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Bee Behavior and Biology, Managing The Colony Labor Pool, Topics

The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal April 2010

We humans tend to anthropomorphize animal behavior, which is often just plain silly. The most caring, gentle, nurturing beekeeper can pamper a hive to no end, yet will still have her friendship rewarded with a volley of stings to the face should she move a bit too quickly.

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal May 2010

In the first part of this article, I explained how the allotment of the hive labor pool was largely controlled through communication via the process of sharing protein-rich jelly via trophallaxis, plus non-feeding interchange of low volatility “primer” pheromones. I now continue with a summary of our current state of knowledge of the complex process […]

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 3

First published in: American Bee Journal June 2010

I left you last month in the middle of explaining the current model for colony workforce allocation, and the influence of various primer pheromones. Please allow me to pick up where I left off. (Having trouble hitting the keys with my cold fingers—I’ve just pulled off my wet coveralls, and am trying to revitalize myself […]

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The Primer Pheromones, Part 4 – Reproduction and Survival

First published in: American Bee Journal July 2010

Queen Pheromone(s) We humans hear the term “queen” and immediately project all the royal attributes of leadership and omnipotence upon the mother of the colony. But is this really the case? Does the queen bee really “rule” the colony, with the sterile workers acting as subordinate subjects? The feeling that I get is that bee […]

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Managing Varoa: Part 1 – IPM Realities

First published in: American Bee Journal, March 2011

I welcome practical, tested tips, methods, and assessments from other beekeepers who are successfully keeping bees with varroa.  I found this article to be a good reality check on certain varroa IPM methods.  It was originally published in the March 2011 ABJ, and I asked the author if I could post it to this website.  […]

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Sick Bees – Part 12: Varroa Management – Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Randy Oliver Last month I showed how to make a mite shaker bottle, so that you could easily keep track of the actual mite levels in your hives.  So now you may wonder, how do I use those mite counts to better manage my hives? I was recently speaking in New Zealand, where the beekeepers […]

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An Early Summer Test of Mite-Away-Quick Strips(tm)

Randy Oliver In the February issue of this Journal, I wrote about a fall trial that I performed with the new formic acid delivery method—Mite-Away Quick Strips (MAQSTM).  I had been impressed by their efficacy and ease of use.  Imagine my surprise and dismay when I received a couple of phone calls from beekeepers in […]

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The “Rules” For Successful Beekeeping

Advice for recreational beekeepers Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com In my articles I chronicle my own process of self-education in becoming a successful beekeeper—which has been much more difficult since the invasion of varroa.  The learning curve has been brutal—there were times when I thought that I was the worst beekeeper in the world (although that notion […]

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The Birds and the Bees

I was greatly concerned when I read that news item that the neonicotinoid seed treatments might be causing the decline of bird populations.  I don’t know whether you read the referred paper (http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/toxins/Neonic_FINAL.pdf), which was earnest and detailed.  Unfortunately, it was mostly speculative, as opposed to being based upon field evidence.  The authors themselves, in […]

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The Harvard Study on Neonicotinoids and CCD

A recent press release by the prestigious Harvard School of Public Health claims that one of their researchers has found that Colony Collapse Disorder was caused by a common insecticide used on corn.  As an informed beekeeper and environmentalist, I feel that this study calls for standard scientific scrutiny to see whether their claims actually […]

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