Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Christkindlmarkt to feature "A Street Apiary" products

Come one, come all to this weekend's 7th annual Christkindlmarkt in Lovettsville, VA, hosted by the Loudoun Valley German Society.  Dr. Kathy of "A street Apiary" will have a booth where she will be selling her beewares-honey, beeswax candles, soaps and traditional German beeswax Christmas and holiday ornaments on both Saturday (Dec. 6th) and Sunday (Dec 7th) from 9am-5pm at the Game Club Building at 16 Berlin turnpike.

A Christkindlmarkt is a traditional German Christmas market.  They typically start in the streets of Germany in mid-November.  (The tradition began in Nuernberg, Germany, but is found all over the country now.) November is usually a dreary and rainy month in Germany, and there is nothing like lights, and music, and festive activities and some hot mulled wine (Gluhwein) to warm the heart and soul.  The United States has a few Christkindlmarkts, and the one in Virginia continues to grow in popularity; it is attended by more and more market goers  and shop local movement supporters every year.

Hope to see you there!
Froehliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

62nd ESA (Entomological Society of America) meeting in Portland, Oregon a success!

​​Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) just wrapped up its 62nd annual meeting in Portland, Oregon this past week. The meeting was hosted by President Frank Zalom (UC-Davis) with a near record 3,600 participant entomologists from all 50 states and scores of countries taking advantage of  more than 100 symposia and 2,800 individual papers and posters.

Yours truly received a Distinguished Service Award to the ESA Certification Program during the Plenary Session on Sunday night.  My dear mother Peggy was there to see me receive it.  She charmed everyone. It was wonderful to have her there with me.

Here are a few photos.

 And a little time for some fun - sight seeing along the way. (Multnomah Falls-28F! No bugs here!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oregon company fined $16,000 for pesticide spraying that killed 1,000 bees in Eugene

Oregon company fined $16,000 for pesticide spraying that killed 1,000 bees in Eugene

The Associated Press via The Oregonian
California Drought Honeybees
Oregon regulators fined a pesticide spraying service $16,000 on Monday for violations they say resulted in 1,000 bees being killed in Eugene. (The Associated Press)
The Associated PressBy The Associated Press 
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on November 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM, updated November 11, 2014 at 6:27 AM
State regulators have levied fines totaling $16,000 for gross negligence in the deaths of some 1,000 bees killed by pesticides sprayed on flowering trees at a Eugene apartment complex last June.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced Monday it levied a civil penalty of $10,000 against Glass Tree Care and Spray Service in Eugene, and $6,000 for the man who did the actual spraying.
The company did not immediately return a call for comment.
The department says after a similar bee die-off last year in Wilsonville, it prohibited the use of certain pesticides on linden trees when bees would be attracted to the flowers, and the company and the applicator should have known about that prohibition.
-- The Associated Press

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

The Garden Club of America will award $4,000 to a current graduate student to study the causes of pollinator decline. The application deadline is February 2, 2015.

Award: $4,000
Deadline: February 2, 2015

Purpose and History
The Garden Club of America (GCA) Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship provides funding to a current graduate student to study the causes of pollinator decline, in particular bees, bats, butterflies and moths, which could lead to potential solutions for their conservation and sustainability. The selection criteria are based on the technical merit of the proposed work and the degree to which the work is relevant to this objective.

Pollinators-bees, bats, butterflies and moths-help our prairies, gardens, orchards, blueberry barrens, farmers' fields and desert cacti reproduce and maintain genetic diversity. One-third of the food we eat has been fertilized by pollinators. An alarming decline in the number of pollinators in recent decades-through chemicals, diseases, mites, loss of habitat, and global climate change- has international repercussions.

The GCA Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship was established in spring 2013 to facilitate independent research in this field. This fellowship was made possible by generous gifts given in honor of the GCA Centennial by members of the Board of Associates.
The GCA Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship annually funds one or more graduate students enrolled in U.S. institutions. Funding may vary in amount, but normally will be in the range of $4,000 for study and research that will advance the knowledge of pollinator science and increase the number of scientists in the field. A recipient may reapply for an additional year of funding.
Research Categories
The categories under which applicants may apply are:
    1. Effects of nutrition, genetics, pesticides, pathogens, parasites and disease on pollinators
    2. Pollinator habitat development, assessment or monitoring
    3. Plant-pollinator interactions and pollination biology
    4. Research that examines other aspects of pollinator health, including cutting-edge, original         concepts

    1. Only one GCA scholarship may be applied for annually.
    2. GCA fellow will provide an interim 250-word report, two high quality photos, and an expense         summary to GCA and P2 by September 1st. A final report and final expense summary will be         due February 1st. 
    3. Research excerpts (text and photos) may be published in GCA’s and P2’s publications and         websites. 
    4. GCA fellow agrees to share research with members of the Garden Club of America

The Garden Club of America (GCA) Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator
2014 Fellows
Elliot Gardner
Northwestern University, Pollination biology ofArtocarpus (Moraceae)
Evan Palmer-Young
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Synergistic anti-parasitic effects of nectar compounds in bumblebee diets
Samantha Alger
University of Vermont, RNA viruses: prevalence, transmission, and effect on native bumble bees in Vermont
Lauren Ponisio
University of California, Berkeley, Fire severity and the assembly of pollinator communities

Pollinator Health Task Force

Pollinator Health Task Force; Notice of Public Meeting

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The judges evaluation card...fair (2014) fair results

       Well, my fellow beekeepers and enthusiasts, I am not meant to win a first place ribbon for my honey in the local fair.  AGAIN this year, I received a yellow (3rd) place ribbon.  (At least, I'm consistent and I'm a contender.) And, AGAIN this year, the same guy received the blue.  His honey is pretty.  And apparently it is freer from crystals than mine.  But, finally, this year, all the dipping and scraping of foamy bubbles paid off!  No foam in my honey!  My moisture content was reasonable-17.0%.  (They measure this with a refractometer.)  And, yet, AGAIN, no matter what I do, I get points taken off for the fill line.  Here is the judge's score card below.  Interesting,...I had entered the light amber honey category, but for some reason, I ended up being judged with the extra light amber category of honey.  (There were also the other categories, which I obviously did not fit-waterwhite, amber, dark amber, etc. the color was obviously light amber to me.).  Wonder if I'd have been a 4th in the light amber so they moved me into the extra light amber so I'd do better?  Who knows.

Here is the judge's evaluation card.

My entry number was: #00447
Supposedly the judging is done "blindly" so that no one knows whose honey is whose; but one lady standing there suggested to me that they occasionally look at the names on the tags of the bottles; hopefully, AFTER the judging!

The fellow who won first place has a great last name; it is Winpigler.  It sounds like a cartoon character to me.  So, it's fitting he should win, I guess.

My bee photo also got a ribbon-4th.  It seems, even though the rules don't say so, that if you frame the photo you do better.  I only mounted mine. I still think it's a great photo!  Shows the pollen sac nicely on this girl in the cherry blossom!

So, a bit frustrated, but I'll go outside the building and eat another apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream on top,... the 2nd best reason I come to the fair!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


So, fellow beekeepers and honey extractors and enthusiasts, today is the day I enter my extracted light amber honey in the local county fair!

If I don’t win first place, I've decided it is not possible for me to do so!
I have done everything the judge told me last year that the pro's do.
I also researched the honey standards for judging in the state of MD, see (illustrated in the chart below).

I have-
-extracted the honey from the center of the column of the bottling tank, after it sat out for a night to settle particles
-set the bottles in a window sill at a slight tilt all summer to get bubbles to rise and stick to the side of the original extraction jars
-used glass flat paneled 1 lb jars for final jars
-used gold lids on final jars
-fished out bubbles with toothpicks and spoons in newly poured jars; (there were not many, just a few.)
-filled to the top right under the cap in each of the three jars.

I've entered the light amber division, as my honey is locust honey, extracted in June after the local locust bloom.  I tried to get that fill line just right on all three jar entries.  So, if the taste is good and the % of water is ok (below 18.6%), I’m in like Flynn.  We will see. I will be disappointed if not!

Stay tuned,...(I'm also entering a photo.)

Density- water content above 18.6% disqualify
No upgrading if below 16%
Freedom from crystals10
cleanliness and freedom from foam30
cleanliness and neatness of container10
Accuracy of filling-Honey to the fill line just below the jar cap. In the absence of a fill line, the honey level with the bottom of the jar cap with no air gap. If multiple entries, uniformity of filling10
Flavor- Downgrade for objectionable flavor and overheating. Disqualify if fermented20

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


 IMAGE: Dr. Kathy Heinsohn, BCE, is the winner of the Distinguished Service Award to the Certification Program.
Click here for more information.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD TO THE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM—This award encourages, recognizes, and rewards outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. Dr. Kathy Heinsohn, a native of Folly Beach, SC, worked with Gary Bennett to receive her PhD in 1998 from Purdue University's Entomology Department, where she researched German cockroach reproductive behavior and morphology. She also holds an MS in zoology from Clemson University (1989), and she was a Fulbright scholar at Universität Göttingen in Germany (1985).
After seven years working with Western Pest Services, she became staff entomologist for the National Pest Management Association's Technical Department. Dr. Heinsohn authored two book chapters and many trade journal and association news articles on IPM-related issues, and she gave multiple speeches and developed technician training materials.
In 2010, Dr. Heinsohn joined AmericanPest, a Copesan Pest Solutions Partner. Her primary responsibility is contract entomologist for the Animal Care IPM Program at the National Institutes of Health. She also works with the State Department contract, and has traveled to the U.S. embassy in Tunisia to conduct IPM programs.
An ESA member since 1991, she became board certified in 2001 and is a member of the ACE Certification Committee. She co-organized two Sectional symposia at ESA Annual Meetings (bees and wasps in 2001, and the first on bed bugs in 2005.) She enjoys mentoring technicians and students of entomology, and has recruited many to the pest management field and to the ESA Certification Programs.
She currently sits on both the Copesan and NPMA Technical Committees, and she has been active in organizations such as Sigma Xi (1988-present), Pi Chi Omega (recording secretary, 1999-2002), the Pest Control Magazine Editorial Advisory Board (2002-2009), the Purdue Department of Entomology Development Council (2009-present).

Kathy is a beekeeper in western Maryland, and enjoys walks with her friend Dr. Walt Bell and with Clifford, a Saint Bernard mix. She takes her honey to local markets, sings in her church choir, and volunteers for the food bank. She also maintains a bee blog at

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One Buzzy Summer: NPMA Recaps Recent Pollinator Protection Efforts 9-3-14

from NPMA enewsletter
The debate over the connection between pesticide use & the decline in bee health reached a dizzying pace this summer


The alleged role of neonicotinoid pesticides in widespread bee die offs over the last several years catapulted to the public policy forefront last summer, thanks largely to an Oregon landscaper's application of a dinotefuran product at a shopping center parking lot that resulted in the deaths of 50,000 bumblebees. 

Shortly after the late June bee kill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) announced in mid-August that it would add language to the labels of some neonicotinoid pesticide products prohibiting use of the products where bees are present.  Specifically, the changes applied to all products with outdoor non-agricultural foliar use directions (except granulars) containing the active ingredients imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin or thiamethoxam regardless of formulation, concentration, or intended user.

Public policy activity related to the possible connection between neonicotinoids and other pesticides and the decline in bee health intensified this summer as a flurry of significant action took place at the federal, state and local levels of government.  Below is a recap of the most notable developments of the last 10 weeks.

President Obama's Memo on Pollinators
President Barack Obama capped off National Pollinator Week in late June by issuing a Presidential Memorandum expanding Federal efforts to reverse pollinator losses and helps restore populations to healthy levels. The Memorandum establishes a Pollinator Health Task Force chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of U.S. EPA and charged with developing a National Pollinator Health Strategy within six months that includes an Action Plan.

EPA Reverses Course on PR Notice
Late last year, EPA indicated that it would issue a draft Pesticide Registration Notice sometime in 2014 proposing to add language similar to the pollinator protection wording it added to some neonicotinoid labels to all pesticide products.  The issuance of this document was expected to be the most significant summertime policy action related to pesticides and bee health.   It appears, however, that those plans have been scrapped.

Instead, EPA is placing greater emphasis on state pollinator protection plans.  While nothing has been finalized and the issue appears very fluid, U.S. EPA did write state regulatory officials in mid-August to express an interest in working together to develop state pollinator protection plans.  The plans are a key byproduct of the Presidential Memo. NPMA has requested to be part of any group charged with developing a model state pollinator protection plan or establishing minimum standards for such plans.

EPA Blesses ASPCRO's Guidance Document
The U.S. EPA wrote Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Official (ASPCRO) President John Scott in late July endorsing ASPCRO's Guidance Document for Bee Language for Neonicotinoid Products in Outdoor Structural and Turf and Ornamental Settings that ASPCRO submitted to EPA in April.  NPMA worked closely with ASPCRO on the guidance document to establish a common understanding of the pollinator protection label language and provide more clarity to the regulated community.  

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Phase Out Neonicotinoid Use at Wildlife Refuges
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in mid-July that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides at national wildlife refuges would be phased out by January 2016.  According to a July 17 memo from the Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the decision was "based on a precautionary approach to our wildlife management practices, and not on agricultural practices."  The memo also states "That there can be appropriate and specialized uses of neonicotinoid pesticides and decisions for the uses in the Service are subject to review through all applicable laws, regulations, and policies including, but not limited to, the National Environmental Policy Act."

NRDC Petitions EPA to Commence Special Review for Neonicotinoid Pesticides
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in early-July petitioned U.S. EPA to request that the Agency commence a Special Review for six specific neonicotinoid pesticides - dinotefuran, acetamiprid, clothianidin, thiacloprid, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam - based on the risk that NRDC believes this class of pesticides poses to honey bees and native bees. The request effectively seeks to expedite EPA's ongoing evaluation of neonicotinoid insecticides. Read the petition.

Also in early July, the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and the Pesticide Action Network North America, filed a state lawsuit against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), alleging that DPR violated the law by approving expanded use of neonicotinoid pesticides.  The suit seeks to prohibit DPR from approving any new neonicotinoid products or new uses of those products until it completes required reevaluations of the pesticides.

Congressmen Circulate Neonicotinoid Letter
In mid-August, Congressmen Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and John Conyers of Michigan circulated to fellow House colleagues a letter they had drafted to send to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, in hopes of getting other Members to sign on.  The letter, which will likely be sent later this month, makes numerous recommendations, including that EPA restrict the use of neonicotinoids on bee attractive crops and ornamental applications, limit the times, methods of application, and locations of neonicotinoid use and, in instances where bees and other pollinators cannot be fully protected, suspend the use of neonicotinoid products.  The letter also urges EPA to reclassify commercial neonicotinoid products as restricted use. 
State Activity
The California Legislature in late August passed and sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his consideration legislation directing DPR to complete its reevaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides by July 1, 2018 and to adopt any control measures needed to protect pollinator health within two years of completing the reassessment.  The measure essentially synchronizes California's reexamination of neonicotinoids with when U.S. EPA's anticipates concluding its registration review of the chemistry.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Agriculture in late June adopted emergency rulemaking prohibiting the use of products containing dinotefuran and imidacloprid to treat linden trees and other Tilia species trees.  The measure, which will remain in effect until December 23, 2014, was adopted in response to several reports of bee kills involving the use of the aforementioned products.  State officials and researchers are investigating the incidents and whether there may be some sort of synergistic effect between Tilia species trees and the two products.

In November of 2013, ODA decided to require as a condition of 2014 state registration that a label statement prohibiting use on Tilia species trees would be required, for certain products containing dinotefuran or imidacloprid.   The emergency rule also covers older stocks of products that do not contain the new label restrictions. 

Local Government Activity
In late June, the Spokane City Council voted 5-2 prohibiting the city from purchasing neonicotinoid pesticides or using the compounds on city property. 

In late July, the Shorewood (MN) City Council approved a resolution banning the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on city property. 

NPMA Launches Pollinator Protection Training
As the activity described above well illustrates, the role neonicotinoids and other pesticides play in the decline in bee health is a hot button issue, often driven by emotion and well-funded activist groups. Nevertheless, it is important that PMPs and their technicians closely follow label directions and take steps to avoid inadvertently exposing honey bees to pesticides.

To that end, NPMA will soon unveil pollinator protection training as part of NPMA Online Learning Center. Training objectives include, enhanced awareness about pollinator health, neonicotinoid label changes and common sense techniques on how to avoid exposing beneficial pollinators to insecticides while performing exterior treatments. In addition, the training contains a section on how to identify beneficial pollinators while acknowledging the fact that PMPs are sometimes called on to control pollinators when they become a threat to public health.

NPMA Launches, Marketing Materials
In August, NPMA launched, a web site designed to serve as a comprehensive resource for consumers, media, educators and pest control professionals to better understand pollinator health, the issues that threaten pollinators and the importance of protecting them.

Also in August, NPMA created customizable marketing materials for its members to download and distribute to their customers.

If you have any questions about these initiatives, please don't hesitate to contact NPMA at 703-352-6762 or email

Lawmakers Circulate Letter Urging EPA to Restrict Neonicotinoid Use

from ESA Science Policy News 9-3-14

Lawmakers Circulate Letter Urging EPA to Restrict Neonicotinoid Use
In an effort to build on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recent phase-out of neonicotinoid insecticides in all National Wildlife Refuges by 2016, Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) circulated among House members a letter to be sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging her to take further action to protect pollinators. The letter outlines several policy recommendations to EPA, including: restricting/suspending the use of neonicotinoids on bee attractive crops; evaluation of pesticides; compliance with Endangered Species Act Section 7 prior to registering pesticides; ensuring pesticide labels are up to date and include bee hazard statements; assessment of pesticides for impacts on pollinators; phase out conditional registrations; rectify discrepancies between garden versus agricultural products; and re-categorize commercial neonicotinoid as restricted use.
Sources and Additional Information:

- The full text of the letter is available at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Honey Bee Hive Population of 4,000 Triggers Rearing of Male Reproductives

(From Entomology Today

Honey Bee Hive Population of 4,000 Triggers Rearing of Male Reproductives

A western honey bee drone. Photo by Alexander Wild.
When a colony of honey bees grows to about 4,000 members, it triggers an important first stage in its reproductive cycle — the building of a special type of comb used for rearing male reproductives, also known as drones. Drones are male honey bees that develop from unfertilized eggs. Their sole purpose in a colony is to mate with virgin queens from other colonies, thereby spreading the genes of the colony that produced the successful drones.
A team of experts from the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, led by Michael Smith, studied what starts the reproductive cycle of honey bee colonies. The results are published in the journal Naturwissenschaften.
They found that while every colony built worker comb (non-reproductive comb), not every colony built drone comb (reproductive comb). In fact, only an increase in the number of workers stimulated the workers to start constructing drone comb. This was seen whenever colonies contained 4,000 or more worker bees.
“Colonies with more workers built a greater proportion of drone comb, but colonies with more comb, more brood, or more honey stores, did not do so,” Smith summarizes. “We estimate that a colony needs approximately 4,000 workers to invest in building drone comb.”
The researchers were still left wondering about precisely how an individual worker bee knows how many other workers there are in its colony. Smith and his team speculate that this might have to do with how crowded individuals feel while working side by side in the hive. They are currently engaged in further research to shed more light on this mystery.
The researchers believe that their findings are also relevant to other social systems in which a group’s members must adjust their behavior in relationship to the group’s size.
Read more at: