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These items are circulated as being of interest to beekeepers. The sender has no vested interest in them, pro or con, and does not engage in censorship of what information beekeepers should or should not have access to.

Based on the concept that it is not education unless you look at both sides of an issue, I work hard to keep a balance of opinions. Everyone will find articles here they disagree with from time to time (so do I, but it doesn't matter). Just remember they may be the ones you can learn the most from -- and then make decisions with a better base of understanding.

Inclusion of items here does not in any way imply endorsement by myself or the organizations I represent. They are included as information only, and I leave it to the reader to determine value.

Fran Bach, Western Apicultural Society Journal and Washington State Beekeepers newsletter editor

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Items of interest to beekeepers June 19 2016





I'm just back from Pullman, Washington, the "Insider Tour" of existing bee research efforts and an introduction to plans for a new bee lab at Washington State University. Some of the key people in the group were WA State Senator Judy Warnick, a strong bee supporter, active on the Agriculture and Finance Committees, and one of those responsible for solidifying a second permanent position in the bee lab for Dr. Brandon Hopkins; Gary Clueit, President of the Washington State Beekeepers Association, and the WASBA Legislative Chair, Tim Hiatt; mycologist Paul Stamets of 'Fungi Perfecti', who is partnering with the WSU bee lab in exciting new immunological studies using mycelium (Google his name and see what he has been up to!); and long-time beekeepers and WSU supporters Eric and Sue Olson of Yakima, Washington state's largest beekeeping operation.

The morning session consisted of demonstrations by Sue Cobey, WSU's bee artificial insemination specialist, an introduction to the cryopreservation techniques perfected at WSU by Dr. Brandon Hopkins that have allowed the national germplasm repository to add honey bees to their list of species, and a look at the diagnostic laboratory in action. Cobey is an international authority on instrumental insemination of honey bees. She coordinates the stock improvement project at WSU, part of which is the incorporation of sperm from Old World European honey bees into their breeding program. This, in turn, is the driving force for Dr. Hopkins' development of the cryopreservation (nitrogen freezing) technique.

Frozen semen has been used in cattle breeding since the 1950s, but transferring the technology to honey bee breeding proved to be a far more complicated business. Hopkins only cracked the code recently, bringing international students to WSU to learn the fine points. In January 2016, the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado announced plans to develop the techniques to support a honey bee program. Hopkins' presentation alerted them to the fact the work has already been done and is ready to roll. The first collections of bee semen for Fort Collins were made by WSU's Hopkins and Dr. Steve Sheppard just two weeks ago. Says Sheppard, "Obviously, we're not very good at getting the message out there about what we've accomplished." Their work puts the NCGRP several years ahead on their program.

After lunch, we visited the site of the proposed new lab, one which will take all the scattered bits of the bee department that currently reside in whatever corner can be found for them (the original lab was a converted garage) and relocate it all to the new state-of-the-art facility, with enough room to properly organize equipment and projects.  

The 15,000-square-foot research facility will include a diagnostics lab, a cryogenic germplasm repository, a molecular lab and controlled atmosphere rooms. In addition to research labs, the new building will include a screened observation area, allowing the public to watch bees in demonstration gardens. It will also include classrooms and instructional facilities, something the program currently lacks.

We returned to the lawn in front of the Lewis Alumni Center in time to help kick off the fund-raising program to get the lab built. What would such an event be without bee beards? After initial hesitation, the bees submitted to forming a solid 'beard' around the neck and shoulders of the old pro himself, Dr. Sheppard. Surprisingly, they offered no such resistance to  WSU provost and novice bee bearded Dan Bernardo who appeared calm and fearless as the bees swarmed over him. "My only fear is eating one!" he quipped when asked to describe the sensation of being host to a cloud of insects.

Paul Stamets, also a newbie to the beard experience, took the opportunity to present a check for $50,000 from his company, Fungi Perfecti, to kick off the funding campaign. Bernardo and Eric Olson then declared their intention of matching all donations of up to $250,000 made by June 30th. State Senator Judy Warnick braved the clouds of bees in the air and two heavily bee-bearded men to declare her own and her legislative colleagues support of the new lab. No doubt there will be bee folks visiting Olympia to capitalize on the interest there. Meanwhile, the thanks of the Washington bee industry goes to Senator Warnick for taking the time to attend the event and take our message back with her to the Legislature.

The total cost of the facility will be $16 million, and the goal is to raise all of that money from private donations, meeting full construction cost-analysis obligations. The University has designated an 18-month window to raise the money.

To find out how to help fund the lab online, go to


A call for help at the fair from Judy Kovacovich!


"We would like to have more volunteers for the Alameda County Fair, which goes until July 4.  I will leave an entry and parking ticket for anyone interested in a 2-4 shift.  Our booth turned out very well. So far we have received 1 First Place Ribbon, 2 Second Place Ribbons and 1 Third Place Ribbon. This is a very fun event! I was in the booth today and enjoyed talking to visitors and especially enjoyed watching the young children observing the live bees.  
Please have anyone that is interested call me on 510 206-6762 or email me at"



1. Brexit? What might it mean for Vita?

On 23 June 2016, the UK will hold a referendum to decide whether it will remain in the European Union (EU).

Many beekeepers have asked what a possible UK exit from the EU (the “Brexit” scenario) might mean for Vita. As a biotech enterprise headquartered in the UK and trading internationally with a substantial market in the EU and subject to various international pharmaceutical regulatory systems, Vita has of course been looking into the potential impact.

One thing is certain: there are no quick, definitive or simple answers. The scenario of a country leaving the EU is unprecedented and therefore far from predictable.

2. USGA National Water Quality Assessment Shows Declining Quality Of America’s Aquifers -

Chloride and nitrate concentrations are rising and arsenic levels are holding steady or falling. Those are two of the conclusions from a U.S. Geological Survey assessment of changes in the nation’s groundwater quality in the last two decades. The federal science agency published the results on Thursday in an interactive online map.

The contaminants in the assessment are a roster of two dozen undesirable intruders that can cause health and environmental damage if not cleansed before consumption: cancer-causing chemicals, radioactive elements, and nutrients that foul the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico with algae.

3. Two Is Always Better Than One, and Honey Bees Get The Benefit -

Project Apis m. (PAm) and the National Honey Board (NHB) are pleased to announce that PAm will be administering the NHB production research funds starting in 2017. This collaboration will streamline efforts to support the beekeeping industry, by merging the NHB funding opportunities with several other efforts which PAm coordinates. The NHB funds are collected by a federal research and promotion program ($0.015/lb) with one of the focuses to conduct research which includes maintaining the health of honey bee colonies. In 2016, these funds were $416,000.

4. How honey bees do without males -

Most animals reproduce sexually, which means that both males and females are required for the species to survive. Normally, the honey bee is no exception to this rule: the female queen bee produces new offspring by laying eggs that have been fertilised by sperm from male drones. However, one isolated population of honey bees living in the southern Cape of Africa has evolved a strategy to do without males.

In the Cape bee, female worker bees are able to reproduce asexually: they lay eggs that are essentially fertilised by their own DNA, which develop into new worker bees. Such bees are also able to invade the nests of other bees and continue to reproduce in this fashion, eventually taking over the foreign nests, a behaviour called social parasitism.
Events & Links (• New)

 June 19 - 26: Ohio Pollinator Week (Ohio State Beekeepers Association and Pollinator Stewardship Council).
    June 19 - Cleveland Botantical Garden
    June 20 - Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden
    June 26 - Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm

June 20 - 26: National Pollinator Week, USA.

June 25: Ruhl Bee Supply/Brushy Mountain Bee Farm Field Day, 29600 SW Seely Ave, Wilsonville, Oregon, 9 - 5. Cost $40 includes luck and refreshments. Guest speakers Dennis vanEnglesdorp and Dewey Caron. More info 503-657-5399 or

July 9: Pollinator Symposium, FREE, 12:30 - 5ish, Chelan County PUD Auditorium, sponsored by NCW Beekeepers Association. Speakers - WSU PhD candidates Alix Whitener, Megan Asche and Emily Wine; Dale Whaley, Douglas County Extension Educator; Dr. Megan Taylor. More info

July 13 - 15: Sweet Virginia Beekeeping Academy for up to 12 kids entering grades four through six, a collaboration between the Sweet Virginia Foundation for the Preservation of Bees, and Bee Girl, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Sweet Virginia Farm, Prince William County, Nokesville VA. Tuition $225 per child includes bee suit rental and snacks.  Register at

July 14 - 16: Heartland Apicultural Society Annual Meeting, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Info

July 16: Colorado Professional Beekeeping Association Summer Meeting, Goodhue Farmhouse, Carolyn Holmberg Preserve, Rock Creek Farm, 2005 South 112th St., Broomfield, CO 80020. Attendance will be limited due to space limitations, so pre-registration and pre-payment will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Cost $40 per person. Info

July 17 - 20: 3rd International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy, Penn State Center for Pollinator Research, Penn State Campus, University Park, PA. For more information about the conference, please visit or contact the conference organizers, Christina Grozinger (Penn State), Shelby Fleischer (Penn State), Neal Williams (UC Davis) and Rufus Isaacs (Michigan State University).  For conference logistic and registration questions, contact Kim Swistock (

July 23: NM Beekeepers Association Varroa Mite Monitoring Workshop with Megan Mahoney, Bee Informed Partnership Tech-Transfer Team, South Broadway Cultural Center, Albuquerque NM. Info

July 25 - 9: Eastern Apicultural Society 2016, Richard Stockton University, Galloway NJ. Short Course July 25 - 27; Conference July 27 - 29. Info

• July 26: Next Generation Beekeepers Breakout Session with Sarah Red-Laird  and Noah Wilson-Rich at Eastern Apicultural Society Conference, Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey, 7 p.m., venue still to be announced. Register at Sarah and Noah will also team up to teach a "train the trainer" workshop on July 25th at 2:30 at the university.

Aug 20 - 21: Oregon Honey Festival, Ashland, OR. Registration at:http:// The website is: Also on Facebook!

Aug 28: Celebration of 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Alameda County (CA) Beekeepers Association, Ed Roberts Campus, Berkley (at the Ashby BART station). Speakers, exhibits, vendors, more. Fee TBA, includes lunch.

Sept 6 - 10:  World Conference on Organic Beekeeping, Argentina. Info

Oct 12 - 15:  Western Apicultural Society Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii. Info

• Oct 14 -16: BCHPA AGM on Friday, the 14th plus education days Saturday and Sunday Oct 15 and 16, at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, close to Vancouver airport. Details to come at (new website)http://

Nov 5: Colorado State Beekeepers Association Winter Bee Meeting, Douglas County Fairgrounds. More info soon at

Nov 15 - 17: California State Beekeepers Association Annual Convention, Kona Kai Resort & Spa, San Diego. Info

Jan 10  - 14, 2017: Joint Convention of the American Beekeeping Federation and American Honey Producers Association, Galveston, Texas.



These links will take you to important websites. Reprinting the items gets too voluminous, so I encourage you to visit the originals for some good reading any time.

Bee Diverse - about bees and pollination, particularly mason bees - how to mange them using homes and mason bee tools

Winnie the Pooh Guide to helping British bees: E2463_BeeBooklet_Web.pdf

From Julie, an after-school child care worker: Looking for a good information site to teach children and beginning beekeepers? Try

UC-Davis on-line Newsletter:

Apis Information Resource News - PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE from Apis Newsletter by Dr. Malcolm Sanford. The newsletter is still found at
It can also be accessed through

California State Department of Food and Agriculture blog -

Genetic literacy -

Randy Oliver website -

Honey Bee Health Coalition -

Pollinator Stewardship Council -, with the most recent one posting at the top of the page

Project Apis m. -

Washington State University on bee health -

WSU 'Green Times' newsletter -

Colorado State University Pollinator Protection office -

Infographics on beekeeping stats, facts, management and honey labels -
Copyright © 2016 Items for beekeepers, All rights reserved.

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