Vol. 16 No. 2 August 2005
Editor: Jennifer Berry, Agricultural Research Coordinator
Africanized Bees Officially
Since their arrival in
To the untrained eye, AHBs are similar in size to European bees, however there are subtle physical differences. Behaviorally, they act completely different. AHBs are extremely defensive with a tendency to sting in large numbers. They have a low tolerance to any kind of activity in and around their colony and will greet any unwelcome guest with a sharp hello. They are also more difficult to manage because of the frequency in which they swarm and their flighty, nervous behavior. Bottom line, they are not enjoyable to work.
There have been 14 fatalities since
their arrival in the
For more information and current updates, go to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's webpage http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/press/2005/07192005.html or the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Pest Alert webpage at the University of Florida http://pestalert.ifas.ufl.edu/.
2005 UGA Beekeeping Institute
again, the Beekeeping Institute was a big success with over 100
participants. Annually, the Institute features a 2-track system
-one for beginners and the other for experienced beekeepers. Along
with the educational programs, the Institute also offers the Georgia
Master Beekeeping Program, the Welsh Honey Judge qualification exam
and a honey show. The Institute is held each year at
2005 Institute instructors (L to R): Evelyn Williams, Robert Brewer, Keith Delaplane, Keith Fielder, Rose Ann Fielder, PN Williams, Jennifer Berry, Bill Owens, Paul Arnold, Amanda Ellis, Jamie Ellis.
This year's honey show was a success with numerous entries. The first place winners for the 2005 honey show were the following:
Cash prizes and ribbons were awarded for first place winners. If you plan on attending next yearss institute you really should enter the honey show. There was also a new Welsh Honey Judge inductee, Nicholas Weaver, pictured below (L) with Dr. Delaplane. Nicholas is our youngest Welsh honey judge to date. Congratulations, Nicholas!
Friday night dinner and social was held at the state fair grounds.
Once again JM and Frieda Sikes provided us fresh shrimp, sausage,
corn and potatoes for the best low country boil yet. The evening
closed with a tall tales contest with Keith Fielder stealing the
show with "What to do with a skunk in your living room."
Information on the 2006 Institute will be posted early next spring
on our website, www.ent.uga.edu/bees.
The University of Georgia Honey Bee Lab will be hosting the Georgia Beekeepers Association fall meeting September 30th and October 1st, with the board of directors meeting Thursday night, September 29th at 7:00 pm. Speakers include Steve and Clarice Allgood, Virginia & Carl Webb, Joe Swaney, the UGA Bee Lab faculty and staff, and Dr. Lambert Kanga from Florida A&M University who will be speaking about the use of fungal pathogens for the control of varroa mites in honey bee colonies.
Pre- registration for members is only $20 if payments are made on or before September 19th. Registration includes lunch for both Friday and Saturday along with refreshments during breaks. Registration forms are available on the GBA website www.gabeekeeping.com. If you wait to pay at the door it will be $25.00 for members and $35.00 for non-members. For any questions about registration, please direct your calls to GBA treasurer, Evelyn Williams at (404)-366-6404 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
rewarding opportunity at this year's GBA meeting is the annual
From the south:
Head north on 441. Continue past the exit for State Road 53 to Watkinsville.
Turn left at the second red light past the exit for 53. This will
An Evaluation of Fruit-Boost in Enhancing Honey Bee Pollination of Seedless Watermelons by UGA PhD Student, Amanda Ellis
Hybrid seedless (triploid) watermelons have been grown for over 40 years but improved varieties, aggressive marketing, and increased consumer demand have created a rapidly expanding market. Standard commercial cultivars have separate male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers, large sticky pollen grains, and an adhesive stigma which all demonstrate the need for active insect pollination. It has been found that pistillate diploid watermelon flowers require six or more honey bee visits to set fruit. This requirement is probably greater for triploid watermelons, which because of inviable pollen require transfer of viable pollen from staminate diploid flowers onto pistillate flowers of triploid plants. Because increased bee visitation increases fruit set, attempts have been made to increase the attractiveness of crops by spraying feeding stimulants and pheromone-based bee attractants, but with mixed results. As the number of honey bees continues to decline due to parasites such as varroa mites and tracheal mites, methods promoting increased pollination efficiency are becoming more significant. Of the handful of pheromone-based attractants, those based on queen mandibular gland (QMP, Fruit Boost, Phero Tech, Inc.) have garnered the most promising efficacy record. It remains to test this product with seedless watermelon.
Amanda Ellis, Dr. Delaplane's PhD student, established six 20 m x 18 m experimental plots, each at the University Horticulture Farm. Three plots were treated with Fruit Boost at label rate and the other three served as untreated controls. Honey bee colonies were placed at each plot at a rate of 3 hives/acre.
collected consisted of bee observations shortly after application
of attractant and various harvest parameters. For each plot, at
least 180 female flowers were tagged in order to measure fruit-set.
Bee activity was observed the day of the spray and on four consecutive
days following. In each plot Amanda opportunistically noted bee
foragers and recorded number of flower visits by an individual bee
per minute. She distinguished between visits to female versus male
flowers; visits were scored as contact with a blossom. A minimum
of 30 observation minutes per plot were maintained, for a total
of 180 observation minutes per day. At harvest she will measure
for each plot the percent fruit-set (marketable fruit / tagged female
flowers) and for each recovered fruit its weight (kg), seed number,
and sucrose content (% Brix) of juice. Stay tuned for the results.
Testing Efficacy of Nematodes
the 2004 fall GBA meeting, members voted to award a $2,540 grant
to the UGA Honey Bee Lab to study biological agents for the control
of small hive beetles. Jamie Ellis, the principal researcher for
this project, is a recent PhD graduate from
Biological control works on the principle that every living organism has something that consumes or parasitizes it. This principle also holds true for small hive beetles. The agent of choice, the nematode, is an almost-microscopic worm that penetrates the bodies of many insects. Jamie chose nematodes because of their documented success against a number of other insect pests. Nematodes kill insects by accessing the insect's body cavity, regurgitating bacteria (which digest the inside of the insect), and then feeding on the resulting soup. In the process, the nematodes reproduce by the thousands, only to emerge from the insect carcass to re-infest other insects.
this study Jamie is collaborating with Louis Tedders from Southeastern
Insectaries, Inc., in Perry. Mr. Tedders is a retired USDA scientist
and expert at controlling insect pests. Together, he and Jamie are
testing the efficacy of six nematode species at killing beetle larvae.
After laboratory studies, they have narrowed their focus to two
species of nematodes, Heterohabditis indica and H. oswega.
Both species have realized between 85-95% control of beetle larvae
in the lab. They are now planning field trials to determine if the
nematodes will locate and infest beetle pupae in the soil. They
are optimistic that this will be the case, but make no promises.
They must first study the data to determine if nematodes can provide
good beetle control with safety to the bees. If nematodes perform
poorly in the field, they will concentrate their control efforts
elsewhere. If field trials prove successful, nematodes could become
important management tools in an integrated scheme aimed at controlling
EPA Extends Period for
Recognizing Legal Tolerance
Thymol, the major active ingredient
in Apilife VAR, is used in beehives for the control of Varroa mites.
It is currently under a temporary section 18 label while EPA decides
whether to make the product available nationally. The EPA has extended
the tolerance for thymol residues in or on honey and honeycomb until
June 30, 2007. The following states are currently approved for the
use of Apilife Var under Section 18 for the control of Varroa:
Petition for a
A few months ago, I received a notice
from a gentleman who had started a petition to the stamp advisory
board. The position is to create a
Management Calendar: August
Where oh where has the summer gone? I can't believe fall is just around the corner. It finally hit me this past week when I heard advertisements for Monday night football. Oh my! However, before we pack it in for the season and find ourselves resting in front of the fireplace, we have numerous chores to complete or our colonies may suffer. First and foremost is to check food stores in each of your colonies. Spring or early summer honey stores may be quickly exhausted, therefore colony inspections are crucial. Populations have grown while nectar flows diminished, which results in starvation. One day your colony may be the strongest on the block, and the next week wiped out due to starvation. If colonies are on the verge of starvation, feed immediately with a 2:1 sugar syrup solution. However, if they have enough stores but will need supplemental feeding before winter arrives, wait to feed until the end of September with a 2:1 sugar syrup solution. You don't want to stimulate the queen to begin excessive egg-laying with winter just around the corner. Remember, single hive bodied colonies will need 35 - 40 pounds of honey to last the winter dearth.
Another task to undertake at this time is to monitor your colonies'Varroa mite levels. Not only has your bee population grown over the spring and summer months, but your pest population may have grown along with it. It is a good time, if you haven't already done so, to check your colonies' Varroa mite population. If your colony has more than 60 mites on a sticky board inserted for 24 hours, it is time to treat. If you are unfamiliar with how to monitor mite populations in your colonies go to our web-site (www.ent.uga.edu/bees) and click on honey bee disorders and then Varroa mites. There's information available on how to examine mite populations along with IPM approaches like using bottom screens to reduce mite infestation levels. Remember.....always rotate your treatments. If you used CheckMite last time, treat with Apistan this time. You also have a third option available, Api Life Var. This product uses essential oils as its active ingredient and has shown significant success in the removal of Varroa mites in colonies. It is now available under a section 18 and can be purchased through Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (1-800-233-7929).
Other tasks to consider are preventative Terramycin treatment for AFB and EFB (but hygienic queens eliminate the need for antibiotics) and grease patties for tracheal mite control (but genetic resistance to this pest is growing as well). Again, if you are unfamiliar with these procedures, go to our website and click on honey bee disorders. Finally, resolve any queen problems you may have. Weak or old queens result in small non-viable colonies which rarely survive the winter. If colonies are weak, combine with other weak colonies or add to existing strong ones.
Nectar flow reports that I have received sound more positive than last year, but there was variation around the State. Too much rain is one culprit.
Electronic Delivery of Georgia Bee Letter
If you would like to receive Georgia Bee Letter via email, send me your address at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please put a reference to the GBL in the subject heading so I know you are requesting the newsletter. Every day I receive numerous advertisements or 'spam,' and I delete them immediately. If you have sent me your address and not received the GBL, please send it again. We sometimes experience computer viruses on campus which in turn have wiped out my e-mails. Also, notify me if there are changes to your club meeting times or contact persons.
Resource People for Georgia Beekeeping