Category Archives: World of Apiculture

Beekeeping around the globe: pollination, honey, bee and queen breeding outfits, and hobby beekeepers too

Wandering Beekeepers of Ancient Egypt

Detail of a Bee Hieroglyph from the tomb complex of Senusret IDid you know that the ancient Egyptians used to put their hives on boats and float them down the Nile to new forage grounds, when nectar grew scarce?

Other cultures copied the practice, from the ancient Romans right down to the Mississippi Valley beekeepers of the early 1800s, and the transportation of English bees to forage was reported in the London Times of 1830:

As the small sailing vessel was proceeding up the Channel from the coast of Corn-wall and running near land, some of the sailors noticed a swarm of bees on the island; they steered for it, landed, and after they succeeded in hiving the bees they took them on board and proceeded on their voyage. As they sailed along the shore, the bees constantly flew from the vessel to the land to collect honey and returned again to their floating hive; and this was continued all the way up the Channel.

These fascinating facts about beekeeping in ancient Egypt may be found in Freemasonry, Greek Philosophy, The Prince Hall Fraternity and the Egyptian (African) World Connection by Keith Moore, which you can preview via Google Books.

Colony Collapse Disorder is Studied, Not Confirmed in Canada

While American beekeepers come out of winter with staggering losses attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), it is still too early for most Canadian beekeepers to determine whether we have been similarly affected.

No instance of CCD has been confirmed in Canada, despite recent reports of “suspicious losses” in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

Dr. Peter Kevan, an associate professor of environmental biology at the University of Guelph, told CBC News recently that the cause of CCD remains a mystery. The recent disappearance of honey bees and decline in hive populations “might be caused by parasitic mites, or long cold winters, or long wet springs, or pesticides, or genetically modified crops — or stress.”

Continue reading Colony Collapse Disorder is Studied, Not Confirmed in Canada

Mite-Away Inventor Recognized

The Ontario government recognizes that innovation will pave the way forward for the province’s agri-food sector, and Premier Dalton McGuinty took the opportunity to recognize farmer-innovators at the province’s Summit on Agri-Food on 8 March 2007.

“Ontario’s farmers have helped build a world-class agri-food sector in this province,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. “By recognizing their hard work and investing in their innovative ideas, we can help farmers pursue new markets, attract investment and strengthen our rural communities.”

The first $100,000 Premier’s Award of Excellence for Agri-Food Innovation will go to David VanderDussen. VanderDussen developed Mite-Away II, an environmentally friendly product to protect honeybees from mite infestations, which is exported around the world.

Ukrainian Beekeeping and Prokopovych Beekeeping Museum

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Beekeepers will find this interesting – 70 photographs in a slideshow give us a  Virtual Tour of the Prokopovych Beekeeping Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photos by jcaldeira.

Apimondia, the world congress of apiculture, will be held in the Ukraine in 2013.  To learn more about beekeeping in this part of the world, you may also enjoy 20 Facts on Beekeeping in Ukraine, where the beekeeping industry employs over 400,000 people, both commerical beekeepers and hobbyists.

Mysterious Honey Bee Die-Off Alarms Beekeepers, Agriculture Industry

January 29 , 2007
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) College of Agricultural Sciences


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An alarming die-off of honey bees has beekeepers fighting for commercial survival and crop growers wondering whether bees will be available to pollinate their crops this spring and summer.

Researchers are scrambling to find answers to what’s causing an affliction recently named Colony Collapse Disorder, which has decimated commercial beekeeping operations in Pennsylvania and across the country.

“During the last three months of 2006, we began to receive reports from commercial beekeepers of an alarming number of honey bee colonies dying in the eastern United States,” says Maryann Frazier, apiculture extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “Since the beginning of the year, beekeepers from all over the country have been reporting unprecedented losses.

“This has become a highly significant yet poorly understood problem that threatens the pollination industry and the production of commercial honey in the United States,” she says. “Because the number of managed honey bee colonies is less than half of what it was 25 years ago, states such as Pennsylvania can ill afford these heavy losses.”

A working group of university faculty researchers, state regulatory officials, cooperative extension educators and industry representatives is working to identify the cause or causes of Colony Collapse Disorder and to develop management strategies and recommendations for beekeepers. Participating organizations include Penn State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agriculture departments in Pennsylvania and Florida, and Bee Alert Technology Inc., a technology transfer company affiliated with the University of Montana.

“Preliminary work has identified several likely factors that could be causing or contributing to CCD,” says Dennis vanEngelsdorp, acting state apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. “Among them are mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning.”

Initial studies of dying colonies revealed a large number of disease organisms present, with no one disease being identified as the culprit, vanEngelsdorp explains. Ongoing case studies and surveys of beekeepers experiencing CCD have found a few common management factors, but no common environmental agents or chemicals have been identified.

The beekeeping industry has been quick to respond to the crisis. The National Honey Board has pledged $13,000 of emergency funding to the CCD working group. Other organizations, such as the Florida State Beekeepers Association, are working with their membership to commit additional funds.

This latest loss of colonies could seriously affect the production of several important crops that rely on pollination services provided by commercial beekeepers.

“For instance, the state’s $45 million apple crop — the fourth largest in the country — is completely dependent on insects for pollination, and 90 percent of that pollination comes from honey bees,” Frazier says. “So the value of honey bee pollination to apples is about $40 million.”

In total, honey bee pollination contributes about $55 million to the value of crops in the state. Besides apples, crops that depend at least in part on honey bee pollination include peaches, soybeans, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.

Frazier says to cope with a potential shortage of pollination services, growers should plan well ahead. “If growers have an existing contract or relationship with a beekeeper, they should contact that beekeeper as soon as possible to ascertain if the colonies they are counting on will be available,” she advises. “If growers do not have an existing arrangement with a beekeeper but are counting on the availability of honey bees in spring, they should not delay but make contact with a beekeeper and arrange for pollination services now.

“However, beekeepers overwintering in the north many not know the status of their colonies until they are able to make early spring inspections,” she adds. “This should occur in late February or early March but is dependent on weather conditions. Regardless, there is little doubt that honey bees are going to be in short supply this spring and possibly into the summer.”

A detailed, up-to-date report on Colony Collapse Disorder can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium Web site at