May 2014: The current hot topic is the new study from Harvard that claims to link neonics to CCD. Read my comments at news-and-blogs-page.
I recently tested several models available from Amazon and was quite pleased with the:
Carson Pro Series MagniVisor Deluxe Head-Worn LED Lighted Magnifier with 4 Different Lenses (1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, 3x) (CP-60)
This magnifier costs a bit more, but is comfortable, easily adjustable, has a bright adjustable lamp that runs on AAA batteries, and comes with 4 lenses. The focal length of the 2.0x lens is about 6 inches, meaning that you’ll hold your eyes about 7″ from the grafting frame. Queens for Pennies
For those with bear problems, I’ve added plans for the bear fence that I use around my own apiaries: Bear Fence
April 2014: I added photos of diagnostic signs of varroa-killed colonies to Basic Beekeeping
Hi All, Following an extremely unusual winter in the California foothills, spring is in full swing. California is in serious drought, but the spring rains put enough moisture in the soil for an abundant early spring bloom. We’re buried in bee work, what with queenrearing, splitting, and keeping colonies from swarming. A number of beekeepers reported apparent pesticide problems in almond pollination this year. We saw some damage ourselves in some of our orchards. If you had a problem, please email me with details, as I hope to perform some tests on problematic sprays.
We’ve completed several research projects from last season, and will soon be publishing the results. As a preview, we ran a large-scale pollen supplement feeding trial, and found UltraBee and MegaBee to perform very well–not far behind natural pollen.
I’ve recently posted several new articles to the ScientificBeekeeping website:
A field research article: Does oxalic acid treatment of nucs affect honey production? Pesticide articles: Sick Bees 18F7 Pesticide Exposure Sick B 18f8 Beekeeping economics. Sick Bees 18f9 The Bees/Pesticide complex part 1.
Then I got sick of writing about pesticides, and started a new series. In the series, I’m thinking aloud as I deeply investigate the domestication of the honey bee, and the unforeseen consequences of such action. I’m finding (spoiler) that the problems that we face in beekeeping today have been a long time coming, and that we may need to rethink how we do some things in our search for solutions: What’s happening to the bees? Part 1. What’s happening to the bees? Part 2. What’s happening to the bees? Part 3.
And then for the recreational beekeeper who wishes to rear a few queens, I posted an article and a full pictorial Powerpoint presentation that can be shown to bee clubs: Queens for pennies (separate article and PPT presentation). I’m a huge supporter of the breeding of regional bee stocks, especially those showing resistance to varroa. To me, it is a crime not to propagate daughters from your best colonies. The article shows how to do it on small scale. I wish to thank all who have donated to ScientificBeekeeping. Your support allows me to continue to maintain the site, research topics, write, and perform practical field experiments.
For November 2013 I revised Basic Beekeeping (formerly First Year Care of Your Nuc) to include more info on mite treatments http://scientificbeekeeping.com/first-year-care-for-your-nuc/ I also posted 3 new articles http://scientificbeekeeping.com/simple-early-treatment-of-nucs-against-varroa/ http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick-bees-part-18f6-colony-collapse-revisited/ http://scientificbeekeeping.com/winter-colony-losses/ Current buzz in the industry is how the bee supply is for almond pollination. Broker Lyle Johnson is predicting a seriously short supply; others are not yet sure, but prices are up--currently in the $180 range for 8-framers. Reports back on Apivar are generally good, although those that expected a quick mite knockdown were disappointed. The strips take some time to give full effect.
I’m currently running a large-scale field trial of commercial pollen supplements, and have updated http://scientificbeekeeping.com/pollen-supplement-formula/ to reflect.