Florida Extension Beekeeping Newsletter
Apis--Apicultural Information and Issues (ISSN 0889-3764)
Volume 12, Number 4, April 1994
Dr. Keith Delaplane reprinted an article from the December,
1993 Quarterly Update for Inspectors in Pesticide Enforcement,
published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)in his
Georgia Bee Letter, January-March, 1994. As Dr. Delaplane
concludes, the warning to beekeepers is self-explanatory:
"Recently some of our State Programs discovered a problem of
widespread misuse of a pesticide product by beekeepers. The
pesticide fluvalinate...is now being used by beekeepers to control
Varroa mites in beehives during honey flow. The particular
formulation used was not approved for use in beehives, and there is
no legal use of fluvalinate in hives during honey flow.
"There is a formulation that is approved for use in beehives.
The product Apistan is a plastic strip impregnated with 10%
fluvalinate active ingredient. This formulation is more expensive,
so some beekeepers have been soaking wooden sticks in unapproved
fluvalinate formulations for use in their hives. Since beekeeping
takes place to some degree in every state, all inspectors should be
aware of this issue and take action where appropriate." [Editor's
With support of the Federal Extension Service, USDA and The
Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service, National
Apicultural Program Leader for the Federal Extension Service, Dr.
Jim Tew, has released a videotape which contains five (5) segments:
Africanized Bees- Learning to Live with Them, color, 20:23,
discusses the recent establishment of the Africanized honey bee
population in south Texas. This includes interviews with the
Apiary Inspection Service and commercial beekeepers about what the
bee means to changes in apiculture in the Rio Grande Valley.
Africanized Honey Bees- Destroying Africanized Bee Hives, color,
15:20, describes controlling established colonies of Africanized
bees in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
How to Get Started- Bees From a Building, color, 17:23, shows how
to remove an established colony of honey bees from a building and
install it into a modern moveable-frame beehive.
The Sting- Ground Nesting Yellow Jackets, color, 5:55, describes
the excavation and dissection of an underground yellow jacket nest.
The Sting- The Hornet's Highrise Hive, Color, 8:11, discusses the
bald-faced hornet's life cycle and nesting activities.
This video is currently being added to the IFAS Audiovisual
library at the University of Florida. It will be available through
your county Cooperative Extension Office. Additional copies are
available at $10.00 each from Dr. Tew, OSU Extension Bee Lab,
OARDC/Dept. of Entomology, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, ph
I have had two indications that the Honey Hotline, a service
of the National Honey Board Food Technology Program, continues to
be a source of information for beekeepers and others. I was able
to quickly answer a beekeeper's request concerning honey storage
after contacting the hotline. I simply called the 800 number (356-
5941) and was sent printed information on the topic.
Dr. Robert Bates, Department of Food Science, University of
Florida also received information concerning honey fermentation
from Program. It is found in the Honey Hotline, No. 4, 1993.
According to this four-page newsletter, the National Honey
Board commissioned a study which recently was completed by Bison
Brewing Co. (Berkeley, CA). The company developed five prototype
samples of honey ale and stout. The report covered what
adjustments are necessary in brewing beer using citrus, sage,
clover and buckwheat honeys. In summary, the results include:
1. Honey should be added so that diastic enzymes (alpha and beta
amylase) do not degrade the dextrins (non-fermentable
carbohydrates) in beer, destroying the texture and body of the end
2. Yeast and bacteria in honey are generally not active because of
the low water content. However, when honey is diluted for making
beer, these microorganisms can grow and adversely affect the end
product. Bison Brewing was able to perfect a method to pasteurize
honey, preserving its delicate flavor and composition (176 degrees
F for 2.5 hours under anaerobic conditions). After pasteurization,
the honey is then cooled and added to the beer at high Kraeusen
3. Because adding honey will decrease the dextrins in the final
product as discussed in number one above, the brewer should use
higher saccharification temperatures (154 to 160 degrees F.). A
lower original gravity in the wort is also suggested.
4. Honey is generally used in beer brewing because of its distinct
aroma and flavor. A subtle flavor is contributed by using 3-10
percent honey per total grain bill and lighter honeys are
recommended. At 11-30 percent of total grain bill, distinct
flavors develop, and stronger flavored hops, caramelized or roasted
malts, spices and other additions should be considered. Over 30
percent of total grain bill, the honey dominates the other flavors
in the beer. Stronger flavored honeys in general are recommended
because they give distinct flavors, even at low levels.
5. More investigation is needed in heating honey which produces
furfurals and derivatives causing off flavors and in ensuring an
adequate amount of free amino nitrogen (FAN) necessary to the
In conclusion, according to the newsletter, honey is
unsurpassed as an additive in brewing and this activity offers
endless possibilities. More information on the research reported
above is available from the National Honey Board Food Technology
Program, P.O. Box 281525, San Francisco, CA 94128-1525, FAX
For those of us that may not be in the micro-brewery scene,
honey in beer brewing at first glance appears to be only a minor
activity, not responsible for marketing much product. However,
there appears to be huge growth potential in this area. According
to the above newsletter, in 1992 there were 103 micro-breweries and
191 brew pubs in the U.S. The former are growing at 6 percent
annually and the latter increased by a total of 15 between 1991 and
1992. In addition, nearly one million persons make 30-60 gallons
of beer at home each year.
Beyond beer, "New Age" beverages and those associated with
sports are also good candidates for using honey, according to the
newsletter. New Age Beverages are a $195 million market. They are
defined as sweetened waters with a "good for you" attitude. Honey
holds a "definite" place in a variety of beverage products such as
Grizzly Ade, a preservative-free product which is naturally
flavored with honey, produced by Pyramid Juice Company (Ashland,
OR); Honey 'N Apple Raspberry and Honey N' Cranberry juices from
Brookies Food Products (Coral Springs, FL), Barker's Tru-Fruit
Juice from Anz-Trade (San Leandro, CA); and Honey Lemonade from
Vivaleo (Dallas, TX).
It is becoming abundantly clear that honey bees can no longer
be looked at as the premier insect pollinator for all plants. Many
other bees also go for the pollen. Some of these have been written
up as "The Busiest of Bees: Pollen Bees Outwork Honey Bees as Crop
Pollinators," in the February, 1994 issue of Agricultural Research.
According to the article, of more than 20,000 known bee
species, only six are honey bees (genus Apis). The rest are
"pollen bees," sometimes called wild, or solitary, bees. These
don't fit descriptions of overdefensive African bees, yellowjackets
and hornets. Instead, the article says, they have "friendlier"
names, including digger, sweat, bumble, carpenter, leafcutter,
orchard and shaggy fuzzyfoot.
The key to a pollen bee's fanatic work schedule, according to
the article, is that it often is not around long and needs to
quickly lay in a pollen load for its brood; some only have four to
six weeks to do so. This is analogous to the energy output of
salmon swimming upstream to spawn.
Many pollen bees are also far more efficient pollinators than
honey bees, because they specialize on certain plants. One example
is the hornfaced bee (Osmia cornifrons), popular in Japan for apple
pollination. This bee can visit 15 flowers a day, setting 2,450
apples compared to 50 set by the honey bee. Thus, apple growers
only need 500 to 600 hornfaced bees per hectare (2.47 acres),
instead of thousands of honey bees. This bee is being studied
intensively at the ARS Beltsville Bee Laboratory.
Then there's "buzz pollination." Many pollen bees literally
vibrate the flowers, causing pollen to discharge from the anthers
in clouds, the article says. Honey bees don't. For certain crops
like blueberries, tomatoes, chili peppers, eggplants and
cranberries, buzz pollination is important for optimum results.
Carpenter bees and fuzzyfoots are adept at this activity, and their
activities are being examined by Agricultural Research Service
scientists at Tucson, AZ and Beltsville, MD. The goal is to
develop artificial nests to make mass-rearing possible.
Bumblebees are big business overseas because of their
pollinating potential in greenhouse tomatoes, according to the
article, and may soon be in the U.S. This is corroborated by a
full-page advertisement in the January, 1994 issue of Fruit Grower.
An inquiry for dealers in "maintenance free bumblebees," suggests
there's money to be made by selling hives equipped with a special
feeding cartridge, transparent lid, and closeable entrance. For
information, contact Biobest Biological Systems, Llse Velden 18, B-
2260 Westerlo, Belgium, ph +32/14/23 17 01, FAX +32/14/23 18 31.
Another potential blueberry pollinator in the West is Osmia
ribifloris, according to the article. It visits a blueberry
blossom about every three seconds, three times faster than a worker
honey bee. Its life history is being researched at the Logan Utah
laboratory for non-Apis bees. Not mentioned in the article, but
just as important, is Habropoda laboriosa, the southeastern
blueberry bee. The effectiveness of this insect and potential for
its use in southern rabbiteye blueberries was written up in the
January and February, 1991 issues of APIS.
Although pollen bees are less efficient in certain pollinating
situations, those involved in honey bees have little reason to
despair. Apis mellifera continues to be the pollinator of choice
for a good many crops because it can be managed, moved and
manipulated to ensure large populations at specific times,
something impossible for most pollen bees. Recent information
about the scarcity of honey bees caused by infestation of the
imported mite, Varroa jacobsoni, has also changed the pollination
picture for honey bees. They can no longer be taken for granted,
and like the pollen bees mentioned in the article, their most
important protectors continue to be people. As the article
concludes, it needs to be recognized that pollen bees (and by
extension, honey bees) are a wildlife resource and valuable part of
the environment. Scientists contributing to the article are listed
as: Suzanne Batra, USDA-ARS Bee Research Lab, Bldg. 476, BARC-East,
10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, ph 301/504-8205,
FAX 301/504-8736; Stephen Buchmann, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee
Research Center, 2000 E. Allen Rd., Tucson, AZ 85719, ph 602/670-
6481, FAX 602/670-6493; Philip F. Torchio and Vincent Tepedino,
USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Biology Research Unit, Natural
Resources Bldg., Utah State University, Logan, UT 84332, ph
801/797-2520, FAX 801/797-1575.
CITE Extension, Federal USDA Extension Service, reports that
a third-grade reading level book on African bees has just been
published by Dillon Press, A division of Macmillan. Entitled
"Killer Bees," it is a part of the series called "remarkable
animals." The authors are Kathleen Davis and Dave Mayes of Texas
A & M University News Staff.
Also reported was "Bee Smart Week," declared in San Diego
County, CA March 21-26. This kicked off an intensive release of
information and education on African bees, primarily targeting
schools and employers. San Diego Mayor Susan Golding was even a
caste member in a skit entitled "Bee Smart and Don't Bug Bees!"
Malcolm T. Sanford
Bldg 970, Box 110620
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
Phone (904) 392-1801, Ext. 143
BITNET Address: MTS@IFASGNV
INTERNET Address: MTS@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU