Friday, November 1, 2013

Uphill Fight To Ban Bee-Killing Toxics | eugeneweekly.com

Uphill Fight To Ban Bee-Killing Toxics | eugeneweekly.com

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hive Inspection June 11...

I went into the hive today after I discovered a few bees dying outside the hive with deformed wings. I am pretty sure my bees have mites. I decided to try and treat them with peppermint oil. I added 5 drops to one pint of syrup in an entrance feeder. I got pretty worried about not seeing any foragers coming and going, but it has been chilly (below 50 and just started raining) so that is probably the reason they were not out.
Hive inspection...

I did a thurough examination of the frames with the bees on them. The first frame of honey that I was worried about was actually capped honey. I stuck the end of a stick in it and was excited to see the liquid gold!
The bees are chaining or measuring the distance of the frames.

I found my queen as well and she was looking great! She was on the frame with the most bees and brood.
The queen! I found my queen!

I am still pretty worried about the hive, cause I saw about 3 bees with deformed wings. I am going to do some research on the mites and alternative, organic treatments and see what I can do.

Hive mid inspection.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hive Inspection 6/7/13....

Andrew and I going into our hive.
I wanted to do a hive inspection at 2 weeks from the last time. I am very curious about what is going on in there, but I don't want to bother the bees too much. So we got all of our gear on in 85 degree, full sun weather and inspected the hive around 2pm.

Hive inspection June 7, 2013.


I have been noticing more and more dead bees in the bottom board of the box. I would say it is about 200 or so. The undertakers have a lot of work on their hands and have been flying the dead bees out as much as they can. I believe my hive is smaller than what it was when I got them and they have not started building any new comb. 

Frame full of uncapped honey/nectar with lots of bees.

 We went frame by frame and I took some photos while Andrew lifted each one out. We saw a frame full of uncapped honey or possibly nectar and several frames of brood. Most of the brood is uncapped with little curled up grubs in it. I was not able to find the queen but from the laying pattern, I am confident she is in there.

Some bees and brood but lots of empty cells.

I have some a few concerns about the look of some of the brood and comb. I did notice A LOT of empty cells throughout the hive and no new comb being built on any of the top bars. On the first frame we pulled out there were only a few bees on it and the cells looked a bit strange to me. I am not sure what is going on and I feel like it will be necessary for me to go back into the hive tomorrow, to thoroughly look at this.

These are the cells I am questioning.

I did notice quite a few newly hatched bees, and a ton of grubs. I am hoping this hive just needs time to repopulate and grow stronger.


Bees caring for the grubs.

Some of my observations:
-Did not see the queen
-Lots of empty cells
-Questionable cells
-Many new bees
-No new comb
-No capped honey
-Quite a few dead bees on the bottom board and surrounding the hive
-Lots of grubs

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Even the kids are learning about bees...


I asked grandma to check out some bee books from the library and Maurice and Sebastian loved this book. Maurice is just graduating from Kindergarten this week and reading well. I just love the commentary Sebastian adds to Maurice's reading.

Yay! Learning about bees!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Watching my bees forage in my yard...

video


I purposefully have not mowed my lawn in the past couple weeks so my bees can forage the clover and dandelions that grow with the grass. I am happy to see them so interested in it, and there are at least 20 bees in there at all times.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GMO virus

 Scientists are narrowing it down to why GMO's are so bad for us, bees, and our future. These studies should have been done years ago, BEFORE they were allowed to be released into our agriculture system.

http://www.realfarmacy.com/regulators-discover-a-hidden-viral-gene-in-commercial-gmo-crops/

The Bee Visit...



My little visitor!

I had a very exciting experience with my bees this morning. It is about 54 degrees, windy and cloudy. I went and sat on the edge of my garden bed with my cup of coffee to observe the hive and I look down and this bee landed on my leg. Now I am all dressed in black with a dark fuzzy sweater and black scarf on, so I though I was going to get stung. But as I sat there and watched this worker do her business, I soon realized she did not want to fight, she just needed to regroup and rest. So I began videoing the experience. She first emptied her pollen baskets then began cleaning herself and making little pollen balls. You could see the yellow pollen all over my pants.

She sat on my knee for over 10 minutes and just groomed herself. It was awesome to see something like this, and video most of her visit.

I was just looking through the videos and Sebastian comes up to me and says, "Oooo, what movie is this?!" He sat and watched all of the movies. I think he is just as fascinated by all this as I am.




Visit from a bee from Autumn Anglin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Observation 1.1

I have been sitting on the edge of my garden bed for days, watching the bees come in and out of the hive (when it is not raining out). Through the entrance of our hive, I can see a few dead bees piling up on the screened bottom board. We have been waiting to see if any undertaker bees will throw them out of the hive, but I don't think that has happened yet. I estimate there are about 30 dead or dying bees. I am not that worried, this seems normal to me for the amount of bees in the hive.

During a sun break we rearranged the hive.
This morning it was 57 degrees out and very cloudy. I sat and watched the hive entrance for about 10 minutes and it was surprisingly active. There are worker bees flying in and out, with more focus than I have seen yet. The returning bees are coming in with their pollen baskets full.

Yesterday, during a sun break we rearranged the hive (without the use of smoke) to its permanent position. When we brought the hive home we only took one of the supers and attached it to the bottom screen board. For my hive I am stacking two supers on top of the screen board and installing top bars next to the frames of brood from the Nuc. I hope to eventually have all top bars or bottomless frames in this brood area, so the queen can build as deep of brood comb as she wants. In a couple weeks I will examine the hive and decide if I need to put the next super on. Right now the hive is pretty small.

Here you can see 8 top bars (light wood) and 5 medium frames of brood (dark wood).
In the supers above the deep brood area, I am using medium frames and a few top bars on the angled edges of the hexagon hive. This will allow me to easily removed capped honey frames and store them in my freezer until I am sure the bees won't need them.

The Nuc I bought consisted of 5 frames of brood, one frame of capped honey from the beekeepers freezer, and one empty frame of comb for the bees to build on. When I went into the hive yesterday, I pulled out the empty frame of comb and replaced it with an empty top bar. I also discovered the entire frame of capped honey had been consumed or moved off the frame of honey that was given to me. So I also removed that frame and installed a top bar. Now in my deep brood box I have 8 top bars and 5 medium frames full of brood in various stages. I panicked a little yesterday thinking my bees may not have enough to eat, but with all the activity, I think they will be fine.
Rearranging the hive.

Today I noticed some drones below the hive that were dying. I collected them, and took some photos of them and some of the worker bees I have also collected. I have also been noticing a lot of debris falling out of the hive, and I am just assuming that is the wax that was holding the honey in its comb. This is all the observations for now.


Compare the size of a drone (right) and a worker (left).

Here are 3 drones I found dying under the hive today.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My bees have arrived!

On Saturday, May 25th, I went to another local beekeeper and bought my Nucleus Colony (Nuc). I got to pick from a few different Nuc's and chose the one recommended to be by the more experience beekeeper. We brought our hive with the screen board attached and the inner lid bungee corded on. Eyebrows were raised at the type of hive we have, but we soon figured it would all work just fine. The important thing was the frames fit, the bees had ventilation and could not escape on our drive home.
The Nuc we transported in our van to bring to their new home.


We arrived just before 8 am on a cloudy cool day. Fortunately it was not raining. We drove around to where the bees were kept and got suited up. Once we were ready to go we opened a few hives and began handling the frames looking for brood, queens and queen cells. It was amazing. I got to finally see what I have only seen on a You Tube video, in person. I was surprised by how able I was identify all of the parts, find a queen and understand everything that was explained to me. I was only able to do that because of how much I studied and let myself be consumed by the study of the apiary world. Although I am a novice, I feel as prepared for this as I possible could be. Kind of like studying for the final then passing the test.
Installing my first Nuc in my yard.


After our adventure at the bee farm, we headed home to set up our hive. We installed our "screen", two old doors screwed to 4x4 posts, so the bees would not fly directly into the sidewalk. I angled the entrance of the hive to face South East, like most of the bee books tell me, which is facing the green door. The bees are forced to fly up then out to forage and therefore safe for any passerby's to walk by without noticing the hive. The hive is set up in my front yard but very close to all of my gardens.
My honeybee on one of my Peonies.


As soon as the bees entrance was opened a few brave bees ventured out to see what was going on. This was around 1pm Saturday afternoon. It was about 65 degrees and sunny, so soon there were curious bees floating around my yard. I was surprised there was no big swarm, or an exodus of bees from the hive to orient themselves. Instead they came out one by one and only about 100 came out that I saw. I tested their gentleness that day by walking close to their hive and was never noticed. So of course I  went in and grabbed my camera and tried to capture the new girls flying around my yard.

We spent the rest of the day sitting on the side of my garden bed watching the entrance of the hive. They were busy trying to acclimate to their new surroundings and some already started gathering pollen.

Our bees buzzing around their new home.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Books on bees...

I have been so busy reading up a storm. Every book I could, I have checked out from the library on bee keeping. I have been gifted books and also started attending the monthly meetings at Willamette Valley Beekeeping Association, where they have a great library. Here is my list of books I am reading.

"Hive Inspection Basics For Northwest Beekeepers" by Bee Outside Publications

"The Hive and the Honey Bee" by Joe M Graham

"DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner" by Betsy Matheson

"The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden" by Kim Flottum

"ABC and XYZ Bee Culture" by Amos Ives Root

"The Joys of Beekeeping" by Richard Taylor

"Keeping Bees: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More" by Ashley English

"The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting, and Cooking with Natural Honeys" by Kim Flottum

"A Spring Without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply" by Michael Schacher

"Urban Beekeeping: A Guide to Keeping Bees in the City" by Craig Hughes

"The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses" by Richard Jones

"A World Without Bees" by Allison Benjamin

"Keeping Bees" by John Vivian

"The Art & Adventure of Beekeeping" by Ormond & Harry Aebi

"The Complete Handbook of Beekeeping" by Herbert Mace


Here is a list of books I am reading to my 4 and 6 year old sons, to prepare them for the bees:

"honeybees" by Deborah Heiligman

"Bees" by Rebecca Rissman

"Don't Squash That Bug: The Curious Kid's Guide to Insects" by Natalie Rompella

"Honey Bees" by Lola M. Schaefer

"Bees" by Sophie Lockwood

"Bees and Their Hives" by Linda Tagliaferro

"The Bumblebee Queen" by April Pulley Sayre

I also took a trip to Ruhl Bee Supply in Portland, to pick up some frames. This was a great trip as we got to see all of the bee equipment up close and personal. I am making my own hive, bee veil and protective clothing for me and my family and have been taking photos for tutorials after I have proven they will protect.












Monday, May 13, 2013

CCD, What's The Cause?

http://www.beelocal.com/2012/04/29/ccd-its-a-syndrome/

This is a great article on some of the causes of CCD. Take a look, what do you think? I do think it is multiple factors but I would have to blame the GMO crops as a big part in the demise of bees.

Email With Great News!

On the recommendation of a beekeeper I talked to and a few friends, I joined the Willamette Valley Beekeeping Association (WVBA). I sent in my form last week but never heard back from them. So I just filled out a contact form asking when their next meeting was and I also asked if they knew where I could get some bees. I got a reply immediately that they can get me a nuc for $100. I am so excited! but I still have a lot to do! We need to finish the hive this week, and I need to make a bee veil. I bought some supplies on Friday from Urban Farm Store in SE Portland while I was there picking up some Glacier Rock Dust (Minerals) for my garden beds. So far I have my gloves, brush, hive tool, a quick reference guide for bees and I bought a queen excluder (just in case). I still need the veil and a smoker but that won't bee that hard to get.

I plan on putting a detailed tutorial on how we built our hive. I have been taking detailed photos of our progression in case anyone is interested. The bee veil I make will also be a tutorial and I will make that this week and take detailed photos of that as well.

Stay tuned, the next few weeks will be exciting!

Oregon's Political Issues with GMO crops...

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/state_not_locals_should_regula.html

We need to do what we can to keep GMO crops out of Oregon and a statewide regulation on this would NOT be good. According to this article, Jackson County is trying to ban GMO crops. (YAY Jackson County!) If you live in Oregon, please inform yourself and spread the word. This is NOT in the best interest for our bees or the general health of everyone living here.

EPA Allows Bee Toxic Chemicals.

Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists’ red flags

Follow the honey: Smoking bees makes them less mad when you move them, but leaked EPA documents might have the opposite effect.
It’s not just the State and Defense departments that are reeling this month from leaked documents. The Environmental Protection Agency now has some explaining to do, too. In place of dodgy dealings with foreign leaders, this case involves the German agrichemical giant Bayer; a pesticide with an unpronounceable name, clothianidin; and an insect species crucial to food production (as well as a food producer itself), the honeybee. And in lieu of a memo leaked to a globetrotting Australian, this one features a document delivered to a long-time Colorado beekeeper.

All of that, plus my favorite crop to fixate on: industrial corn, which blankets 88 million acres of farmland nationwide and produces a bounty of protein-rich pollen on which honeybees love to feast.

It’s The Agency Who Kicked the Beehive, as written by Jonathan Franzen!

Hive talking

An internal EPA memo released Wednesday confirms that the very agency charged with protecting the environment is ignoring the warnings of its own scientists about clothianidin, a pesticide from which Bayer racked up €183 million (about $262 million) in sales in 2009.

Clothianidin has been widely used on corn, the largest U.S. crop, since 2003. Suppliers sell seeds pre-treated with it. Like other members of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, clothianidin gets “taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar,” according to Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), which leaked the document along with Beyond Pesticides. That effect makes it highly toxic to a crop’s pests — and also harmful to pollen-hoarding honeybees, which have experienced mysterious annual massive die-offs (known as “colony collapse disorder”) here in the United States at least since 2006.

The colony-collapse phenomenon is complex and still not completely understood. While there appears to be no single cause for the annual die-offs, mounting evidence points to pesticides, and specifically neonicotinoids (derived from nicotine), as a key factor. And neonicotinoids are a relatively new factor in ecosystems frequented by honeybees — introduced in the late 1990s, these systemic insecticides have gained a steadily rising share of the seed-treatment market. It does not seem unfair to observe that the health of the honeybee population has steadily declined over the same period.

According to PANNA, other crops commonly treated with clothianidin include canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat — all among the most widely planted U.S. crops. Bayer is now petitioning the EPA to register it for use with cotton and mustard seed.

The document [PDF], leaked to Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald, reveals that EPA scientists have declared essentially rejected the findings of a study conducted on behalf of Bayer that the agency had used to justify the registration of clothianidin. And they reiterated concerns that widespread use of clothianidin imperils the health of the nation’s honeybees.

On Thursday, I asked an EPA press spokesperson via email if the scientists’ opinion would inspire the agency to remove clothianidin from the market. The spokesperson, who asked not to be named but who communicated on the record on behalf of the agency, replied that clothianidin would retain its registration and be available for use in the spring.

Wimpy watchdogging

Before we dig deeper into the leaked memo, it’s important to understand the sorry story of how an insecticide known to harm honeybee populations came to blanket a huge swath of U.S. farmland in the first place. It’s nearly impossible not to read it as a tale of a key public watchdog instead heeling to the industry it’s supposed to regulate.

In the EPA’s dealings with Bayer on this particular insecticide, the agency charged with protecting the environment has consistently made industry-friendly decisions that contradict the conclusions of its own scientists — and threaten to do monumental harm to our food system by wiping out its key pollinators.

According to a time line provided by PANNA, the sordid story begins when Bayer first applied for registration of clothianidin in 2003. (All of the documents to which I link below were provided to me by PANNA.) By 2003, U.S. beekeepers were reporting difficulties in keeping hives healthy through the winter, but not yet on the scale of colony collapse disorder. In February of this year, the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division (EFED) withheld registration of clothianidin, declaring that it wanted more evidence that it wouldn’t harm bee populations.

In a memo [PDF], an EFAD scientist explained the decision:

The possibility of toxic exposure to nontarget pollinators [e.g., honeybees] through the translocation of clothianidin residues that result from seed treatment (corn and canola) has prompted EFED to require field testing that can evaluate the possible chronic exposure to honeybee larvae and the queen. In order to fully evaluate the possibility of this toxic effect, a complete worker bee life cycle study (about 63 days) must be conducted, as well as an evaluation of exposure to the queen.

So, no selling clothianidin until a close, expert examination of how pollen infused with it would affect worker bees and Her Majesty the queen.

Again, that was in February of 2003. But in April of that year, just two months later, the agency backtracked. “After further consideration,” the agency wrote in another memo, the EPA has decided to grant clothianidin “conditional registration” — meaning that Bayer was free to sell it, and seed processors were free to apply it to their products. (Don’t get me started on the EPA’s habit of granting dodgy chemicals “conditional registration,” before allowing their unregulated use for years and even decades. That’s another story.)

The EPA’s one condition reflected the concerns of its scientists about how it would affect honeybees: that Bayer complete the “chronic life cycle study” the agency had already requested by December of 2004. The scientists minced no words in reiterating their concerns. They called clothianidin’s effects “persistent” and “toxic to honeybees” and noted the the “potential for expression in pollen and nectar of flowering crops.”

These concerns aside and “conditional registration” in hand, Bayer introduced clothianidin to the U.S. market in spring 2003. Farmers throughout the corn belt planted seeds treated with clothianidin, and billions — if not trillions — of plants began producing pollen rich with the bee-killing stuff.

A bee does what it does best — thankfully, not in a corn field.Photo: PurplekeyIn March of 2004, Bayer requested an extension on its December deadline for delivering the life-cycle study. In a March 11 memo [PDF], the EPA agreed, giving the chemical giant until May 2005 to complete the research. Clothianidin continued flowing from Bayer’s factories and from corn plants into pollen.

But the EPA also relayed a crucial decision in this memo: It granted Bayer the permission it had sought to conduct its study on canola in Canada, instead of on corn in the United States. The EPA justified the decision as follows:

[Canola] is attractive to bee [sic] and will provide bee exposure from both pollen and nectar. An alternative crop, such as corn, which is less attractive to bees as a forage crop, would provide exposure from pollen, only.

Bee experts cite three problems with this decision:

Corn produces much more pollen than does canola;
its pollen is more attractive to honey bees; and
canola is a minor crop in the United States, while corn is the single most widely planted crop.
What happened next was … not much. Bayer let the deadline for completing the study lapse; and the EPA let Bayer keep selling clothianidin, which continued to be deposited into tens of millions of acres of farmland.

Not until August of 2007, more than a year after its deadline, did Bayer deliver its study. In a November 2007 memo [PDF], EPA scientists declared the study “scientifically sound,” adding that it, “satisfies the guideline requirements for a field toxicity test with honeybees.”

Beeing and nothingness

So what were the details of that study, on which the health of our little pollinator friends depended?

Well, the EPA initially refused to release it publicly, prompting a Freedom of Information Act by the Natural Resources Defense Council. When the EPA still refused to release it, NRDC filed suit in response. Eventually, the study was released. Here it is [PDF].

Prepared for Bayer by researchers at Canada’s University of Guelph, the study is a bit of a joke. The researchers created several 2.47-acre fields planted with clothianidin-treated seeds and matching untreated control fields, and placed hives at the center of each. Bees were allowed to roam freely. The problem is that bees forage in a range of 1.24 to 6.2 miles — meaning that the test bees most likely dined outside of the test fields. Worse, the test and control fields were planted as closely as 968 feet apart, meaning test and control bees had access to each other’s fields.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found “no differences in bee mortality, worker longevity, or brood development occurred between control and treatment groups throughout the study.”

Tom Theobald, the Colorado beekeeper who obtained the leaked memo, assessed the study harshly on the phone to me Thursday. “Imagine you’re a rancher trying to figure out if a noxious weed is harming your cows,” he said. “If you plant the weed on two acres and let your cows roam free over 50 acres of lush Montana grass, you’re not going to learn much about that weed.”

James Frazier, professor of entomology at Penn State, concurred. Frazier has been studying colony-collapse disorder since 2006. “When I looked at the study,” he told me in a phone interview, “I immediately thought it was invalid.”

Meanwhile, Bayer continued selling clothianidin under its conditional registration. Then, on April 22 of this year, the EPA finally ended clothianidin’s long period of “conditional” purgatory — by granting it full registration.

The agency gifted the bee-killing pesticide with its new status quietly; to my knowledge, the only public acknowledgment of it came through the efforts of Theobald, who is extremely worried about the fate of his own bee-keeping business in Colorado’s corn country. Theobald forwarded me a Nov. 29 email exchange with Meredith Laws, the acting chief of the EPA’s herbicide division in the Office of Pesticide Programs, to whom he’d written to enquire about clothianidin’s registration status. Laws’ reply is worth quoting in its entirety:

Clothianidin was granted an unconditional registration for use as a seed treatment for corn and canola on April 22, 2010. EPA issued a new registration notice, [but] there is no document that acknowledges the change from conditional to unconditional. This was a risk management decision based on the fulfillment of data requirements and reviews accepting or acknowledging the submittal of the data.

So, the EPA gave Bayer and its dubious pesticide a full pass without even bothering to let the public know.

Just bee very careful, please

Now we get to the leaked memo [PDF]. It is dated Nov. 2 — three weeks before Laws’ reply to Theobald. It relates to Bayer’s efforts to expand clothianidin’s approved use into cotton and mustard. Authored by two scientists in the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division — ecologist Joseph DeCant and chemist Michael Barrett — the memo expresses grave concern about clothianidin’s effect on honeybees:

Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees).

Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct … risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects.

The real kicker is that the researchers essentially invalidated the Bayer-funded study — i.e., the study on which the EPA based clothianidin’s registration as an fully registered chemical. Referring to the pesticide, the authors write:

A previous field study [i.e., the Bayer study] investigated the effects of clothianidin on whole hive parameters and was classified as acceptable. However, after another review of this field study in light of additional information, deficiencies were identified that render the study supplemental. It does not satisfy the guideline 850.3040, and another field study is needed to evaluate the effects of clothianidin on bees through contaminated pollen and nectar. Exposure through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an uncertainty for pollinators. [Emphasis mine.]

So, here we have EPA researchers explicitly invalidating the study on which clothianidin gained registration for corn. But as I wrote above, despite this information’s being made public, the EPA has signaled that it has no plans to change the chemical’s status.

In the 2011 growing season, tens of millions of acres of farmland will bloom with clothianidin-laced pollen — honeybees, and sound science, be damned.

Now, in my correspondence with the EPA, the agency has denied that the downgrading of the Bayer study from “acceptable” to “supplemental” meant that the agency sho
uld be compelled to clothianidin’s approval. In a Thursday email to me, the agency delivered a limp defense of the Bayer study, contradicting its own scientists and addressing none of the critiques of it:

EPA’s evaluation of the study determined that it contains information useful to the agency’s risk assessment. The study revealed the majority of hives monitored, including those exposed to clothianidin during the previous season, survived the over-wintering period.

And it downplayed the study’s importance to Bayer’s application to register clothianidin: The study in question is “not a ‘core’ study for EPA as claimed,” the agency insisted. “It is not a study routinely required to support the registration of a pesticide.”

I ran that response by Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides, the group that collaborated with PANNA in publicizing the leaked document. “I find the EPA response either misinformed or misleading,” he told me. “The paper trail on this is clear. We’re talking about a bad study required by EPA [that is central] to the registration of this chemical.”

Feldman’s assessment appears to bear out. He pointed me back to the above-linked Nov. 27 document in which EPA originally accepted the Bayer study. There, on page 5, we find this statement:

Specifically, the test was conducted in response to a request by the Canadian PMRA [Pesticides and Pest Management Agency] and the U.S. EPA; as a condition for Poncho@ [clothianidin] registration in these countries, Bayer CropScience was asked to investigate the long-term toxicity of clothianidin-treated canola to foraging honey bees.

So evidently, the discredited Bayer study does lie at the heart of clothianidin’s acceptance. (I have requested an interview with an EPA official who can talk knowledgeably and on the record about these matters; the anonymous-by-request spokesperson is, at the time of publication, still looking for the “right person,” I was informed via email.)

A stinging assessment

At the very least, we have ample evidence that the EPA has been ignoring the warnings of its own staff scientists and green-lighting the mass deployment of a chemical widely understood to harm pollinators — at a time when honeybees are in grave shape.

But why? Tom Theobald, the Colorado beekeeper who broke this story, ventured an answer. “It’s corporatism, the flip side of fascism,” he said. “I’m not against corporations, I think they have a good model. But they’re like children — we have to rein them in or they get out of hand. The EPA’s supposed to do that.”

When regime change came to Washington in 2008, many of us hoped that an EPA under Barack Obama would be a better parent. EPA Director Lisa Jackson inherited quite a mess from her predecessor, and she faces the Herculean challenge of regulating greenhouse gases against fierce Republican and industry opposition.

But as concern mounts — from her own staff and elsewhere — that clothianidin is harming honeybees, there’s no excuse for Jackson’s agency to keep coddling Bayer. Frazier, the Penn State entomologist, put it to me like this: “If the Bayer study is the core study the EPA used to register clothianidin, then there’s no basis for registering it.” He urged the EPA to withdraw registration to avoid unnecessary risk to a critical player in our ecosystem — as have the governments of Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Poor Pollination, No Cherries...

I just took a survey of my cherry trees and I am so sad. My usual bounty of cherries will not happen this year. I have been doing some research on what it might be and I came across this http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg052006172659.html saying my shriveled, underdeveloped cherries are due to lack of adequate pollination. This makes me want bees even more! I can rule out other things like age of the tree and sun exposure. We have lived here for over 5 years and every year this cherry tree produces at least 100lbs of cherries. I need to look and see if there is some disease affecting it, that would affect the fruit. I don't spray anything in my yard, but if there is some kind of disease or bug infestation, I will try and find a way, naturally, that I can deal with it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blooming wisteria and bees...



Since I am a professional photographer I decided to take my cameras out today to express my new found LOVE of bees. Ok this has really turned into an obsession, but who cares?! I found some pollen heavy ladies sipping from my wisteria in my courtyard. I have always wondered if bees liked the wisteria; well now I know...they love it! I hope you enjoy the photos!




A picture catalog of my yard...

I decided to take photos of most of my plants in my yard. Here are just a sampling of what I have growing, flowering and not.





Good plants to have for bees...

I am going to be doing a bit of research on the diet of bees. I know they like nectar and help pollinate, but I want to try and figure out exactly what they like to eat, and what is the healthiest for them. Currently I have a GIANT vegetable garden that has recently been planted. Nothing is flowering out of that yet, but other plants in my yard have already started flowering.

I have the following plants, trees bushes in my yard:
2 cherry trees (Ranier and Black)
4 apple trees (Jonathan, Golden Delicious and some kind of red)
2 fig trees (Green and Black)
Oregano
Marjoram
Parsley
Borage
Chives
Lovage
Hissop
Lemon Balm
Comfrey *
Lavender *
Rosemary *
Strawberries
24 rose bushes
Centaurea Montana
Full butterfly garden bushes
Tulips
Irises
Lilac Bush
Dandy Lions
White Little Daisy Plant?
Grass
In my vegetable garden I will have peas, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, carrots, basil, squash, zucchini, sunflowers and more...

Here they mention bees like Borage http://www.rosybee.com/?p=165

Herb plants for bees http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/herb-planting-for-bees.html
"Lemon Balm In the past, beekeepers would rub a handful of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) inside the hive after hiving a new swarm, in order to help the swarm settle and to encourage them not to leave the hive. Rubbing hands with the leaves is also claimed to help prevent bee stings!"

"Buying Flower Bulbs For Bees
These days, pesticides may be used in the cultivation of bulbs and plants by the horticulture industry. Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides, and are a subject of much controversy – read more about this on the page honey bee deaths and pesticides. These pesticides persist in soil, and are not easily degraded.

In order to make doubly sure I avoid any possibility or risk that I will unwittingly poison the bees or pollute my garden soil with any pesticide contaminating my flower bulbs, (or indeed other plants), I take the following precautions:

I either -

    1. Buy organic, or
    2. Swap with friends and relatives with similar views, or
    3. Buy them from a local farmers' market, where we are fortunate to have a plant stall owned by a hobby gardener I trust, or
    4. Purchase from a local nursery I trust."
     
     
     
     

 * Excellent for Bees!


I just planted a Rosemary plant this morning. It looks like I need to boost my lavender and rosemary garden...

A picture of a bee...just because.

Bee on my Centaurea Montana in 2012. All rights reserved, Autumn Steam Photography.

Bee equipment resourses...

Foundationless Frames:
http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Unassembled-Wooden-Frames/products/24/

Building a bee box...

Here is a list of a few websites I found that have plans for building your own bee boxes.

Langstroth Bee Boxes:
http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/

http://www.michiganbees.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Hive-Bodies_20110323.pdf

http://www.americasbeekeeper.com/Beehive_Building.htm

http://extension.illinois.edu/~vista/html_pubs/BEEKEEP/CHAPT2/2-16.gif

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/aben-plans/6324.pdf

http://www.colonialbeekeepers.com/index.php?option=com_weblinks&view=category&id=28&Itemid=57

HEX Hives:
http://warre.biobees.com/hexagon.htm

http://warre.biobees.com/hexagonal_hive_plans.pdf

http://www.petalumabees.net/hexhive.htm

Calculator for dimentions http://warre.biobees.com/calc/



TOP BAR Hives:
http://talkingstick.me/bees/tanzanian-tbh/


Good advice for first time beekeepers...


1)  Join a bee club. | For Oregon I will start looking here http://www.orsba.org/htdocs/home.php 
I don't think there are any bee clubs in  Salem. I believe most are in Portland. I would want to join a club that practices organic bee keeping. 
2) Buy some bee books. | I just ordered a handful of books from the library yesterday. Once they come in I will read and report on each book individually. They are all organic beekeeping books, so I am excited.
3) Join a bee forum. | I had no idea there were such extensice bee forums. I will need to do some research and find the best one for me. Again I will find one that has keepers practicing mostly organically.
4) Order equipment and bees. I am going to need to figure out what kind of hive I want and then go from there. I think we are leaning more toward making it ourselves along with the bee veil and clothes. I will order gloves and a hive tool IF I can't find them in Portland.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Artificial swarm seems complicated....must watch again.


This seems a bit confusing and invasive. But it might beat the alternative and going to catch your swarm in a neighbors yard.  This is a VERY detailed video on how to preform this, but I need to do a bit more research to see if I want to practice this.

"In beekeeping, nothing is certain."



I don't really like the idea of the bees living in plastic hives, but I do like some of the things this guy practices. Like not smoking the bees during honey season. Interesting video.

Honey bee diseases...old video but educational.





I don't like the methods of chemicals they use to treat the ailments, but it does give a good example of what each disease looks like in the hive, so you can keep an eye out for it. I need to do a lot more research on the natural way to handle these problems. I am going to practice a natural, organic hive with minimal invasiveness from me.





Catching a swarm shouldn't be that hard...right?


I wonder if I could just go catch my own hive. I would prefer to do that...

Organic bee keeping and working with nature...


I like the idea of replicating nature and building a more round box. Using bars in bottom two boxes so the queen can build a big brood and then stacking on top of that for honey. First three boxes are for the bees and the fourth is extra honey. Bee entrances on all boxes and don't use smoke, sprays, or powders on them. I am ordering the video Organic Bee Keeping 101. This video is making a lot of sense to me and this is how I want to raise my bees!

http://organicbeekeeping101.com/



Building a bee box tutorial...


www.madegood.org has plans to build your own brood box and super. Awesome!

Good explanation of the parts...


Discussing bee frames...


Great beginner bee keeping video...



I have now emailed and called the City of Salem. There are no permits or restrictions on having apiaries. So I am going to start with one, hopefully with in the next few weeks.

I also like this video because this bee keeper is in our neighboring city of Portland.

This is the reason I want foundationless frames...


I got a bee in my bonnet...

My urban residence and soon to be the bee's!
I never thought I would be the one to get into such a hobby as bee keeping...but here we go. This blog is for all of my research, observations, handling, recipes and general bee keeping practices. I want a place where I can gather the mass amount of information on the web and start keeping a record so I will have one place to come look up what I found. I also want to have this as a diary of all the successes and failures so hopefully I can learn from them.

I decided about a week ago to look into keeping bees in my urban garden in the city of Salem, OR. I am really into growing a garden this year to preserve and eat for the majority of the winter. Due to severe allergies this year, I decided I needed to find some natural remedies for them and local honey kept popping up in my searches. So down the road of research I went. I spent one whole day following the trail of You Tube videos on bee keeping (I will post the one's I found most helpful later) which led me to believe it is possible for me, a city mom/artist to have an urban Apiary.

I just emailed Ruhl Bee Supply in Portland, OR, to be put on their waiting list for a Nuc. Today I am going to research how to build a bee hive with a couple supers to get my bees started, in case I get a call. I feel like an unprepared expectant mother!

Blooming roses and wisteria in early May!
I am also excited to try and make a bee hat. We are artists and have a huge stash of random things for our art including a few spare hard hats. I am going to attempt to make my own out of one of those, and post a tutorial as well.

Next week I want to go to a few bee stores in Portland and maybe pick up a Hive Tool and some gloves. Hopefully my books I requested from the library on Natural, Organic, Bee Keeping will be in as well, and I can read those.

I am excited and nervous; but more excited than nervous. I want to try grow my own food and get as local as I can with my diet. This is just a piece of the over all plan for self reliance.