Friday, September 19, 2014

2013-2014 U.S. and Canadian Honey Bee National Management Surveys

     The 2013-14 Bee Informed U.S. National Management Survey has been released and has produced some interesting results.  First, it was a good year to be beekeeping in Hawaii (isn't it always) and not so for beekeepers in Indiana, Illinois and especially Michigan with winter mortality rates of 69% (Losses by State).
      Amitraz, the insecticide produced considerably better results than any other product at treating Varroa mites.  Organic and natural beekeepers would argue it also has sublethal accumulative detrimental effects on the colony.  Beekeepers who used powdered sugar, mineral oil, drone brood removal, sceened bottom board and small cell size did not report losing any more or less colonies than those who did not use these techniques.  
      Dry Sugar produced the best results of the carbohydrate feeds and beekeepers who fed their colonies protein saw 8% less colony loss.  Queen and Brood Comb replacement resulted in fewer colony losses and those using Fumgillin reported losing 7.5% fewer colonies.  While Tracheal mite controls did not seem to produce a benefit Antibiotic use did. 
     The survey also includes feed supplements, small hive beetle control, winter management, treatments of dead outs and colony replacement and honey bee stock management. 
     Although the results of this annual survey are not the definitive judgement on the use of a particular beekeeping practice the more beekeepers that participate in the survey the more helpful it will become.  I encourage all U.S. beekeepers to sign up and participate in the Bee Informed U.S. National Management Survey.
     In the 2013/14 Canadian Winter Loss Survey compiled by CAPA (Canadian Association of Professional Apiarists) the average level of wintering loss in Canada was 25% with Ontario suffering the greatest loss at 58% similar to nearby U.S. states (Michigan 69%).  Except for Ontario whose losses were attributed to a cold, long winter the overall average losses were down. 
     The CAPA survey indicated that weather, poor queens, weak colonies in fall, Nosema, Varroa and pesticides were possible causes of reported wintering losses (CAPA Survery). 
     Below is a survey of the Honey Bee Sting Pain by body location.  I noticed that penis shaft ranked third and was wondering how they came to that conclusion.  Did they do tests?  Were there volunteers? Is getting stung in the penis shaft a major problem for beekeepers?  Things that make you go hmmm....

    

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