What's the Buzz with ATTTA #3 All about the queens speech, heat and lost summers!

Thursday 25 June 2020

What's the Buzz with ATTTA?

This is your Queen speaking!

New information is changing what we know about how bees communicate.  Many beekeepers have heard a queens 'pipe' but now we have learned more about their "toot" and "quack" sounds.  Researchers examining noises made by queen bees have suggested that this is a way for the newly emerged queen to communicate, telling their workers that any other virgin queens in the colony should remain captive in their cells.  Researches stated that the sounds of  "queen piping being a colony-level communication to aid the worker population in the co-ordination of the release of queens by conveying information about how many queens are free and encapsulated to avoid competition between them should be held captive in their own respective queen cells".  To read more, have a look at this CBC report or read the original research article.

Hot enough for ya?

The past few weeks in the Maritimes have seen record breaking temperatures and very little moisture in most provinces. This hot and dry weather is leading to unfavourable drought conditions. Understanding the impact of drought conditions on honey bee colonies is important for both beekeepers and blueberry growers. By being aware of the potential impacts and signs of drought conditions, beekeepers can intervene with special management practices to ensure colony health and winter survivability, which in turn leads to a healthy and sustainable pollination capacity of honey bee colonies for the blueberry sector. Read our newest fact sheet on how drought conditions can affect honeybee colonies and how to recognize signs of stress in your colonies. https://www.perennia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ATTTA-Drought-final.pdf
 A) Healthy honey bee larvae with plenty of jelly (from http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fat-bees-part-1/) vs B) Dry larvae (R. McCallum photo)

US Beekeepers Annual Loss Report: The good news first!

In the recently publish report on annual losses, US beekeepers have seen improved winter survival across the country.  Over the winter period from October 2019 to May 2020, winter losses have been reported at 22.2% which is down from the previous year by 15.5%.  The bad news is that overall, annual losses which includes bees lost in summer, are worse than the previous year at 43.7%.  This is the worst losses on record with the exception of 2006.  These higher than average losses are possibly due to a poor 2019 queen raising year in some regions or other climatic factors.  The recorded high summer losses by US beekeepers may be a warning for beekeepers here in eastern Canada.  With below average rainfall effecting this region already, take some extra caution when doing splits and managing bees throughout a possible dry summer!  The full report can be read here.

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