Vol. 23 No. 2 December, 2012 Editor: Jennifer Berry, Research Professional III

Vol. 23 No. 2
December, 2012
Editor: Jennifer Berry, Research Professional III
University of Georgia Bee Lab Promotes Importance of Pollinators and Beneficials at
Sunbelt Ag Expo Show
Ben Rouse and Nicholas Weaver standing ready at the Sunbelt Expo!
This past October, staff from the UGA bee lab traveled south to Moultrie, Georgia to participate
in the Sunbelt Ag Expo Show, which, for thirty-five years, has showcased the newest
innovations in agriculture. The annual Expo is housed on a 100-acre site and features over 1,200
exhibitors. Alongside every kind of agricultural equipment imaginable, research specialists from
the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) offered helpful, educational
information to the public. The college’s theme this year was “Pollinators and Peanuts,” which
provided the perfect opportunity to launch our “Protecting Pollinators and Beneficials” program
in our exhibit.
Here at the UGA Bee Lab, one of our most
important goals is to disseminate information about
all aspects of beekeeping to the public. We
accomplish this through direct consultations, our
website (http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees), the Young
Harris Beekeeping Institute, exhibits, publications,
classes, workshops and lectures to local, state,
national and international audiences. It is also our
goal to educate the general public on the importance
of honey bees, other pollinators and beneficials,
along with how to protect and encourage their
presence. By “the general public,” I’m referring to
non-beekeepers, since most beekeepers already
have an understanding of the importance of honey
bees. For instance, the average American doesn’t
usually realize that honey bees provide 1/3 of the
food consumed. It is also important that the public
be informed about other pollinators and beneficial
species such as. bumble bees, mason bees, sweat
bees, digger bees, butterflies, moths, flies, bats,
hummingbirds, and flying squirrels.
When we speak of beneficials, we are talking about any organism that feeds upon or parasitizes
unwanted pests in the farm, orchard, garden, landscape setting or turf grass. They benefit the
growing process by reducing the extent of botanical injury by pests. These “good” insects, such
as praying mantis’, ladybugs, green lacewings, tiger beetles and spiders (e.g., garden, jumping
and wolf spiders), are some of the most common beneficials around. They eat agriculturally
destructive insects such as whiteflies, aphids, plant bugs, and potato beetles, but, since they’re
not particularly discriminate eaters, they also sometimes eat each other. Notably, most parasitoid
wasps are species-specific, only attacking one type of insect. For instance, the braconid wasp,
Aphidius ervi, parasitizes exclusively the pea aphid. While parasitoids can act externally or
internally, the ones most important to agriculture parasitize internally. These wasps, some of
which are tiny, insert their ovipositor into the host-insect of choice and lay their eggs. The eggs
hatch and begin to feed on internal tissues; this eventually kills the host, which is a good thing,
since now the bad bug is no longer dining in your garden or yard.
Homeowners are some of the worst abusers of pesticides. Panic-stricken after having seen a bug
(“Oh, my!”), too many rush off to the nearest big box store and grab the bottle that promises
instant, devastating and the longest-lasting results. Then they race home, haphazardly toss a
“feels good” amount of the concentrate into water in a pump sprayer without reference to written
instructions, and proceed to douse the garden or yard indiscriminately until saturated.
Unfortunately, the “menacing intruder” that initially gave rise to this environmental tragedy was
quite possibly not even a true pest. It may have just been an inconsequential passerby or, even
worse, a pollinator or beneficial! The problem with using broad-spectrum pesticides is they
eliminate all bugs in the system, the good along with the bad. That is why it is important to first
know the beneficials from the pests. I’m not suggesting that everyone becomes an entomologist,
but at least have some appreciation of the environment as a whole and be open to strategies to
target specific pests. This year, our lab has been focusing on this very objective: to raise the
public’s awareness of the good verses the bad bugs.
Once a bug is identified as a pest, the next step is to teach homeowners to incorporate nonchemical approaches first. For example, soft-bodied insects such as aphids are no match against a
strong, steady blast from a water hose. When pesticides are absolutely necessary, there are a few
simple “tricks” to reduce undesired side effects. Two of the best suggestions are to apply
pesticides at night and to not contaminate flowers. The first of these strategies helps since most
pollinators are back home or out of the area after the sun has set. The second is important,
obviously, because pollinators carry out their work by visiting the flowers, whereas most pests
suck from stems or chew leaves. Using pesticides that break down rapidly is another great way to
reduce their impact. Also, avoid dusts, such as SevinTM Dust, since the particulate size is similar
to pollen and can be collected by bees and then fed to brood (honey bee larvae - i.e., “baby
bees”). Incorporating just these few measures will dramatically reduce the effects chemicals will
have on the beneficials you want to keep around your yard and garden. For more pictures from
the Sunbelt Expo, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/89497361%40N02/show/.
2013 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest
Announcement from Jenna Brown Daniel
State 4-H Program Assistant
Details for the 2013 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest are now
available. Please visit the Georgia 4-H Beekeeping Essay
website for all contest deadlines, rules, and regulations:
http://www.georgia4h.org/beekeeping/ The 2013 essay topic
will be: Reducing the Usage of Bee-Killing Pesticides in my
This year all entries must be submitted electronically. The
deadline to submit entries will be Friday, February 1, 2013; all
entries should be emailed to Jenna Daniel at the following
address (jbrown10@uga.edu). The University of Georgia's
Entomology Department will determine the top three essays in Georgia and send the first ranked
winner to compete at the national level, against states across the country. The national winner
will be announced by May 1, 2013.
Please encourage your youth to create their entries with the appropriate regulations stated in the
entry rules found either on the website or the printable PDF Form. Additionally, youth can view
previous National winning essays posted at: http://honeybeepreservation.org/category/essaycontest/.
Contact Jenna Brown Daniel with any questions, comments, or concerns at (706) 542-4H4H
Learning Impairment in Honey Bees Caused by Agricultural Spray Adjuvants
Published in PLoS ONE
Timothy J. Ciarlo*, Christopher A. Mullin, James L. Frazier, Daniel R. Schmehl
Department of Entomology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Spray adjuvants are often applied to crops in conjunction with agricultural pesticides in order to
boost the efficacy of the active ingredient(s). The adjuvants themselves are largely assumed to be
biologically inert and are therefore subject to minimal scrutiny and toxicological testing by
regulatory agencies. Honey bees are exposed to a wide array of pesticides as they conduct
normal foraging operations, meaning that they are likely exposed to spray adjuvants as well. It
was previously unknown whether these agrochemicals have any deleterious effects on honey bee
Methodology/Principal Findings
An improved, automated version of the
proboscis extension reflex (PER) assay
with a high degree of trial-to-trial
reproducibility was used to measure the
olfactory learning ability of honey bees
treated orally with sublethal doses of the
most widely used spray adjuvants on
almonds in the Central Valley of
California. Three different
adjuvant classes (nonionic surfactants,
crop oil concentrates, and organosilicone
surfactants) were investigated in this
study. Learning was impaired after
ingestion of 20 µg organosilicone surfactant, indicating harmful effects on honey bees caused by
agrochemicals previously believed to be innocuous. Organosilicones were more active than the
nonionic adjuvants, while the crop oil concentrates were inactive. Ingestion was required for the
tested adjuvant to have an effect on learning, as exposure via antennal contact only induced no
level of impairment.
A decrease in percent conditioned response after ingestion of organosilicone surfactants has been
demonstrated here for the first time. Olfactory learning is important for foraging honey bees
because it allows them to exploit the most productive floral resources in an area at any given
time. Impairment of this learning ability may have serious implications for foraging efficiency at
the colony level, as well as potentially many social interactions. Organosilicone spray adjuvants
may therefore contribute to the ongoing global decline in honey bee health.
Read the entire paper at:
President Obama Not the Only One Drinking Honey Ale
by Kendall Jones
Principle Writer at the Washington Beer Blog
The garden grows vigorously at the Washington Beer Blog World Headquarters. Veggies, fruit
trees, flowers, hops, all of it grows remarkably well. This is due in large part to our next-door
neighbors and the 30,000 bees they keep in their backyard. All day long, they are out there doing
their work and helping our garden grow. Along with the food we harvest, fresh and delicious
honey is a byproduct of the bees’ hard work - honey which can be used in beer. The circle of life.
It turns out the gardeners at the
White House also keep bees.
The similarities between our
house and that iconic abode do
not end there. Much like the
residents of the Washington
Beer Blog World Headquarters,
the current occupant of 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue is a fan of
craft beer. The White House
recently released the recipe for
the President’s homebrew,
which is brewed using honey
from the White House’s bees:
White House Honey Brown Ale.
Closer to home, Salish Lodge also keeps bees to help promote a healthy garden. Located at
Snoqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge consistently ranks among the best small resorts in the world.
This year, the lodge and Snoqualmie Falls Brewing teamed up to make a beer using honey from
the Salish Lodge bees. We will have more information in the coming weeks for you about the
Salish/Snoqualmie Falls honey beer project, including information about where you can drink it.
Don’t laugh at the White House kitchen staff. They feed the first family and they serve fine food
to dignitaries from around the world, but when it comes to brewing, the staff admits they are
newbies. The White House Honey Brown Ale is an extract beer. Who knows? Maybe if the
President wins a second term, he will pony up for an all-grain system. Exactly why they opted to
use English hop varieties is a bit of a mystery. Sure, maybe it was a matter of taste, but someone
needs to have a word with the White House and urge them to use Cascade, Willamette and other
beautiful Northwest varieties.
Sam Kass is White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food
Initiatives. In a recent blog post, Kass explains how the White House came to brew beer.
“Inspired by home brewers from across the country, last year President Obama bought a home
brewing kit for the kitchen,” Kass says. “After the few first drafts we landed on some great
recipes that came from a local brew shop. We received some tips from a couple of home brewers
who work in the White House who helped us amend it and make it our own. To be honest, we
were surprised that the beer turned out so well since none of us had brewed beer before.” Below
is the much-anticipated recipe!
Antibiotic Resistance Killing Off Bees
by Emma Goldberg
Yale Daily News
In the Oct. 30 issue of the mBio journal, Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology,
Nancy Moran published a study showing that beneficial bacteria found in the guts of honeybees
have acquired genes that make bees resistant to tetracycline, an antibiotic used to prevent colonydestroying infections and other bacterial diseases. Moran’s research identified eight tetracyclineresistant genes in American honeybees that were absent in honeybee populations where such
antibiotic treatment is banned, suggesting that use of tetracycline has genetically altered
beneficial bacteria and made colonies more prone to infection.
To test bee genes for resistance to antibiotics, researchers in Moran’s lab isolated all of the
bacterial DNA in bee guts and transferred them into independent DNA molecules called
plasmids. These plasmids were then put into E. coli and sequenced so that the tetracyclineresistant genes could be identified. To determine how different bee populations interact with
antibiotics, researchers used a technique called polymerase chain reaction to amplify bee DNA
samples collected from various locations in the United States, New Zealand, the Czech Republic
and Switzerland.
“We found that bees from the USA, which had a long treatment history [with tetracycline],
carried the most resistant genes,” said Waldan Kwong, one of the authors of the paper and a
researcher in Moran’s lab.
If confirmed, Moran’s research could have wide-reaching impact on American crop growth and
production. Honeybee pollination plays a critical role in the $15 billion U.S. agriculture industry.
The industry has been plagued by recent bee colony collapses, due primarily to bees’ contraction
of the bacterial disease foul brood.
University of California, Davis apiculture professor Norman Gary stressed the magnitude of the
colony collapse disorder. “Only recently has the true value of honeybees been appreciated by
people in this country,” Gary told the News. “The colony collapse disorder is a complex issue
and many scientists are advancing theories to explain its cause.”
Kwong said he hopes the research conducted in Moran’s lab will encourage beekeepers to
exercise caution when introducing new antibiotics into bee colonies. “Beekeepers and the
general public should be aware that application of antibiotics not only affects pathogens but also
the normal healthy microbes that coexist with the host,” he said. He added, however, that further
research and consultation with the beekeeping community are needed before any new policies
can be introduced and implemented. Gary said bee die-offs are likely the result of multiple
factors rather than a single central cause. “In the scientific community we’re hoping that
honeybees will develop a resistance to the cause of the colony collapses,” he said.
Moving forward, researchers in Moran’s lab are studying the health benefits and hazards posed
by gut bacteria in bees. They are studying the microbes that have become resistant to tetracycline
to understand the beneficial functions they perform, such as pathogen defense, as well as the
negative impact they can have on bees’ immune systems.
“We want to understand how bacteria function in bees,” Moran said. Her lab is currently
working on an experiment that exposes bees to antibiotics and analyzes their long-term effects.
Though she said the team has evidence that bacteria can help bees digest food, Moran said they
hope to discover other health benefits bacteria provide bees. “It’s basic work, but nothing like it
has ever been done before,” she said.
Long-Term Exposure to Antibiotics Has Caused Accumulation of Resistance Determinants
in the Gut Microbiota of Honeybees
Baoyu Tiana, Nibal H. Fadhila, J. Elijah Powella, Waldan K. Kwonga and Nancy A. Morana.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Bioloby, Yale University, West Haven, Connecticut,
USA. mBio 3[6]:e00377-12. doi:10.1128/mBio.00377-12
Antibiotic treatment can impact non-target microbes, enriching the pool of resistance genes
available to pathogens and altering community profiles of microbes beneficial to hosts. The gut
microbiota of adult honeybees, a distinctive community dominated by eight bacterial species,
provides an opportunity to examine evolutionary responses to long-term treatment with a single
antibiotic. For decades, American beekeepers have routinely treated colonies with
oxytetracycline for control of larval pathogens. Using a functional metagenomic screen of
bacteria from Maryland bees, we detected a high incidence of tetracycline/oxytetracycline
resistance. This resistance is attributable to known resistance loci for which nucleotide sequences
and flanking mobility genes were nearly identical to those from human pathogens and from
bacteria associated with farm animals. Surveys using diagnostic PCR and sequencing revealed
that gut bacteria of honeybees from diverse localities in the United States harbor eight
tetracycline resistance loci, including efflux pump genes (tetB, tetC, tetD, tetH, tetL, and tetY)
and ribosome protection genes (tetM and tetW), often at high frequencies. Isolates of gut bacteria
from Connecticut bees display high levels of tetracycline resistance. Resistance genes were
ubiquitous in American samples, though rare in colonies unexposed for 25 years. In contrast,
only three resistance loci, at low frequencies, occurred in samples from countries not using
antibiotics in beekeeping and samples from wild bumblebees. Thus, long-term antibiotic
treatment has caused the bee gut microbiota to accumulate resistance genes, drawn from a
widespread pool of highly mobile loci characterized from pathogens and agricultural sites.
IMPORTANCE We found that 50 years of using antibiotics in beekeeping in the United States
has resulted in extensive tetracycline resistance in the gut microbiota. These bacteria, which form
a distinctive community present in healthy honeybees worldwide, may function in protecting
bees from disease and in providing nutrition. In countries that do not use antibiotics in
beekeeping, bee gut bacteria contained far fewer resistance genes. The tetracycline resistance
that we observed in American samples reflects the capture of mobile resistance genes closely
related to those known from human pathogens and agricultural sites. Thus, long-term treatment
to control a specific pathogen resulted in the accumulation of a stockpile of resistance
capabilities in the microbiota of a healthy gut. This stockpile can, in turn, provide a source of
resistance genes for pathogens themselves. The use of novel antibiotics in beekeeping may
disrupt bee health, adding to the threats faced by these pollinators.
Apivar ® Amitraz Strips Receive South
Dakota Section 18 Exemption Oct 24,
This past October, South Dakota received a
specific exemption under the provision of
section 18 of FIFRA for the use of Apivar –
Amitraz in a 3.33% formulation in plastic
strip form – subject to conditions and
restrictions. Other states may apply for this
exemption and receive a section 18 label for
this varroa control product [Georgia is in the
process of doing this].
Apivar is an unregistered product (EPA File Symbol 87243-R) formulated as a sustained release
plastic strip impregnated with 3.33% amitraz (0.5 g active ingredient per strip) manufactured by
WYJOLAB for Veto-Pharma S.A.. All applicable directions, restrictions, and precautions on the
product label as well as the section 18 use directions submitted with an updated application must
be followed.
Label instructions are more detailed, but to summarize: To control varroa, remove honey supers
before application of Apivar, use 2 strips per brood chamber with a minimum distance of 2
frames between strips. Bees should walk on the strips. Leave strips in the boxes for 42 days, then
remove. Reposition as needed so bees stay in contact, then leave for 14 more days. Strips must
be removed after a maximum of 56 days.
A maximum of 2 treatments, spring and fall, may be made per year if varroa mite infestation
reaches treatment thresholds. Honey supers must be removed before strips are used, and cannot
be replaced until 14 days after strip removal. Protective gloves are required.
Management Calendar: January– February in Georgia
If you haven’t already, you may want to plan to order queens, packages or nucs sooner than later.
Some operations have already sold out of their early nucs and queens. For example, neither the
Kona Queen company in Hawaii nor the CF Koehnen & Sons company in California have any
more early 2013 queens available.
With nectar flows occurring earlier due to the trend of warmer winters each year, swarms are
hitting the trees sooner. So, you don’t want to wait until April to order queens for splits or nucs
for honey production unless you will be ordering them for late summer or the following year
(2014). Bee magazines offer plenty of ads from bee operations in the US. If you are unsure
whom to choose, ask another beekeeper whom they would recommend. Smaller, local operations
are also an option and usually within driving distance. But, again, don’t wait or you may find
yourself out of luck until 2014!
Due to above average temperatures experienced so far this winter, your colonies are most likely
devouring their honey stores much sooner than usual. During a warm day (above 50°F), when
the sun is shining and there is little to no wind, check your colonies’ food stores; however, try
not to break apart the cluster. Hopefully, you left adequate honey on your hives after harvest or
have been feeding syrup, accordingly. In any case, you need to inspect your colonies to make
sure they are in good shape. If you find one with little honey, feeding a 2:1 (sugar:water) syrup
solution is recommended. This time of year, since temperatures can fluctuate back and forth,
feed colonies with inverted plastic pails, buckets or jars. Do not rely on Boardman entrance
feeders, division board feeders or even baggies since the bees are unable to travel far from the
cluster when temperatures drop. Avoid feeding your colonies poor quality food like brown sugar,
“mystery” feed, re-melted candy, pancake syrup, molasses, fermented honey and corn syrup with
industrial food additives. These contain indigestible components that can have unknown and
negative consequences on bees, including dysentery. Stick to pure, cane sugar. It may be a little
more expensive on the front end, but you can pay now (quality feed) or later (replacement bees).
Hive protection is another consideration. During times of colder weather, mice love the warm
accommodations provided by honey bee colonies. To keep out these trespassers, it is suggested
to use an entrance reducer or mouse guard. Usually, guards made of metal provide the best
protection since mice cannot chew through them. These entrance reducers also provide
protection from cold drafts.
Once February arrives, don’t forget to re-check colonies for honey stores and queen viability.
Colonies will be gearing up for the upcoming nectar flow by rapidly increasing their populations;
therefore, resources may dwindle. And, if pollen supplies are low, it will be a good idea to
introduce pollen supplements.
In the mean time, don’t slack off! This is an important time to repair your worn woodenware, as
well as order and build new equipment for next spring.
Best wishes for api-prosperity in the new year!
How to Get Georgia Bee Letter
GBL can be received electronically by emailing your request to Jennifer Berry atjbee@uga.edu
Bartow Beekeepers Association
Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers
Cherokee Beekeepers Club
Coastal Empire Beekeepers
Coweta Beekeepers Association
East Central Georgia Bee Club
Regular Meetings
7:00 pm, third Tuesday
7:00 pm bimonthly,
second Monday
7:00 pm third Thursday
6:30 pm second Monday
7:00 pm second Monday
7:00 pm fourth Monday,
7:00 pm first Monday
Agriculture Services
Building, Cartersville
Oxbow Meadows Nature
Center, Columbus
Lincolnton Club House,
Southbridge Tennis Complex,
Asa Powell Sr. Expo Center,
Newnan, Georgia
Burke Co. Office Park
UGA Bee Lab, 1221 Hog
Mtn Rd, Watkinsville
Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers
Forsyth Beekeepers Club
6:30 pm, fourth Thursday Sawnee Mountain Visitors
Henry County Beekeepers
7:00 pm, second Tuesday Public Safety Bldg., Route
155, McDonough
Heart of Georgia Beekeepers
7:00 pm, third Tuesday
Houston Co. Gov’t Building,
Beekeepers Club of Gwinnett
7:00 pm, second Tuesday Hebron Church, Dacula
Metro Atlanta Beekeepers
7:00 pm, second
Mountain Beekeepers Association 7:00 pm, first Tuesday
Northeast Mountain Beekeepers
Northwest Georgia Beekeepers
Oglethorpe County Bee Club
Southeast Georgia Beekeepers
Southwest Georgia Beekeepers
7:00 pm, second
7:00 pm, second Monday
7:00 pm, third Monday
7:00 pm, fourth Tuesday,
7:00 pm, third Monday
Atlanta Botanical Garden,
Mountain Regional Library,
Young Harris
Habersham County Extension
office, Clarksville
Walker County Agric.
Center, Rock Spring
Oglethorpe Farm Bureau
Contact Ben Bruce
Farm Bureau Building,
Tara Beekeepers Assn (Clayton
Co. area)
Troup County Association of
7:30 pm, third Monday
Kiwanis Room, Georgia
Power Bldg, Forest Park
7:00 pm, third Monday
4-H Ag. Bldg. on Hwy 27 at
Vulcan Rd.
Beekeeping Subscriptions
American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois, 62341
Bee Culture, 623 W. Liberty Street, Medina Ohio, 44256 330-725-6677
The Speedy Bee, P.O. Box 998 Jesup, Georgia 31598-0998
Resource People for Georgia Beekeeping
For a complete listing of resource people and associations please go to