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Posts Tagged: honey bees

Honey bee health key to wellbeing of important species

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Our friends the honey bees make it possible for us to devour an abundance of almond products. In 2016 the California almond crop totaled 2.15 billion pounds valued at $5.2 billion. Growing 80 percent of the world's almonds in California takes a lot of honey bees for pollination, roughly two hives for every acre of almond trees. It's estimated that California has 1.3 million acres of almonds, stretching 400 miles between Bakersfield and Red Bluff.

California is rated in the top five honey producing states in the nation. The U.S. per capita consumption of honey is around 1.3 pounds per year. Our buzzing friends visit millions of blossoms, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive. Lucky for us bees make more honey than their colony needs allowing beekeepers the opportunity to remove the excess honey and bottle it for us to enjoy.

Bees are animals too

Bees are one of our planet's most important animals. They produce honey and they are the primary managed pollinators for a majority of high value specialty crops grown in the contiguous states of California and Oregon, such as nuts, stone fruits, vegetables, and berries. A problem looms for our animal friends, the bees. Colony losses are high due to a variety of environmental and biological causes including bacterial diseases. Historically, beekeepers have self-prescribed antibiotics to control these diseases.

Enter UC Davis and Oregon State University to aid beekeepers in addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial use in the feed or water of food-producing animals, namely, protecting the health and safety of bees. The overall strategy leads to a safer food supply because the potential for antibiotic resistance is reduced.

The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine are partnering with Oregon State University in a USDA funded multi-state specialty crop project to develop CE training for veterinarians on bee health and antibiotic use — a practice that is now regulated under the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). The project will offer a comprehensive bee biology online course and train-the-trainer practical training for veterinarians and apiculture educators. The ultimate goals are to protect the specialty crop — honey — from becoming contaminated with antibiotic residues; to protect the health and safety of bees, which are essential to California agriculture; and, finally, to support veterinary oversight in the use of antibiotics, which will lead to an overall reduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment.   

The $483,278 award will address the unique needs of the beekeeping industry that have been experiencing high colony losses since 2006. It will also focus on new rules established by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on the use of antibiotics which are used to control certain diseases affecting bee colonies.

The principal investigator is Elina L. Niño, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Project leader is Bennie Osburn, director of outreach and training at WIFSS. Collaborating in the project is Jonathan Dear, from the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and the partner state collaborator is Ramesh Sagili from the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. A team of graphic and instructional designers from WIFSS will work with Drs. Niño, Dear, and Sagili, to translate the science into user friendly information for veterinarians and beekeepers.

Educating about honey bee health

Jonathan Dear, a small animal internal medicine veterinarian and hobbyist beekeeper inspects one of his hives.

Dear who is collaborating with WIFSS to produce an online and hands-on module to train veterinarians about beekeeping and honey bee health, points out that, “Honey bees are such an important part of our economy and, like any food producing animal, they can be affected by preventable and treatable diseases.”

He is enthusiastic about the project and says, “Our hope is that by educating veterinarians about honey bee health, they can play a key role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of this important species.”

With the efforts of extension specialists, veterinarians, and graphic and instructional designers, beekeepers and veterinarians will work together to navigate the VFD regulations, and consumers will continue to enjoy nature's sugar.

UCANR-Honey-400x300
UCANR-Honey-400x300

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7:47 AM
Tags: Honey (7), honey bees (367)
Focus Area Tags: Food

Support Your Local Bee Keepers: how you can do your part

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The humming sound of busy honeybees filled the fall air, darting back and forth as I followed longtime beekeeper Randy Oliver around his bee yard. I was there to learn about a new issue for local beekeepers. Oliver explained that local honeybee colonies have been robbed of their honey in places they have been kept year-after-year for several decades. Robbed?? Yes, by other honeybees, from hives from other parts of California. In the last couple years, numerous out-of-area hives have been placed in close proximity to local hives. Oliver, along with local beekeepers, presented a draft proposal to the Nevada County Ag Advisory Commission, which recommended an emergency beekeeping ordinance to county supervisors.

Oliver explained that the proposal calls for a minimum of a 2-mile radius around each existing apiary location and a 45-hive maximum in each location. All bee hives in Nevada County must be registered by the Ag Commissioner in January each year. This ordinance is designed to provide the resources and “teeth” to protect local bees and their food sources. Put in rancher terms, imagine that you had your cattle on pasture, someone saw your cattle grazing and decided to dump off 100 cows in the same pasture because it looked like a good food source.  “This is beekeepers regulating themselves” said Oliver. The ordinance would not cost taxpayers and is funded by beekeepers themselves. Hobby beekeepers would be exempt from the registration fees and existing hives would be grandfathered in. Another issue with having bee colonies in close proximity is the potential for infection and mite drift into hives. Oliver explained the dangers of reintroducing a bacterial disease called American foulbrood that is nearly eradicated in Nevada County. This issue may also be of concern in Placer County.

So what does this have to do with local farmers and ranchers? If someone asks permission to put honeybee hives on your land, or leaves a note on your gate, contact your Nevada County Beekeepers Association or search  “Honey” on the Placer Grown website to find local beekeepers.

A report released in March by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) stated that California produced 13,735,000 pounds of honey in 2017, worth more than $28.5 million dollars. Beekeeping is an important agricultural activity in this area. Hive rentals to almond growers rather than honey provide the major income for beekeepers, but honey is an important product in the foothills.

Learn more:

Why are honey bees important to crops and farmers? – Bees Matter

 https://www.beesmatter.ca/why-are-honey-bees-important-to-crops-and-farmers/

Learn How to be a Bee-Friendly Farm - http://pollinator.org/bff

Cattle, Honey Bees Graze in Harmony on Wisconsin Farm - Find out how NRCS can help you increase pollinators on your farm or ranch. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/home/?cid=NRCSEPRD405218

Nevada County Bee Keepers Associationhttp://nevadacountybeekeepers.org/

Placer Grown - http://www.placergrown.org/

Randy Oliver - http://scientificbeekeeping.com/ 

Attached Files
bee hives in field
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 10:55 AM

This Katydid Did

Honey bees circle  a fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The katydid, as green as the leaves around it, is feeding on a yellow rose. It is paying no attention to the circling honey bees. The bees want nectar, not an encounter with a critter far bigger than they are. The katydid slowly moves from one devastated blossom to a bud. The honey bees head off...

Honey bees circle  a fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bees circle a fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bees circle a fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the fork-tailed bush katydid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the fork-tailed bush katydid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of the fork-tailed bush katydid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dorsal view of the fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Dorsal view of the fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dorsal view of the fork-tailed bush katydid feeding on a yellow rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Fork-tailed bush katydid seems to be saying
Fork-tailed bush katydid seems to be saying "This bud's for me."(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Fork-tailed bush katydid seems to be saying "This bud's for me."(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Eye-to-eye with a fork-tailed bush katydid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Eye-to-eye with a fork-tailed bush katydid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Eye-to-eye with a fork-tailed bush katydid.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Oops! Check out the frass. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oops! Check out the frass. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Oops! Check out the frass. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Meet Some Crafty Insects at Bohart Museum of Entomology

A praying mantis dining on a cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Talk about "crafty"--as in cunning or sneaky--insects. Ever seen a praying mantis ambushing a cabbage white butterfly? Or an assassin bug targeting a spotted cucumber beetle? Or European paper wasps attacking a Gulf Fritillary butterfly? And, how about the other kind of "crafty" insects--like...

A praying mantis dining on a cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A praying mantis dining on a cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A praying mantis dining on a cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An assassin bug targeting prey: a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An assassin bug targeting prey: a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An assassin bug targeting prey: a spotted cucumber beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

European paper wasps attacking a newly eclosed Gulf Fritillary butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
European paper wasps attacking a newly eclosed Gulf Fritillary butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

European paper wasps attacking a newly eclosed Gulf Fritillary butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These
These "crafty" European paper wasps are making their nest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These "crafty" European paper wasps are making their nest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A feral honey bee colony is a work of art. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A feral honey bee colony is a work of art. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A feral honey bee colony is a work of art. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 4:41 PM

And the (Bee) Beat Goes On...

A honey bee flies in formation with

It was bound to happen. A "real" honey bee flying alongside "fake" bees on a bee crossing sign. We photographed this honey bee (below) at 1/1000 of second (with a Nikon D500 and a 105mm lens with  the f-stop set at 16 and ISO at 800), but honey bee flight is truly amazing. Back in the 1934...

A honey bee flies in formation with
A honey bee flies in formation with "fake" bees on a bee crossing sign. Bees can flap their wings around 240 times per second. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee flies in formation with "fake" bees on a bee crossing sign. Bees can flap their wings around 240 times per second. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's almost flyover time again. Blue spike sage (Salvia uliginosa) is in the foreground. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's almost flyover time again. Blue spike sage (Salvia uliginosa) is in the foreground. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's almost flyover time again. Blue spike sage (Salvia uliginosa) is in the foreground. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 5:15 PM

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