NATIONAL HONEY MARKET NEWS
EAST COAST. . . ARGENTINA
CALIFORNIA BEESWAX MARKET SITUATION --- DECEMBER, 1999
(unbleached, raw beeswax, delivered to handlers's warehouse)
Movement of wax was slow during December as sales didn't pick up as hoped. Handlers are getting lots of calls from producers wanting to sell their wax but they either don't like the prices being paid or the handlers already have plenty in storage. Some companies were taking in wax as trade for supplies.
There was a wide range in prices being paid for light colored wax at $1.05 - 1.30 per pound with most trading at $1.30. There was also a wide range in prices being paid for small amounts of dark colored wax at $1.00 - 1.20.
|COLONY, HONEY PLANT &
MARKET CONDITIONS DURING DECEMBER
APPALACHIAN DISTRICT - (MD, PA, VA, WV)
General activity is at a minimum. The month of December experienced temperatures about normal with little precipitation so it was very nice. Some part of the Northern District received light snowfall (3" to only a dusting) the last week of the month. Beekeepers are keeping a watchful eye on bees due to lower than desired stores going into the winter.
Despite a series of weak storms that moved across the northern half of the state, that brought light amounts of rainfall to the valleys and snow to the mountains, conditions are extremely dry. Many areas had no rain during December when they should have received 304". Temperatures were normal the first part of the month but by the 15th, some areas of the central valley experienced spring-like conditions with daytime highs in the 70's and 80's. Records were broken as Rverside had a high of 88 degrees on the 19th. Santa Ana winds, with gusts to 70 mph, warm temperatures and very dry conditions contributed to several brush and timber fires, with the largest in Ventura County. The fire started on the 21st and was still burning on Christmas day.
Most of the bees are reported to be in good condition but all beekeepers contacted agreed they were not as healthy as last year. Some operations have reported losses from mites at nearly 50%, probably because the bees have become resistant to the treatments. Many beekeepers are not trying the new treatment that just became available but it is too early to see any results. These losses could result in a shortage of bees to pollinate the almonds and some commercial pollinators are already trying to line up additional colonies to cover their contracts. Beekeepers are also getting concerned because the lack of rain could diminish any chance of a good sage crop again this year.
December was unseasonably warm and dry for most of the month. Northern Colorado did receive moisture to the mountains the first part of the month, but most of the state remained relatively dry. Wolf Creek Pass in Southern Colorado, which normally would have from 100 to 120" of snowpack through the month of December, presently has only between 10 to 20" at this time. Temperatures for the state have been near or at record breaking highs for most of the month, with highs in the 50's to low 60's for most of the month. The warm daytime temperatures have allowed for those bee colonies kept in-state to take periodic cleansing flights. Beekeepers are reporting that colonies are in very good shape at this time. Migratory colonies are currently waiting for the almond bloom and working other winter crops in California and South Texas.
Significant rain fell over most of the State during the middle part of the month. Mild temperatures gave way to cooler weather. Cooler temperatures remained the last part of the month. Daytime highs were in the 60's and 70's. Lows were in the 30's, 40's and 50's. Rainfall varied from no rain to an inch and a half in the state.
The bees are in good shape. The mild winter has been good for the flowers and the bees. We have had enough rain moisture. The bees are currently working different wildflowers.
Demand for Florida honey is lower than ever. Prices are also lower.
Colonies around the state were in fair to good condition. There was little activity occurring in the beekeeping industry in December. Supplemental feeding was taking place in several areas to compensate for light stores. Beekeepers were working in bee yards, involved in equipment maintenance and checking colonies.
December was a dry month with near normal temperatures. Total precipitation of .27" was ranged as the 4th lowest on record. Fog affected many parts of the Snake River Valley Plain from the 21st to the end of the month.
Most of the commercial beekeepers have finished moving their hives to California.
"Can good Varroa Mites control bad?" A former Oregon State University student who's involved in honeybee research for the USDA is working on what may be a natural solution to this country's Varroa Mite problem. Researchers are finding that a particular strain of Varroa Mite, the Japanese Mite, can live quite peaceably with honey bees, or at least be less destructive. If that is confirmed, then the objective will be to find and propagate enough of the friendly mites to introduce into colonies, where it's hoped they'll eventually out compete the destructive Varroa Mite. (Capital Press 12/31/99).
Drier than normal conditions continued in northern sections of the state early in the month. Central and southern sections, however, reported several rainshowers that provided needed moisture. Most of the state reported warmer than normal temperatures with some daytime highs in the 60's to low 70's, providing bees cleansing flights.
Months end, seasonal cold temperatures and some light snow cover was reported. Beekeepers checked and increased supplemental feeding as warmer than normal temperatures increased bee activity. Most colonies were reported in good condition.
Beekeepers were busy repairing bee equipment and moving honey for holiday demand. Retail honey sales were reported good due to holiday baking. Bulk honey movement was reported to be slow with little packer interest.
Warmer than normal temperatures in the 60's to mid 70's was reported early in the month. Beekeepers were concerned that colonies that weren't inspected would suffer starvation or weakening due to warmer weather. Most central and southern sections received spotty rainfall the middle and end of the month. Northern section had very little rainfall over the month with the northwestern section receiving as little as two to three tenths of an inch of precipitation. The last of the month, the state had more normal temperatures in the 20's and 30's. Supplemental feeding was required with beekeepers reporting colonies were in generally good condition.
Beekeepers reported honey and wax demand was real good with some movement of bulk honey as prices remained stable.
MICHIGAN & OHIO
Colonies were in fairly good condition throughout the state heading into winter. Very little activity was reported as beekeepers finished work for the season and bees were wintering well.
Colonies around the state were in fair to good condition. There was very little activity occurring in the beekeeping industry in December. Beekeepers were working in bee yards, involved in equipment maintenance & checking colonies. Supplemental feeding was taking place in several areas to compensate for light stores. Some beekeepers were preparing to apply chemical strips for the control of Varroa Mite & the small hive beetle.
MISSOURI & IOWA
The weather during December continued generally mild. Precipitation was generally below normal except around Springfield, Missouri which recorded about twice the average December precipitation.
Colonies were generally in good condition going into December. Some losses were reported which is thought to be from earlier mite damage. Beekeepers were repairing equipment to get it ready for the 2000 season.
Beekeepers who packed honey for retail reported decent sales for the holidays. Wholesale trading of bulk honey was very slow.
The weather was unseasonably mild during December. Nighttime temperatures frequently dropped into the teens but very little snowfall was reported and it quickly melted.
Commercial pollinators checked their bees in California during the month. Pollen substitutes were added to lighter colonies but overall the bees are reported to be in good condition.
Temperatures across the state during December remained above normal for this time of year with about normal precipitation for the month.
Most beekeepers reported that colonies remain in fairly good condition. They appear to have stored enough honey within their chambers for feeding. Very few cleansing flights were reported but the bees appear to be wintering well.
Demand for honey was fairly light. Prices were steady.
The month started out with record high temperatures across the state. Pendleton hit 73 degrees on December 1st. Conditions remained fairly mild until Christmas when stagnant air settled in and temperatures only fluctuated a couple of degrees. The warm temperatures, that were occasionally accompanied by sunshine, allowed the bees to leave their hives for cleansing flights. The bees are reported to be in good condition but not as good as last year. The colonies have remained fairly even in size. Some beekeepers are becoming concerned about having adequate stores to last much longer despite leaving on what they thought would be plenty last fall. Commercial pollinators were spending time repairing equipment before the bees are taken to California for the almond pollination. The state has been alerted to a potential fireant problem in California. Officials are going to check to see if they are widespread in the almond orchards and how they may affect bees setting there during the bloom.
It has been noted that more and more feral bees in the wild have been spotted. This could mean that some bees are becoming Varroa tolerant.
December precipitation was above normal in the northwest and below normal elsewhere in the state. In the Salt Lake City area, 1.84" of precipitation and 18" of snowfall fell in the month. This was the most snowfall in December in the past 16 years. Water year precipitation now stands at 62% of normal.
Most of the migratory beekeepers have relocated their hives to California for the upcoming almond bloom.
Weather conditions were unseasonably mild most of the month across the state. Small amounts of snow fell across Eastern Washington around the 10th but quickly melted. The Cascade Mountains had as much rain as snow. On December 16th, a warm front moved across the eastern part of the state. Yakima had a high of 62 degrees, breaking an 82-year old record. Around the holidays, the state became fogged in and there was only a difference of a few degrees between the daytime high and the nighttime low - hanging around 34-38 degrees.
The mild weather is beginning to cause problems in Western Washington. Besides lowland flooding from frequent, heavy rains, the bees thought it was spring and spent a lot of days out flying. Beekeepers are frequently checking stores to make sure the bees aren't eating everything that was left on.
Commercial pollinators relaxed a little bit during December as their bees are in California holding yards. They plan to go down the middle of January to check on the condition of the bees and to see if they have enough stores to get them through until the almonds start to bloom.
Some smaller producers that bottle and sell their own honey report business was very good before the holidays. A few had run out of honey and were buying from other beekeepers to keep their customers supplied.
On December 22nd, the Washington State Dept. Of Agriculture announced the Apiary Program would be discontinued on January 7th. They sited lack of revenue as the reason as this was an industry funded program but a few members of the industry had not supported the office for several years. The Apiary Advisory Committee has requested the State continue the registration portion and continue to collect registration fees. Other State agencies that worked closely with the Apiary Program have expressed concern over their ability to obtain Section 18 emergency exemptions, such as the use of coumaphos, without the bee program.
The month of December, temperatures remained above normal over most of the state. Beekeepers increased supplemental feeding as temperatures in the mid-50's made bees more active than normal. Mid-month, temperatures dipped down into the more seasonal teens for the highs. Some needed rainfall accompanied the colder temperatures in mid-month. Beekeepers checked hives with reports of weak bees due to Varroa Mites as well as some American Foul Brood.
The end of the month, beekeeping activity included moving bulk honey and repairing of equipment. Retail honey sales were good due to holiday baking demand.
SOURCE: U. S. Dept. Of Commerce, Bureau of the Census - Foreign Trade Division
U.S. EXPORTS OF HONEY BY COUNTRY OF DESTINATION, QUANTITY & VALUE
OCTOBER, 1999 & YEAR TO DATE TOTALS FOR 1999
Note: In recent years the U.S. dollar/German
mark exchange rate has been as follows: