Saturday Open Thread

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I finished my first full week of blogging, and I think it went great. I went through several learning curves as I try to write specifically for my readers. I have had great responses so far, but I can always improve. I want to improve my writing and improve my tone, but please bear. I am learning as I go, and trying to improve everyday. I made this blog because I want to write interesting and original content. I wanted to write long-form descriptions about common topics in beekeepers, because most articles online are not very detailed. If my blogs are too long, let me know. I want them to be as informative as possible, but if they are long and boring, I will need to change that. Also, I tend to ramble, so this is one thing I am improving.

But for each person that continues to read my blog, thank you very much! This is your blog as much as mine. I want to gear this to the reader, so if you have topics of interest, please send them my way. I am writing based upon my selfish interests, but I would love topics of interest to the general audience!

I hope you enjoy this week Saturday Open Thread. I found 4 great articles, and wrote briefly about each one. I think they are interesting, but then again, I am a researcher so everything is… haha

Digging In: What to do when honey bees swarm?

I posted this article for a few reasons: 1) Colonies swarm in the spring and 2) this article summarizes swarming behavior in the most basic sense. Because spring is upon us, beekeepers need to understand the signs swarming. Colonies swarm for two major reasons, either the colony need space or the colony is reproducing. However, colonies display obvious signs of swarming, so control swarming before it is too late! Beekeepers can easily reduce swarming by providing additional space during population increases, so constantly monitor your colonies. I plan to post an article about swarming next week, so stay tuned!

Beekeepers fear impact of climate change on honey bee populations

Climate change may influence beekeepers in the coming years. Flowering plants might begin blossoming at different times of the year, which may negatively impact honey bee colonies. If you record when flowering plants blossom in your area, you will notice a common trend. Certain plants blossom in the early spring, some in the summer, and others in the fall. Honey bees depend on these different temporal blossoms so they have nutrition throughout the year. If climate change changes when flowers blossom, this could impact colony health. While this is speculative, I have read publications stating this is already happening. Climate change may also influence the nutritional value of pollen. If the atmosphere contains more CO2, the plant ingests more CO2, and then sequesters the extra CO2. In certain cases, higher CO2 can lower nutritional value of pollen by increasing sugar content (More CO2=more sugar) and lowering protein content(More CO2 may equate to less N2 ingestion, which is used to produce protein). Honey bees ingest pollen for its protein content, so the nutritional value is important. Once again this is highly speculative, but I have seen evidence this is possible. Even if you are uncertain about climate change, be aware that this could be a possibility.

Beyond the honey bee: How pesticides affect solitary cavity-nesting bees

This article appropriately states the impact pesticides have on native pollinators. Like I stated last week on the Saturday Open Thread, I am not interested in debating whether or not neonicitinoids (a common system pesticide that can impact honey bee colonies) should be banned, I just want to know what farmers would use alternatively? Anyway, I digress. Honey bee colonies are manage livestock because beekeepers maintain and manage colonies for economic purposes. But furthermore, beekeepers can easily influence colony health by management diseases, increase colony number by splitting, and reducing pesticide exposure by moving colonies. I will not understate the impact of pesticides because honey bees can be affected. However, native pollinators have a tougher time. According to the national survey done annually by the USDA, the United States contains the same number of colonies it did 10 years ago, the year Colony Collapse Disorder became national news. This is because beekeepers can manipulate and manage colonies. While the same number of colonies does not equate to high colony health, you get the point. So please read this article, and remember native pollinators are important. They pollinate native plants and serve an important economic function. While they do not pollinate large scale agricultural crops such as almonds, be aware that pesticides impact native pollinators more than honey bees. Moreover, native pollinators (as of now) cannot be managed…


Overwintering success: the one thing I do differently

I think this is a great article for all beekeepers alike, from hobbyists to commercial. I observe many commercial operations, and the successful operations have 1 trait in common: THEY DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Successful beekeepers apply treatment in a timely fashion, feed colonies immediately during periods of dearth, super appropriately, and the list goes on and on. Most successful beekeepers have 1 employee per 500 colonies. While this does not reign true for all operations, the more employees you have the less procrastination occurs. You can be the most knowledgable beekeeper, but if honey bee management is delayed, it does not matter. Honey bee colonies require time and effort, so do not procrastinate during the year. As the article states, the beekeepers overwinter 100% of their colonies annually, and they do so because do the work. Remember, there is never a magic elixir.


Thanks again to all my viewers. Please subscribe to my blog, which can be found on the blogs front page. Join the Daily Guide to Beekeeping facebook page, and follow @dailyguideto on twitter.

Garett Slater


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