Taming Aggressive Bees

We know that stinging is a defensive behavior for honey bees.  Some species and breeds of honey bees go about that defensive reaction across a spectrum of aggressiveness.  While some are relatively docile or low key to get “fired up”, others are on a seeming hair trigger to explosive response.

What are the determining factors to how aggressively a given type of honey bee or breed of bee will respond?  Are they genetic, chemical, or behavioral?  Some some combination of some of all of the above.

Someone is looking into the subject and may bee trying to breed a different type of bee based on that.

By Jonathan Wilkins – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40222605

(Inside Science) — James Nieh, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, has been studying bees for decades. He’s often a go-to expert on bees.“I often get people who ask me, ‘what about those killer bees, those Africanized bees?’ And it turns out that these guys are beneficial in the environment for a variety of reasons, beneficial in the sense that they do better than the European honeybee,” said Nieh.

Source: Taming Aggressive Bees

Despite few taste genes, honey bees seek out essential nutrients based on seasonal resources

Honey bee nutrition is always a topic of great concern for keepers of bees.  Seasonal changes in mineral needs for the colony are important, especially as we work to prepare hives for annual weather events such as Winter or other environmental shifts such as dealing with dearth due to intense heat.  Of course, for migratory apiarists and those with stationary bee yards in more “challenging” locations that are sometimes referred to as “food deserts”, maintaining healthy bee colony nutrition becomes even more of a concern.

Hmm, but as this article goes on to show, the more information we find about bees, the more questions we have.

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE (February 9, 2017) – Despite having few taste genes, honey bees are fine-tuned to know what minerals the colony may lack and proactively seek out nutrients in conjunction with the season when their floral diet varies. This key finding from a new study led by Tufts University scientists sheds light on limited research on the micronutrient requirements of honey bees, and provides potentially useful insight in support of increased health of the bee population, which has declined rapidly in recent years for a variety of complex reasons.

Source: Despite few taste genes, honey bees seek out essential nutrients based on seasonal resources

Lawsuit filed over honeybee deaths

Apiarists face plenty of problems trying to keep bees healthy and alive while utilizing them to make a living.  When procedures set in place by others be they people, businesses or government agencies, go awry, apiarists, like any other business, want accountability and whatever is required to get back to where they were before the problem.

Even if it’s accidental, these professionals should still be given the respect and due process to get their business operational again.

A beekeeping business has filed suit over mosquito-spraying last summer that killed 4 million of its bees.

Source: Lawsuit filed over honeybee deaths

Gold standard assessing neonicotinoids: Field bee hive studies find pesticides not major source of health issues | Genetic Literacy Project

Some lab studies but almost no field studies suggest neonicotinoid pesticides are harming bee health. Why is there such a gap in conclusions? And why are field studies virtually ignored in the media, while one-off lab studies hinting at catastrophe are circulated widely?

Source: Gold standard assessing neonicotinoids: Field bee hive studies find pesticides not major source of health issues | Genetic Literacy Project

California Beekeepers, Farmers Prepare For Pollination

As beekeepers prepare for the almond pollination season to begin, multiple issues face them along the way.  Hive thefts, diseases and pesticide use concerns loom over their heads along with the rainy weather.

Much of Northern California has experienced above-average precipitation this winter, but by the time bloom begins in mid-February, almond growers hope the sun will shine long enough to allow bees to fly and do the job of pollination. Almond bloom usually begins in mid-February and continues until mid-March.

Major Research Development to Help Honey Bees

As the pest, disease and pesticide issues facing bees continues to frustrate beekeepers across the country, more projects are coming together to try to help make some positive headway in keeping honey bees healthy and alive.

A new honey bee testing service announced this week will allow beekeepers to more effectively identify and address diseases plaguing bee colonies, according to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC). NAGC conducted the research and developed the testing panel with the support of the National Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. […]

Source: Major Research Development to Help Honey Bees

Lost colonies: How bee rustling works

Hive stealing has been around for a very long time.  While this article discusses pretty well how “bee rustling” is impacted by almond season, it doesn’t go quite into the history of the malpractice.

Also, I’d like to add that the estimable gentleman from Bee Culture magazine that was quoted in this article is Kim Flottum (NOT Flossum).  As always, excellent input Kim.

When $90,000 worth of bee colonies were stolen recently in Manvel, it raised one question among those outside the industry: Why? Why steal bees?

Source: Lost colonies: How bee rustling works

Great Scott! Yellow-eyed bees?

Have you ever found odd looking bees in your hives?  Genetic anomalies exist within honey bee genes that can be passed down from queen to daughter queen or rise and fall within the life of a single queen, never to show themselves again.

When Geoff Scott popped the lid of his bee hive open something unusual stared back at him – yellow eyes.

Source: Great Scott! Yellow-eyed bees?