) are healthy because maybe >was not yet discovered by Columb to give them flu or use spells >to cure the evil :) Hi M. & Bee Friends, To have propolis you must first have the trees and plants that produce them and believe it or not there are many places that are excellent for beekeeping that do not have them so the bees do not gather propolis, none of the hives because there is none to gather. I have personally kept bees in both types of areas and if I were asked I would say the bees are no healthier in the areas of over abundant propolis then they are in the areas that have little or none at all, but I would add that they are easier to work both in the field and in the honey extracting room when there is little or no propolis. We do no understand all that is to be known about how the bees use propolis but for sure how they use it and how man would use it in the trade are not necessarily the same. >If the hive is unclean, then >bees walking in that unclean stuff and next in combs cells, will >make the honey unclean, so unfit for human consumption.!!! Man has bee eating honey, bees wax, and some of the junk of the hives for as long as this Old Drone has been alive and except for a very few infants below the age of two years all seems to have worked out OK for us and the same was true for the vast majority of the infants who were fed small amounts of honey until a few years back when a over zealous public health bureaucrat did a snow job on the public and took the bee industry through the courts. We ended up paying for hand outs that pedo doctors give out with their bills warning new Mom's not to feed honey to their babies. Lucky for us babies never have been big consumers of honey or we all would be in a world of hurt.. Today in the USA those same unexplained crib deaths that make it hot for beekeepers is now said to be the action of murderous parents that don't want kids which also is a lot of horse poky... You are the first that I have read that would make this argument about the hive itself being clean or not as having anything at all to do with the honey produced from that hive. Some areas of the world still have beekeepers who keep bees in hives made of clay sealed up with mud and they consume all the honey their bees produce with no reported problems. >Be careful with such statements, because if will get to the ears >of those who decide what is "eatable" and what is not will let you to >sell the honey only if : Well so be it, take my word for it HONEY is a natural food and like most natural food it contains some things that are not normally considered in themselves as good. Most beekeepers take care in settling and straining their honey to remove some of the bigger things that naturally are found in honey. Some of these things are naturally found in honey because of the lack of care by the beekeepers and others are in the dust of our environment. No matter what I say, others will make of it what they want, but I am not going to say something I know is not true just because of some danger someone may not understand. It is true I don't always express myself in a way that all can understand but as far as the good name of our Honey goes there have been evil forces at work for years and some can be found on the web, one you may want to read is: I won't post the others but will say they are just as bad in making false and out of context statements to advance a narrow point of view of why you should not eat your honey. >- the honey is sterilised and >- the honey is washed with food grade soap I can say without reservation that the honey producing industry, including myself, has a long way to go as far as what we could do to produce a better quality product. Lucky for us in most cases the no good bad rotten stealing Honey Packers removes much of what we miss, in the honey packing process, and in some cases adds a little something of his own, moisture to make up the loss. God has been good to us to have given us Honey Packers as bad as they are they do insulate us from the consumers, he gets the complaints while we take the praise. In this world the honey packer and the consumer are the one's who have the most to say what honey is all about as it must be marketed in competition with other products that are far less expensive and are really chemically pure if not natural. Please take note I know that few here have had the experience of selling bulk honey and all here may do an excellent job of selling all they produce to their friends and neighbors, and even their town or county. And all should be proud of what they do to produce the best most holism product in the world, honey, but out here in the real world there are many if not most honey producers who can not sell all their honey to their neighbors and must sell to others who gather large quanties of honey, clean it up and blend it together, and market it to the bulk industrial users, or the wholesale trade that retails it to the average consumer and they produce the bulk of what honey is consumed in the USA a large market for domestic and world honey. >Can anybody convice me the opposite? >A scientific approach will be much more credible. Well if we have to be careful of what we say, scientific or not, then I give up and declare you the winner and wish you lots of luck convincing the public that honey is better than other food products because it comes from wooden bee hives, plastic bee hives, or even bee trees. I personally think of honey as a natural sweetener that differs in taste and composition according to the flowers in bloom when and the location and the environment it was produced in. ttul, the OLd Drone ... I said, but just to be a bee (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
December 31, 1997 Andy's comments on Organic Honey Certification... From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Organic Honey YES! >What are the REAL objections to an Organic Certified Honey.?? The difference between certified Organic Honey and not certified can not be measured other then the cost to certify it and the wording of the label. I have a smaller irrational but real fear that if this kind of regulation and taxing were made law in a short time all beekeepers would be paying the same tax to level the playing field for those who want Federal Organic Honey Laws as if it is that easy for some to pay then why not have them all pay. A national tax by way of new fees on bees to support Honey House Standardization has been in the wind for decades. >#1. You don't HAVE to do it if you don't want to. So if people don't want >to provide it - they should get out of the discussion. Flaming the issue >is no help. "FLAMING is in the eye of the reader and should not be used to dismiss honest discussion or even good old argument as knowing the difference is the real value of social intercourse." said Harem Scarem *1997 or was it Honest Abe Linchpin the used car dealer for NJ? >#2. There IS a need for it. Even on this list I see discussion on the >different possibilities of contamination. Thru apistan, thru forage, thru >HFCS especially! There are real humans who desire that their food is >clean. I am one. Nothing wrong with this, and the protection of the state and the good judgement of the beekeepers is with you, keeping all honey free of contamination right now and if there is need for improvement it should be done in the existing framework of laws, rules, and regulations and not with separate and new laws and taxes. >#3. It is do-able. Organic farmers can provide clean forage. Allowing the >bees to make their own foundation is possible. Treatment options exist. >Perhaps what isn't possible is to continue taking everything from the bees >without giving back. Factory production mentality doesn't work with >organic approaches. I can assure you that for most there is NO WAY that you can produce 100% clean honey no matter what you pay in additional taxes or what mountain top you keep your bees on. Bee hive products, including honey are representative of the total environment and not just some micro area the bees are reared in, so if there is a problem in the environment it will show up in the bee hive and its products if you want to look at small enough particles of the products, such as parts per billion, trillion.. NO one know if these small amounts of contamination is bad or just natural in organic foods. As far as your advice on keeping bees and leaving more honey on, as far as I know most do that now, but I can tell you that if you did nothing other then leaving all the honey the bees produced on them, and had no other problems, pests, or you name it, those hives would be just as dead in three years time or less, at least in the areas I have kept bees in the US.. Honey bees in most areas of the world that they are not native require keepers to survive, when beekeepers are all gone there will be few if any honey bees in the US. The so called feral populations in the US that got so much press the last year are no more then the reflections of the kept hive bee populations and without the hive bee population goodbye feral populations if this has anything to do with Organic Honey, I am not sure. >The only thing I don't understand is the tax issue. Is it set up so that >"organic" honey is taxed and the honey with contaminants and god knows what >is not??? My God knows that the vast majority of honey produced by beekeepers around the world is pure, natural, and organic; produced with the personal pride of beekeepers that keeps it from being contaminated other then what is natural and organic and it is no better nor worse than what one would find if his honey was delivered from the wild bee tree in the same area, and that bee tree honey is about as pure, natural and organic as it gets. Anytime the government of the US gets involved in its own brand of legalized consumer fraud the cost of doing business goes up. Just look at the spring waters in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 100% US Government regulated for an example how far they will go in ripping off the public by law. I am sure there are defenders of the natural spring waters but that does not make it right. ttul, the OLd Drone (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
December 24, 1997 Andy's comments on some bee research and bee feed... From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: WINTER FEEDING >re: the recent exchange of information on tartatic acid I am not >interested in a prolonged debate on this subject but I would not term >Leslie Bailey of the Rothamsted Experimental Station an isolated >researcher I have to second that. I have met, talked and worked for short times with a lot of good research scientists and research administrators, some of whom the beekeeping industry had little interest in because we beekeepers have very narrow vision when it comes to research and want the "silver bullet" and basic research does not work that fast. Dr. Bailey is in my book one of the best bee scientists I have read or met. Beekeepers today are better off for what he has done and written or would be if they have read him. What has impressed me the most about him was his ability to see the big picture while others in research have a much narrower view being more concerned with their own research and have no idea of the big picture. This is not to say he is wrong or write about "tartaric acid" as used in any bee feed formula as with all things in beekeeping there are as many variables as beekeepers working. I would not personally bet any money against any lab work or its results as reported by Bailey or his co-workers. On the addition of so called active and inert ingredients to bee feed, it would be easy to pass off the different opinions as "different strokes for different folks", but I learned early on that with the keeping of bees this is not always the case and not worth the effort to change peoples opinions, especially beekeepers as there is nothing we won't argue about, such as cane vs beet sugar or one race of bees vs another. One thing is clear - what works for you in your area is what you should use. I try, and I think most other beekeepers also try to tell the story of what they see in their area. I try not to be judgmental or promote what I see as the best for all. (I sometimes fail at this.) I am fast to admit that some of what we do, or some cases a lot of what we do, is at cross purposes to the results we would like to have such as good healthy bees all the time and pockets full of honey money... Here in California because there are more honey bees restricted in a smaller area then any other place in the world more supplemental feeding of sugar is done then any place else in the world. More sugar is used here by bee feeders then some countries in the world use in their total canning season. There was a time years long past when bag sugar was used here in California. Those day's are only a remembrance for most. Having had the experience of unloading a few car loads of bagged sugar and mixing and feeding it to bees I can report without any reservations that there is nothing better then liquid HFCS for bee feed. I am sure that many will report how they do well with dry sugar or even pure honey, but most who do when asked also say they have never used HFCS, usually because it is not available, or priced out of sight because of high transportations cost, or in some cases government cane sugar programs that keep political barriers of one kind or another up making the use of other sugars unattractive. Some places still shoot you and your family if you don't follow the government line. Here in the US because of smart early political actions corn refiners were able to keep HFCS from being considered by our government regulatory officials as just more sugar in liquid form, which in most ways it is. They have been able to build or overbuild as many HFCS plants as they can afford which has greatly reduced the number of beet and cane sugar plants and the acreage devoted to the growing of them, and increased the total acreage devoted to corn. So far this has been OK for the consumers as competition has keep the price reasonable if not cheap. When the price of all liquid sugars are the same, HFCS is the choice of most bee feeders, or a blend of inverted sucrose and HFCS which some believe is the cream da la cream of bee feed. There are times when some would want to feed dry sugar. If this was the normal event in my own apiary I would take the time and expense to mix that dry bag sugar with the dry invert fondant sugars that are available. The cost would be higher, but 50 # of dry invert fondant sugar should be enough if mixed in a small drum mixer with 200# of regular dry sugar to save a lot of bees from burning out inverting the regular dry sugar. This is very good from nuc's that do not have replacement bees hatching out, and also good with hives that are to the "quivering or cold" stage of starvation as they can get the benefit of this type of sugar blend without repeated trips to the well for water which is not always possible. >> Your contribution to clarify the issue is quite welcome. However, I >> wonder whether the two beekeepers who criticized the use of tartaric acid >> ever tried it to confirm if it indeed causes what an isolated researcher >> stated. Unfortunately it is plenty of pseudoscientists out there writing >> and confussing the mind of beekeepers. I would not presume to criticize how any beekeeper uses any sugar, but wonder why bother with this type of feed which was abandoned here in California by most for feeding bees many years ago? At the same time I am sure what others are doing is best for them and I would most likely be doing the same if I were in their position and all else were the same, (or the price of HFCS sugars increased dramatically). IMHO, Andy- (c)Permission is given to copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)OPINIONS are not necessarily facts. USE AT OWN RISK!
December 2, 1997 Andy's comments on the GM bee promotion... From: Andy Nachbar Subject: Re: Promotion by the National Honey Board >>What happened to the Research Money collected by the Honey Nut Cheerios people?<< Never was able to find out what happened to the BS Research Money GM was going to give, maybe someone else has the details? What I did find out was this "Save the Honey Bee" was not supported my most in the industry because it was suspected that it was more intended to promote a GM product then give any meaningful help to the bee industry because of long time experiences with this company by those in the bulk honey industry. The same company cut back on the amount of honey they use in their products because they could not see paying the beekeepers so much for their honey. They did not change the labels on their product just replaced most of the honey with other sweeteners leaving enough in so they could keep the word "honey" in the ingredient statement and label. In some products there is about as much salt as honey. ttul, the OLd Drone
October 19, 1997 POLLINATION RESULTS From: Andy Nachbar Honeybees and beekeepers acknowledged as responsible for bumper crops of cranberries, ($1,400,000,000,000.00 or 1.4 billion $$)in areas reported by others as having lost 90% of the bee populations? Check it out on the ABC News web page below. What ever your slant on the hype and misinformation still being passed like the wind on the reported the loss of all feral bees and much of the hive bee populations the facts seem to be the effect on agriculture has been limited as the 1997 crop reports come in for the year and all the bee, honeybee,(feral and hive) pollinated crops report record yields with Cranberries taking the dollar lead from the 1996 and 1997 billion dollar California almond crop. ttul, the OLd Drone
September 24, 1997 Finding Almond Pollination in California From: Andy Nachbaur > How can I find information on growers in > california, texas or florida that need bees for polination? Is there a > web site or publication for the growers? I tried finding info on growers > in california on the web, but had no luck. Well, I just checked and had no problems finding many California Almond grower sites using YAHOO. Also check out the news groups for orchardists I don't know of any beekeeping web pages that are looking for bees to rent, but with almost 3,000 beekeeping web pages of one kind or another it is getting to be near impossible to keep up with their content. Central California Newspapers that advertise beekeeping supplies, bee hives, trucks w/loaders, and pollination: I would watch the classified ads in the Fresno and Modesto Bee. Most are beekeepers looking for a home for their bees in the almonds, but this is a good place to advertise. Also use the many search engines and look for almond grower hang outs. > This year my colonies are going along with another > beekeeper's bees to california for winter. This is the good way to get started if the other beekeepers have a home for your bees in California. WARNING, just moving bees to some location without a solid contract can cause financial hardships that are not easy to overcome. Only this week beekeepers in this area have had contacts for several thousand hives that have never been in California that are looking to move here with NO pollination contacts at all and could not place them as they have more then enough hives to take care of their growers.. > I would like to find some source at the polination end in advance. Any info > would be really appreciated. We call them Pollination Pimps, people who make money from renting others bees to growers, more often then not they make claims for your bees that you can not live up too, anyway they are another source of pollination rentals and sometimes much trouble. They run ad's in the Beekeeping Journal's, local newspapers, and at times are active in other states at beekeeper meeting looking for bees to rent, more times then not because they could not live up to their commitments to other beekeepers and must continually recruit new beekeepers. One should be very careful who he lets take in his bees because some sorry beekeepers have spent all they made finding their own hives, sometimes years later, other never get paid.. Rely on the good experiences of beekeepers you know and stay away from the pie in the sky guys looking to make a fast buck off of your investment in the bee business. Good Luck, IMHO, the OLd Drone
September 24, 1997 Soapsuds exterminate killer bees in California From: Andy Nachbaur SANTA ANA -- Who ya gonna call when you find a horde of killer bees buzzing about your yard? The bee busters. Published on September 22, 1997 Jesse Palomera and Scott McLaughlin have been at the front line against the Africanized honeybee, a six-legged, fur-fringed menace that is crowding its way into Southern California. In the two years since the Africanized honeybee first hitched a ride into California aboard a pipe truck in 1995, the sprawling 4,000 square miles of Imperial County on the Mexican border have become completely colonized. Within a year, the bee has made inroads into Riverside and San Diego counties and is poised to leap into Los Angeles and Orange counties. With special training as bee busters, Palomera, McLaughlin and five other Imperial County vector-control technicians become the state's expert team for zapping killer-bee colonies. Swarms of the bees have muscled into California after a 40-year trek from South America. The technicians average 15 calls a day about the bees, which they attack with simple soap suds while wearing head nets, gauntlets and slick white bee suits made of slippery nylon cloth. "Soap and water. That's what works best on bees," says Tom Wolf, manager of the county's environmental health division. "But don't try it at home. Let us handle it." After being sprayed with a soapy mist, the bees fall to the ground and suffocate as the soap clogs their breathing tubes, Wolf says. Palomera says that if the swarm is conveniently dangling from a low branch, the technician can spritz it with an ordinary garden hand sprayer. If the nest is not readily accessible, the technicians use power sprayers mounted on the backs of their pickups. Bees swarm when they're looking for a new home, usually dangling from the branch of a tree, or from the eaves of a building, until they find a permanent nesting place. "You want to get them while they're outside and swarming. Once they've made a nest, you've got a fight on your hands," Wolf says. The Imperial County agricultural commissioner has reported more than 70 DNA-confirmed swarms, but only three stingings. After killing the swarm, the technician sweeps up the furry corpses, selecting 50 or so for storage at the lab in case further study is needed. The techs also leave behind a baited trap to pick up the scouts and stragglers who weren't around for the soap bath. Since escaping from a laboratory in Brazil in 1956, the Africanized honeybee so far has killed more than 1,000 people during its relentless four-decade march north. In 1977, 300 people died from killer-bee attacks in Venezuela alone. Since the bee arrived in the United States seven years ago, three people have died in Texas from attacks, and two others were seriously injured in Arizona. Since the bee crossed into California in 1995, there have been at least three attacks, though no serious injuries. The migration of killer bees into California has been slower than anticipated, however, largely because of an unexpected ally, a microscopic parasitic mite that has been killing off the feral bee population. But the outbreak of bee mites has subsided, and experts think now that the killer bee gradually will continue colonizing all of Southern California.

September 18, 1997 Beekeeping From: Andy Nachbar Subject: Re: second hand equipment Well, Bill, sorry that some would polarize any beekeeping group, but as a life long commercial beekeeper, one who has never had a real job I might say, I take exception to what some are reading into others post in this list as I personally have seen only constructive help from the few in this list that I can identify as "commercial". I for one enjoy the posts of all and do pay the highest respects to any other "commercial" beekeepers who takes the time to post to these groups as much of what we read is old hat to us but we stick in there and at times do add constructive information to the treads. Some of us are for sure more experienced posters and we do use that experience to our advantage when we feel the need, but anyone who reads this list or the beekeeping news group can gain that same experience and as far as I have read are welcome to jump in anytime they feel ready. Sure you will get stepped on by others that's the nature of this beast, but has nothing to do with being a "commercial" beekeeper. One problem that is common for all posters is the old idea that is as true today as when first advanced, "until you walk in my can not feel my pain." This is more true for beekeeping and beekeepers then any other commodity group I can think of. A few miles can make all the difference in the world in how bees are managed and the success with them, and I really respect the person who thinks he can learn it all from a book, or many books, I have for years been encouraged to write books myself, for some a good way to supplement their income, I read them all myself, but know that even with my own 40+ years experience bent over a hive with that hot smoker between my legs I do not know it all and continue to learn from my own everyday experiences and those of others. For sure there is a big difference in keeping bees for the fun of it, or the observation of them, and having bees to keep oneself at a middle class existence. It is not easy being a commercial beekeeper and for sure there are some rules that differ from area to area, but in general if any beekeeper follows in the foot steps of his neighboring commercial beekeeper he will learn much that can be used to make his own experience more rewarding with any number of bees. I am always somewhat amused by questions on "how do I get to be a commercial beekeeper?". I have seen many try to do it the way that most would think normal, by buying in, but I can tell you from the sad experience of many that this is one way to guarantee a 99% failure rate and the loss of some big bucks. The best way is to be born into a beekeeping family, but this is not always possible, so the 2nd best way is to marry into a beekeeping family, but this also is limited, some have tried the old mathematical method of doubling each year, but never seem to reach their goals, so what's left? Well as far as I am concerned the only real way that assures those who follow this route with a fair chance at success is by doing some hard time as a beekeepers apprentice and the earlier one starts the higher the potential for success. This route is also limited but the one that most successful beekeepers have followed if not born or married into beekeeping and one that you will not see mentioned in the majority of today's bee books, sadly. OH, I did not mention the role of higher education in commercial beekeeping and it does play one, but oh so very small, and no one that I have every known about who has the education and not the beekeeping apprentice experience has gone out directly into commercial beekeeping, but then I don't know everyone and I am sure to every point I have made there are exceptions, and they are just that.. My point is that in this group there are those who dream of becoming more then a hobby beekeeper, and those who are dependent on commercial beekeepers for the volume of honey they produce, the crops they can pollinate, and so on, it should be clear to all that nothing should be done to discourage commercial beekeepers from this group as they are a rare breed indeed, and more should be done to encourage their participation so if any disagree with what some off-the-wall commercial beekeeper posts then ask for clarification... ttul, the OLd Drone My opinions are those of my employer, I Love my Boss! I am self employed.
September 15, 1997 Bee Thefts Subject: Bee Thieves in the News From: Andy Nachbaur Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 08:13:25 -0700 Message-id: <> Theft and Vandalism has always been a major problem for beekeepers big or small. Beehives are necessarily kept away from busy areas of everyday life and are inviting targets. Occasionally these crimes against beekeepers property take on the proportions of a major crime. In California we have had several cases of professional crooks getting into the bee business by not only stealing the beehives but also the big trucks and forklifts needed to move them. Several have been caught over the years and given real jail time to think it over. Most are slapped on the wrist and told not to do it anymore and released over loud protests of beekeepers who have had hives stolen. I had my last 500 hives stolen three years ago and had not found a one since, truly a forced retirement. The bee laws here are in such bad shape that if you do not catch the criminal in the act there is little real hope of conviction as just having someone else's bee equipment no matter how it is marked or branded is just not enough for our liberal court systems. Beekeepers have at times taken the law into their own hands with some success in the rural areas but for sure I would not want to advise anyone to use lynch law and I am sure if your follow this on going story of the Bee Burners in Florida you should have 2nd thoughts about what can happen to any beekeeper who puts himself above the law. Check this out: Several years ago northern California queen breeders were having problems with theft of hives and queens from their nucs. Everyone knew who was doing it but the criminal continued to thumb his noise at his fellow beekeepers and increased his bee operation each year by stealing from his neighbors. The beekeepers went as far as to talk to the authorities and were told that nothing could be done unless they could catch the thief in the act. One of the quietest young beekeepers who you would ever meet was being effected the most by this thief and he could take it no longer. He started to hide out in one of his queen yards that was a frequent target of the thief, he was armed. Would you believe the luck, as other beekeepers were also targeted by this thief two of them were using a air plane in hopes catching the thief at the same time in the same area and they were witness to what I am about to write. That day was not unlike any other spring day, it was a good one for catching queens and most bee breeders were about doing just that. But in this yard the beekeepers who showed up to catch queens was not in his own queen yard, but he was very busy catching and caging queens when the owner appeared from over a rise with a rifle in his hands. The thief stopped what he was doing, dropped his smoker and hive tool and took flight with the bee yard owner right behind him. The thief would not stop and the owner could not catch him so he did the wrong thing and stopped and took a shot at the running bee thief and then chased him some more. All the time the beekeepers in the air were seeing the whole thing unbelieving their own eyes. Run a little, stop aim shoot, run some more...well the thief got away but he had a visible limp having twisted his ankle or taken a hit from the rifle in his flight. All the beekeepers involved got together and went right over to the sheriff's to report the incident. The sheriff said he would look into it and not to worry. He went out to the suspects home and had to take him to the hospital because of a (self inflected) gunshot wound to the guys foot. The suspect was in time run through the court system and did some hard time, he also had a special condition added to his peerole that he was not to engage in the bee business. The beekeeper rifleman was also run through the system but got off with stern warning not to do it again. These beekeepers in Florida should be so lucky, I hope so, but would not want to be in their shoes as what ever they had lost in the past is nothing to what the legal system will take from them. ttul, the OLd Drone
August 12, 1997... Andy Nachbaur's comments on a couple of recent Killer Bee news articles. Another "story" found in the San Diego, California UNION TRIBUNE, (you must be a member to read this, the good news is it is free). Try this: Its a short one anyway and little detail is included but I know that the University of California, and the Calif. Dept. of Agriculture has been looking at all bees in the Coachella valley and this story is headlined, KILLER BEES COLONIZE VALLEY....based on two bees captured at random last April and DNA tests just confirmed they were AFRIKANER. I guess they were still working on the OJ tests or something that it takes four months to test two bees? Anyway the article goes on to say this evidence combined with bee "contingents" found near the Salton Sea in September 1995 "indicate the entire Coachella Valley has been colonized" according to his lordship, Cal Kaminskas, a county ass. agriculture commissar. I think this was the same guy who says these "killer" bees are traveling by train, but never explained why they got off half way to the end of the track at the Canadian boarder in Washington state. I translated all this activity in San Diego and Riverside County as being a way out from what has been a very expensive experiment in regulatory process and if continued would cost 100's of millions in state costs and more in lost agriculture production if a real quarantine was put in place as advertised. The science in all this Africian bees stuff is so poor that legally it can not support a real quarantine and all federal Afro bee efforts are soon to be stopped. I wonder just what it takes to wake these people up to the fact that honeybees do not respect political bounders like their keepers... The TEXAS story continues.. I don't know how many counties there are in this great state but now 89 have been quarantined for Africanized honey bees. This story can be found in the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 7-19-97, and is on the web. Use NEWSWORKS and you will find it by searching for Africanized or Killer bees. The meat of this story is that the Africanized bees have moved farther north in Texas then was planned for. Some of the BS (bee science) is this story is way out, TEXAS tails I would guess, like "in the spring the Africanized species divided its hive into as many as 14 units and begins moving. That swarm is often no larger than a softball, Jackson said." or how that "swarms four feed or closer to the ground.....Jackson says, "because the swarm may be Africanized honey bees." Then he continues, "The bees, however, also can go in trees or into the ground as well as in water meters." It was a busy week for the "killer" bees and their tails. ttul, the OLd Drone (c) Permission is granted to freely copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)Opinions are not necessarily facts. Use at own risk.
August 5, 1997 Another Killer Bee news item. From: Andy Nachbaur (by way of Andy Nachbaur) To: BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU Subject: More BS on Killer Bee's... Date: Tuesday, August 05, 1997 11:28 AM
Killer bees in Northern California arrived on a sugar boat from Hawaii and the queen got away? Published on August 5, 1997 Killer bees have Crockett residents buzzing BY TONY MERCADO - TIMES STAFF WRITER
CROCKETT -- Here's a helpful tip from the county's agricultural commissioner for those unlucky enough to stumble upon a hive of killer bees: "Run a little faster and a little farther," Ed Meyer said. Gee, thanks. The buzz around Crockett that killer bees may be in town has some residents there, well, slightly bugged. "Bees? Are you serious? Oh, that's just great," lamented Ryan Segelre hearing the news for the first time. "Guess it's time for me to move." On July 21, a crew unloading a ship for the C&H Sugar refinery in Crockett discovered a cluster of the insects, also known as Africanized honey bees. There is no guarantee the insecticide used killed all the bees. "We're hoping the swarm will not be able to get established if it did survive being sprayed," Meyer said. "At this point if they survived, we would have no idea which direction they would've gone." Contra Costa County agricultural officials issued a warning Friday describing the behavior of the bees and what precautions to take if coming in contact with a hive or gathering of bees. The warning, however, set off a swarm of phone calls by concerned residents over the weekend to the county department of agriculture. The office received 15 calls Sunday and another 20 calls before noon on Monday. Meyer said on Tuesday his office would likely begin to set bee traps in the area surrounding the C&H plant and walk around some of the neighborhoods to search for signs of a swarm. Denise Moore, a waitress at Emilio's Cafe, said the killer bees have been a topic of conversation among some of the restaurant's regulars. But she thinks the tales surrounding the bees are "pretty outrageous." "I think it's kind of over-hyped," Moore said. "I'm not too concerned about them. I don't think they're really killer bees like the kind in an Alfred Hitchcock film." The winged pests in that classic movie were actually birds, but you get the idea. In either case, Africanized bees are dangerous because they are far more aggressive than common domestic bees when it comes to protecting its hive, Meyer said. "Their stingers are no more venomous, but in terms of sheer numbers, there are more working to defend the hive," Meyer said. "The killer bees will chase you twice as far away from the hive." Tammi Keller said she plans to keep a close eye on her young children when she brings them down to the park near her home. Her daughters, 8-year-old Adriana and 10-year-old Samantha are too curious for their own good, she said, and may be unlucky enough to find killer bees. "I wouldn't be scared," Samantha declared. "I'd just use a fly swatter." 1997 Contra Costa Newspapers Inc.
August 5, 1997 Comments on Honey Prices Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 17:32:43 -0700 From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: honeyprice At 08:48 PM 8/5/97 -0300, you wrote: >Hallo! I am a beekeeper in Uruguay South America, and I am looking for information of honeyprice in the Internet.< Try the news group sci.agriculture.beekeeping, you will find the US price paid for large lots of honey the past month. I post it myself when I get it which is around the middle of the month because the government agency involved refuses to do anything that would cut down the income they get from selling this information they get for free from others and will not put this Honey Market Report on the Internet. It is about the only US government cash farm crop report that can not be found on the Internet and it burns my butt every time I think about the 30 years I sent in reports without pay to the USDA Market Reporting Service. Is the information good, well there is some question as it now relies 100% (heavy) on buyers for price information, and state bee inspectors, some who seldom get no farther away from their desk then the coffee room for plant condition reports. At one time it was about 50% beekeeper/honey producers and honey packers, and 50% regulators and was very good. Today when one reads the report it is easy to get the idea that the reporters are trying to sell you something or buy something from you cheaper, but its the only monthly honey market-beekeeping report we have other then what you find in the bee magazines and they relie on it for most of their information. IMHO, the OLd Drone
August 2, 1997 Andy Nachbaur's comments on bee disease regulations Date: Sat, 2 Aug 1997 00:37:00 GMT From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: Re: Foulbrood FAB>From: F.A.B. >Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 13:12:40 -0400 >Subject: Re: Foulbrood FAB>I was under the impression that any hive with AFB had to reported to a >bee inspector, the bees killed and the hives either burned, scorched or >treated in a "gas" chamber. Am I wrong? Is that info outd dated? Andy's answer: Many states and countries do still have old laws on the books as you describe. It may well bee that their laws are out dated, and not the information as you remember it. A few states no longer use the AFB laws to regulate beekeeping as many once did, and the old slash and burn technique is no longer the beekeeping practice when a single cell of AFB is found or a mite in most bee outfits. The states that are so to speak deregulated, some officially some unofficially, because they have come to realize that the health of the honeybee is the beekeepers responsibility and not the governments and they can no longer devote man power and money to provide a service that we have been doing for ourselves from the year one anyway and a service that is readily available outside of the regulatory community if any individual beekeepers cannot do his own. Beekeeping regulation is in the same class as all "blue laws", and if the people in any area can do without buying meat on Sunday's its none of my business, the same if one area is doing well with having someone from the government help them with their bee health problems, more power to them. My own experience with government is that what starts out as help usually ends up as interference, and that to change a bad law is much harder then to pass one in the first place. I know of no bee law's or lack of bee law's that has made any difference in the actual health of our bees that are prone to get anything and everything that is said to be bad in the bee world be it disease, pest, or predators all which have no respect for the written law. Maybe it is one of nature's or God's law's that "honeybees and their keepers shall bee tested"... Who are those four horseman I see riding through my bee yards anyway? In the past one was the bee inspector for sure, with deregulation in California it is seldom the case today. And yes we still have honeybees, both in the hive and in the wild, and yes they do have disease, pests, and predators, but beekeepers may be the one's who are suffering the most as the value of honey slides and not because of any problem with their bees other then the increasing costs of keeping them alive and well from the end of one bee season to another. ttul, the OLd Drone (c) Permission is granted to freely copy this document in any form, or to print for any use. (w)Opinions are not necessarily facts. Use at own risk. --- ~ QMPro 1.53 ~ Imker, Bienenzuechter and Bienenvater
July 25, 1997 Some comments on bee breeding and disease resistance. My own idea on rearing queens and one that is followed by the majority of those who do it for a living is: one should use the best stock.. Each of us differ on what is the best stock or how we go about finding it, which assumes that we are looking and do not now have it. The only way I know of testing stock is by hands on experience with it and I would each summer buy 25 to 100 queens from several to a dozen other bee breeders in the US, and including queens sent to me for testing bootlegged from various research stations including daughters of all imported stock. I can honestly say that excepting how these queens were handled by the producer, or in shipment, that there were some differences, but this was/is the exception. A difference is something that can be measured, and in commercial beekeeping is must have a positive dollar value. Yes I have had bees that produced many different eye colors, and drones without hair, or bees with all gold color, these things are interesting but are not cost effective as they are seldom the stock that produces the most honey, but when they are those are included in the breeding line or I would not have had them in the first place. The one big exception was stock from a old time caucasian breeder who has now doing his bees in heaven. He shipped true sisters and his stock was much more productive then the average. The summer divides made with them produced much more honey then the total for the year made by the hives they were made up from. In the millions of hive visits I have made over the year I have never found any stock that was as gentle. I use to take visiting beekeepers out to these hives in the worst of conditions and just rip one of these hives apart with no smoke or protection for me or my guests, tossing the bees into the air and never would anyone get stung or would these bees make any attempt to sting anyone. Sadly the breeder queens from this test were lost and the original breeder in Georgia passed on. Other differences found were the poor temperament in the Hawaii bees, which are still purchased by many good beekeepers because they can be had early in the season when no others are available and this is an advantage to those who make up increase for others. I have no reason to doubt that these queens are not as aggressive as they once were, but I have not used them myself, and have not asked my neighbors who do get them from beekeepers early each spring to make increase. Another difference found through early experience was that some breeders from the south had bees that were susceptible to Chalk Brood, something that eliminates them from the breeder selection. It is safer to over look one cell of AFB then one Chalk Brood mummy in a breeder queen, but I would discard both myself. The best queens are always those produced by an experienced beekeeper in his own bee yards from his own stock produced for his own use. If you can't get those then the 2nd best is the queen you pick up yourself from a bee breeder within driving range of your own apiaries. After that it is a crap shoot. The way you get experience selecting breeder queens is by doing it yourself. Rank your own hives and keep a record on the hive or in a book or pc. You judge them for the qualities you feel are important to you and that can range from the color you want to the amount of pollen that can be collected from them. The actual breeding process can be as simple as using brood from that hive to start other hives and queens the natural way to artificial insemination. Some bee breeders will use your queen to rear queens for you, ask around. Try as many other queens in your production hives as you can, it is a fun thing to do and it is interesting to discover the not always so obvious difference of other beekeepers stock. One final word of caution, don't put your trust in bee breeders who have the biggest advertizements. Some bee breeders spend more effort on composing their adverting then working their own bees. Right now I don't know of any real dud's, but in the past we have had a few real ringers who made all kinds of claims in their advertising they could not live up too and disappointed many beekeepers and picked their pockets clean. BEE WARE, their is some safety in beekeepers working together so keep in contact with your neighboring beekeepers and you hand on your wallet when around those who want to sell you something, bee it information or bees. ttul, the OLd Drone
June 22, 1997 Andy Nachbaur's comments on scientific research. Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 21:26:00 GMT From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: PLAGIARISM in USDA Bee Research FYI* from a post to the sci.agriculture.beekeeping news group. PLAGIARISM or What? ___ ____ ___ _ _ ___ ___ _ _ / _ \| _ \_ _| \ | |_ _/ _ \| \ | | | | | | |_) | || \| || | | | | \| | | |_| | __/| || |\ || | |_| | |\ | \___/|_| |___|_| \_|___\___/|_| \_| Check this out to get an idea of what I am saying: or if you support PDF reading then try: In my humble opinion, IMHO... If you go to this site you will find some very interesting information on cell size and how it can and does effect the health of your honeybees. This is good information and has been a long time in coming, but.. The information in this news release attributed to Dr. Erickson, the leader of the Tucson, Arizona ARS Bee Lab, and based on work done by him and/or others at his lab. This information is now being picked up by the farm press and news services and spread as the GOSPEL according to the best of USDA Bee Research (BS) science. Nothing wrong with this or the information except for one little small detail. The information contained is not the work product of, or the original idea of anyone connected to the USDA, ARS, or USDA Beekeeping Research. You would never know it by reading the information on this page or the so called NEWS stories now making the rounds in the agricultural press based on the USDA ARS News releases about Dr. Erickson and his work at the Bee Lab in Tucson. Copying or using someone else's idea's and work is a violation of federal and world copyright laws and is a crime. This includes the duplication of the ideas and work of others no matter what their personal station in life. We all know that we beekeepers are not in the same class as some of our public servants, such as the so called Beekeeping Scientist (BS). I am sure that this USDA Research branch of ARS will defend themselves by saying we did not write the PRESS release or some such lamer excuse, but this won't wash as they do control the information in their own press releases and web pages and the facts are they did not even share the credit for the information contained in the press release or on their web pages and that is clear to the public or anyone who wants to read or visit them and/or read this official government information. You can be sure if this was information from the chemical industry they would have been sure to have shared the credit..but then we all know the close connection of the chemical industry to the so called bee research industry in the ARS. Who cares anyway?, well I am sure the beekeeper's involved who have spent several generations working in their bees and first noticed and brought it to the attention of those in the Beekeeping Industry and Beekeeping Research at the USDA that the cell size of our foundation is too large, and have themselves been using smaller sized foundations for years, (something that could be adjusted by the foundation manufactures in a few weeks), do care, if only because so many in both the beekeeping industry and beekeeping research have turned a deaf ear to their ideas and cries for help in the past only now to read that the USDA Bee Research under Dr. Erickson have discovered what they have known, worked with, written about and talked about for years...thats the work of those who PLAGIARIZE or steal from the writing and work of others, easy it would have been to say because of work and ideas from such and such beekeepers in our area we have been able to duplicate and replicate work that they are doing or have done in the past and found out using the best scientific mythology that they were right all along, Thank You, Mr. and Mrs. Beekeeper. On a cold day in Hell, maybe....! ttul, the OLd Drone
June 9, 1997 Some comments on the disappearance of honey bees. From: Andy Nachbaur Subject: The Sky is Falling? Posted over from the sci.agr.beekeeping news group. ---------------------------------------- The Sky is Falling, all the honeybees are DDD, dead, diseased, or dying, so says the press releases with quotes from the best academic minds, all doctorates in entomology or beekeeping and all feeding on the problems of the beekeepers at the public trough. For sure we beekeepers are not strangers to problems and like all in agriculture our numbers have declined since the 1940's, 50's, 60's or what ever base year you want to examine. But we are not gone yet and in fact all this hype is nothing more then that. Crops are not suffering from the lack of honeybees to pollinate them, though some would lie, steal and cheat to create that opinion in the public mind to further their own interests...and sadly many beekeepers are followers and do much among themselves to perpetuate the untruths and half truths of the condition of the honeybee industry. Our industry has always been plagued by cyclic problems in the health of our bees and these are well documented for any to review so I won't bother listing them as is the beekeeper movement west and north to better pastures. Half truths and untruths are hard to take to the bank, and today beekeepers and farmers who depend on their bees to produce bountiful crops are making more trips to the bank, and not always to take away money.. The almond industry in California last year had a BILLION $$$ crop, and this years crop is estimated to bee 39% larger, and many of us in the field believe that it is much grater then the estimates, but 710,000,000 pounds of almonds is a pile of almonds and of course this means they will be less costly to the consumer and more of us will be able to enjoy them in more ways for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The total acreage of almonds in California continues to grow along with some other insect pollinated crops. According to the latest results just released of the 1996 Acreage Survey there were 466,777 acres of almonds growing and in 1997 420,000 of these acres were bearing. No problems have been reported to this reporter of ANY shortage of bees to pollinate these acres, and considering the size of the crop beekeepers should be congratulated for doing a excellent job of distributing their bees to the almond growers for pollination. Growers continue to believe in the future of the beekeeping industries ability to deliver honeybees for pollination and new planting continue at levels that tax the ability of the nurserymen to produce new trees..NO almond growers are rushing out to buy their own bees as bees and beekeepers are in good supply and are providing good bees for pollination at a reasonable cost. Prune's continue to increase in acreage having 100% been replaced by industry and homes in the Santa Clara valley they now are found in the northern interior central valley and the acreage has expanded to 102,726 in 1996 with 22,504 acres of young non bearing orchards, much grater then the old days when San Jose was the prune capital.. In 1996 California also had 34,000 acres of bearing apples, 12,900 bearing cherries, 19,100 bearing Bartlett pears, 25,000 acres of strawberries, and all of these insect and honeybee pollinated crops are reported as NOT suffering from any lack of pollination, mostly honeybee pollination. The facts are keeping bees is a lot of work, problems can be found by any who wants to concentrate their efforts on looking, but the beekeepers don't have time for that and its so pathetic these annual re-runs of the beekeeping industries obituary each year from the academic and regulatory community it's laughable, and they wonder why the industry gives them, the academics and others, less then token support...., no one likes to read half truths and lies about themselves, and these professionals are the experts.. ttul, the OLd Drone Subject: >>> Item number 7141, dated 96/02/01 05:12:00 -- ALL Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 05:12:00 GMT Reply-To: Discussion of Bee Biology Sender: Discussion of Bee Biology From: Andy Nachbaur Organization: WILD BEE'S BBS (209) 826-8107 LOS BANOS, CA Subject: Re: New Honeybee Virus? VC>From: Vince Coppola >Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 22:20:07 -0500 >Subject: Re: New Honeybee Virus? >Has anyone observed PMS in colonies with low or normal varroa levels? Hi Beekeepers, Don't know if you have read this, but if not you may find it of interest. From my own experience with bees and given as at my last talk with at the American Beekeeping Federation at Las Vegas Jan. 1989 I think. As for "PMS" thats pure USDA government regulatory bee science... And in my opinion a real example of "BS" and not Bee Science. ttul Andy- l l This l l l l is l l from now, 40+ years l l keeping bees.... Successful keeping of bees in the ninety's will require several beekeeper skills or inputs. Two of great importance are: 1. Beekeepers ability to locate his bees in quality pasture. 2. Beekeepers ability to renew his colonies that die for what ever reason. In 1990 about 900,000 beehives will be located in California almond orchards by beekeepers to take advantage of the cash rents being paid by the almond growers. This number of hives represents a doubling of the resident populations of bee hives in California and about one third of the bees in the U.S. And probably is more then half of the hives that can be made migratory. Demonstrating beekeeper ability to relocate bees for anticipated cash rents, comparable to about fifty pounds of honey production. Due to the poor quality and quantity of bee pasture in California, 400,000 of these hives will be relocated out of state for the summer honey flows. Beekeepers continue to demonstrate great skills and expertise in relocating their bees to high quality pastures in spite of special interest groups who have continentally tried to restrict bee movement by various regulations and quarantines, with the motivations of restricting competition for bee pasture, creating jobs and income for the regulating industry, and fulfilling the vision by a few scientists of great loss from perceived pests.{Our greatest threat is being made financially impotent.} The ability of beekeepers to renew or replace colonies that die out, or become so poor as to be a liability, is a serious problem that can be met by applying rule number one: Keep your bees in high quality pasture. Of course this is not always practical. The second best solution is to keep part of your bees in high quality pasture. If all of the above fails, then you must be able to replace your loss. Annual losses under conditions that prevail in California today can approach thirty percent, and in some seasons exceed that. Renewal of these colonies by purchasing Nucs, or making divisions, will depend on the individual beekeepers economic condition and the timing of his first surplus honey flows. [Beekeepers with dependable early pasture, such as citrus, will not be anxious to divide hives, and will purchase nucs if available.] The decline in colony populations of bees experienced by beekeepers in California during the winter of 1987-88 is not a new phenomenon, and has been reported by beekeepers in California and elsewhere [world-wide] for over 100 years. It is my opinion based on thirty five years of observations and lots of library research, that this dramatic loss of bees will continue, and at times we may even have more frequent episodes of epic, unexplained losses of bees. . MY REPORT ON S-A-D AND B-A-D BEES from 35 years field experience Stress Accelerated Decline [SAD] and Bee Immune Deficiency [BAD] are not new spectacles in managing honeybees, or is it even limited to honeybees. They have been described in the popular and scientific literature for over one hundred years, by both beekeepers and biologists. The SAD or BAD condition in bees in the United States has been called by many names in years past. Such as Isle of Wight Disease, Afro-hereditary Disease, fall, winter, or spring Collapse or Decline, and Disappearing Disease. The cause has been diagnosed by biologists as everything from poor nutrition to pest infestations. Such as the TRACHEAE MITE, which is at this time is the populace view. It is my opinion, based on my own experience with bees, that all of the above and every other natural and unnatural condition that afflicts bees, that can be identified as stressful can be made scape goat for SAD or BAD bees. {Including weather; hot, cold, wet or dry; pesticides; and management; good or bad.} Most of this speculation only leads to SAD BEEKEEPERS. No workable solutions are forthcoming from the speculators and much time and money is wasted on popular cures. {redistributing beekeepers wealth} Leaving beekeepers to face the realities of a silent spring, when fifty per cent or more of their hives are quiet of humming bees, after treatment, or no treatments. And I add, much to the disappointment of Almond growers who expected more, and in some cases were guaranteed more then SAD bees can deliver, which at times make them MAD. I have chosen to call this malady of my bees, SAD or BAD, as I believe that best describes the condition of the bees and the way I feal when I have to work with them. And I have not been alone in this work. The SAD or BAD condition of bees is a world wide problem and has been reported in all areas of the world that bees can be kept in large numbers. It is not restricted to any one area, and appears without warning. It can affect beekeepers large or small without regards to experience or politicks. Because it may not reappear in the same region season after season, it is hard to study and much is not known of its cause or circumstances which lead to its appearance... In my own years among the bees I have had SAD or BAD bees many times. {a confession} Some who know me will tell you that it is because of my own {benign neglect} style of management...I prefer to refer to my approach to management, as a more natural, relaxed system of bee behavioral modification. In which I change my life style according to the needs and production of my bees. {Admittedly my life style has matched my bees and lately has been near or slightly above the privileged poor, in some part due to my own SAD bees.} Which may qualify me as an expert on SAD bees. . About 1960 I had my first experience with SAD bees. They were diagnosed as having Nosema. So as soon as I could afford it, I treated and was cured...Several years later I again had SAD bees, since I was treating for Nosema, it could only be caused by a bacteria, like EFB. Because at the time I was using sulfa [legal then] to control AFB, I changed to Terramycin. {The cure again was spontaneous.....} A few years later, now using enlightened treatments for Nosema, AFB, and EFB, my bees again were SAD. It could only be from pesticides. No antidotes were known, but I did get a government Pesticide Indemnification Payment, or PIP... Again several years later more SAD bees, still treating for Nosema, AFB, and EFB, but no more PIP's... SO I stopped going to summer pollination. {The surest way I know of gaining pesticide damage.} And since have tried to limit the time my bees are in the crop growing areas where pesticides are used. [Not a easy job in California, where even in the most remote areas some perceived threat from a pest can bring mass aerial attacks with pesticides, by one government agency or another, or for that matter in the most populated areas, reference resent and continuing attacks on Med Fly and other perceived pests in the major population centers.] Several years later more SAD bees. Still treating for Nosema, AFB, EFB, no government PIP's, {no summer pollination rentals}, and very short honey crops, due to droughts, and BAD, SAD bees. NOW I HAVE MITES?? This time I will be dammed if I am going to put a pesticide into my beehives. Its bad enough to be putting artificial honey, {corn syrups}, pollens, drugs and antibiotics in my bees food chain. {Personally, I have not the resources for one more recommended cure, such as menthol or what ever.} In the spring 1989, more BAD, SAD bees, but not as BAD as 1988. At this time, [Jan 1990], looking forward to the spring, I do not expect to have many BAD SAD hives. Due to the fact that my bees did not show any symptoms last fall. {I have tried to outline, in capsule, what I have seen in the thirty five years of keeping bees. I left much out, including Chalk brood, vitamins, proteins, salts and more to fill a book. Now what did I see, or thought I saw....that makes my bees SAD or BAD?} SAD or BAD bees do show symptoms prior to their collapse. These hives appear to be strong productive hives after a honey flow or extended broodrearing period. In the fall or early winter, in the area I keep my bees. They can change in a very short time leaving boxes full of honey and empty of bees. Two symptoms that have repeatedly shown up in my bees, in the late summer or fall before the decline is increasing numbers of black shinny or old looking bees on the combes. [Hairless bees] The unexplained appearance of numbers of dead, dying, or crawling bees in my bee yards is the second symptom I believe indicates I am experiencing the effects of SAD or BAD. {One can never rule out pesticides, but when you find these symptoms in bees kept ten to twenty miles from the crops pesticides are used on, the likelihood of pesticide damage is reduced.} . For years I have seen my bees crawl out of my hives and die, not only in the fall, but at other times of the year, with no detectable pesticide use, or in some cases even residues found. {I have also seen too many of my hives damaged and killed by pesticides and do not want to minimize the damage they have caused me and others and the real threat they continue to be for all bees.} {Nothing has been more devastating to me personally then the loss I have had from the regulated, [proper and legal], use of pesticides in California. Many times miles from my apiaries. Pesticide damage and loss is far greater by a factor of one thousand or more then all other bee losses put together. Or simply stated: for every dollar lost due to bee disease, pests, and predators; one thousand dollars are lost due to pesticides used on crops miles away from the bees hive. There has never been a pesticide loss to bees that could not have been avoided with out any action by the beekeeper.} The symptoms of SAD or BAD bees I have seen in my own bees has been seen by other beekeepers from all over the world and have been identified as indicators of various viruses that are found in the bee. This includes bees from dwindling colonies from California. Some of the common ones are: Paralysis, [dead bees, black like robbers, dislocated wings]; Sacbrood, [yellow larva, shot gun brood], and many more. Advanced cases of BAD SAD bees can be identified by their lack of ability to use sugar syrup fed in gravity feeders. Pools of sugar syrup will be found on the ground around these SAD hives. A satisfactory but expensive weed killer. And when moving these SAD bees down the freeway on a clear star bright night fellow travelers who pass you will have their wipers on, and at times make gestures to you as they pass, sometime mistaken as the international sign of friendship. One other symptom worth mention is one reported by beekeepers with normal olfactory development. An odor best described as between fermented honey and mouse urine. Both recognizable by experienced beekeepers. Since many of the hives are full of honey and too weak to keep out mice, I have without much scientific research concluded that fermenting honey and mice are responsible for the odors detected. But this could be a real symptom, and I wonder if others have detected this odor? {I one thought, because I kept my bees in the cotton growing areas that the cause of SAD bees was associated with cotton growing or cotton honey. Since so many bees that show SAD and BAD symptoms have never been in the cotton I soon discounted this as a cause.} BEE VIRUSES The major problem with identifying viruses in bees is that few bee scientific types are doing this kind of work and fewer in the U.S. Requests by beekeepers for viruses screens or checks made to public agencies are given very low priority. Most bees can be found to have Nosema and its easy and cheap to look for, so that is what beekeepers are told their bees have when they ask for a viruses check. Few ask anyway. As mites become more prevalent they are superseding Nosema as a stock diagnosis for bees sent to public agencies for study. It really does not matter that much because so little is known of bees viruses and no cures are known. Over the years enough samples of bees from California and the U.S. have been checked in European labs and found to have viruses of one type or another that you can feel confident that they are present in your bees and surely if the symptoms are. {For a hobby I feed colored hybrid carp called, KOI, and find them interesting and somewhat comparable to bees in that they have pests, predators and diseases; like my bees. They also suffer greatly from stress and viral diseases. Its worth quoting from the "TETRA ENCYCLOPEDIA OF KOI" a passage on Viral Diseases.}:QUOTE "Viruses are probably among the most successful organisms ever to have evolved and, apart from other viruses, can infect all other living organisms, including bacteria. Their structure is one of elegant simplicity,.....The life cycle might also be described as simple compared with other organisms.....The infecting virus literally 'injects' its own genetic material into a single cell of the host. Once inside the cell, the viral genetic material takes command of the cell's genetic material and causes it to produce more viruses. Very simply, it may proceed in one or two way. The virus may cause the host cell to mass produce other virus particles that are released when the host cell ruptures, allowing the virus particles to infect other cells and organisms. Alternatively, the virus can incorporate itself into the host cell's genetic material and may have an initial infective stage causing more virus particles to be produced. The virus then enter a non-infectious state during which the particle remains in the host cell's genetic material but is inactive. STRESS OR OTHER DISEASES CAN THEN CAUSE THIS TYPE OF VIRUS TO BECOME INFECTIVE AGAIN. A classic example of this type of viral infection is the herpes virus which causes cold sores in man.{and women} One of the sinister aspects of any virus is that its genetic material is not very stable; it mutates very easily, giving rise to new' viral strains. The perfect example of this are the viruses that cause influenza, with different types appearing apparently each winter to plague us. There is no treatment or cure for any viral disease. Prevention of viral disease using vaccination is the only method currently available....." END QUOTE . The realities of bee viruses are that there are no quick fixes or magic bullets. Viruses are present in most bees and they don't show symptoms or dramatic effects every year. I believe that these viruses do effect bees each year to some degree. The effects or degree of damage that viruses have on bees may be determined by the condition, number of healthy young bees raised prior to the slowing down or stopping of broodrearing and the time before it starts again. The quality of the last bees reared may be just as important as the numbers. Bees reared on low quality diets may look normal and be in great numbers, but not have the ability to properly feed brood; or rear bees that have shortened longevity. Some of the poor pollens that I have been able to associate with my own SAD bees, are grass pollens; such as rice, and many of the water grasses associated with rice. Corn, milo, and fall tarweed pollens also. I am sure that most any area his its own problem pollens. It is well to remember that the greater the mixture of pollen the less problem with SAD or BAD bees, both as a cause and cure. As a rule when large amounts of pollen accumulate in the combs a problem can be associated with that pollen. One example of this can be experienced in the prolonged fall tarweed flows, large amounts of tarweed pollen can be found in the hives and brood rearing stops in spite of good broodrearing conditions. I have also seen this same condition in early October coastal manzanita flows. In this case the lack of pollen was evident. Poor pollen and no pollen give similar symptoms... The stress of nectar collection is easy to understand when no broodrearing is taking place. The bees work themselves to death, so we say. The results may be full boxes of honey and KNOT HEADS. [KNOT HEADS, are small clusters of bees in the advanced stages of BAD, just prior to death or when a hive becomes a DEAD OUT.] GOOD forage conditions do not included over crowded almond orchards. The main reason that so many SAD and BAD bees that are KNOT HEADS at the start of the almond bloom are DEAD OUTS shortly after its over, is that almond pollen by itself is not a good food for bees. {The generation of beekeepers that I learned from did not regularly go to the almonds in the spring even though they lived close to the almond growing regions, because their bees did better elsewhere. Until the almond acreage dramatically increased and beekeepers started taking advantage of the increased need for bees, did beekeepers who live out of the immediate growing area start moving to the almonds, for the CASH rent.} BEES REQUIRE a balanced diet and to get this almost always require more then one kind of pollen. In pollinating almonds, {and other crops}, so many bees are concentrated in a relative small area, that many hives will not have a chance to collect pollen from more then the orchard or orchard floor. And leave no doubt that bee viruses have a better opportunity to spread from hive to hive, as when near a million hives are concentrated in a limited area for almond pollination. Furthermore some research has shown almond pollen, or something in it, may retard brood production and much problems in getting large numbers of queen cells accepted by cell builders is reported during the peak almond bloom in areas where the predominant pollen is from almonds. . The stress of poor diets, the presence of pathological viruses and the time between the stopping of production of healthy bees and the starting of the production of healthy bees determines the effects of BAD and SAD on your bees. If the last bees reared were not healthy and the first bees reared are not healthy, the hive will suffer BADly and SADly may become a DEADOUT. I have watched my own BAD SAD bees for many years, and seen them go from what we refer to as "BALL BUSTERS", {after home run hitters in baseball}, in the fall, to a queen and twenty queen in the spring. Then to DEADOUTS, many times with supers full of honey and sometimes both pollen and honey. In 1988 I witnessed for the first time, when I popped the lid off a hive, earlier identified as SAD, the queen take wing from a cluster of twenty bees and disappear in the flight of bees from other hives in the yard. A DEADOUT was born... As for reported cures, it has been reported that feeding sugar syrup, and sugar syrup with the antibiotic AUREOMYCIN may have some positive effect on some of the viruses. I can not report great success with either in my own experience. {Note: AUREOMYCIN, HCL, or chlortetracycline is not approved in the U.S. for feeding to bees.} But I think that they should be examined for effect on prevalent be viruses. Reducing the effects of bee viruses may be similar to EFB. Once you see the symptoms the damage has been done. For EFB, the TM must be present before the bees start to brood to get the best results, which is no EFB. If feeding sugar syrup or syrup with antibiotic are necessary to prevent damage from viruses, it may be necessary to do it in the late summer or fall to be effective. Once your bees are SAD or BAD, feeding them is the same as putting three or more of them together, the end results is one SAD hive and three or more DEADOUTS. Adding healthy bees or young queens to SAD hives is better spent on healthy hives and used to make up DEADOUTS or NUCS. {Time and good pasture is the only proven way a beekeeper now can overcome the effects of SAD on bees. NOT MUCH HELP IF ALL YOUR HIVES ARE SAD.} It is not my desire to minimize the effects of other pathogens of bees including pests, predators, chemicals, and other natural disasters. All and any stress can result in large numbers of SAD BAD DEADOUTS or DINKS. I do believe that each one of us has a responsibility to keep our bees healthy within the bonds of practicability. [We must always remember that very few creations are not afflicted by pest, predators, and disease.] The results of so many BAD, SAD bees the last few years has been a lot of SAD beekeepers looking for a quick fix to a very complex problem, KEEPING HEALTHY productive bees. I do not think the answer will necessarily be through modern chemistry, and I am certain it will not be by government decree, that: "ALL BEES WILL BE HEALTHY OR DEAD." . Unlike others, I do not believe feral bees or hobby beekeepers will disappear, [leaving open pastures for the enlightened commercial beekeeper], because of any pathogen or pest we know of in today's world. If the environment for what ever reason will not support feral populations of honeybees, {or hobby beekeepers}, then it will be too hostile to support commercial beekeepers no matter how enlightened their management systems. No area in the world that can support honeybees has had them disappear after they have been successively introduced. {}Commercial beekeepers have disappeared{} SUMMERY. My bees at numerous times over thirty five years have went from BALL BUSTERS to BAD or SAD. I don't have good pasture much of the time for my bees. {Yours always has looked better.} You may be able to recognize the symptoms of viruses in your bees before they look SAD and smell BAD, by looking for large numbers of black shinny, hairless bees in your hives. {Before you experience the unexplained appearance of dead bees in front of your hives or dramatic declines in hive populations.} Based on very little scientific research, my own personal observations and much practical experience of others. Sugar syrup fed to bees in the fall, that for what ever reason have been reared or pastured under stress, may reduce the number of apparently healthy hives that become SAD, BAD, DINKS, or DEADOUTS. {Other beekeepers from California to Texas, and elsewhere, report that heavy feeding of sugar syrup, two gallons and more, as soon as their bees are unloaded from being trucked from summer pastures, has greatly reduced their experiences with SAD bees. This should be investigated by our bee biologists.} Beekeepers need a public, non regulatory, non political lab, that bees can be sent to for examination, not only for common pests and diseases, but also the viruses. Samples of bees sent in for testing should be routinely exhamined for more then the popular threats of day. {Both the regulatory and much of the scientific community appears to be suffering from tunnel vision. With no greater porpoise in life then being the first kid on the block to find or identify the first exotic pest of one kind or another.} Its time to accept the fact that bees have and are affected by pests, diseases, and parasites and that any single affliction may be of little harm alone but in combination may be fatal. We must be able to recognize these fatal combinations if we are to have any strategy for thretment. Beekeepers in the U.S. have had much time and experience treating pests, and yet hives treated for pests,{and made free of them}, continue to die. This seems to suggest that something other then the pests being treated is causing the decline in our bees, and maybe we should reserve treatments of pests for extreme cases, and look for, and at other pathogens of bees. . CLOSE TO THE END {When I started keeping bees as an apprentice beekeeper or a beekeepers LOUSE, about 1954, to a generation of beekeeper now past. Their average production per hive was three times today's average. A family could make a good middle class living from five hundred hives including a new car every three years or so and collage education's for the kids. Annual losses of bees in excess of ten per cent was above normal and indicated a poor beekeeper. The normal replacement of bees today in California is thirty percent approaching fifty. Beekeepers with BAD, SAD, bees in the spring of 1989 did have fifty percent and higher losses. Replacing these deadouts, a challenge to the best beekeeper, is not lessened by not knowing if after replacing them they are not going to be SAD by the end of the season}....{ andy } UPDATE (Jan 8, 1989) As I try to polish my long winded talk, beekeepers in California are reporting: Bees that are on the mid-winter coastal honey flows are not showing signs of dwindling. Bees from out of state and in state locations that are wintering in the interior central valley are dwindling in some yards. The weather in the valley has been overcast, foggy and cool, with very little bee activity or flight. On the coast it has been warm and dry. Most colonies appear to be bigger then last winter. Thirty nine apiaries, mostly semi-yards, located from northern to southern California, have been found with Varroa mites at very low levels and are being forced to treat at very inflated costs. Some of the yards being treated have been treated two and three times since last winter. Twenty per cent of the 6,000 colonies being treated have not been out of state in 1989. The percentage of instate hives found with mites is greater then the out of state bees coming into California. California beekeepers have made several runs on the chemical product TAC-TIC (amatraiz) to protect themselves from the threat of high costs of forced treatments by the CDFA. {Opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author, me, who has no regulatory job to protect, chemical products to sell, and should not be confused with any scientific paper created by any Doctor or PHD (POP) who must publish or parish. Thank you for reading this and may you prosper with me to spite all those who perceive that our end is near.} --- ~ QMPro 1.53 ~ ... Where the wild bee never flew A SAGA OF "SAD" AND "BAD" BEES Mr. Andy Nachbaur, a California beekeeper of 35 years, provided an interesting talk to those attending the last American Beekeeping Federation convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Nachbaur also passed out a printed report on what he calls, "Stress Accelerated Decline" (S-A-D) and "Bee Immune Deficiency" (B-A- D) in bee colonies. Space demands of this newsletter dictate heavy editing of Mr. Nachbaur's full report. According to the document, reprints are available from Mr. Nachbaur by writing to him at 1522 Paradise Lane, Los Banos, CA 93635. The publication is quite long; a $5.00 donation is suggested. SAD and BAD conditions have been reported in all parts of the world, Mr. Nachbaur says; they are not restricted to a specific area and may occur at any time without warning. They may also affect beekeepers large or small without regard to experience. And because SAD and BAD bees don't reappear in the same region season after season, these conditions are difficult to study. In the past, beekeepers and scientists have called SAD and BAD bees many things, including Isle of Wight Disease; fall, spring and winter collapse or decline; and disappearing disease. The new popular cause, Mr. Nachbaur says, is tracheal mites (at that time California beekeepers were not reporting infestations of Varroa). However, he continues, "It is my opinion...that all of the above and every other natural or unnatural condition that afflicts bees, that can be identified as stressful can be made a scapegoat for SAD or BAD bees." SAD and BAD conditions are not necessarily confined to beekeeping, Mr. Nachbaur says (the parallel of "bee immune deficiency" to human AIDS is implicit). He also suggests that beekeeper management procedures might have an effect. "These hives appear to be strong productive hives after a honey flow or extended broodrearing period," Mr. Nachbaur contends. However, he continues, they can lose population quickly, leaving boxes full of honey and empty of bees. Two symptoms of SAD and BAD bees Mr. Nachbaur describes are (1) increasing numbers of black, shiny or old bees and (2) numbers of dead, dying and crawling bees. Although pesticide use in California is heavy, Mr. Nachbaur has found SAD and BAD bees in areas where few pesticides are used and in some instances bees sent in for analysis showed no residues of toxic chemicals. The symptoms described above, according to Mr. Nachbaur, could be related to viral infection. The realities of bee viruses, he says, are that there are no quick fixes or magic bullets. Mr. Nachbaur believes viruses are present in most bees, but don't become epidemic every year. He correlates viral infections with stress put on colonies by a number of causes. One is the extreme crowding of apiaries in California during almond pollination. Nutritional resources also have much to do with SAD and BAD bees, Mr. Nachbaur says. "Bees reared on low quality diets may look normal and be in great numbers, but not have the ability to properly feed brood; or rear bees that have shortened longevity." Poor pollen sources, Mr. Nachbaur says, associated with SAD and BAD bees are those of grasses: rice, corn, milo. In California, pollen of two wild plants, tarweed and coastal manzanita, seem to be involved. In the case of tarweed, Mr. Nachbaur has observed that a great deal of this pollen will in fact stop broodrearing, even though other conditions appear optimal. Another source of pollen, almonds, is also suspect. As Mr. Nachbaur says, "The generation of beekeepers that I learned from did not regularly go to the almonds in the spring even though they lived close to the almond growing regions, because their bees did better elsewhere." It was only when cash rental became popular that bees were purposefully moved into almonds. Mr. Nachbaur's conclusion is that bees require a balanced diet and to get this almost always require more than one kind of pollen. Sugar syrup feeding can also help reduce cases of SAD and BAD bees, Mr. Nachbaur says, if applied at certain times. These include the fall and/or right after bees are unloaded from being trucked out of summer pasturage. However, Mr. Nachbaur indicates that bees with advanced cases of SAD and BAD are unable to use syrup, which eventually may simply pool up on the ground. In Florida, bees under heavy stress have also been rescued by inserting a frame of emerging brood. Poor diets, pathological viruses and subsequent reduced broodrearing take a great toll on colonies, according to Mr. Nachbaur, who says, "The stress of nectar collection is easy to understand when no broodrearing is taking place. The bees work themselves to death...the results may be full boxes of honey and knot heads..." The latter are colonies with small clusters of bees. This situation quickly leads to colony death. Mr. Nachbaur does not minimize the effects of other diseases, pests, predators and toxic chemicals which can lead to large numbers of SAD and BAD bees. As he says, "The results of so many BAD, SAD bees over the last few years has been a lot of SAD beekeepers looking for a quick fix to a very complex problem, keeping healthy, productive bees." Beekeepers need a laboratory that will examine bees for common pests, predators and also viruses, Mr. Nachbaur says, and the time has come to accept the fact that any single affliction may be of little harm alone, but in combination can be fatal to bee colonies. Mr. Nachbaur describes two major constraints to successful beekeeping in the 1990s. These are finding high quality bee pasture and renewing colonies that die for whatever reason. Actually, it turns out the second constraint is also very much related to the first. That is, Mr. Nachbaur says, "The ability of beekeepers to renew or replace colonies that die out, or become so poor as to be a liability, is a serious problem that can be met by applying rule number one: keep your bees on high quality pasture." Failing this, Mr. Nachbaur says that dramatic loss of colonies, such as those experienced by California beekeepers in 1987-88, will continue. In addition, there may be even more frequent unexplained losses causing SAD and BAD bees in the future. I was struck by the similarity of Mr. Nachbaur's remarks to what has been occurring in Florida in the last few years. Colony conditions in the panhandle and other parts of the state reporting unexpectedly large dieoffs are in many ways parallel to the SAD, BAD bees of California. Mr. Nachbaur's notions about a diagnostic laboratory, the importance of the pollen resource, experimental pesticide use in colonies, monitoring thresholds for pests, nutrition and other limiting factors have all been addressed in past issues of this newsletter. This is not to say that all Mr. Nachbaur's ideas should be categorically accepted. Some are controversial and based on observations with little scientific data to back them up. Nevertheless, he has taken the time to write down what he has seen over the last three decades of commercial beekeeping. This is an important first step in determining how he and other beekeepers might begin to deal with SAD and BAD bees. REFLECTIONS ON PROTEIN MANAGEMENT The Florida panhandle feeding study is now in the hands of reviewers. When it is published, I will provide information on how to obtain a full copy. Like many scientific studies on honey bees, the results are not definitive and the causes of unexplained bee losses in that region remain controversial. One of the major arguments I used to embark on a feeding study was that protein nutrition played a great role in the large-scale dieoff reported in the panhandle and that its manipulation was something the beekeeper might incorporate into a management plan. Much of what Mr. Nachbaur said, reported elsewhere in this issue of APIS, corroborates this idea. Practically every time the possibility of protein deficiency was broached as contributor to the problem, however, the hue and cry was raised that pollen was not in short supply. This may have been true, but the quality of that pollen not deemed to be a limiting resource by beekeepers in the area remained, and still remains, a mystery. Beyond Mr. Nachbaur's concerns about almond and tarweed pollen elsewhere in this newsletter, other information exists showing pollen quality cannot be ignored in bee management. Study in Australia by G. Kleinschmidt and A. Kondos published in the Australasian Beekeeper has shown that colonies on high quality pollens maintain sufficient brood levels and can be moved to successive honey flows. On the other hand, when feeding on low protein pollens, colonies maintain large populations working light flows, but rapidly decline under heavy workloads which also leads to increase in nosema levels. In addition, under heavy honey flows, bees in colonies with a rapid decrease in body protein lived only 20-26 days, whereas those with 40% lived 46-50 days. Thus, colony reproduction was not able to replace bees fast enough when longevity was short, whereas populations remained large during a twelve week flow when longevity increased. Given the above information, Mr. Kleinschmidt suggests careful management of the following factors to maintain optimum bee populations: A. A prolific queen. B. Brood movement and/or supplementation. C. Attention to nutrition (carbohydrate and protein). Most beekeepers in the U.S. usually pay attention to all of the above, except protein nutrition. Here is what Mr. Kleinschmidt says concerning colony nutrition: "The use of sugar syrup will substitute for nectar, but current artificial pollens only supplement or extend natural pollens in the Australian environment, not replace them." Thus, he continues, natural resources can be more fully utilized by: (a) managing colonies to maintain body protein at pre-determined levels; (b) collecting and storing (freezing) pollen for later use; and (c) using supplements for the first one to two generations of buildup. Mr. Kleinschmidt says that all of the above strategies require specific beekeeper action and continuing production costing to determine their suitability. Passive management previously practiced only permitted economic survival, he continues, because natural resources were abundant and production costs lower. He concludes that active management for a pre-planned specific purpose and crop is necessary for survival of Australian beekeepers, and that planning often begins nine months before the selected honey flow. The quality of pollens is determined by Mr. Kleinschmidt and his colleagues using the Kjeldahl method, a standard procedure which shows how much nitrogen (crude protein) is present. Some 50 bees are taken from the brood nest and analyzed. This nitrogen or crude protein determination is another reason, besides detection of diseases and pests, for beekeepers to consider using a diagnostics laboratory. In addition to crude protein, another technique used to determine nutritional status of bees is to look at their brood food glands. Dr. Christine Peng, University of California, Davis recently said at the Western Connecticut Beekeepers Association meeting that bees highly infested with tracheal mites had very poor glandular development. This indicated an inability to rear brood at all or if they did, the resulting bees were small. When Dr. Peng's remarks were reported by Dr. Larry Connor in his column, "Students of the Honey Bee," in the June, 1990 issue of The Speedy Bee, he asked the question: "Is intensive protein feeding part of proper management against mites?" It could be. Paying closer attention to protein management might be an important key in determining the reason for many of the SAD and BAD bees in beekeeping outfits today.

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