NATIONAL HONEY MARKET NEWS
EAST COAST. . . ARGENTINA
CALIFORNIA BEESWAX MARKET SITUATION --- JANUARY, 2000
(unbleached, raw beeswax, delivered to handlers's warehouse)
Only limited amounts of wax was were brought to handlers during the month. Most that was delivered was traded for beekeeping supplies. Sales of finished products were very light. Beekeepers were also spending a lot of their time getting their bees ready for almonds during the month.
Light colored wax was being traded at $1.00 - 1.10 per pound. There was too little movement of dark wax to quote a price.
|COLONY, HONEY PLANT &
MARKET CONDITIONS DURING JANUARY
Weather conditions were cold with some rain and freezing ice the latter part of the month when temperatures sometimes ranged in the low 20's.
The bees are in fair to good condition but beekeepers are trying to access any damage to the hives. The flow of honey is slow for this time of the year.
Prices for honey are generally unchanged.
APPALACHIAN DISTRICT - (MD, PA, VA, WV)
Temperatures across the area were about normal and for the most part the winter has been mild. The exception to this was a winter storm, which hit the area on January 25 producing varying amounts of snow throughout the Region. The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area received 14-18 inches. On
January 30 the area received a second winter storm producing sleet, rain and 4-8 inches of snow depending on locale.
Generally bee activity is at a minimum. The bees are reported to be in fairly good condition. Some beekeepers are supplemental feeding. Beekeepers are busy repairing equipment and attending workshop and trade events. Demand for local honey was holding about average despite the lower prices.
Several weak storm systems moved across the state during the first three weeks of January. They brought only light, scattered rainshowers to Southern California and moderate amounts to the Sacramento Valley and to the north. One storm resulted in heavy rainfall over the northern coast and a foot of new snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Strong winds occasionally accompanied the storms. On the 23rd and 24th, the Sacramento Valley received record precipitation of over 3" and the foothills received 4-6". Several feet of new snow also fell in the mountains. The storm moved south on the 25th bringing significant rains to Southern California. A brief shot of cold air dropped morning readings to record levels in Southern California on the 8th when some areas dipped into the low 20's. Daytime highs were unseasonably warm with many areas 6-10 degrees above normal. Areas along the Mexico border logged daily-record highs when temperatures rose above 85 degrees. Despite the much needed rain, many areas continue to be very dry because the precipitation levels are still as much as 50% below normal and the warm temperatures dried everything out. The water equivalent of the Sierra Nevada snowpack was only 20% of normal the middle of January but heavy precipitation the last half of the month increased the level to 65% of normal.
Beekeepers were beginning to move their hives into the almonds by the end of the month. The bloom is expected to begin the middle of February, which is about normal but the orchards need rain for a good bloom. Bee losses continue to be discovered as beekeepers did a final check before they are moved into the almonds. Some beekeepers are trying to find additional bees to cover their contracts. Some almond growers are looking for bees to pollinate their crop because so many losses have occurred. Overall, the bees are not in as good of condition as last year due to the weather and mites.
Beekeeping supply companies were busy selling syrup to migratory beekeepers as many feed their bees before they are moved into the almonds. Queen breeders and package suppliers were beginning to get orders for spring delivery.
The month of January continued to be very unseasonably dry with about normal temperatures for the southern mountains. The northern mountains of Colorado did receive substantial amounts of moisture the last two weeks of the month. Snowfall amounts in those areas ranged from 24" to as much as 48" during that period. Temperatures during the month were about normal with daytime highs in the mid-30's to mid-40's and lows in the low teens to the 20's.
Migratory beekeepers reported that their colonies were working the winter crops in Southern Texas and will soon be working almond blooms in California. Those colonies in Colorado are currently receiving supplemental feed in their holding yards.
Scattered showers helped ease dry conditions in some localities. Around the middle of the month temperatures dipped to freezing levels in many areas. Cooler temperatures remained the last part of the month. Daytime highs were in the 60s and 70s while lows were in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Rainfall ranged from three quarters of an inch to about two and a half inches.
Most of the bees are in good condition. The bees have been feeding from a light supply of maple and willows in South Florida. Although the water table is down, the few showers that they got once in a while helped the plants to bloom.
The beekeepers are still trying to control the mites. The mites are getting resistant to the Apistan treatment. The beekeepers are switching to CheckMite treatment.
Demand for Florida honey is moderate. Prices are lower.
Colonies around the state were in fair to good condition. Beekeepers were beginning to closely inspect colonies for tracheal mite infestation as the mortality rate usually peaks in February. Supplemental feeding continues to take place at several locations to compensate for light stores. During the majority of January, mild temperatures were experienced which has triggered early pollen sources. Bees were bringing in pollen from primarily red maple to stimulate broodrearing. Queens were laying brood in colonies located in the southern half of the state.
Editors Note: Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced in late January that beekeepers in Georgia have been temporarily cleared to use the pesticide coumaphos impregnated in plastic strips in their hives to control Varroa mite and small hive beetle.
Beekeepers report little or no activity this last month. Idaho weather has been cold and windy with few days warming into the upper 30's.
Snow water levels in Idaho range from 107% to 110% of normal in Northern Idaho compared to 70% to 80% of normal in the rest of the state. Most reservoirs and controlled lakes are reporting above average storage (NRCS, USDA data).
Dryer than normal conditions continued over the state while above normal temperatures had been reported. The 16th of the month, most of the state experienced a Canadian cold wave that produced freezing rain and icy conditions in southern sections. The central and northern section reported varied amounts of snowfall from two inches in some areas while other areas received five or more inches of snow.
Some beekeepers reported colonies were making cleansing flights the first two weeks of the new year and most colonies were overwintering well.
Honey and wax sales were slow for the month as holiday demand fell off.
Warmer than normal temperatures of mid 40's and low fifties were reported throughout the state. Most colonies were reported to be overwintering well due to fall treatment for Varroa mites and mild temperatures providing cleansing flights. The state was still concerned over the lack of precipitation in many areas causing ponds, lakes, and rivers to be tower than normal.
Several beekeepers from the state attended national honey and honeybee conferences during the month.
Package bees and queens demand was reported strong by beekeeper suppliers. It was noted a greater demand due in part to continued growth of hobbyist beekeepers in the state.
Honey sales were reported slow.
Weather conditions were cold with some rain, sleet and snow. Most beekeepers reported that their bees are in fair to good condition. Most beekeepers are still trying to access the damage to their bees and hives due to the cotd and inclement weather.
Honey prices are generally unchanged.
MICHIGAN & OHIO
The weather in January was normal to below normal. The bees have clustered well and have appeared to be overwintering well due to the consistent low temperatures. Colonies are in generally good condition. There was very little activity for beekeepers.
Demand for honey was fairly light.
Colonies around the state were in fair to good condition. Colony loss has been noted following discoveries of tracheal mites at several locations. Some colonies have noted significant losses. Supplemental feeding continues to take place at several locations to compensate for light stores. Towards the end of January, red maple was blooming throughout the southern half of the state. This early pollen source has stimulated broodrearing and queens were actively laying brood at several locations.
MISSOURI & IOWA
The weather during January had warmer than normal temperatures early in the month and near normal the last half of the month. Precipitation ranged from slightly below normal to slightly above normal. Colonies were in generally good condition. The warm, sunny days early in the month allowed cleansing flights and warm, sunny weather is forecast for early February which should allow the bees to clean up after the last January cold weather.
Topsoil moisture continues to be very short, especially in the eastern half of the state. Very little precipitation was reported until the last week of January when a storm pushed into the central and southern region bringing only 4-5" of snow to the valleys. Mild and sometimes above normal temperatures have also dried out many areas.
Higher than normal losses from mites are being reported. The mites appear to have become resistant to the fluvalinate so many beekeepers were trying the new Checkmite strips. Some beekeepers were in California moving bees into the almond orchards. Other migratory beekeepers did not take their bees to California last fall because their bees were not in as good of condition as usual. This will contribute to a shortage of bees to pollinate the almonds.
Weather for January was warmer & wetter than normal. Record highs were set between the 13th & the
16th of the month with temperatures ranging 54-62 degrees. Snowpack levels for February 1st range from 47% to 86% of normal with the western portion of the state at the higher end of the range (NRCS, USDA data). With the warmer temperatures the second week of January, bees were able to get in some flight time in areas with little wind.
Temperatures across the state for the month of January remained normal for most of the month. The last ten days, temperatures were above normal. Precipitation amounts are not where they should be for this time of year.
Most beekeepers reported that colonies remain in good condition and the bees appear to have wintered well. The colonies appear to have stored enough honey within their chambers for feeding.
Demand for honey was very light. Prices were steady.
Very little bee activity was reported throughout the month. The first half of January was fairly seasonal but the last half was a different story. Record snowfall was recorded in the Raleigh area with amounts reaching above 20" in some areas. Raleigh-Durham Airport's report 18.2" was the most recorded since records began being kept in 1893. The western part of the state had about a week of snow/sleet/freezing rain and also some nighttime temperatures in the single digits during the last couple of weeks.
The state was hit with frequent rainshowers during January. A powerful storm moved up the Oregon coast on the 16th, causing widespread wind damage. Gusts were clocked at 115 mph at Cannon Beach, located right on the Pacific Ocean and 59-60 mph further inland in Salem and Portland. Snow fell in the Cascade Mountains and some parts of Eastern Washington but frequent mild days melted much of the snow in the east.
The condition of the bees along the coast varies. The wind storm blew the tops off the hives in some yards and losses were found from exposure to the weather. There are also increased losses from mites. On mild days, the bees would take cleansing flights and were seen bringing in different colored pollen they had found. Commercial pollinators took their bees to the California almond orchards.
Weather conditions for the month of January ranged from mild to cold, with some freezing rain and snow towards the end of the month. Most beekeepers report that their bees are in fair to good condition.
Honey prices are generally unchanged.
Beekeepers report little or no activity this last month. Honey sales have been few with no promise of better prices. The snow pack in the Utah ranges from 36% to 39% of normal in Southern Utah as compared to 64% to 74% in the rest of the state (NRCS, USDA data).
Precipitation returned to the state during January. Two weeks of mostly dry weather the end of December were followed by an 8-week wet spell. A lot of the ground became saturated in Western Washington but no major flooding occurred. Snow varied from 6-18" in the valleys of Central and Eastern Washington. Many times, a snow storm was followed by a warming trend. Mild temperatures were fairly common throughout the state. A non-hurricane windstorm hit Western Washington on the 16th, bringing gusts of over 100 mph along the coast.
The unseasonably warm temperatures gave bees in Western Washington plenty of days for cleansing flights. Conditions also caused filbert, alder and trees to start blooming along with the pussy willows. These plants usually don't bloom until spring but they did provide a good food source for the bees. Some deadouts were reported even though the bees had been treated.
Bees wintered in Eastern Washington are also reported to be in good condition. Migratory beekeepers left for California holding yards the middle of the month and aren't expected to return until after the middle of February after the hives are moved into the almonds.
January temperatures remained above normal the first two weeks over the state. Beekeepers continued supplemental feeding of dry sugar. Some beekeepers began placing Varroa control strips in some hives due to favorable weather conditions. Weather patterns that gave the state above normal temperatures changed the 16th of the month. The state returned to seasonal cold temperatures and snow.
Honey and wax movement was reported slow with very little retail or bulk honey interest.
NATIONAL HONEY BOARD NEWS
The Honey Board has hired Nathan Holleman
as their new chief executive officer. Mr. Hollerman comes from
the California Walnut Commission, where he worked on export market
development activities. He begins his official duties on March
U.S. EXPORTS OF HONEY BY COUNTRY OF DESTINATION, QUANTITY & VALUE
NOVEMBER, 1999 & YEAR TO DATE TOTALS FOR 1999
SOURCE: U. S. Dept. Of Commerce, Bureau of the Census - Foreign Trade Division
1999 PACIFIC NORTHWEST HONEY BEE POLLINATION SURVEY
By Michael Burgett, Department of Entomology
Oregon State University
Our entry into the new millennium marks the 14th year that the Honey Bee Laboratory at Oregon State University has reviewed the pollination economics of commercial beekeeping in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). This is the 7th year for which combined data are given for the states of Washington & Oregon. With each years information, the strength and importance of our regions beekeeping industry is highlighted. All participants in a regional agricultural industry need to understand the vital role played by beekeeping in overall agricultural production. This is especially true today with the increased costs & problems caused by the presence of honey bee mite parasites & the slowly expanding geographical range of our European honey bee's tropical "cousin" the Africanized honey bee, now recorded in several counties in Southern California, as well as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
The use of managed honey bee colonies for commercial crop pollination remains the most important function of the PNW beekeeping industry. The vast and diverse agriculture of the PNW relies on a healthy and strong beekeeping industry to maintain optimum production. An enhanced knowledge of pollination economics is critical to every beekeeper who enters into the world of commercial crop pollination. It is also important for those growers who rent colonies to understand current economic conditions of the beekeeping industry.
This year's survey provides data that continue to show a number of trends, one of which is the dependence of PNW commercial beekeepers on the income generated from colony rentals. For 1999 the average commercial beekeeper received nearly 68% of his or her annual operating gross from pollination rental. This is down from the record high figure of 72% reported in 1995. I am aware of no region in the U.S., or the world for that matter, where honey bee pollination is of such importance to the economic survival of a regional beekeeping community and of such benefit to the agricultural base that requires insect pollination for optimizing product yield. Even in California, the state with the largest & most varied beekeeping industry in the U.S., pollination rental income is just slightly over 50% of operating revenues.
For the previous 7 years the average size of an individual commercial operation has increased. This trend of upward growth in the number of colonies maintained by commercial beekeepers increased again in 1999 with the average commercial operation reporting 2,060 colonies.
As in past years, the 1999 survey was sent to all Washington & Oregon beekeepers that registered more than 25 colonies with their respective state agriculture departments. A total of 15 commercial beekeepers returned completed surveys. These individual beekeepers collectively owned 30,881 colonies. A total of 85,586 colony rentals were reported for all respondents, which produced $2,759,156 in rental income.
For 1999 the average pollination rental fee, computed from commercial beekeepers rentals on all crops reported, was $32.25. This is a $2.60 (9%) increase from the average pollination fee charged in 1988 ($29.65). This is the first increase in the average pollination fee for the past 3 years.
Commercial beekeepers were responsible for 99% of all reported pollination rentals & a corresponding 99% of all pollination income. This is very similar to past years and shows how dominant commercial beekeepers are in the arena of large-scale agricultural pollination. The average pollination rental fee for semi-commercial beekeepers was $36.55. Somewhat higher than that charged by commercial beekeepers, but semi-commercial beekeepers account for only 1% of all reported pollination rentals.
The amount of income generated from pollination rentals leveled off in 1997 and 1998, but dramatically increased in 1999. In 1999 the average commercial beekeeper in Washington and Oregon grossed $183,780 from pollination rental, which is a large increase from the average gross of $95,699 in 1998. During the past six years the average rental fee has increased from $28.10 (1994) to $32.25 (1999), which is somewhat misleading because the average pollination fees actually decreased in 1997 and 1998. It needs also to be pointed out that honey bee colony rental has for many decades been an underpaid service. It is really only within the past seven or eight years that rental fees have begun to more accurately reflect the enormous value-added service of managed pollination. This is shown by the 75% increase in the average pollination fee during the last decade; 1990 = $18.40 to 1999 = $32.25.
Within the PNW, tree fruits are the dominant crops for pollination income. In 1999 the combination of pears, sweet cherries and apples accounted for 44% of all reported rentals and 44% of all reported pollination income. Ironically, the single most important crop for PNW beekeepers is grown in California, i.e. almonds. Almonds were responsible for 27% of all rentals and 33% of all rental income in this year's survey with almonds possessing the highest average pollination fee reported for 1999 ($39.90). More than 95% of all commercial colonies in Oregon and Washington are taken to California for almond pollination. In 1999, the combination of almonds and tree fruit accounted for 71% of all rentals and 77% of pollination income from PNW beekeepers.
For 1999 crops pollinated in the PNW, vegetable seed provided the highest average fee at $37.90 per colony rental. In terms of acreage, apples are the largest crop grown in the region and this is reflected by the large number of reported rentals (33% of all reported rentals and 34% of reported rental income).
The crops with the lowest pollination fees are the legumes crimson clover ($7.15/colony) and hairy vetch ($0/colony), both of which are grown as seed crops and are also traditional honey producers, hence historically low fees. However, the 1999 rental fee for crimson clover ($7.15) is up sharply from 1998 ($4.50). Berry crops (blackberries, raspberries and blueberries), which as late spring to early summer bloomers and copious nectar producers (blackberries & raspberries), often produce honey crops as well as pollination fees. The 1999 average pollination fee for all combined berry crops was $28.40 per hive, which is a 15% increase over the average berry rental fee in 1998.
The average PNW commercial honey bee colony was rented 2.77 times in 1999 and this includes California almonds. Wth an average rental fee of $32.25, this results in an average per colony pollination income of $89.30, which is an 8% increase from 1998.
The combined colony numbers from those commercial beekeepers who responded to the survey, (30,881 hives), represent a conservative one-forth of the commercial hives in Oregon and Washington. Therefore, if we multiplythe pollination income ($2,759,156) by a factor of 4, we have a ball park estimate of the pollination income generated by commercial beekeeping in the PNW, i.e. slightiy greater than $11,000,000. This is less than 1.5% of the estimated farm-gate value of PNW crops that require or benefit from managed pollination.
Pollination income in the PNW far exceeds the value of honey and wax sales for our regional beekeeping industry. Pollination rental income is frequently 4 to 5 times greater than honey and wax sales in any given year, a situation that is largely ignored by federal and state agricultural economists, who continue to rely almost solely on the sale of honey and wax as the yardstick for beekeeping economic activity.
It needs to be remembered that much of the data presented here represents the pollination rental situation of the "average" commercial beekeepers. For individual beekeepers the survey results are most useful as benchmarks against which they should compare their individual operations.
While colony income from pollination rental is a critical statistic, so therefore is the annual cost to maintain a colony of honey bees. Responses to this question on the survey have varied widely, often from a misunderstanding of what was being asked. However, numerous commercial beekeepers who have over the years maintained excellent cost accounting records, did respond with numbers that are very reasonably relative to today's economic pressures. The average annual per colony maintenance cost was $104 for 1999. It is very important to note that the average colony maintenance cost is higher than the average per colony pollination income by $14.70. This illustrates that the operation profits are generated by other sources of income, most importantly, honey production.
During the past 15 years many thousands of colonies of honey bees have been lost due to the presence of parasitic mites, and those losses continue, but fortunately at a lessened rate. The colony losses have been most severe for the wild honey bee population and from within the hobbyist ranks. Commercial beekeepers, while experiencing heavy colony losses, have, by and large, responded by increasing their colony numbers in order to meet future pollination contractual agreements. Due to increased colony losses, an economic situation has been created whereby every living colony of honey bees now possesses a greater potential economic value. Commercial beekeepers have taken advantage of this opportunity.
I wish to again thank all those beekeepers in Oregon and Washington who took the time to participate in the survey, which has over the past 14 years, generated the most accurate assessment of commercial pollination known in the U.S.