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Re: [beemonitoring] Re: Response to Time Magazine article

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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!
            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


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