Promoting good beekeeping practices
Vol. 10 No. 1 September 2000
Editor: Jennifer Berry, Agricultural Research Coordinator
Dr. Delaplane Enters His Tenth Year at the University of Georgia
Dr. Keith Delaplane came to the University of Georgia in January 1990. In his ten years of employment at UGA, Dr. Delaplane has published over 100 articles on applied beekeeping, hive environment, varroa mite and tracheal mite control. Some of his accomplishments include his 1992 research paper which demonstrated the efficacy of vegetable oil extender patties in reducing tracheal mites populations in normal beekeeping conditions. In 1995 he reported that Terramycin can be used for secondary infections caused by pathogens vectored through varroa mites. More recently, Dr. Delaplane, along with Dr. Mike Hood from Clemson University, released the first research based economic thresholds for varroa mites in North America. This past year, Dr. Delaplane has been working on hygienic behavior of honey bees against chalkbrood which will be covered in more depth later in this issue. Dr. Delaplane's extension credits are also overwhelming. As the chief apiculturist at the university level in Georgia, he works with beekeepers across the state on various problems they may encounter. He also coordinates and lectures at the Beekeeping Institute at Young Harris, Georgia. This beekeeping event is the only one of its kind occurring in the southeast. It is two intensive days of lectures and workshops which cover information for the beginner to the advanced beekeeper. In 1993, Dr. Delaplane released a video and book series on PBS which demonstrates how to start, manage and maintain productive honey bee colonies for the entire year. Recently, Dr. Delaplane released a new book entitled Crop Pollination by Bees. This informative book addresses the biology of pollination, methods of culturing and conserving bees for optimum pollination, and the pollination requirements and recommendations for individual crops. It also contains 42 chapters which summarizes pollination requirements of different crops. All and all, the state of Georgia and her beekeepers should be pleased to have such a competent researcher and teacher of apiculture.
Apicultural Research Coordinator Position Filled
Due to their overwhelming support and hard work, the beekeepers of this state were able to convince the state legislature that Georgia needed an apicultural researcher to assist Dr. Delaplane in Athens. I am that person, and let me introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Berry, and I have just completed my master's thesis in apiculture under the direction of Dr. Delaplane at the University of Georgia. My three year research project examined the effects of comb age on honey bee colony growth, brood survivorship and adult mortality. The lab and apiary where I will be working are located at the UGA Horticulture Farm near Watkinsville. I am excited to have this position and look forward to working with Dr. Delaplane and the beekeepers of this state for many years to come. I can be reached by phone or e-mail (listed at the end of this issue) and please don't hesitate to contact me.
Effects of Hygienic Queens, Comb Age, and Colony Microclimate on the Expression of Chalkbrood Disease Symptoms
Dr. Delaplane and Selim Dedej worked this summer on a project which investigated the interactive effects of hygienic queens, comb age, and colony microclimate on the expression of chalkbrood symptoms. A total of forty-eight colonies were set up. Out of those, 24 were assigned high relative humidity and the other 24 were assigned low relative humidity. The humidity differences were achieved by inserting a sheet of plastic between the inner cover and the outer cover of each colony assigned high humidity.
Each colony within humidity class (high or low) was randomly assigned one of the following four treatments: (1) new comb/non-hygienic queen, (2) new comb/hygienic, (3) old comb/non-hygienic, and (4) old comb/hygienic. All forty-eight colonies were inoculated with chalkbrood. On day 14, 21, 28, and 49 the number of sealed brood cells and sum of chalkbrood cadavers were counted from each colony. On average, brood production was consistently higher in colonies with the lower humidity, old comb and hygienic queens (except for day 14). There was no effect on the number of chalkbrood cadavers by humidity. However, as the progeny from the hygienic queens became older and more abundant in the colonies, the incidence of chalkbrood decreased. (See figure1 below). We would like to thank Sonny Swords for his generous donation of bees and hives for the duration of this project. This is not the first time Sonny has come forward and made such gracious donations to assist research at UGA.
Visiting Professor from Albania
Selim Dedej visited the University of Georgia on a Fulbright Scholarship from December 1999 to June 2000. During his stay Selim worked with Dr. Delaplane on blueberry pollination and chalkbrood. He has returned this fall as a graduate student to pursue his PhD under Dr. Delaplane in apiculture.
Environmental Protection Agency Report on Coumaphos Residues
In 1999 and 2000 the Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency exemption under section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for the use of coumaphos in beehives to control varroa mites and the small hive beetle. However, additional information about tolerance levels in honey and beeswax was disclosed by the EPA. On August 2, the establishment of the tolerances will allow the sale of honey which has picked up minute amounts of coumaphos from the use of Bayer's Check-Mite+ strips. Also, it now will be permissible to sell comb honey from hives treated with Check-Mite. The tolerances are 0.1 ppm for honey (one-tenth part per million; same as 100 parts per billion) for honey and 100 ppm for beeswax.
Bon Voyage to UGA Graduate and Friend
Jamie Ellis, one of UGA's brightest students and recent graduates, will be packing his bags and heading off to study at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. He will be pursuing his PhD in Apiculture. Jamie has been an employee of Dr. Delaplane for the entirety of his undergraduate career. During that time, Jamie has conducted numerous honey bee experiments and extension functions for the university. He is an exceptional researcher and worker and will be missed dearly. We send our best wishes for his new career.
Drought conditions persist in Georgia, and nectar flows have been spotty; therefore feeding colonies may be a priority in your area. The bottom line is to check colonies carefully for food supplies, especially as we move into the late season (period between summer and winter preparation). If colonies are short on food feed them a heavy 2:1 syrup of sugar and water. After all honey supers have been harvested it is time to treat for Varroa mites. Treat with Apistan or Checkmite strips according to label instructions. Fall is also a good time to treat with Terramycin antibiotic to prevent American foulbrood and mite-borne secondary infections. It is recommended to use the old standard dry mix of powdered sugar instead of medicated patties. One standard recipe is 2 pounds of powdered sugar mixed with one 6.4 oz. packet of Terramycin soluble powder. Two tablespoons of this mixture are spread on the top bars of the brood nest three times, four days apart. This makes for a total of 6 tablespoons per colony. It is still possible to use medicated oil extender patties-beekeepers like them because they require only one trip to the apiary and the oil simultaneously controls tracheal mites-but there is concern that patties may promote antibiotic resistance foulbrood bacteria because patties tend to linger in colonies for many weeks. Thus, if one chooses to use medicated patties, make sure all uneaten portions of the patty are removed after one month of treatment.
Here are some reports from beekeepers across our state. North Georgia has been spared to some degree the recent drought conditions that continue in our state. The spring flow, primarily tulip poplar, was average to slightly below average according to our northern beekeepers and very dark in color. The sourwood flow was average to above average in most areas since rain occurred just prior to bloom and then leveled off. Sourwood was one of the best flows in recent memory in spite of the drought. The Piedmont area saw a decent spring flow, but was still less than average due to the lack of rain. However, the summer flow has been poor and beekeepers in this area should be aware of the possibility of starving colonies. The southern region of our state had a below average to average summer flow. The rain came too late to salvage the summer flow in some areas; however, there are reports that the tupelo flow was better than average.
Georgia Beekeepers Association Meeting
This year's fall meeting of the GBA is slated for September 30-October 1st at the Dillard House, Dillard Georgia. Special guest speaker is Mr. Steve Taber, renowned queen breeder and former USDA scientist. Steve will talk about principles of bee breeding as well as the latest research on small hive beetles. Other speakers include Dr. Keith Delaplane, Jennifer Berry, Jamie Ellis and Selim Dedej as well as other well known Georgia beekeepers.
UGA Research Shows Honey Bees Pollinate Rabbiteye Blueberry
UGA researchers Selim Dedej and Dr. Keith Delaplane compared the pollination efficacy of eight densities of honey bees in a rabbiteye blueberry orchard in Oconee County: 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12,800 bees per four caged plants, as well as an open pollinated plot. Except for the highest and lowest densities and the open plot, fruit set improved as the density of bees increased. Pollination was highest in the 6400 plot, while seed number was highest in the open plot. It has been known that honey bees are relatively inefficient pollinators of rabbiteye blueberry, but this study demonstrates that their high colony populations partly compensate for this liability. Future research is planned to determine the density of honey bees required for optimum fruit set under field conditions.
Packaging Problems Continue for Apicure
Apicure Inc., continues to have problems with the packaging of Apicure: Formic acid used for Varroa and tracheal mite control in honey bee colonies. The USDA had assured Apicure that the packaging for the gel had a shelf life of at least one year. However the shelf life turns out to be much shorter. In most cases, only the outer layer of the three layer plastic pouch opens and the gel is still contained by the two inner layers, so the pouch can still be used if handled with care. At this point Apicure is unsure as to when a package with a longer shelf life will be available. If you received Apicure this spring and have not used it, you can slow the delamination process by removing the packages from the box and plastic bags and laying the package individually on a shelf in a cool dry place. Or you can place the gelpack in a closed plastic container in a non-food freezer. If you have too many packages with which to do this, simply open the box and the outer plastic bag to aerate. When the bags are in a closed, sealed bag , the speed of delamination increases.
BE SURE YOU FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS AND ALWAYS USE CHEMICAL RESISTANT GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION WHEN HANDLING APICURE POUCHES
If you find a package that is already leaking, you have two choices: (1) enclose the package in a zip-lock bag until you are ready to use it. (2) discard the package by placing it in a plastic pail, opening the package fully and then closing the pail. Eventually the fumes will dissipate and only the small white silica cubes of the gelling agent will remain. At this time the package can be safely discarded. Hopefully, Apicure Inc. will discover a long term solution to the packaging problem in the near future.
How to Get Georgia Bee Letter
Ask your county Extension agent to put you on the mail list. Paid-up members of the Georgia Beekeepers Association automatically receive GBL. If you receive multiple copies, please tell your county Extension agent.
Resource People for Georgia Beekeeping