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Re: [beemonitoring] Response to Time Magazine article

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  • Jack Neff
    1. The oldest putative bee fossil, Melittosphex burmensis, is 100 my old.  The oldest Apis is supposed to be Oligocene (perhaps 30 my) and the oldest Apis
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 12, 2013
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      1. The oldest putative bee fossil, Melittosphex burmensis, is 100 my old.  The oldest Apis is supposed to be Oligocene (perhaps 30 my) and the oldest Apis mellifera is much more recent.

      2.  The breeds mentioned are just a list of Apis mellifera subspecies and commercial lines (Buckfast) and hardly represents the diversity of bees used in commercial pollination.

      3.  Long tongued bees lap, but the combination of the galea and the labial palps does form a strawlike tube.   They don't suck like leps though.

      4.  Bees collect pollen both passively and actively.  The article does mention the corbiculae, calling it the pollen basket, then misleadingly calls it a "sac".

      5.  I don't have a problem with calling something insect pollination dependent if insect mediated pollination is necessary for seed production for the crop in question.  I have a big problem with talking about how almonds are pollinator dependent and then not discussing what a weird system almond pollination has become and its numerous negative impacts on honey bee health in the US.

      best

      John L. Neff
      Central Texas Melittological Institute
      7307 Running Rope
      Austin,TX 78731 USA
      512-345-7219


      From: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>
      To: Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>; Jennifer Tsang <jt@...>; Pollinator List-serv <pollinator@...>
      Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 9:57 AM
      Subject: [beemonitoring] Response to Time Magazine article

       
      Should we write a response to TIme Magazine based on their "A World Without Bees" Vol. 182, No. 8?  If you read it you probably found errors and/or misleading statements.  The tone of the letter should be friendly.  We would introduce our organization and thank them for presenting a piece devoted to a major scientific and economic concern.  We could then itemize some problems with the article,  I'm most concerned with the "Society in a box" (pages 28-29) and the "Impact on the Farm" graph (pp. 30-31).  Colleagues may wish to comment on the following the issues below and/or add to them.

      1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Am I off on this?
      2) The Breeds.  Bombus (to pollinate tomatoes), Apis cerana and blue orchard bees are also kept commercially.
      3) Anatomy. Is everyone happy with their definition of the proboscis as an airtight tube that sucks nectar?  I always thought a honeybee lapped nectar with her spoon-like glossa and did not suck nectar.  Am I off on this?
      4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick is is by actively scraping male flower organs. Why didn't they mention the corbiculae its well pictured in the photograph?
      5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion, celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful if they were.  They need pollination to generate supplies of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 

      Peter Bernhardt  


    • John Plant
      Great idea. Letter to editor should be written as soon as possible to met their deadline. 1) The oldest fossils of Apis are from Rott am Siebengebirge,
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 12, 2013
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        Great idea. Letter to editor should be written as soon as possible to met their deadline.

         

        1)      The oldest fossils of Apis are from Rott am Siebengebirge, Germany (Oligocene, 20-25 mya): Apis (Synapis) vetusta Engel 1998, Apis (Synapis) henshawi Cockerell 1907.

        The oldest Apis (Apis) mellifera, as far as I am aware, is from East African copal, (ca. 1.5 million years, in the Pleistocene).

        Of course, bees in the broader sense enjoy a much longer evolutionary history. Opinion holds that they must be at least by the late Cretaceous period, about 125 to 100 million years ago. This estimate is not based on the bee fossil record, but on that of the flowering plants (angiosperms), in particular, the monocots and eudicots.

         

        3)      The proboscis consists of several parts which are mantled together to form an airtight tube each time the bee feeds (unlike the butterfly proboscis which permanently forms a sucking straw). The bee proboscis uses a combination of sucking and lapping movements, or as Thomas Huxley (1877) aptly stated, the mouthparts of bees are “partly suctorial and rather lapping”.

         

        John Plant


        Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 16:57
        Subject: [beemonitoring] Response to Time Magazine article

         

        Should we write a response to TIme Magazine based on their "A World Without Bees" Vol. 182, No. 8?  If you read it you probably found errors and/or misleading statements.  The tone of the letter should be friendly.  We would introduce our organization and thank them for presenting a piece devoted to a major scientific and economic concern.  We could then itemize some problems with the article,  I'm most concerned with the "Society in a box" (pages 28-29) and the "Impact on the Farm" graph (pp. 30-31).  Colleagues may wish to comment on the following the issues below and/or add to them.

        1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Am I off on this?
        2) The Breeds.  Bombus (to pollinate tomatoes), Apis cerana and blue orchard bees are also kept commercially.
        3) Anatomy. Is everyone happy with their definition of the proboscis as an airtight tube that sucks nectar?  I always thought a honeybee lapped nectar with her spoon-like glossa and did not suck nectar.  Am I off on this?
        4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick is is by actively scraping male flower organs. Why didn't they mention the corbiculae its well pictured in the photograph?
        5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion, celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful if they were.  They need pollination to generate supplies of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 

        Peter Bernhardt  

      • Peter Bernhardt
        I ve expanded the list of corrections/revisions. Has anyone anything more to add? If not, who is going to send the letter to Time, Jennifer Tsang or Laurie
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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          I've expanded the list of  corrections/revisions.  Has anyone anything more to add?  If not, who is going to send the letter to Time, Jennifer Tsang or Laurie Adams?


          1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Please check your source and you will find you added one or two many 0's.
          2) The Breeds.  Bumble bees (Bombus) are now bred commercially and internationally to pollinate greenhouse tomatoes.  The Chinese domesticated their own honeybee (Apis cerana) thousands of years ago and the bees are kept throughout much of eastern Asia.  Blue orchard bees (Osmia) are also kept commercially and some authorities think they do a great job pollinating almonds.  It's estimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).
          3) Anatomy. The proboscis (described but not pictured in the photo) is not an airtight sucking device.  Your staff confused it with the cibarium (in the bee's head).  The proboscis of a honeybee is tipped by a hairy spoon so it works more like a cat's tongue (lapping not sucking).  
          4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick up occurs by actively scraping male flower organs known as anthers. Your photos of the honeybee also failed to point out the corbiculae (pollen baskets) on the hind legs used specially to haul pellets of pollen foraged actively by a worker.
          5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion and celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful (stringy, bitter or dry) if they were.  These crops need bee-pollination to produce next season's supply of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 
          6) We are looking for systemic pesticides, not systematic pesticides. 


          On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM, Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...> wrote:
          Should we write a response to TIme Magazine based on their "A World Without Bees" Vol. 182, No. 8?  If you read it you probably found errors and/or misleading statements.  The tone of the letter should be friendly.  We would introduce our organization and thank them for presenting a piece devoted to a major scientific and economic concern.  We could then itemize some problems with the article,  I'm most concerned with the "Society in a box" (pages 28-29) and the "Impact on the Farm" graph (pp. 30-31).  Colleagues may wish to comment on the following the issues below and/or add to them.

          1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Am I off on this?
          2) The Breeds.  Bombus (to pollinate tomatoes), Apis cerana and blue orchard bees are also kept commercially.
          3) Anatomy. Is everyone happy with their definition of the proboscis as an airtight tube that sucks nectar?  I always thought a honeybee lapped nectar with her spoon-like glossa and did not suck nectar.  Am I off on this?
          4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick is is by actively scraping male flower organs. Why didn't they mention the corbiculae its well pictured in the photograph?
          5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion, celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful if they were.  They need pollination to generate supplies of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 

          Peter Bernhardt  

        • Doug Yanega
          ... The name of this species is rotundata . Their activities with alfalfa pollination are supplemented by Alkali Bees (Nomia melanderi). Peace, -- Doug Yanega
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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            On 8/13/13 7:33 AM, Peter Bernhardt wrote:
            It'sestimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).
            The name of this species is "rotundata". Their activities with alfalfa pollination are supplemented by Alkali Bees (Nomia melanderi).

            Peace,
            -- 
            Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                         http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
              "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                    is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
          • Jack Neff
            20 million M. rotundata sounds like a lot but more than 2 billion honey bees are used each year to pollinate almonds in California   John L. Neff Central
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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              20 million M. rotundata sounds like a lot but more than 2 billion honey bees are used each year to pollinate almonds in California
               
              John L. Neff
              Central Texas Melittological Institute
              7307 Running Rope
              Austin,TX 78731 USA
              512-345-7219


              From: Doug Yanega <dyanega@...>
              To: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>
              Cc: Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>; Jennifer Tsang <jt@...>; Pollinator List-serv <pollinator@...>
              Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 11:08 AM
              Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Response to Time Magazine article

               
              On 8/13/13 7:33 AM, Peter Bernhardt wrote:
              It'sestimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).
              The name of this species is "rotundata". Their activities with alfalfa pollination are supplemented by Alkali Bees (Nomia melanderi).

              Peace,
              -- 
              Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
              Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
              phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                           http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
                "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                      is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


            • Jack Neff
              Oops.  Calculation error.  Its more than 20 billion honey bees, not 2 billion, brought together in February every year in the California almond orchards.  
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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                Oops.  Calculation error.  Its more than 20 billion honey bees, not 2 billion, brought together in February every year in the California almond orchards.
                 
                John L. Neff
                Central Texas Melittological Institute
                7307 Running Rope
                Austin,TX 78731 USA
                512-345-7219


                From: Doug Yanega <dyanega@...>
                To: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>
                Cc: Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>; Jennifer Tsang <jt@...>; Pollinator List-serv <pollinator@...>
                Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 11:08 AM
                Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Response to Time Magazine article

                 
                On 8/13/13 7:33 AM, Peter Bernhardt wrote:
                It'sestimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).
                The name of this species is "rotundata". Their activities with alfalfa pollination are supplemented by Alkali Bees (Nomia melanderi).

                Peace,
                -- 
                Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
                Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
                phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                             http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
                  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


              • Dave Hunter
                Quick statistics on the new industry with mason bees. At our last Orchard Bee Association conference we have about 3 million mason bees under management. In
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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                  Quick statistics on the new industry with mason bees.  At our last Orchard Bee  Association conference we have about 3 million mason bees under management.  In pollination, this is worth about 300 million honey bees.  (1:100 ratio on pollination capabilities.)

                   

                  Although a small number, we’re doing all we can to increase that amount. When the mason bee is pollinated alongside the honey bees, we’re seeing increased pollination due to the fact they pollinate differently.  Most of the mason bees are headed towards the almond industry where it’s quickly becoming an acceptable “or equal” to the industrious honey bee. 

                   

                  As we gain knowledge and understand peculiarities, we’ll be touching other crops as well (apple, cherry, pear, etc.)

                   

                  Dave Hunter

                  cid:428334615@02052011-35DF

                  O. 425.949.7954

                  C. 206.851.1263

                  www.crownbees.com

                   Click below to hear the buzz!

                  Description: http://www.crownbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/facebook-28px28p.jpgPinteresthttp://www.crownbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Twitter-28px28p.jpg

                   

                  From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jack Neff
                  Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:33 AM
                  To: Doug Yanega; Peter Bernhardt
                  Cc: Bee United; Jennifer Tsang; Pollinator List-serv
                  Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Response to Time Magazine article

                   

                   

                  20 million M. rotundata sounds like a lot but more than 2 billion honey bees are used each year to pollinate almonds in California

                   

                  John L. Neff
                  Central Texas Melittological Institute
                  7307 Running Rope
                  Austin,TX 78731 USA
                  512-345-7219

                   


                  From: Doug Yanega <dyanega@...>
                  To: Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>
                  Cc: Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>; Jennifer Tsang <jt@...>; Pollinator List-serv <pollinator@...>
                  Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 11:08 AM
                  Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Response to Time Magazine article

                   

                   

                  On 8/13/13 7:33 AM, Peter Bernhardt wrote:

                  It's estimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).

                  The name of this species is "rotundata". Their activities with alfalfa pollination are supplemented by Alkali Bees (Nomia melanderi).

                  Peace,

                  -- 
                  Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
                  Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
                  phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
                    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

                   

                • Anita M. Collins
                  Hey guys, Honey bee is two words. Anita Collins If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn t be called research. Albert Einstein On 08/13/13, Peter
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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                    Hey guys,
                     
                    Honey bee is two words.
                    Anita Collins
                     
                     
                     
                    If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research.
                    Albert Einstein
                     
                    On 08/13/13, Peter Bernhardt<bernhap2@...> wrote:
                     
                     

                    I've expanded the list of  corrections/revisions.  Has anyone anything more to add?  If not, who is going to send the letter to Time, Jennifer Tsang or Laurie Adams?


                    1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Please check your source and you will find you added one or two many 0's.
                    2) The Breeds.  Bumble bees (Bombus) are now bred commercially and internationally to pollinate greenhouse tomatoes.  The Chinese domesticated their own honeybee (Apis cerana) thousands of years ago and the bees are kept throughout much of eastern Asia.  Blue orchard bees (Osmia) are also kept commercially and some authorities think they do a great job pollinating almonds.  It's estimated that 15 - 20 million leaf cutter bees (Megachile rotunda) are produced annually to pollinate alfalfa (primary feed for our cattle and poultry).
                    3) Anatomy. The proboscis (described but not pictured in the photo) is not an airtight sucking device.  Your staff confused it with the cibarium (in the bee's head).  The proboscis of a honeybee is tipped by a hairy spoon so it works more like a cat's tongue (lapping not sucking).  
                    4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick up occurs by actively scraping male flower organs known as anthers. Your photos of the honeybee also failed to point out the corbiculae (pollen baskets) on the hind legs used specially to haul pellets of pollen foraged actively by a worker.
                    5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion and celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful (stringy, bitter or dry) if they were.  These crops need bee-pollination to produce next season's supply of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 
                    6) We are looking for systemic pesticides, not systematic pesticides. 


                    On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM, Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...> wrote:
                    Should we write a response to TIme Magazine based on their "A World Without Bees" Vol. 182, No. 8?  If you read it you probably found errors and/or misleading statements.  The tone of the letter should be friendly.  We would introduce our organization and thank them for presenting a piece devoted to a major scientific and economic concern.  We could then itemize some problems with the article,  I'm most concerned with the "Society in a box" (pages 28-29) and the "Impact on the Farm" graph (pp. 30-31).  Colleagues may wish to comment on the following the issues below and/or add to them.

                    1) The earliest known honeybee specimen (Apis mellifera) is NOT 200 million years old.  If that were true it would predate the earliest flower fossils by, at least, 80 million years.  Am I off on this?
                    2) The Breeds.  Bombus (to pollinate tomatoes), Apis cerana and blue orchard bees are also kept commercially.
                    3) Anatomy. Is everyone happy with their definition of the proboscis as an airtight tube that sucks nectar?  I always thought a honeybee lapped nectar with her spoon-like glossa and did not suck nectar.  Am I off on this?
                    4) Anatomy. Yes, honeybees do have an electrostatic charge but most of the pollen they pick is is by actively scraping male flower organs. Why didn't they mention the corbiculae its well pictured in the photograph?
                    5) Impact on the farm.  This is misleading.  Asparagus, broccoli, onion, celery do not require pollination prior to harvest.  We would find them distasteful if they were.  They need pollination to generate supplies of commercial seeds for farmers and gardeners. 

                    Peter Bernhardt  

                  • pollinator2001
                    ... I question this ratio. Are you comparing orchard mason bees with honey bees that are gathering nectar, or are you comparing to those deliberately gathering
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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                      --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Hunter" <dave@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Quick statistics on the new industry with mason bees. At our last Orchard Bee Association conference we have about 3 million mason bees under management. In pollination, this is worth about 300 million honey bees. (1:100 ratio on pollination capabilities.)

                      I question this ratio. Are you comparing orchard mason bees with honey bees that are gathering nectar, or are you comparing to those deliberately gathering pollen?

                      A honey bee gathering nectar moves slowly from flower to flower, sipping or drinking, as the quantitative case may be. She contacts the floral parts rather by accident than design.

                      A honey bee that is deliberately gathering pollen will wallow, or "doggy paddle" through the stamens - actually much like a megachilid bee. She moves quickly and contacts more flowers than a nectar gathering bee. So she's far more effective in delivering more grains of pollen to each flower - at least ten times more effective.

                      Good pollination contractors know this, and they design their pollination colonies to have maximum open brood. Depending on the particular crop's nectar supply, they may also supplementally feed carbohydrates to the bees.

                      This incites the bees to have many individuals deliberately gathering pollen for the protein needs of the open brood.

                      People outside the industry may not all be aware of this, but growers know that some beekeepers consistently provide bees that do a better job than others.

                      You may have a study that purports to conclude that the ratio is 100 to one, but any experiment that does not take into account all the variables is poorly designed, and the conclusions are questionable.

                      A second observation: For most gardeners, their first personal observations of pollinator decline come from squash and cucumbers, where inadequate pollination has obvious symptoms. It's surprising to me how many gardeners are planning to get orchard mason bees to pollination their cucurbits.

                      Could this be from an overzealous salesman that has failed to point out that orchard mason bees are wonderful for spring blooming fruits, but have gone dormant by the time squash and cucumbers bloom?

                      Do you suppose the mason bee industry is guilty of some hype here?

                      I think it's good to believe in your product (and I do), but keep in mind that hype will come back to bite you down the road. It's like telling your customer that this model car will give them 100 miles per gallon, but it actually only does 50 miles per gallon under perfect contions.

                      Dave Green
                      Coastal SC
                    • Dave Hunter
                      You ask great questions Dave. Here s what Orchard Bee Association learned through field trials in isolated almond tracts, though I may be looking at this
                      Message 10 of 12 , Aug 13, 2013
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                        You ask great questions Dave.  Here's what Orchard Bee Association learned through field trials in isolated almond tracts, though I may be looking at this differently than you.

                         

                        A few years ago we learned that about 1,400 released Osmia lignaria females will pollinate a complete acre of almonds.  That helped us understand that the blue orchard bee was at least an "or equal" bee to the honey bee.  (conducted in an isolated almond orchard miles from normal honey bee pollination.)

                         

                        Over the past few years, peers of mine have worked to dial in the number of mason bees needed.  OBA members are still conducting trials to understand how best to gain the optimal yield of nuts for the farmer.  There are a few almond and pollination companies involved, but I believe trials that have been recently conducted are using between 350-550 females and 1.5 hives/acre.  When both are used, nut yield goes up.

                         

                        About two hives/acre is the norm for almond orchards.  1.5 hives is about 40-50,000 “out of the hive” honey bees? (Assuming about 40,000 bees/hive)  That’s roughly a 1:100+- ratio. 

                         

                        In recent field trials under poly tunnels in England, the number of Osmia rufa used to pollinate cherries is roughly about 250 total cocoons/acre. Nesting females would be about 100 total.  We’re holding our annual meeting in October to discuss these findings.

                         

                        A solitary bee that gathers both pollen and nectar using their scopa to hold the pollen pollinates differently than the honey bee.

                         

                        My personal opinion is that commercial pollinators should be looking to maximize their farmer’s pollination.  That solution should consider multiple alternatives, not just one.

                         

                        With regards to misleading consumers and potential “hype”, I concur with your thoughts Dave.  Consumers are beginning to learn there are more bees than the honey or bumble.  Slow, steady, and accurate education is what is needed.  We start with the difference between social and solitary, and work into ground, cavity, and hive nesters.  There are over 130+ cavity nesting solitary bees (aka “mason bees”) that are active in various temperature ranges and regions in north America.  We should encourage the gardeners to learn what’s nesting around them and nurture their growth in numbers.

                         

                        I am an advocate for teaching there are more bees than the one to both the gardener and farmer.  Here’s our mantra for the backyard gardener:  Plant one native flowering plant; Grow one piece of food;  Throw away one chemical;  Place out a few holes to attract bees;  Learn more.

                         

                        If you’d like to talk off line, reach out to me Dave.

                         

                        Dave Hunter

                        cid:428334615@02052011-35DF

                        O. 425.949.7954

                        C. 206.851.1263

                        www.crownbees.com

                         Click below to hear the buzz!

                        Description: http://www.crownbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/facebook-28px28p.jpgPinteresthttp://www.crownbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Twitter-28px28p.jpg

                         

                        From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of pollinator2001
                        Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:19 PM
                        To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [beemonitoring] Orchard mason bees vs. honey bees (was): Response to Time Magazine article

                         

                         



                        --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Hunter" <dave@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Quick statistics on the new industry with mason bees. At our last Orchard Bee Association conference we have about 3 million mason bees under management. In pollination, this is worth about 300 million honey bees. (1:100 ratio on pollination capabilities.)

                        I question this ratio. Are you comparing orchard mason bees with honey bees that are gathering nectar, or are you comparing to those deliberately gathering pollen?

                        A honey bee gathering nectar moves slowly from flower to flower, sipping or drinking, as the quantitative case may be. She contacts the floral parts rather by accident than design.

                        A honey bee that is deliberately gathering pollen will wallow, or "doggy paddle" through the stamens - actually much like a megachilid bee. She moves quickly and contacts more flowers than a nectar gathering bee. So she's far more effective in delivering more grains of pollen to each flower - at least ten times more effective.

                        Good pollination contractors know this, and they design their pollination colonies to have maximum open brood. Depending on the particular crop's nectar supply, they may also supplementally feed carbohydrates to the bees.

                        This incites the bees to have many individuals deliberately gathering pollen for the protein needs of the open brood.

                        People outside the industry may not all be aware of this, but growers know that some beekeepers consistently provide bees that do a better job than others.

                        You may have a study that purports to conclude that the ratio is 100 to one, but any experiment that does not take into account all the variables is poorly designed, and the conclusions are questionable.

                        A second observation: For most gardeners, their first personal observations of pollinator decline come from squash and cucumbers, where inadequate pollination has obvious symptoms. It's surprising to me how many gardeners are planning to get orchard mason bees to pollination their cucurbits.

                        Could this be from an overzealous salesman that has failed to point out that orchard mason bees are wonderful for spring blooming fruits, but have gone dormant by the time squash and cucumbers bloom?

                        Do you suppose the mason bee industry is guilty of some hype here?

                        I think it's good to believe in your product (and I do), but keep in mind that hype will come back to bite you down the road. It's like telling your customer that this model car will give them 100 miles per gallon, but it actually only does 50 miles per gallon under perfect contions.

                        Dave Green
                        Coastal SC

                      • Jack Neff
                        That 100:1 effectiveness ratio seems a bit dubious.  One can easily believe that on an individual basis a female O. lignaria is more efficient than an
                        Message 11 of 12 , Aug 14, 2013
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                          That 100:1 effectiveness ratio seems a bit dubious.  One can easily believe that on an individual basis a female O. lignaria is more efficient than an individual honey bee, a species that is adequate at pollinating many things but great at nothing. However 100:1 is pushing things in a generalized system like almonds.  The USDA estimates that the colonies used in almond pollination average 16000 bees per colony (seems a bit low but perhaps reasonable for something forced prematurely out of overwintering). At two hives per acre that is  32000 bees per acre.  For O. lignaria, releasing 1400 females implies there should also be 2800 males released so the total population would be 4200 bees (males, of course, do visit flowers regularly).  32000/4200 is 7.6:1, nowhere near 100:1.  7.6 may not be correct but I would imagine its closer to the real number than 100:1.  I don't want to get into the business of defending honey bees, they have plenty of defenders already, but as for most of the world they constitute a pollinator monoculture and as such are a big part of our pollination problems.
                           
                          John L. Neff
                          Central Texas Melittological Institute
                          7307 Running Rope
                          Austin,TX 78731 USA
                          512-345-7219


                          From: Dave Hunter <dave@...>
                          To: 'pollinator2001' <Pollinator@...>; beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:40 PM
                          Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Orchard mason bees vs. honey bees (was): Response to Time Magazine article

                           
                          You ask great questions Dave.  Here's what Orchard Bee Association learned through field trials in isolated almond tracts, though I may be looking at this differently than you.
                           
                          A few years ago we learned that about 1,400 released Osmia lignaria females will pollinate a complete acre of almonds.  That helped us understand that the blue orchard bee was at least an "or equal" bee to the honey bee.  (conducted in an isolated almond orchard miles from normal honey bee pollination.)
                           
                          Over the past few years, peers of mine have worked to dial in the number of mason bees needed.  OBA members are still conducting trials to understand how best to gain the optimal yield of nuts for the farmer.  There are a few almond and pollination companies involved, but I believe trials that have been recently conducted are using between 350-550 females and 1.5 hives/acre.  When both are used, nut yield goes up.
                           
                          About two hives/acre is the norm for almond orchards.  1.5 hives is about 40-50,000 “out of the hive” honey bees? (Assuming about 40,000 bees/hive)  That’s roughly a 1:100+- ratio. 
                           
                          In recent field trials under poly tunnels in England, the number of Osmia rufa used to pollinate cherries is roughly about 250 total cocoons/acre. Nesting females would be about 100 total.  We’re holding our annual meeting in October to discuss these findings.
                           
                          A solitary bee that gathers both pollen and nectar using their scopa to hold the pollen pollinates differently than the honey bee.
                           
                          My personal opinion is that commercial pollinators should be looking to maximize their farmer’s pollination.  That solution should consider multiple alternatives, not just one.
                           
                          With regards to misleading consumers and potential “hype”, I concur with your thoughts Dave.  Consumers are beginning to learn there are more bees than the honey or bumble.  Slow, steady, and accurate education is what is needed.  We start with the difference between social and solitary, and work into ground, cavity, and hive nesters.  There are over 130+ cavity nesting solitary bees (aka “mason bees”) that are active in various temperature ranges and regions in north America.  We should encourage the gardeners to learn what’s nesting around them and nurture their growth in numbers.
                           
                          I am an advocate for teaching there are more bees than the one to both the gardener and farmer.  Here’s our mantra for the backyard gardener:  Plant one native flowering plant; Grow one piece of food;  Throw away one chemical;  Place out a few holes to attract bees;  Learn more.
                           
                          If you’d like to talk off line, reach out to me Dave.
                           
                          Dave Hunter
                          cid:428334615@02052011-35DF
                          O. 425.949.7954
                          C. 206.851.1263
                           Click below to hear the buzz!
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                          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of pollinator2001
                          Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:19 PM
                          To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [beemonitoring] Orchard mason bees vs. honey bees (was): Response to Time Magazine article
                           
                           


                          --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Hunter" <dave@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Quick statistics on the new industry with mason bees. At our last Orchard Bee Association conference we have about 3 million mason bees under management. In pollination, this is worth about 300 million honey bees. (1:100 ratio on pollination capabilities.)

                          I question this ratio. Are you comparing orchard mason bees with honey bees that are gathering nectar, or are you comparing to those deliberately gathering pollen?

                          A honey bee gathering nectar moves slowly from flower to flower, sipping or drinking, as the quantitative case may be. She contacts the floral parts rather by accident than design.

                          A honey bee that is deliberately gathering pollen will wallow, or "doggy paddle" through the stamens - actually much like a megachilid bee. She moves quickly and contacts more flowers than a nectar gathering bee. So she's far more effective in delivering more grains of pollen to each flower - at least ten times more effective.

                          Good pollination contractors know this, and they design their pollination colonies to have maximum open brood. Depending on the particular crop's nectar supply, they may also supplementally feed carbohydrates to the bees.

                          This incites the bees to have many individuals deliberately gathering pollen for the protein needs of the open brood.

                          People outside the industry may not all be aware of this, but growers know that some beekeepers consistently provide bees that do a better job than others.

                          You may have a study that purports to conclude that the ratio is 100 to one, but any experiment that does not take into account all the variables is poorly designed, and the conclusions are questionable.

                          A second observation: For most gardeners, their first personal observations of pollinator decline come from squash and cucumbers, where inadequate pollination has obvious symptoms. It's surprising to me how many gardeners are planning to get orchard mason bees to pollination their cucurbits.

                          Could this be from an overzealous salesman that has failed to point out that orchard mason bees are wonderful for spring blooming fruits, but have gone dormant by the time squash and cucumbers bloom?

                          Do you suppose the mason bee industry is guilty of some hype here?

                          I think it's good to believe in your product (and I do), but keep in mind that hype will come back to bite you down the road. It's like telling your customer that this model car will give them 100 miles per gallon, but it actually only does 50 miles per gallon under perfect contions.

                          Dave Green
                          Coastal SC


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