Dinner time! On Friday, February 17, Mark snuck out to the hive while it was in the upper 40’s. His primary mission was to put three Dadant Winter Patties on the hive as we’re concerned their food reserves might be on the light side. He was hoping to see bees out, but a cold wind was blowing so the girls were snug in the hive. They had finished off the pan of poorly made fondants from four weeks ago and eatten about two-thirds of the protein patty.
It’s February, so roughly half the managed colonies in the US are in California right now, pollenating the almond crop. Without pollinators, there would be no almonds. None. One would think the almond event would be bee-nirvana, but it’s not. The almond pollen alone is not that nutritious from a bee’s point of view. And, clustering all those colonies together give diseases the ability to jump from one colony to the next. From a commercial beekeeper point of view, it’s good money, that keeps the operation humming, but it has its downside too.
Results from a study by Purdue University has been getting a lot of ‘buzz’ as it has identified the talc in treated seed/planter boxes as being a significant source of neonicotid insecticides blanketing agricultural areas. When the bees visit flowers covered in the insecticide-laced talc, bee mortality ensues. Couple the coverage with a half life of the compounds of ~1,000 days and well, there’s trouble in River City. Here’s a news piece on the study – Iowa Farmer Today.