Sunday, May 31, 2015

ZomBee Apocalypse

One night ~ 11:30PM  I did a quick visit to inspect the hive after a long hot day. No big deal as it is ~15 ft from the back porch. They were bearding out front the hive and I was holding a flashlight to see. Bees randomly kept buzzing my flash light, then passing me to the porch light, like crazy moths - I just watched...  Then I remembered.

Some time ago I was reading the website ZomBee Watch. It was about how a fly is parasitizing honey bees in California and possibly other areas of North America. The parasite (Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis) affect the bees by eating their brains and make them act like zombies or "ZomBees". They act funny at night and fly towards the light incessantly until they die. Then a few weeks later a larvae emerges from their bodies, sometimes popping off their heads, (I read somwhere) to eventually pupate into a fly. The resulting female fly will go out and find new bees to "stab".

Ahhhh, I said, OMG I got Zombees! Where is that website?

So, I joined ZomBee Watch, and became ZomBee hunter! [cue: Raiders of the Lost Ark music] It is a citizen science project to collect samples and report results. In some cases if you do have ZomBees, you may have to send in samples.

Stay tuned.

PS- Vermont now has them.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Intermediate Class with Serge Labesque

After taking the Beginning Beekeeping class, I knew I wanted to take the Intermediate Beekeeping Class by Serge Labesque. Held at the UC Cooperative Extension - Sacramento County. This time I already had my hive going and I definitely wanted to learn more from such a respected expert on the topic.

He talked about beekeeping practices, like keeping your colonies strong, hive inspections and colony evaluation, hive dynamics, queen management, frame manipulations, supering, planning the harvest of honey, feeding, building without using foundation, hive divisions, queen rearing and methods, many more tips, tricks & technique, Well worth it!

Here is a video featuring him:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

UC Davis Bee Symposium

We went to a full day packed event at the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute. They hosted its inaugural Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy.

We were in the company of over 350 interested beekeepers, gardeners, scientists and students. Marla Spivak, the distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota and winner of a MacArthur Genius Grant, delivered the keynote address.

Additional speakers included members of the Department of Entomology and Nematology: Brian Johnson, Elina Nino and Neal Williams and Amy Toth, Iowa State University and Nigel Raine, University of Guelph, Ontario Canada.

Bee statue seen at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven

The day long event concluded with a bus trip to the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. We had lots of food/snack wine and a tour of the facility - lots of various plants that support honeybees and their pollination.