First bee call of the year, poisons in the food and a microscope

| 3/3/2011 12:53:19 PM

Tags: bees, pesticides, neonicotinoid, insecticide, study, colony collapse disorder, CCD, honeybees, Jeremy Marr,

I got the first bee removal call of the year yesterday. It’s a bit early, but hey, I won’t complain. The woman said that she thought there were three colonies in her wall.

I asked her to call me come spring when she starts seeing them again. It has to be warm out before I’ll do removals, and it helps if there is a nectar flow on so that they can build up fast.

A bee colony starts looking for forage pretty early. They know that after it warms up enough for them to fly the flowers won’t be far behind.

You’ll see the bees on the pussy willows collecting pollen pretty early around here in Michigan. That’s the first local pollen source that I’ve seen them going to. There is skunk cabbage in these parts too, but I’m guessing they haven’t found any nearby.

After the bees have located a pollen source and there is nectar to be had they start to build up their numbers. The queen starts laying in earnest.

I’ve been reading a lot about neonicotinoid insecticides lately. It’s pretty depressing. It’s highly toxic to honeybees. And guess what? A lot of the GMO corn that is being raised in the United States has been tweaked to produce it. They also coat seeds with it and spray it on plants too.

Bob Reveley
3/26/2011 2:32:24 PM

Hopefully, with all the fruit orchards around us (I know that you are near me in SW MI) the bees won't have to gather too much from the corn. One can't swing a rake around here without hitting a bunch of blueberry bushes. There is a commercial blueberry place about a mile and a half up the road but I don't know if they would use any neonicotinoids or other pest control chemicals. The photos of the building of your top bar hives make it look pretty easy and there is some scrap wood around here that I can use. I think I'll go with one that's about the same size as those (31") to begin with unless you think it's better to start with one about the size that Bush shows (46 1/2").

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