Timely Reminder
Its August 1st. Do you have your mite strips on hand, ready to install?

It is the late-summer or August brood that determines winter and February populations.

As Eric Mussen pointed out in his May/June newsletter, its a numbers game:

''As the summer progresses, and brood rearing decreases, the % of pupae infected increases quickly. If the mite population is high, most of the late-season brood will be infested.... Is it any wonder that the colony dwindles or dies going into or during the winter?"*

Brood rearing drops significantly in August. As the honey flow slows, drones are kicked out and varroa (which prefer drone brood) mass on worker brood with devastating results (as some beekeepers found out last year).

Eric recommends treating for varroa by the 2nd week in August and states:

''That has been my recommendation for years, and many scientific studies have led to the same conclusion... Late September or October treatments for varroa will kill a lot of mites. But the damage to the bees has already been done and the colony is apt to perish, despite the treatments.''

With higher honey prices, the temptation is to get that last drop of honey at the expense of timley mite treatment. This is a sucker's game, with a severe price to be paid down the road - don't fall for it.

1. If you're on a strong honey-flow with extra-heavy (May-like) brood rearing, treatment could be delayed. **

2. If you're still on a honey flow when treating, the brood nest could plug out. Frames may have to be pulled to give more room (and the coumaphos "contaminated'' frames kept separate for feed honey).**

Trachael Mites
Because the mites can't be seen, trachael treatments are often lax. Get your bees tested, and treat, if necessary. Jan Dormaier (WA) tests for trachael (509) 639-2577. Jan also tests for nosema (see following).

Battling varroa on one hand, trachael on the other, its easy to forget about nosema. One of our beekeepers treated with fumagillin for the first time this past year and had the best almond bees ever. Eric also mentions nosema in his May/June newsletter.

Almond Pollination
Grower contracts are being completed. We're dropping some slow-pay growers and some with difficult orchards, but our overall requirements should be the same or greater than last year.

We picked up a new grower (1000 colonies) who saw our (your) bees on a neighbor's orchard and liked what he saw. We have several young orchards under a long-term contract and these orchards will require more bees in 2002 (and 2003) than they did the previous year.

Our October newsletter will have information on the coming almond season. In the meantime, call us anytime on our toll-free number for an update.

Joe Traynor, Mgr.

** taking off honey at the end of summer, used to be a slow, liesurely process. It ain't no more. Consider hiring extra help and/or working longer hours.

*for an on-line copy of Eric's newsletter(s) see: entomology.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mussen.html

Many of you get this newsletter; if not, contact Eric at (530)752-0472 or: [email protected]

P.O. Box 2144
Bakersfield, CA 93303

Toll-free number: (877) 356-5846
Office Located at:
1734 D Street, Suite #2
Bakersfield, California
24 Hr. Phone (661) 327-2631