Do you have a swarm of bees you want removed? Call an OSBA beekeeper in your area and they’ll remove the bees. Find an OSBA Beekeeper in the Swarm List Directory.
Note: The survey has closed. The results of the 2015 Loss Survey and 2014 Pollination Economics Report are now available!
The OSU Bee Lab, in our continuing documentation of PNW beekeeper overwintering losses and the business of pollination, conducted survey among larger-scale (commercial and semi-commercial) beekeepers seeking loss information and rental fees. If you did not receive a survey please contact Dewey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ramesh (email@example.com) and one will be sent. We ask all those willing to provide this information to return the survey in the postage-paid envelope provided before end of April.
Smaller-scale (backyard) Oregon beekeeper loss survey. I will be distributing a paper survey for smaller-scale beekeepers to at March/April association meetings. If you miss me or prefer to do complete a overwintering loss survey as an online survey instrument go to http://bit.ly/2015PUBSurvey. It will take but a few minutes. We appreciate past involvement and ask that you help us make this information available once again this spring. If you prefer to do a paper survey, please download the pdf version of the survey located after this article, print it, and mail it to the address provided in the survey.
Our Oregon survey should not interfere with the great response of Oregon beekeepers to the National BIP survey. The survey is electronic and this year will be available during the entire month of April (as last year). You can sign up for a reminder by visiting the www.beeinformed.org website. In 2014, 222 Oregon beekeepers managing 50,691 colonies, had a 17+1.7% overwinter colony loss rate and for the entire season 30.2+2.4% colonies (a full report will be in an upcoming Apidologie and is available on the beeinformed.org website). Thank you all for sending this information and please continue to send us your information this spring.
Attached File: 2015 Bee Loss Report - PNW
Attached File: 2014 Pollination Economics Report - PNW
Greetings fellow beekeepers! Friendly web-keeper, Erin, here. I wanted to give you an update on what’s up with the website.
Not every bit of information and every feature has been brought over from the old site. Eventually, we’ll get it all converted or updated. If you’re a frequent visitor to the site, you may notice quite a few changes over the next month.
The main feature we’re missing right now is the Classifieds/Web ads section. All I can say about that is: It’s complicated.
Updates of note:
The Swarm List
Ah the swarm list. It has been my dearest, most fondest wish, in my little webkeeper heart of hearts, to allow people to sign themselves up for the swarm list without emailing the webkeeper. Well, that day is nigh. The swarm list needs one last little thing before it can be turned on. And then you will sign yourselves up. With a form. And it will just happen. Like magic. And if magic doesn’t happen, then you email me.
(Or renew your OSBA membership.)
You’ll probably notice the information you can put on the Swarm List is a little more constrained. To those who want to put their home number, work number, cell number, and partner’s cell number, and pet’s email address: my apologies. As always, the swarm list will be organized by locations people are willing to travel to collect a swarm.
Starting this year, an entry on the swarm list will consist of:
- First and Last Name
- Best Phone Number
- Whether or not a gas fee is charged to get to a swarm.
The reason for having a consistent, simple swarm list entry is so that people who have a swarm and are looking for someone to collect a swarm can easily and quickly process the information we provide.
If you want to be sent an email when the swarm list is available, head on over to the swarm list page. There’s a form you can fill out to get on the OSBA email list. I’ll send an email as soon as the swarm list is ready to go.
Note: The issue preventing me from opening the swarm list would have prevented signing up for the old swarm list, too. I am really sorry we couldn’t open up on Feb 1.
Events and Bee Schools
Much like the Swarm List, I wanted to empower people to add events through the website. Officers and committee chairs in OSBA and regional associations will have the option to add and update their own events. Anyone will have the option to submit new events using a form on the website.
If you have a Bee School or Event that you’d like listed on OSBA, please submit it. Advertising fees do not apply to events, ever.
OSBA reserves the right to decline displaying events for any reason.
We’re on WordPress!
The OSBA website is now proudly powered by WordPress, CiviCRM, Genesis, and A Small Orange.
One of my main goals for this site redesign was that people who were not a web-keeper are empowered to update and add to the site easily. WordPress lets us achieve this.
There are many benefits of using WordPress: easy updates, consistent design and presentation between pages, automatic SEO, to name a few.
Improved Site Security
Webpages and information transmitted between peoples’ computers and orsba.org are now encrypted. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited by this new feature 😀
Another new security feature is that email addresses displayed on webpages are now really hard to harvest by web crawlers. Phone numbers on the swarm list are also really hard to harvest by web crawlers. (The phone number security only applies to the swarm list at this time.)
The attached PDF is the final report to the Oregon Legislature from the “Task Force on Pollinator Health”.
All beekeepers should be familiar with this report. The Oregon legislature will decide if all or any of these recommendations are made into law or regulation that may affect your management of your bees. There will be a period when the legislature will be accepting public comment on these recommendations. Please watch The Bee Line for additional information on this in the near future.
Attached File: Task Force on Pollinator Health Report
There were 12 exhibitors at the 2014 State Meeting honey show. Trevor
Riches did an outstanding job with show stewarding – this was part of
his 2-year activity to complete requirements to become a Certified Welsh
Honey Judge. Trevor and Dewey completed part II of honey judge training
with Bob Falconer, Karessa Torgerson, Gene Doyle and Naomi Price, each of
whom did the show judging. At the conclusion of the conference the donated
show entries garnered over $150 for Bee research. Successful bidders got to
take home price-winning Oregon honey. Included in the honey auction was the
Rosette winner State Fair entry of light extracted honey generously donated
by Max Kuhn. Congratulations to all the show winners and thanks to all who
contributed to the show.
2014 Honey Show Winners
1st Place Mike Card
2nd Place Renea Williams
3rd Place Pam Arion
Extracted Honey Light- Labelled
1st Place Eric Walls
2nd Place Renea Williams
Extracted Honey Amber
1st Place Mike Standing
2nd Place Tim Wydronek
Extracted Honey Dark
1st Place Isaak Stapleton
Extracted Honey Light YOUTH
1st Place Zane Minzlaff (Zane was the Youth rosette winner at 2014 State
Fair Honey Show)
Beekeeping Photograph MACRO YOUTH
1st Place Kaitlyn Walls
Beekeeping Photograph PORTRAIT YOUTH
1st Place Kaitlyn Walls
1st Place Mike Standing
2nd Place Mike Standing
1st Place Fred Mann
The 2014 Oregon State Fair has come and gone.
I would like to thank the members of the Fair and Events Committee for their untiring work throughout the year to make the booth and its contents a reality. The committee consists of Dewey Caron, Bunny Cramer-Carter, Todd Bartlem and Fred Mann.
This year we committed to four spaces in order to incorporate a children’s area where kids could choose a picture (Queen, Worker or Drone) to color and place up on The Brood Zone wall. This proved to be a massive draw.
The wall was designed to resemble a honeycomb with the artwork donated by Ann Murray. Ann has donated her skills as an artist to several of our projects and is a valued member of our group.
The booth consisted of a large area displaying beekeeping tools, educational brochures, informative posters/photographs, honey color display , Honey Competition Entries and an apiary displaying various hive bodies. In addition we had an observation hive which was donated by Steve Coffman of Coffman Apiaries.
The booth was set up by Dewey Caron, Fred Mann, Todd Bartlem, Sierra Riches, Bunny Cramer-Carter, Sonya Kyllo, and yours truly.
The Fair was a huge success resulting in a high volume of visits to The Oregon State Beekeepers Booth.
I know that these visitors enjoyed the booth and came away with their questions answered and a better understanding of the art of beekeeping.
This success was a direct result of the volunteers that manned the booth throughout the 11 days of the Fair.
I would like to personally thank all the volunteers listed for the unselfish donation of their time and knowledge which clearly defined our presence.
It is extremely important that we beekeepers maintain a strong educational presence to the public. The Oregon State Fair is a fantastic platform with which to pursue this presence; however, we could not possibly do this without our wonderful volunteers!
Chair, Fair and Event Committee
Oregon State Beekeepers Association
A huge thanks to 2014 OSBA Booth Volunteers
- Adelle Platt
- Aggie Blackmer
- Alva Fong
- Amber Reese
- Anita Thew
- Art Martinak
- Arthur Cocker
- Barbara M.Elliot
- Bassam Khalifeh
- Ben Lepp
- Beth Voss
- Bev Koch
- Bill Wylie
- Bob Falconer
- Brenda Scotton
- Bret Jensen
- Camilla Echeverria
- Cary Nodine
- Ciera Wilson
- Craig Nodine
- David Downs
- Deb Van Curen
- Debby Garman
- Delsey Maus
- Dennis Robbins
- Dewey Caron
- Dianne Hutto
- Donna Maresh
- Douglas Vincent
- Earl Reeves
- Everett Kaser
- Francis Rothauge
- Fred Mann
- Fred Van Natta
- Gary Morgan
- Gene Doyle
- George Woodward
- Grace Clark
- Gus Arzner
- Helen McConnell
- Henry Condron
- James Platt
- Jan Petree
- Janet Shea
- Jeff Clark
- Jeff Hall
- Jeremy Mitchell
- Jesse Farrier
- Joe Maresh
- Joyce Martinak
- Karen Oda
- Karessa Torgerson
- Karla Verbeck
- Kathy Cope
- Ken Phillips
- Kerry Haskins
- Kristal Salladay
- Kristin Rifai
- Larry Seeley
- Lil Reitzel
- Linda Zielinski
- Marc Crump
- Mark Manthey
- Mark Ross
- Mary Ann Beirne
- Mary Garcia
- Max Kuhn
- Melissa McLaughlin
- Michael Babbitt
- Michael Carlson
- Michael R. Harrington
- Mike Standing
- Mona Kanner
- Monica Clark
- Nancy Farrier
- Nancy Vallereux
- Pam Arion
- Paul Andersen
- Paul Maresh
- Phyllis Shoemake
- Renea Williams
- Richard Farrier
- Robert Allen
- Robert Williams
- Roxanne Weaver
- Sahar Kharlifeh
- Scott Branch
- Sheila Reeves
- Shelley Gowell
- Sonya Kyllo
- Stan Scotton
- Steve Matrix
- Steve Oda
- Steven Coffman
- Susan Navrotsky
- Suzanne Brean
- Suzi Maresh
- Tegan Conklin
- Tim Wessels
- Tim Wydronek
- Todd Bartlem
- Tom Chester
- Troy Bany
- Veronica Cocker
- Wendi Manthey
- Yasmine Rifai
- Zack Williams
- Zaine Khalifeh
In mid-June there was a sudden loss of adult bees in several different apiaries in the Sandy/Estacada area of Clackamas County. In one instance the bees were in a top bar hive, in another a Warré hive and in the other two, bees were in Langstroth hives established on foundation from packages, and/or nuc purchases from different suppliers. The top bar hive was the only hive at the beekeepers residence but in the other 3 instances other hives in the same location did not have similar losses and in fact were doing OK.
Losses were of the entire hive adult population or a significant portion (3/4ths or more) of the adults. Although the beekeepers intervened with feed once the loss was discovered (3-4 days after the discovery), surviving (most newly emerged) workers and their queen DID NOT RECOVER. Most dead bees were within the hive (not out front) piled on the bottom board blocking off the colony entrance. There were some dead bees on the inner cover and some bees were head-in in vacant cells. Matt Reed of Bee Thinking, Portland noted disoriented and convulsing bees when he looked at one loss incidence.
Other than the sudden loss, there were no commonalities discernable – beekeeper owners had different years of beekeeping experience, different hive types, different bee sources, there were expected differences in feeding when colonies were newly hived and the locations, while in the foothills, were not within the same forage diameter. The area has a number of nurseries but lots of open space, river bottoms and forage availability within sight at time of sudden loss.
I was asked by ODA pesticide investigator Isaac Stapleton to join him in a re-examination of the apiaries about a week later with concurrence of the hive owners. Joe Maresh, Portland Metro Association President joined us at one site. Our skills at autopsy of a dead bee hive are not very advanced. When looking to do a post-mortem autopsy of a dead bee hive, it is not always possible to conclude with certainty the reason for the sudden loss. I often say something like 95% likelihood of this cause or 75% one likely cause but 25% possibly for another alternative. I am making an “educated guess.” The longer after an event the colony is examined, the less certain I can be about what might have happened.
In looking at a hive with a sudden change, I (like the beekeeper) was looking for “normal” and what about what is being viewed is abnormal — abnormal in what ways? I started with some assumptions as to why there might be a sudden loss of adult bees. In early spring, a colony loss is likely due to winter starvation (maybe actual death from a disease condition like BEE PMS). In the active season, a sudden loss is usually due to pesticide exposure, while later in the summer into the fall season, when resource conditions are poor, I first think robbing behavior. But there can be alternative explanations than the “expected” one — we all know bees can seemingly do the strangest things that defy the “normal” explanation.
Looking closely at two of the incidences, contrary to expected typical pesticide exposure loss, only some of the colonies (in apiaries with more than one colony) had the sudden loss, dead bees were within the colony, there were few dead bees head-first into cells, though many dead bees had their proboscis extended. Colonies showed dying brood with some new adults and, in one colony, a queen, though no eggs or young brood, was found. Stores of capped honey and cells of bee bread were noticeably absent. Some of the capped worker brood were still emerging but there was extensive dead brood. There was some brood disease present but not in any large quantity. The affected colonies were not being fed by their owners, normal for late spring in OR. Some sugar water had been fed, to at least the colonies in Langstroth hives, to help the colonies become established. All colonies, those with losses and those without any discernable loss, were actively building comb and all had quite prolific queens that were seeking to utilize every appropriate cell to lay eggs ( i.e pushing the workers to feed and care for a large amount of brood). ODA was called to investigate these incidences as a pesticide kill – the best “call” given time of year and the sudden heavy adult bee loss. Samples were taken of freshly killed bees. Analysis for 39 common pesticides, known to be hazardous to honey bees and likely to have been used in Oregon, was performed in the ODA pesticide testing lab in Portland. Laboratory analysis (ODA Press release August 11: Salem Statesman Journal August 12) reported “no detection of pesticides.” Analysis by OSU Bee Lab for pests and diseases “found average levels of bee mites and Nosema disease.” ODA pesticides program manager Dale Mitchell concluded “We’re really left without any concrete evidence of what affected those particular hives.”
Consulting other beekeepers with more experience in the Cascade foothills, including members of Portland Urban Beekeepers Association (PUB), Portland Metro Association and TVBA, I found that colony starvation, while not common, has been noted in some seasons. There is often a late spring dearth period after spring buildup in this region. The foothills have a micro-climate different from locations at lower elevations. Looking back at weather records, just before the first losses were noted, reveled several days where maximum temperature was only 60-62 F. at the nearest airport.
I noted that in one apiary of 4 colonies in Langstroth hives, 2 had been given frames of honey at transfer from the cardboard nucs (all purchased from same supplier) and these two colonies had stores and needed supering. The two colonies not supplied honey had only partially drawn plastic foundation frames in 2 months. There were absolutely no stores present in these two colonies. I did not see evidence of robbing. The one colony with the sudden loss had a queen and newly emerged young adults 4 days after the loss event. When they were given a frame of honey, they did not quickly recover, as might be expected in a starvation situation. When a newly captured swarm was hived on the same equipment, it absconded within 4 days.
So the bottom line was a sudden loss of a significant number of adults, which in June usually means a pesticide loss. However hive examination showed enough non-typical symptoms to suggest that perhaps this was an unusual late spring starvation. What started as a 95% likely pesticide loss was now a 75% starvation “guess.” In actuality we don’t know what happened….and it looks like we never will — our autopsy skills are not very good when it comes to dead bee hives. Initially it appeared to be pesticide damage but it didn’t quite fit. Closer examination appeared that it could be starvation but that too didn’t quite fit.
Pesticide loss cannot be absolutely ruled out. Colony stress from rapid spring development, prolific queens, a late spring dearth period, along with need for extensive brood feeding and comb drawing meant a condition where colonies were living on the edge, needing a continuous inflow of nectar and pollen. While extensive, the ODA pesticide analysis did not include every possible chemical pesticide that bees might have been exposed to. Bees from colonies living on the edge might explore alternative forage and might be more at risk of pesticide exposure that bees from other colonies in the same apiary, with more ample stores, might not forage.
At least one media report reported (once testing for pesticides came back negative) that it was beekeeper error — specifically failure to adequately feed the colonies (Capital Press Aug 13). But that too is not valid because it too doesn’t quite fit. Some of the colonies had been given some feed at establishment, though at the time of loss did not have feeders. There is no set standard of how much colonies should be fed and feeders on colonies this late into the spring usually are merely ignored by the bees in favor of flower resources. One dead colony had been fed until they stopped taking the syrup. Rapidly expanding colonies, with lots of brood and need for comb building, often have over-extended adult populations and unbalanced brood to adult population ratios.
To assume beekeeper error has another more insidious aspect. We WANT individuals to report these incidents — when unsubstantiated opinion comes to point the finger of blame on the individual reporting the incident, the message becomes garbled – do we SHUT UP and SUFFER in SILENCE or RISK being called part of the problem rather than a means to the solution. There were apparently at least two other individuals who had similar losses but did not wish to report or have them investigated.
One of the “reasons” commercial beekeepers elect NOT to report pesticide damage is they may lose their apiary site, a pollination contract, a farmer friend or when their dead colonies are looked at the beekeeper may be found in violation of some regulations/ordinance and end up suffering legal consequences — a double whammy — to go along with the loss of their bees. In fact the one individual beekeeper quoted in the story has received several very nasty, name-calling blog comments/email.
I don’t know what happened — but I am not about to blame 4 individual beekeepers who all saw (and reported) the same thing — that it was their fault their bees died. Finally a postscript: I was involved back East in the initial investigations of BEE PMS (in early 2000’s) and with the national discussion that lead to initial elucidation of CCD. Neither what eventually came to be labelled PMS nor CCD fit the ‘expected’ loss pattern/symptoms. While these late-spring OR losses do not fit either BEE PMS or CCD, it seems a 50%-50% best guess pesticide damage or starvation. Could it, however, be something unusual and different?
Unfortunately we may never know, although we continue to look for a more complete definition.