There are queen cells in my hive - what should I do?
Introduction: You have opened a hive and found queen cells. First of all, don’t panic and, whatever you do, on NO account adopt the Dalek strategy of ‘exterminate them, exterminate them’! It did not work for the Daleks - they lost out to Dr Who every time - and it will not work for you. Destroying queen cells to prevent swarming never has been and never will be a successful method of swarm control. If you destroy one lot of queen cells the bees will immediately make some more and will probably swarm earlier than normal in their development - often before the first cells are sealed. If you destroy queen cells twice you run the risk of the colony swarming and leaving behind no provision for a new queen. Any delay of swarming that you induce by destroying cells will probably result in the prime swarm being larger than it would have been if you had not interfered. Once a colony of bees is triggered to swarm nothing will stop them and all the beekeeper can do is to control the situation by some form of artificial swarming - and even then the eventual outcome is not a foregone conclusion. If you approach the problem logically and find out exactly what stage of the swarming process the colony is in, you will stand the best chance of successfully intervening; not losing bees, saving as much of your potential honey crop as possible and not ending up with a queenless colony.
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Beekeepers see 42% of US honeybee colonies die off in a single year
Note: Maryland reported than 60% of their hives died since April 2014)
Summer deaths raise concern among entomologists as more than two in five colonies are lost: a ‘loud signal that there’s some bad things happening’
More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly, the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.
Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1% of their colonies, the second-highest rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the US Department of Agriculture.
Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides,
Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides in the same way humans get hooked on cigarettes, according to a new study, which was released as a landmark field trial provided further evidence that such neonicotinoids harm bee populations.
In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists from Newcastle Univeristy showed that bees have a preference for sugar solutions that are laced with the pesticides imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, possibly indicating they can become hooked on the chemicals.
Honey Bee Diseases Strike in All Seasons
The two bacteria are often lumped together, since both are in the genus Spiroplasma, an intriguing class of bacteria found in some insects, ticks, and plants. S. melliferum was discovered in the late 1970s by ARS researchers who noticed higher mortality rates in bees carrying it. French researchers discovered S. apis a few years later and called it “May disease,” because that’s the month of year when it struck. It made bees “quiver and creep,” left some unable to fly, and in that instance, cut honey production by about 25 percent. Scientists, however, don’t know if S. melliferum and S. apis are factors in colony collapse disorder or other major bee mortalities, and they are unsure how lethal the bacteria are to bees.
Schwarz, Evans, and their colleagues at the Brazilian Honey Bee Laboratory in São Paulo analyzed the DNA of bees they collected in Beltsville and Brazil at different times of the year between 2011 and 2013. Bees were collected from 11 states in Brazil and 2 areas in Beltsville. Schwarz had recently developed genetic markers that allow researchers to distinguish S. apis from other bacteria in bees. They used those markers and another recently developed set of S. melliferum markers to determine the year-round prevalence of the two pathogens in both locations.
As expected, the researchers found that both pathogens were prevalent in the spring. But they also found that they were common at other times of the year and that prevalence rates varied depending on the location. In Beltsville, they were more prevalent in the spring, while in Brazil they were more prevalent in the fall. They also found high infection rates: 33 percent of the U.S. colonies and 54 percent of the Brazilian colonies were infected. The results also showed that S. melliferum was the more prevalent of the two and that the presence of one pathogen made bees more susceptible to the other. Schwarz says the different genetics and prevalence patterns show that the two pathogens should not be lumped together.
Certain plants can act as bacteria-transmission sites, and bees pick up the pathogens when they feed on plant nectar, Schwarz says. The results add to what is known about microbe transmission between plants and pollinators and should help beekeepers and scientists monitor the health of honey bees by raising awareness about the year-round nature of any threat the pathogens may pose. With the new genetic markers now available, scientists will also be better equipped to screen bee colonies for them.—By Dennis O'Brien, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.
"Honey Bee Diseases Strike in All Seasons" was published in the February 2015 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Howard County Beekeepers Association Inc.
(A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization)
Our purpose is to promote honey beekeeping in Howard County, Md by providing a forum in which current honey beekeepers may become more knowledgeable of best practices and the public can become more, and accurately, informed on the benefits of honey bees.
A lecture given by Ricarda Kather at the National Honey Show 2013 entitled "Ghosts in the Hive - Varroa's life cycle inside a Honey Bee Colony".
Bees vs. beetles: Beekeeper saving hives with new invention
The bee industry is buzzing about a new device designed to save lives in the beehives.
Many beekeepers across the country are losing their bee hives to the small hive beetle, which can overwhelm the beehive by building up a population inside, ultimately destroying the entire colony.
I've had several hives that have been taken over with the hive beetles,” Walter McKay, a beekeeper from Gluckstadt, Miss., told FoxNews.com.
Mississippi beekeeper and inventor Haynes Haselmaier hopes to stop the destructive beetle with his invention, a gizmo he calls the Beetle Baffle.
"I've just kind of, in a civil way, declared war against the beetles," Haselmaier said.
The Beetle Baffle is not very complicated. It places a selective barrier between honey bees and their deadly nemesis. Aluminum strips are stapled on top of the bottom board of the bee hive. Bees can then walk over the aluminum strips in both directions, but the beetles cannot. That means the beetles can’t get to the colony where the honey and eggs are located. Haselmaier said this gives the bees a fighting chance against their enemy.
“To make them go away is probably not a reasonable goal, but to get it to a point where they're more reasonably managed is going to make a big difference," he said.
Ben Kern, a member of the Central Mississippi Beekeepers Association has seen financial losses due to the beetle.
"Within the last two years, I've lost 10 of my 20 bee colonies to the small hive beetle. It's a nuance and trouble for the hives especially if the beetles get ahead of the bees. I look forward to using this product, and if this baffle can deter the small hive beetle, it will be a real benefit for us beekeepers," Kern told FoxNews.com.
The Beetle Baffle sells for $16 each. More information about the invention can be found at beetlebaffle.com.
Kyle Rothenberg is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here and follow them on Twitter: @FNCJrReporters