Home Beekeeping

February 19, 2021

Video Transcript

- Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Michigan Ag Ideas to Grow, virtual conference. Many of you have already been with us. So this primary may sound familiar. This session is being recorded. Should you choose to live your video on, be aware, it may appear in the recording. I have gone ahead and muted everybody. And we are gonna have a question and answer session towards the end, at which point I will allow participants to unmute themselves. Recording for this session and all sessions are gonna be posted a few weeks after the conference. My name is Christopher Miller. I'm a horticulture educator with Southwest Michigan, as many of you already know. It's my pleasure to welcome you to this session. This is the beekeeping session with Ana Heck. Now this session is eligible for RUP credits. So if you're interested in receiving those credits, let me pull up the instructions here. Here we go. If you're interested in receiving those credits, you're gonna wanna stay on on this call, on the Zoom call for the entire session. You need to use your full name in the chat or you can message me privately with your full name and email address, so I can make sure that you get the instructions later on to finish the evaluation. We'll also be posting that same evaluation link at the end. It's short, less than five minutes and will allow you to get the full credit for your RUP. Okay. Before we get started, I would like to go ahead and thank our sponsors shown on the screen. Their generous support allows us to offer this event at no charge. And we are also able to offer a scholarship for high school and current college students. I'm gonna post this link in the chat where you can take a screenshot here, that way you don't have to type it out yourself. Okay. And as we have with the other sessions we have a short video that I'd like to share with you. - Mom. I don't feel so good. - What seems to be the trouble Timmy? - My tummy hurts and I don't want to puke. I got diarrhea and it has blood in it. - Ooh, that sounds like campylobacter. Have you been snuggling with your chicken again? - Yes, mom. I can't help it. She's so soft and warm. It feels good to kiss her and squeeze her. - [Narrator] Two souls separated by fate and disease. (upbeat music) Welcome to another installment of, the chicken came first. The continuing saga of a boy and his chicken. - There's good reason I tell you not to cuddle your chicken Timmy. The CDC says not to let children under five around chickens. - But mom, that's a whole year away. - You also need to stop having tea parties with her in the kitchen. The CDC says you should never eat or drink around poultry and to keep them out of areas where food is prepared. - But mom I clean up all her poop. - That's where nasty bacteria like campylobacter and salmonella come from Timmy. That's what makes you sick. - Mom. - It's over to me. You can't go on like this. (upbeat music) - [Narrator] Later that day. - Mom says I can't kiss for anymore or hold you until I'm five. (hen clucking) We can't have tea in the kitchen anymore. I'm sorry, Erma. (hen clucking) - [Narrator] In 2020, 1,722 people were sickened in all 50 states from backyard poultry. Of these, 333 were hospitalized and one person died. 24% of the ill were under five years old. Tell children under five to not cuddle their chickens. (soft mood music) - Okay, well, that's some groom news from the department of human and health services. If you'd like to learn more about food safety as it relates to backyard poultry, visit MSU Extension and use our search tool to search for food safety tips. All right, now let's go ahead and jump into today's presentation. If you have any questions during the presentation, please put them in the chat. For today's session, we're gonna address questions at the end, okay? And Ana, you can go ahead and grab the screen. - Awesome, thank you so much. It's great to be here. Really looking forward to talking to you all about beekeeping. So my name is Ana Heck, I'm an AP culture extension educator. So I work a lot with beekeepers and honeybees and people interested in pollinators. So also I work a lot with growers and pesticide applicators to talk about pollinators and supporting their health. So today we're going to talk about getting started with beekeeping in Michigan. As you'll find out from my presentation, beekeeping is not just really easy and simple. So we're not going to go over everything you need to know in order to be a beekeeper. But I am going to talk to you today about, a little bit about what the honeybee colony is like, where you can go for resources and what factors you should consider, to help you to figure out if you want to be a beekeeper. So here's our website. It's the Michigan Pollinator Initiative. It's pollinators.msu.edu. At the top, we have a tab for beekeepers and we have lots of really great resources listed there. I also work on a Michigan Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. This is a plan that's aimed to reduce pesticide exposure from pollinators. So I work a lot with gardeners. Well, now starting with gardeners but mostly growers and pesticide applicators, beekeepers, public, to try to figure out how we can keep our bees healthy. So if you're interested in learning more you can always feel free to reach out. We have a couple of Facebook pages. One is @MichiganPollinstorInitiative, and one is @MSUHoneyBees. And that's where we post a lot of information and resources for people who are beekeepers or people who are just interested in pollinators. All right, so we're gonna jump in. Here are the topics I'm going to cover. First. We're going to start with an introduction to the members of the colony. Then we're going to talk about what do honeybees need? What are you getting into? Where can you go for resources? And finally, how can you help bees? So here we have a photo of a worker, drone and a queen. So the worker is a female, workers are females. Most of the bees in the colony are workers. And the workers, for honeybees they have stingers that are barbed, so they can stink as a defense mechanism and they have barbed stingers so that means the stinger gets caught in your skin when they sting you. And the worker is really having an appropriate name because they do most of the work that needs to get done in the colony. In the middle, we have our drone. So drones are male bees. In the summer, there's about five to 20% of the bees in the colony are drones. And in the winter, there are very few drones because the workers will kick the drones out before going into winter. So drones are male. They don't have stingers. And that their purpose is really to find queens from other colonies to mate with. So they'll go, they'll hang out in a group up in the sky and they'll wait to see if a young new queen from another colony comes by to give them the opportunity to mate with her. And if they're successful, they'll die within a few hours. Finally, we have our queen. She's on the right. She does have a stinger, but it's not barbed. So that means she doesn't die when she stings. And very, very few people are stung by queen honeybees. And you know there's normally just one queen in the colony. There are some exceptions where we'll have more than one but normally there's just one queen in the colony. And the colony is just what we call the group of bees. So it's all the workers, drones, queen, combined with the brood, which we'll talk about too. So here's a nice photo of the queen. You can see there's a nice circle of worker bees around her. They tend to her they spread her pheromones around the colony. They feed her. A lot of people think that the queen must have the coolest job because she has the coolest title. But really I think her job is pretty boring. She is mostly just laying eggs all day long. So in the summer she can lay 1500 to 2000 eggs per day. You can see this is a photo of the hexagon whack cells and then there's an egg at the end of each of those cells. So she is mostly just laying eggs throughout the spring, summer and early fall. Those eggs develop into larva. This is the larval stage. And at this stage, the worker bees will feed them food so that they can grow and develop. Once they reach a certain age they give off a chemical signal or a pheromone that lets the worker bees know that they're ready to be capped off with wax. So the worker bees will cap off their cells and this is so that they can enter the pupil stage. So, right, we have in this photo, here is a lot of what we would call sealed brood or honeybee pupa All right, this is our drone or male. So the really big guys, like I said, they're mostly just on a mission to see if they can find a queen to mate with. When queens are young, they need to they will go on a mating flight sometimes more than one, and they will meet with a number of drones. So normally it's we say maybe an average of 15 to 20 drones but it can be more than that. And the queens after they're done with that phase of their life, they will not mate again. So they're actually able to store the sperm from the drones and their sperms are thicker so that they can lay fertilized eggs. Here's another drone just for comparison. So the drones in the middle with those really big eyes and he is surrounded by some female worker bees. And here we have our workers. And our workers, like I said they're the ones getting stuff done in the hive. So when they're younger, they have a lot of in hive tasks. So they will clean the cells. They'll feed the young developing brood. They have a gland in their abdomen that produces little tiny flakes of wax. And so they'll use those flakes of wax to build the comb. And they'll store the pollen and (indistinct) the nectar, and then once they're older that's when they really start doing a lot more of the foraging. So they'll leave the hive, they'll fly and they are searching for nectar and pollen from flowers as well as water, to bring back to the hive and tree resins. And we call those tree resins propolis when they're back in the hive. So the older bees are the ones who do more of that foraging and they're also more likely to stay in the (indistinct) colony. All right, so next we're gonna get into what do honeybees need? And we'd like to talk about our honeybees. Like they're an animal or like livestock. So we have here a cute little photo of a dog and that's kind of reviled the size. You know, if we took all our honeybees and weighed them and figured out their size it'd be close to that size of dog. Although the honeybee colony does grow and decrease in size throughout the season. So one thing just like dogs, our honeybees need food. So they do get a lot of food from the environment, from flowers. But we also need to think about areas where they won't find food. So especially in grasses or certain crops that might not have pollen and nectar for our bees. So they need a combination of honey and pollen that gives them their carbohydrates, proteins, fats vitamins, and minerals. And these carbohydrates are what give them energy. So they get this from nectar, which they dry and turn into honey, or when beekeepers feed them sugar water. And so this is a really important source of food for older bees, so that they have the energy to do their long flights. Forging bees will fly an average of two miles from the hive when they're foraging, and then they also need this honey right now during the winter so that they can consume that food and generate energy to shiver and generate heat and stay warm. Another thing that you need is protein. So this is what they get from pollen. And this is really important for younger bees and then the developing brood. So bees get protein from pollen, but also beekeepers will sometimes give colonies what we call a pollen substitute, or protein patty, so that they can get the nutrition they need if they can't bring it in from the environment. So this is really, a lot of times people don't realize how important it is for beekeepers to feed their colonies at certain times of the year. And we can see bees die from starvation and this is really preventable death. So something we focus on. So we feed our bees when the colony is very small, when we're asking them to draw out combs. So in order for those worker bees to produce those wax flakes, they normally need either incoming nectar or sugar water to have energy to do that. We feed them when there's not enough food available in the environment, when they're sick or when the weather is prohibiting foraging. So this is really common here in Michigan in the Springs, that sometimes we just have cool or wet weather that doesn't allow our bees to go out and get pollen and nectar from flowers. And then finally, when they don't have enough stores. So especially going into winter keepers, evaluate how much honey their colonies have so that we can make sure that they have enough honey to survive the winter or enough food. So bees can get food from the environment if there's enough food available. So that means the right type of blooms, it's in their flight range. So I said that bees will fly about two miles for food. From their hive, they will go further if they need to. It depends if the plants are putting out nectar and if they have the workers to get it. So they have to have a lot of worker bees and they have to be the right age where they can go out and forage. And we need the right weather. And they need to have enough time to process and store their food. So food is a really big, important, piece of beekeeping is evaluating to see if our colonies have enough food and making sure that we're feeding them if they don't. Another thing that bees need is water. So a strong hive will use over one quarter of water per day. And so oftentimes beekeepers will leave a water source for their bees near the hives. Bees are pretty good and resourceful at finding water but sometimes you don't want them to be resourceful if you live in an urban area and they find your neighbor's pool or your neighbors hose that stripping because sometimes people don't like these guests. So generally it's good practice to leave a water source for your bees near their hives. Bees also need shelter like your dog does. So we keep our bees in the hives. There's different hive styles. This is a photo of the langstroth hive style which is really commonly used. So when other places in more tropical places bees don't need a structure to survive. They can just have their comb out in the open on a tree branch, but in places here in like the Northern US, they need a cavity so that they can survive the winter. So if they're looking for a home out in the wild they're going to look for a tree cavity normally but we keep our bees here in these boxes which makes them much more easier, makes it very easy for us to manage them and inspect them. Finally, bees need medical care. And this is a piece of beekeeping where that really requires a lot of attention. So we have a, so all of our honeybee colonies have this parasitic mite that's called the varroa mite. And it's really hard on the bees because it feeds on their fat bodies and it spreads diseases between bees. And so the mites are in the colonies. They pass diseases between bees in the colony and they can also spread from colony to colony. And so beekeeping management is a lot about varroa management, and we know that all of our colonies have this mite and really it's a matter of knowing what level these mites are at, so that we can decide when we need to intervene and manage the mites. But this is when you hear about high levels of honeybee colony losses. A lot of times it's attributed to this mite and the diseases that it spreads. So here you saw earlier, some pictures of some healthy brood, here is some unhealthy brood. This is really sick brood, and it's associated with very, very high mite levels. So you can see in the cells, a lot of the brood looks like it's melting and sunk in, and that is not healthy brood. Those brood will not survive. There's also some other diseases. So these are a few diseases that we'll see for the brood. So chalkboard, European foulbrood and American foulbrood. So a lot of what we're doing as beekeepers is learning to recognize when our bees look healthy or when they're not healthy, learning to know when we need to intervene. And for some of these bacterial diseases oftentimes beekeepers will need to apply antibiotics. (indistinct), what are you getting into? So our job as beekeepers is to make sure that the needs of our bees are being met, and if they aren't, to step in and take care of them. So I think a lot of times people have this idea that, Oh I just wanna have a small little hive in my backyard and just leave the bees alone, and because of where we're at with beekeeping in places like Michigan, colonies just won't survive if you leave them alone, they need to be managed like other livestock or managed, or they need to be taken care of like other animals are taken care of. So this is a graphic that Dr. Megan Millbrook put together that shows some of the beekeeping management throughout the season and what the colony does. So I'm not showing this to you so you know every single step, but I am sharing it to you so you can see that there are a lot of different steps that we need to take during beekeeping, and a lot of it is related to the time of year and what's going on in the environment. So it is a very hands-on activity. And a lot of times we lose honeybee colonies over the winter, so people think that it has something to do with harsh winters here. I will tell you that I started, I used to work in Minnesota with bees. There's lots of beekeepers who are very successful in Canada. It's not really the harsh winters that are a big concern to us. What is a concern is if our bees are healthy enough to go through the winter. So if colonies aren't kept healthy throughout the season, they have a really hard time surviving the winter. Healthy bees however, the would cluster, they'll use the muscles and their sources to shiver and generate heat, and they would consume honey to generate energy. And that's just how they spend the winter. they're very, very good at surviving the winter, if they're healthy. So here we have on the right, this is the cluster of bees. This is what it looks like if we split it open. But normally it's just a ball or a bee, a ball or cluster of bees. And then on the left, we have a photo of a couple hives that were wintered. So we sometimes put a wrap on them, but really they're very good at surviving cold temperatures, if they're healthy. So as a beekeeper you're asking yourself, what do they need? Are those needs met? And what do I do to meet them? And a lot of beekeeping is understanding the biology, so that you know what bees need. So here we have two photos. It might look like bees are doing similar things but they're communicating very different things. So on the left, our bees are giving off a pheromone called nasonov, it's an orientation pheromone. You can see there's kind of a white band, near the tip of their abdomen. This is a pheromone that we as people can smell it, smells very lemony, and it's just the bees trying to stick together. So there's different times in their life cycle, where they need to use this pheromone so that they can stick together. And it's not defensive. So it's one that I really enjoy. The photo on the right, the bees also sticking her abdomen up, but you might notice that her stinger is out, and there's even a little drop of venom on that stinger. And so this is her communicating that she senses a threat. So she's giving off alarm pheromone. People can also smell this pheromone. It smells kind of like artificial banana or a really brown banana. And this is a chain reaction. It will encourage other bees to also give off alarm pheromone or even the sting. So as beekeepers, we're paying attention to these signs and understanding what bees are communicating, so that we can better manage our colonies. There's also other pheromone inside the hive. So the brood gives off different pheromones, and so does the queen. So the colony will know if it has a queen based on whether or not the queen pheromone is present. So here, this is a pretty cute photo of bees. But a lot of times when they are looking up at us, it's the first sign of defensive behavior. And so as the beekeeper, this is when I know I might wanna use a puff of smoke to cover up that alarm pheromone. Here's another photo. And so our job is to understand the cues that affect bees and to understand how the bees are responding. Really, I worked with the University of Minnesota bee lab that is kind of a leader in a lot of ways. And they always said that one of our steps as beekeepers is just to understand the biology, because that helps us be much better beekeepers. Another thing, so we think about our honey bees as a super organism. So instead of just thinking about reproduction on the individual level with the queen laying eggs, we think about the colony itself as a unit, as that dog-like unit, and that colony needs to reproduce. And the way that honeybees reproduce, is by swarming. So this is common in the spring. The queen will leave with about half the bees and the colony, and they'll first find a meting spot. So this is these photos here of the meting spots where they congregate. And then workers will go and try to find a new home. And they actually use a dance language to communicate where that new home is. So it's called the waggle dance. So waggle , waggle , waggle , and then come back around waggle waggle , waggle, come back around. And the lanes that they're waggling is relative to the distance of the site. And they also waggle in the direction. So they are communicating direction and distance to other bees who will go check out the new home it might be a tree cavity, and then they come back. And once enough bees agree, the whole swarm will leave and establish a new home. So for us as beekeepers, we are oftentimes trying to deter swarming. So we will split our colonies in the spring. So to deter them from swarming, because we don't want them accidentally moving into the siting of someone's house or somewhere where we can't manage them. We're also paying attention to the environmental cues. So, what is going on in the environment? You can't be a beekeeper without paying attention to what plants are in bloom, where are the bees getting their nectar and pollen from, what's nectar flows are coming up next. And then all be keeping is local. So it's really good if you can try to join a local club and learn from people in your area, even within Michigan, there's just a lot of differences based on where you are. So here are some hives from Jamaica, Harrison hives in Nicaragua. And the management that we do is really different based on location. Here are colonies of Michigan, early in the spring. And one thing I really like about beekeeping is that it's part science, biology, and objective. And then a lot of the management and decisions we make are more like art, and they're more subjective. So if you're looking for something, because you want to just know everything that there is on this topic and consider yourself to be an expert, I'll say beekeeping is probably not right for you. A lot of people like beekeeping because there's always something new to learn. A lot of beekeepers do things differently, and there's not just one right way to do things. But, if you read something about beekeeping, it may not be true. It may be true, but not for Michigan. It may be true for Michigan, but not your operation. It may be true for Michigan and your operation, but not for this year. So there's a lot of information out there on beekeeping and finding the right sources for you is really important. And your bees also provide local information. So you should be paying attention to what's going on your colony and using that as additional information to figure out what your bees need. If you choose to be a beekeeper, you are bringing a sensitive animal into an area where it doesn't belong and can no longer thrive. So I think, one point that's really important here is that, our honeybees are not native to the Americas. And because of these parasites and diseases that they're facing, they really have a difficult time thriving in most parts of the US. So again, we really are thinking of our honeybees more like livestock or an animal that needs to be taken care of, not just as something that can be left alone and to fend for itself. So beekeeping is making sure that they are free from pests and disease and that they have enough food. So you can see here, this is the native range of apis mellifera, which is our honeybee. So they definitely have a native range in Northern areas, and colder climates, but they aren't native to the Americas. So if you're thinking about getting started, one thing to consider is the expense. It can be really expensive to get started in beekeeping. And a lot of times, people who are interested in doing this as a side business, don't recognize how expensive it is to get started. And you might not even have extra or surplus honey to sell your first year. So hives depending on where you get them are gonna be out $300 each. We suggest that beekeepers start with two to three colonies because that allows them to troubleshoot if they have issues. So some of the parts in the hives are interchangeable. And for example, if one of those hives or one of those colonies goes queen less, I can give it a frame of eggs from the other colonies so that they can raise a new queen. You'll want a veil or a beekeeping suit, depending on your preference, how comfortable you are with getting stung, you will need a smoker and a hive tool that's what we use to separate the boxes and the frames. As I mentioned earlier, bees collect resins from trees which turn into propolis, which is really cool. And it's very effective at kind of gluing different hive parts together. So we basically are using a pry bar in order to go through these hives. And there's also just a lot of supplies that you'll need. So medication, so varroa treatments, honey jars and labels, replacement queens if you need them, feeders, sugar for feeding, and epi pen. So there's a lot of different costs associated with keeping bees. So, where can you get started? The best suggestion we can give you if you want to get started, is to wait, to learn more and work with someone who is an experienced beekeeper for at least a year. So we'll suggest that you take a class on beekeeping, read some books, do a lot of learning about what honey bee biology and beekeeping, buy a beekeeping suit. Wait to buy the rest of the beekeeping equipment, but buy the suit so that you can go in and work with other beekeepers and learn from them. Join a club, there's over 30 clubs here in Michigan. So that's a great resource for you to connect with local beekeepers, and find a mentor. And a lot of times, people who are interested in mentoring it's hard for them to go to you to see your bees, but they're oftentimes very open to you coming to see their bees with them. Because that allows them to get their work done, it's an extra set of hands on the yard. And then that gives you an opportunity to see, you know, how comfortable you are around bees, is this really the right thing for you. We do have an upcoming beekeeping conference where you can learn more. So the Michigan Beekeepers Association which is our statewide club, is hosting a virtual spring conference. It will be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, so March 3rd through 5th. And then all day on Saturday March 6th. And the Saturday has four different tracks, one of them is just on beginning beekeeping. So if you think you want to be a beekeeper, I really suggest that you sign up for this whole day, at least the Saturday conference, but really all the topics I think are going to be great. But learn more about beekeeping or find another beekeeping class to join. I also suggest that you find a local beekeeping club. So if you go to MichiganBees.org, that's the website for Michigan Beekeepers Association. And there is a link to Michigan bee clubs. So that's where we'll have a map and show you the different bee clubs in our state. All right. And finally, how can you help bees? We find that a lot of people are interested in beekeeping because they want to do something to help bees. And the reality is that the best way to help bees is to plant flowers. So we aren't in a position where we need more beekeepers, new beekeepers lose a really high percentage of their colonies, but we are in a position where we definitely need more people to be planting flowers for bees. So that's the best way. And then also learn about other bees. So I just talked today about honeybees. Honeybees are just one species here in Michigan. We have over 20,000 species of bees in the world and over 450 species here in Michigan. And a lot of these bees aren't getting the attention that they need or deserve. So learning about other species of bees is a great way to start. And many of these bees are solitary, so they don't live in groups like our honeybees or bumblebees do. So it's just sometimes even hard to notice them. And here's another graph to showing lots of different kinds of bee species. And then thinking about bees that are really in trouble. So we lose a large, large percentages of our honeybee colonies every year. It is something that our industry is concerned about because it's getting harder. It's hard to keep honeybee colonies alive. There's a lot of stress factors. But as beekeepers we are able to slip the surviving colonies. So overall in the last decade, we have an experienced at a client in the overall number of honeybee colonies in the US. So we're not at all worried right now about honeybees becoming endangered or going extinct. But we are worried about though some other bee species. So for example, the rusty patched bumblebee is on the endangered species list. It used to be found in Michigan. It hasn't been found here in decades. So paying attention to these other species is really important. If you're interested in learning more about pollinators, which I hope you are, you can sign up for our pollinator champions course. So this is a free online course. It takes, we say about five to 10 hours to complete, depends on your pace. It's self-paced, you can see it doesn't have to be all in one sitting. You can come and go. And it's a really great way to learn about pollinators, pollination and how you can help. There's a lot of videos, articles, and fun activities. It's a free course, but if you take the free course and then you want the certification, that's $30 and we'll give you a certificate that you can print out and hang up anywhere in your home. And then we also give you educational materials. So we'll give you a presentation, so that you can do presentations on pollinators to groups, which really helps us get the word out. And plant flowers. So like MSU consumer horticulture team is a great resource for learning about pollinator plants, and how to plant for them. We also have some resources listed on our website. If you go to pollinators.msu.edu and click pollinator planting. There's also another project called Project Wingspan, that is working to have more plants and large-scale pollinator apprentice for bees. So you're interested in a large scale pollinator planting you could check out their project. And then finally, thinking about native bee housing and habitat. So this is pretty common. Now there are these little native bee houses and they're kind of stems where bees can lay their eggs. This is for some of our native bee species. But just leaving stems out in your garden, it's really important too. And leaving some ground on manage because some of our bee species make nests in the ground. All right. With that I'll say let's help bees hang in there. And I'm excited to hear what your questions are. - Thank you. Thank you, Ana. Okay. Let's take a look. So we have a good amount of time for questions and we have some in the chat. I'm gonna go ahead and change our settings here, so you can unmute yourself for your question, But let's get some that are already in the chat. Melville shares, michiganbees.org with us, as a good resource. Thank you. And Ruth asks, "Do wild bees benefit from the foods that beekeepers put out for their colonies." - Oh, that's a great question. So normally, when we as beekeepers feed our honeybees we're putting the feed inside of the hive. So we have different feeders where we can put sugars, water, or protein patties. So normally other bee species wouldn't be accessing that food. But there are a lot of flowers that can benefit both honeybees and other bee species. - Excellent. What are your other questions? You can pop them in the chat, or you can unmute yourself. If you don't have any questions, I am gonna pop the evaluation link into the chat, and you can use this link for your RUP credit. There it is. And if you don't have any questions, you can go ahead and head out. Remember if you are a master gardener attending this session you can take up to the entire length of the session for continuing education credits. So 35 minutes or so for this one. Okay. - Looks like there are a few good questions coming in. - Yep, here we go. Oh, they're all coming directly. You can chat - Oh, I see. generally now. Okay, let's see here. - Okay. Barbara asks, "Could you please go back to the slide of the bees near the end of the presentation?" You wanna share your screen again? - Yeah, absolutely. Scott Snyder says, "Great presentation." Thank you Scott. - And you'll have to tell me which slide you're looking for. - Okay. And Barbara, you can unmute yourself and let us know when we hit that slide or you can put it in the chat. - [Ana] This one? - [Barbara] That one. - [Ana] Okay great. - [Barbara] No, no, the one under it. One, more than bumble bees. - [Ana] Sure. So this is a free PDF handout that is available from the University of Minnesota bee lab. So you might be able to search for it. And this is showing the different the number of species we have in different groups of bees. - [Chris] Excellent. - [Ana] Yep. - [Chris] Okay. Let's see. Ruth asks, "Do wild bee homes need to be cleaned out?" - Oh, great question, Ruth. I love that question. So yes, that is one of the concerns is that you have a lot of bees close to each other that there is an opportunity for some diseases to spread. So definitely there is maintenance involved in those native bee homes. And we do have a great resource on our website. If you can't find it, just send me an email. But it is on how to establish and maintain native bee homes. - Excellent. And Lynn Stevens wants some myths busted or maybe verified. She says, "I've heard some native hives don't have pollen as nutritious for bees as native plants, true or false?" So native hives, native cultivar. - Yeah. So that, and Chris, you're more of a plant person. So feel free to jump in. But that is something I've heard from other people who study is that the native varieties oftentimes (indistinct) with the flower with these bees and some of our cultivars don't have the same nutrition available. - Yap. That's a good point. - Great. So I see here, what are the differences between the bees you showed in central America? Can you import bees from other locations? Great questions. So the bees in central America are also honeybees but there are different sub species that is of African origin. And, one of the things they're known for is being much better at defending their colonies than our bees here in Northern Michigan. So sometimes when I work on my bees here, I will be in a tank top, and I'll have a veil protecting my face. But I don't mind if I get sprung in the arm and I don't get stung too often, whereas bees in central America are very good at defending themselves. And you want to be fully suited up in order to work those bees. There's a lot of other differences too but really it comes down to them being different subspecies. As far as importing bees from other locations, the bee laws are really strict right now because there is a mite that hasn't showed up here yet in the US, it's called (indistinct). And because of the concern that it would come here, the laws are very strict. So for the most part, you can't just import a colony from another country to the US. There's some exceptions for queens or importing drone semen, but those need regulation and permission. - Okay. We've got some more questions in the chat. One of them came directly to me, so I'll read it out. I use Sevin Dust, Seven's of pesticide, right in my vegetable garden for tomato worms and cabbage worms. What can I do to apply this in a way that's safer for the bees? That's a great question. - Thanks, actually, we are coming out with a vegetable pollinator stewardship guide. So keep your eye out for that. That should be coming out pretty soon. - That's a very pertinent question too because I'm writing that set, that I'm writing the pesticide application section. (Chris laughs) - So yeah, so that's a great question. Most of what we encourage people to do is to avoid pesticides if they can, or if they need to use them to try to use them in a way that won't come into contact with bees. So if you can use them when plants aren't in bloom, that's better than using them when plants are in bloom. If you're applying to them to when plants are in bloom, hey, you should just always be making sure you're following the label to see if that's even allowed. If it is allowed, try to do it when bees aren't foraging. So normally that means in the evening after they've stopped foraging. So at least there's some time before bees would come into contact with that pesticide. All right, I have a question here. Bumblebee extinction slide. Interesting, if I could see later. So I'll pull that one up right now. And Chris, did you have any others? - [Chris] We have a few more but I'll let you get to the bumblebee one first. - [Ana] Great, so here's the bumblebee one. Oh, and here, this is a relevant question. So what is the cause of extinction for the bees that you mentioned? So this is the endangered bee, rusty patched bumblebee. And the short answer is there's still stuff that we're learning. A lot of it is multiple factors. So changing landscape not having as much forage and then also, you know bees having exposure to different pathogens and pesticides. So a lot of times these factors together can make it really hard on bees. For some of these bee species, there was concern about a specific disease that started spreading. That may be part of the reason why they're now on the endangered species list. Thanks Melville, good to see you here. We have another. - [Melville] Is anyone involved in bee genetic engineering? - That's a great question. There's a lot with queen rearing and artificial insemination for queens. I can't think about, I am not aware of any specifically with genetic really modifying honeybees. Not that I'm aware of. - The only person that I know of that might have anything to do with that is Dr. Jamie Ellis from University of Florida. He does a lot of bee husbandry. If anybody knows about potential genetically engineered bees, it'd be Dr. Ellis, University of Florida IFAS. - Thanks Chris. Yeah, he has a great podcast too. (indistinct) - Obviously, so entertaining. (Chris laughs) - Glad I found another podcast fan. All right, so great. This is a comic, KBS. So that's the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary has need of bee housing or tube near entrances for, for example. So that's somewhere. I don't know if they're open right now because of COVID but if they're open, that's a great place where you could go and see a native bee house. Another place you could see an example is on campus here. So in the horticulture gardens on MSU's main campus. Oh, awesome and now I'll put that link into the chat for the building wild bee houses. I appreciate that. Is there a source of info on which plants are more useful for bees? And so that's MSU's consumer horticulture team has some great tips sheets on plants for bees. And I see here that you're asking about plants that bloom very late (indistinct). Yes, absolutely. So we really want them to be thinking about planting for bees so that there's nectar and pollen available throughout the season. So there's some times of the year when we have flopped the plants in bloom but especially later in the season is when we oftentimes don't have as many plants in bloom and that's a real good opportunity to help our bees out. - And I'm gonna put a link in the chat. This is our gardening in Michigan. So that's some of the information that we have but you should also check out in Ana's resources as well. - Great, thank you Chris. - We have time for maybe one more question. This room is being used again at 1:00 PM for another presentation. So we've got to close down and open back up again. So let's see. Is there anything else that we haven't, Oh, Gretchen had a very well detailed question here. - Great. Can you read it to me? - Yep, so Gretchen says, "I always hear about planting for bees and don't just go out and buy bees but I've never heard anyone be a proponent to say to plant wheat or straw for lambs or don't buy lamps before you do a lot of apprenticeship and research. Why is that? Also what is a good place to get info for planting to support non-native bees? - Great, awesome. So I'm putting a link in the chat right now, if you have more questions and if you've questions about beekeeping or about planting for bees, our ask extension program has a great way to ask. So I'll just put the link there. I'll also try to stay on and just answer some of the questions in the chat if we don't answer them now. But I think for beekeeping it really is just a lifelong learning opportunity. I mean, a lot of people think it's pretty easy. I talk to beekeepers who've been keeping bees for decades and generations and they still tell me they feel like beginners sometimes because there's just always a lot to learn. You're working with a pretty complex, super organism that's different from a lot of other livestock we manage. So a lot of beekeepers definitely can get in over their heads, which is why we suggest, you know starting slow and learning from others. - Excellent. Okay. Well that is all the time that we have for this session. It's just about 12:45. Thank you everybody, very much. Remember if you're a master gardener, this session qualifies for continuing education credits. BMS is not open for entering continuing education hours. It will reopen shortly. So keep an eye out from Rifton Graham or from your local volunteer coordinator for whatever county that you were located in. Thank you very much. And join me in giving a round of applause for that excellent presentation. - Thanks everyone. You're a great group. Lots of good questions. Feel free to use the (indistinct) ask extension link to keep asking questions and I'll stick around for a little bit, so you can chat with me. - Okay, thank you everybody. - [Ana] Thanks everyone. (upbeat music)

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