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What Can Pollen Tell Us?

Bee Informed PartnershipThursday, June 25, 2020, 12pm EDT/9am PDT

Habitat and forage quality have emerged as critical factors influencing the health of honey bee colonies. The nutritional status of bees influences their susceptibility to disease and their resistance to other stressors. Understanding the ebbs and flows of resources availability in the landscape can help beekeepers identify the needs and challenges their colonies are facing. In addition, as bees forage from their environment, they can pick up pollutants from various sources and bring them back to the colony. Monitoring for colony contamination can inform us about potential contaminants found in honey, pollen, bees and wax, as well as provide a picture of the contamination present in the surrounding environment. In 2019, BIP conducted an exploratory study looking at the potential to use trapped pollen from honey bee colonies as a means to: 1) look at the presence of heavy metals in the environment, 2) assess the degree to which the available pollen was able to meet colony nutritional needs, and 3) use laboratory techniques to assess pollen richness and diversity throughout the bloom period. This project was supported by funding from The James M. Cox Foundation.  Register Here!

Note: Webinar will be recorded.

Diet Quantity Influences Caste Determination

Diet Quantity Influences Caste Determination of Honey Bees
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Provisioning is important in honeybees because nutritional cues determine whether a female becomes a reproductive queen or sterile worker. A qualitative difference between the larval diets of queens and workers is thought to drive this divergence; however, no single compound seems to be responsible. Diet quantity may have a role during honeybee caste determination yet has never been formally studied. Our goal was to determine the relative contributions of diet quantity and quality to queen development.

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ALERT – Hot Temperatures

Weather Alert

Due to the very hot temperatures going up into the upper 80’s and 90’s, if you recently treated your beehives with any Varroa mite treatment (like Formic Pro or Mite Away or any other treatment) that required leaving the debris boards in, recommend that you remove the debris boards right away. Leaving them in could cause some bee mortality. The extra ventilation is needed. Recommend that you leave the debris boards out and entrance reducers should remain off.

In some areas, there is very little nectar flow and that means that you may need to be feeding your bees. At least make sure that there is a fresh water source close by your beehives.

“Avoid” conducting any beehive inspections with the temperatures as high as they are. It will overly aggravate and disrupt the bees, and they can become very aggressive in times like this.

If you have “a real need” – “that is a real need” to do some type of beehive management, do it in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are more reasonable. If you are not sure if you have a “real need” then you most likely do not have a need to work with the bees. They are best left alone to manage their hives.