Item number 7141, dated 96/02/01 05:12:00 -- ALL
Date:         Thu, 1 Feb 1996 05:12:00 GMT
From:         Andy Nachbaur
Organization: WILD BEE'S BBS (209) 826-8107 LOS BANOS, CA
Subject:      Re: New Honeybee Virus?

>Has anyone observed PMS in colonies with low or normal varroa levels?

Hi Beekeepers,

Don't know if you have read this, but if not you may find it of
interest. From my own experience with bees and given as at my last talk
with at the American Beekeeping Federation at Las Vegas Jan. 1989 I think.
As for "PMS" thats pure USDA government regulatory bee science... And in
my opinion a real example of "BS" and not Bee Science.
                      ttul Andy-

l l This l l  l l is l l from now, 40+ years l l keeping bees....

Successful keeping of bees in the ninety's will require several beekeeper
skills or inputs. Two of great importance are:

1.  Beekeepers ability to locate his bees in quality pasture.
2.  Beekeepers ability to renew his colonies that die for what
    ever reason.

    In 1990 about 900,000 beehives will be located in California almond
orchards by beekeepers to take advantage of the cash rents being paid by
the almond growers. This number of hives represents a doubling of the
resident populations of bee hives in California and about one third of the
bees in the U.S. And probably is more then half of the hives that can be
made migratory. Demonstrating beekeeper ability to relocate bees for
anticipated cash rents, comparable to about fifty pounds of honey

    Due to the poor quality and quantity of bee pasture in California,
400,000 of these hives will be relocated out of state for the summer honey

    Beekeepers continue to demonstrate great skills and expertise in
relocating their bees to high quality pastures in spite of special
interest groups who have continentally tried to restrict bee movement by
various regulations and quarantines, with the motivations of restricting
competition for bee pasture, creating jobs and income for the regulating
industry, and fulfilling the vision by a few scientists of great loss from
perceived pests.{Our greatest threat is being made financially impotent.}

    The ability of beekeepers to renew or replace colonies that die out,
or become so poor as to be a liability, is a serious problem that can be
met by applying rule number one: Keep your bees in high quality pasture.
Of course this is not always practical. The second best solution is to
keep part of your bees in high quality pasture. If all of the above fails,
then you must be able to replace your loss.

    Annual losses under conditions that prevail in California today can
approach thirty percent, and in some seasons exceed that. Renewal of these
colonies by purchasing Nucs, or making divisions, will depend on the
individual beekeepers economic condition and the timing of his first
surplus honey flows. [Beekeepers with dependable early pasture, such as
citrus, will not be anxious to divide hives, and will purchase nucs if

    The decline in colony populations of bees experienced by beekeepers in
California during the winter of 1987-88 is not a new phenomenon, and has
been reported by beekeepers in California and elsewhere [world-wide] for
over 100 years. It is my opinion based on thirty five years of
observations and lots of library research, that this dramatic loss of bees
will continue, and at times we may even have more frequent episodes of
epic, unexplained losses of bees. .

                    MY REPORT ON S-A-D AND B-A-D BEES
                     from 35 years field experience

    Stress Accelerated Decline [SAD] and Bee Immune Deficiency [BAD]  are
not new spectacles in managing honeybees, or is it even limited to
honeybees. They have been described in the popular and scientific
literature for over one hundred years, by both beekeepers and biologists.

    The SAD or BAD condition in bees in the United States has been called
by many names in years past. Such as Isle of Wight Disease,
Afro-hereditary Disease, fall, winter, or spring Collapse or Decline, and
Disappearing Disease. The cause has been diagnosed by biologists as
everything from poor nutrition to pest infestations. Such as the TRACHEAE
MITE, which is at this time is the populace view. It is my opinion, based
on my own experience with bees, that all of the above and every other
natural and unnatural condition that afflicts bees, that can be identified
as stressful can be made scape goat for SAD or BAD bees. {Including
weather; hot, cold, wet or dry; pesticides; and management; good or bad.}

    Most of this speculation only leads to SAD BEEKEEPERS. No workable
solutions are forthcoming from the speculators and much time and money is
wasted on popular cures. {redistributing beekeepers wealth} Leaving
beekeepers to face the realities of a silent spring, when fifty per cent
or more of their hives are quiet of humming bees, after treatment, or no
treatments. And I add, much to the disappointment of Almond growers who
expected more, and in some cases were guaranteed more then SAD bees can
deliver, which at times make them MAD.

    I have chosen to call this malady of my bees, SAD or BAD, as I
believe that best describes the condition of the bees and the way I feal
when I have to work with them. And I have not been alone in this work. The
SAD or BAD condition of bees is a world wide problem and has been reported
in all areas of the world that bees can be kept in large numbers. It is
not restricted to any one area, and appears without warning. It can affect
beekeepers large or small without regards to experience or politicks.
Because it may not reappear in the same region season after season, it is
hard to study and much is not known of its cause or circumstances which
lead to its appearance...

    In my own years among the bees I have had SAD or BAD bees many times.
{a confession} Some who know me will tell you that it is because of my own
{benign neglect} style of management...I prefer to refer to my approach to
management, as a more natural, relaxed system of bee behavioral
modification. In which I change my life style according to the needs and
production of my bees. {Admittedly my life style has matched my bees and
lately has been near or slightly above the privileged poor, in some part
due to my own SAD bees.} Which may qualify me as an expert on SAD bees. . 
  About 1960 I had my first experience with SAD bees. They were diagnosed
as having Nosema. So as soon as I could afford it, I treated and was
cured...Several years later I again had SAD bees, since I was treating for
Nosema, it could only be caused by a bacteria, like EFB. Because at the
time I was using sulfa [legal then] to control AFB, I changed to
Terramycin. {The cure again was spontaneous.....}

    A few years later, now using enlightened treatments for Nosema, AFB,
and EFB, my bees again were SAD. It could only be from pesticides. No
antidotes were known, but I did get a government Pesticide Indemnification
Payment, or PIP... Again several years later more SAD bees, still treating
for Nosema, AFB, and EFB, but no more PIP's... SO I stopped going to
summer pollination. {The surest way I know of gaining pesticide damage.}
And since have tried to limit the time my bees are in the crop growing
areas where pesticides are used. [Not a easy job in California, where even
in the most remote areas some perceived threat from a pest can bring mass
aerial attacks with pesticides, by one government agency or another, or
for that matter in the most populated areas, reference resent and
continuing attacks on Med Fly and other perceived pests in the major
population centers.]

    Several years later more SAD bees. Still treating for Nosema, AFB,
EFB, no government PIP's, {no summer pollination rentals}, and very short
honey crops, due to droughts, and BAD, SAD bees. NOW I HAVE MITES??  This
time I will be dammed if I am going to put a pesticide into my beehives.
Its bad enough to be putting artificial honey, {corn syrups}, pollens,
drugs and antibiotics in my bees food chain. {Personally, I have not the
resources for one more recommended cure, such as menthol or what ever.}

    In the spring 1989, more BAD, SAD bees, but not as BAD as 1988. At
this time, [Jan 1990], looking forward to the spring, I do not expect to
have many BAD SAD hives. Due to the fact that my bees did not show any
symptoms last fall.

    {I have tried to outline, in capsule, what I have seen in the thirty
five years of keeping bees. I left much out, including Chalk brood,
vitamins, proteins, salts and more to fill a book.
    Now what did I see, or thought I saw....that makes my bees SAD or

    SAD or BAD bees do show symptoms prior to their collapse. These hives
appear to be strong productive hives after a honey flow or extended
broodrearing period. In the fall or early winter, in the area I keep my
bees. They can change in a very short time leaving boxes full of honey and
empty of bees.

Two symptoms that have repeatedly shown up in my bees, in the late summer
or fall before the decline is increasing numbers of black shinny or old
looking bees on the combes. [Hairless bees] The unexplained appearance of
numbers of dead, dying, or crawling bees in my bee yards is the second
symptom I believe indicates I am experiencing the effects of SAD or BAD.
{One can never rule out pesticides, but when you find these symptoms in
bees kept ten to twenty miles from the crops pesticides are used on, the
likelihood of pesticide damage is reduced.} .

    For years I have seen my bees crawl out of my hives and die, not only
in the fall, but at other times of the year, with no detectable pesticide
use, or in some cases even residues found. {I have also seen too many of
my hives damaged and killed by pesticides and do not want to minimize the
damage they have caused me and others and the real threat they continue to
be for all bees.}

    {Nothing has been more devastating to me personally then the loss I
have had from the regulated, [proper and legal], use of pesticides in
California. Many times miles from my apiaries. Pesticide damage and loss
is far greater by a factor of one thousand or more then all other bee
losses put together. Or simply stated: for every dollar lost due to bee
disease, pests, and predators; one thousand dollars are lost due to
pesticides used on crops miles away from the bees hive. There has never
been a pesticide loss to bees that could not have been avoided with out
any action by the beekeeper.}

    The symptoms of SAD or BAD bees I have seen in my own bees has been
seen by other beekeepers from all over the world and have been identified
as indicators of various viruses that are found in the bee. This includes
bees from dwindling colonies from California.

    Some of the common ones are: Paralysis, [dead bees, black
like robbers, dislocated wings]; Sacbrood, [yellow larva, shot gun
brood], and many more.

    Advanced cases of BAD SAD bees can be identified by their lack of
ability to use sugar syrup fed in gravity feeders. Pools of sugar syrup
will be found on the ground around these SAD hives. A satisfactory but
expensive weed killer. And when moving these SAD bees down the freeway on
a clear star bright night fellow travelers who pass you will have their
wipers on, and at times make gestures to you as they pass, sometime
mistaken as the international sign of friendship.

    One other symptom worth mention is one reported by beekeepers with
normal olfactory development. An odor best described as between fermented
honey and mouse urine. Both recognizable by experienced beekeepers. Since
many of the hives are full of honey and too weak to keep out mice, I have
without much scientific research concluded that fermenting honey and mice
are responsible for the odors detected. But this could be a real symptom,
and I wonder if others have detected this odor?

    {I one thought, because I kept my bees in the cotton growing areas
that the cause of SAD bees was associated with cotton growing or cotton
honey. Since so many bees that show SAD and BAD symptoms have never been
in the cotton I soon discounted this as a cause.}

                               BEE VIRUSES

    The major problem with identifying viruses in bees is that few bee
scientific types are doing this kind of work and fewer in the U.S.
Requests by beekeepers for viruses screens or checks made to public
agencies are given very low priority. Most bees can be found to have
Nosema and its easy and cheap to look for, so that is what beekeepers are
told their bees have when they ask for a viruses check. Few ask anyway. As
mites become more prevalent they are superseding Nosema  as a stock
diagnosis for bees sent to public agencies for study. It really does not
matter that much because so little is known of bees viruses and no cures
are known. Over the years enough samples of bees from California and the
U.S. have been checked in European labs and found to have viruses of one
type or another that you can feel confident that they are present in your
bees and surely if the symptoms are.

    {For a hobby I feed colored hybrid carp called, KOI, and find them
interesting and somewhat comparable to bees in that they have pests,
predators and diseases; like my bees. They also suffer greatly from stress
and viral diseases. Its worth quoting from the "TETRA ENCYCLOPEDIA OF KOI"
a passage on Viral Diseases.}:QUOTE

"Viruses are probably among the most successful organisms ever to have
evolved and, apart from other viruses, can infect all other living
organisms, including bacteria. Their structure is one of elegant
simplicity,.....The life cycle might also be described as simple compared
with other organisms.....The infecting virus literally 'injects' its own
genetic material into a single cell of the host. Once inside the cell, the
viral genetic material takes command of the cell's genetic material and
causes it to produce more viruses. Very simply, it may proceed in one or
two way. The virus may cause the host cell to mass produce other virus
particles that are released when the host cell ruptures, allowing the
virus particles to infect other cells and organisms. Alternatively, the
virus can incorporate itself into the host cell's genetic material and may
have an initial infective stage causing more virus particles to be
produced. The virus then enter a non-infectious state during which the
particle remains in the host cell's genetic material but is inactive.
INFECTIVE AGAIN. A classic example of this type of viral infection is the
herpes virus which causes cold sores in man.{and women}

    One of the sinister aspects of any virus is that its genetic material
is not very stable; it mutates very easily, giving rise to new' viral
strains. The perfect example of this are the viruses that cause influenza,
with different types appearing apparently each winter to plague us. There
is no treatment or cure for any viral disease. Prevention of viral disease
using vaccination is the only method currently available....." END QUOTE .
  The realities of bee viruses are that there are no quick fixes or magic
bullets. Viruses are present in most bees and they don't show symptoms or
dramatic effects every year. I believe that these viruses do effect bees
each year to some degree.

    The effects or degree of damage that viruses have on bees may be
determined by the condition, number of healthy young bees raised prior to
the slowing down or stopping of broodrearing and the time before it starts
again. The quality of the last bees reared may be just as important as the
numbers. Bees reared on low quality diets may look normal and be in great
numbers, but not have the ability to properly feed brood; or rear bees
that have shortened longevity. Some of the poor pollens that I have been
able to associate with my own SAD bees, are grass pollens; such as rice,
and many of the water grasses associated with rice. Corn, milo, and fall
tarweed pollens also. I am sure that most any area his its own problem
pollens. It is well to remember that the greater the mixture of pollen the
less problem with SAD or BAD bees, both as a cause and cure. As a rule
when large amounts of pollen accumulate in the combs a problem can be
associated with that pollen. One example of this can be experienced in the
prolonged fall tarweed flows, large amounts of tarweed pollen can be found
in the hives and brood rearing stops in spite of good broodrearing
conditions. I have also seen this same condition in early October coastal
manzanita flows. In this case the lack of pollen was evident. Poor pollen
and no pollen give similar symptoms...

    The stress of nectar collection is easy to understand when no
broodrearing is taking place. The bees work themselves to death, so we
say. The results may be full boxes of honey and KNOT HEADS. [KNOT HEADS,
are small clusters of bees in the  advanced stages of BAD, just prior to
death or when a hive becomes a DEAD OUT.]

    GOOD forage conditions do not included over crowded almond orchards.
The main reason that so many SAD and BAD bees that are KNOT HEADS at the
start of the almond bloom are DEAD OUTS shortly after its over, is that
almond pollen by itself is not a good food for bees. {The generation of
beekeepers that I learned from did not regularly go to the almonds in the
spring even though they lived close to the almond growing regions, because
their bees did better elsewhere. Until the almond acreage dramatically
increased and beekeepers started taking advantage of the increased need
for bees, did beekeepers who live out of the immediate growing area start
moving to the almonds, for the CASH rent.}

    BEES REQUIRE a balanced diet and to get this almost always require
more then one kind of pollen. In pollinating almonds, {and other crops},
so many bees are concentrated in a relative small area, that many hives
will not have a chance to collect pollen from more then the orchard or
orchard floor. And leave no doubt that bee viruses have a better
opportunity to spread from hive to hive, as when near a million hives are
concentrated in a limited area for almond pollination. Furthermore some
research has shown almond pollen, or something in it, may retard brood
production and much problems in getting large numbers of queen cells
accepted by cell builders is reported during the peak almond bloom in
areas where the predominant pollen is from almonds. .
    The stress of poor diets, the presence of pathological viruses and the
time between the stopping of production of healthy bees and the starting
of the production of healthy bees determines the effects of BAD and SAD on
your bees. If the last bees reared were not healthy and the first bees
reared are not healthy, the hive will suffer BADly and  SADly may become a

    I have watched my own BAD SAD bees for many years, and seen them go
from what we refer to as "BALL BUSTERS", {after home run hitters in
baseball}, in the fall, to a queen and twenty queen in the spring. Then to
DEADOUTS, many times with supers full of honey and sometimes both pollen
and honey. In 1988 I witnessed for the first time, when I popped the lid
off a hive, earlier identified as SAD, the queen take wing from a cluster
of twenty bees and disappear in the flight of bees from other hives in the
yard. A DEADOUT was born...

    As for reported cures, it has been reported that feeding sugar syrup,
and sugar syrup with the antibiotic AUREOMYCIN may have some positive
effect on some of the viruses. I can not report great success with either
in my own experience. {Note: AUREOMYCIN, HCL, or chlortetracycline is not
approved in the U.S. for feeding to bees.} But I think that they should be
examined for effect on prevalent be viruses. Reducing the effects of bee
viruses may be similar to EFB. Once you see the symptoms the damage has
been done. For EFB, the TM must be present before the bees start to brood
to get the best results, which is no EFB. If feeding sugar syrup or syrup
with antibiotic are necessary to prevent damage from viruses, it may be
necessary to do it in the late summer or fall to be effective. Once your
bees are SAD or BAD, feeding them is the same as putting three or more of
them together, the end results is one SAD hive and three or more DEADOUTS.
Adding healthy bees or young queens to SAD hives is better spent on
healthy hives and used to make up DEADOUTS or NUCS.

    {Time and good pasture is the only proven way a beekeeper now can
overcome the effects of SAD on bees. NOT MUCH HELP IF ALL YOUR HIVES ARE

    It is not my desire to minimize the effects of other pathogens of bees
including pests, predators, chemicals, and other natural disasters. All
and any stress can result in large numbers of SAD BAD DEADOUTS or DINKS. I
do believe that each one of us has a responsibility to keep our bees
healthy within the bonds of practicability. [We must always remember that
very few creations are not afflicted by pest, predators, and disease.] The
results of so many BAD, SAD bees the last few years has been a lot of SAD
beekeepers looking for a quick fix to a very complex problem, KEEPING
HEALTHY productive bees. I do not think the answer will necessarily be
through modern chemistry, and I am certain it will not be by government
decree, that:

                   "ALL BEES WILL BE HEALTHY OR DEAD."

     Unlike others, I do not believe feral bees or hobby beekeepers will
disappear, [leaving open pastures for the enlightened commercial
beekeeper], because of any pathogen or pest we know of in today's world.

    If the environment for what ever reason will not support feral
populations of honeybees, {or hobby beekeepers}, then it will be too
hostile to support commercial beekeepers no matter how enlightened their
management systems. No area in the world that can support honeybees has
had them disappear after they have been successively introduced.

               {}Commercial beekeepers have disappeared{}

   SUMMERY. My bees at numerous times over thirty five years have went
from BALL BUSTERS to BAD or SAD. I don't have good pasture much of the
time for my bees. {Yours always has looked better.} You may be able to
recognize the symptoms of viruses in your bees before they look SAD and
smell BAD, by looking for large numbers of black shinny, hairless bees in
your hives. {Before you experience the unexplained appearance of dead bees
in front of your hives or dramatic declines in hive populations.} Based on
very little scientific research, my own personal observations and much
practical experience of others. Sugar syrup fed to bees in the fall, that
for what ever reason have been reared or pastured under stress, may reduce
the number of apparently healthy hives that become SAD, BAD, DINKS, or
DEADOUTS. {Other beekeepers from California to Texas, and elsewhere,
report that heavy feeding of sugar syrup, two gallons and more, as soon as
their bees are unloaded from being trucked from summer pastures, has
greatly reduced their experiences with SAD bees. This should be
investigated by our bee biologists.}

     Beekeepers need a public, non regulatory, non political lab, that
bees can be sent to for examination, not only for common pests and
diseases, but also the viruses. Samples of bees sent in for testing should
be routinely exhamined for more then the popular threats of day. {Both the
regulatory and much of the scientific community appears to be suffering
from tunnel vision. With no greater porpoise in life then being the first
kid on the block to find or identify the first exotic pest of one kind or
another.} Its time to accept the fact that bees have and are affected by
pests, diseases, and parasites and that any single affliction may be of
little harm alone but in combination may be fatal. We must be able to
recognize these fatal combinations if we are to have any strategy for
thretment. Beekeepers in the U.S. have had much time and experience
treating pests, and yet hives treated for pests,{and made free of them},
continue to die. This seems to suggest that something other then the pests
being treated is causing the decline in our bees, and maybe we should
reserve treatments of pests for extreme cases, and look for, and at other
pathogens of bees. . CLOSE TO THE END

    {When I started keeping bees as an apprentice beekeeper or a
beekeepers LOUSE, about 1954, to a generation of beekeeper now past.
Their average production per hive was three times today's average. A
family could make a good middle class living from five hundred hives
including a new car every three years or so and collage education's
for the kids. Annual losses of bees in excess of ten per cent was above
normal and indicated a poor beekeeper. The normal replacement of bees
today in California is thirty percent approaching fifty. Beekeepers with
BAD, SAD, bees in the spring of 1989 did have fifty percent and higher
losses. Replacing these deadouts, a challenge to the best beekeeper, is
not lessened by not knowing if after replacing them they are not going to
be SAD by the end of the season}....{    andy     }

UPDATE (Jan 8, 1989)

    As I try to polish my long winded talk, beekeepers in California are

     Bees that are on the mid-winter coastal honey flows are not showing
signs of dwindling. Bees from out of state and in state locations that are
wintering in the interior central valley are dwindling in some yards. The
weather in the valley has been overcast, foggy and cool, with very little
bee activity or flight. On the coast it has been warm and dry. Most
colonies appear to be bigger then last winter.

    Thirty nine apiaries, mostly semi-yards, located from northern to
southern California,  have been found with Varroa mites at very low levels
and are being forced to treat at very inflated costs. Some of the yards
being treated have been treated two and three times since last winter.
Twenty per cent of the 6,000 colonies being treated have not been out of
state in 1989. The percentage of instate hives found with mites is greater
then the out of state bees coming into California. California beekeepers
have made several runs on the chemical product TAC-TIC (amatraiz) to
protect themselves from the threat of high costs of forced treatments by
the CDFA.

    {Opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author, me, who has
no regulatory job to protect, chemical products to sell, and should not be
confused with any scientific paper created by any Doctor or PHD (POP) who
must publish or parish. Thank you for reading this and may you prosper
with me to spite all those who perceive that our end is near.} ---
 ~ QMPro 1.53 ~ ... Where the wild bee never flew


Mr. Andy Nachbaur, a California beekeeper of 35 years, provided an
interesting talk to those attending the last American Beekeeping
Federation convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mr. Nachbaur also passed out
a printed report on what he calls, "Stress Accelerated Decline" (S-A-D)
and "Bee Immune Deficiency" (B-A- D) in bee colonies.  Space demands of
this newsletter dictate heavy editing of Mr. Nachbaur's full report. 
According to the document, reprints are available from Mr. Nachbaur by
writing to him at 1522 Paradise Lane, Los Banos, CA 93635.  The
publication is quite long; a $5.00 donation is suggested.

SAD and BAD conditions have been reported in all parts of the world, Mr.
Nachbaur says; they are not restricted to a specific area and may occur at
any time without warning.  They may also affect beekeepers large or small
without regard to experience.  And because SAD and BAD bees don't reappear
in the same region season after season, these conditions are difficult to

In the past, beekeepers and scientists have called SAD and BAD bees many
things, including Isle of Wight Disease; fall, spring and winter collapse
or decline; and disappearing disease.  The new popular cause, Mr. Nachbaur
says, is tracheal mites (at that time California beekeepers were not
reporting infestations of Varroa).  However, he continues, "It is my
opinion...that all of the above and every other natural or unnatural
condition that afflicts bees, that can be identified as stressful can be
made a scapegoat for SAD or BAD bees."  SAD and BAD conditions are not
necessarily confined to beekeeping, Mr. Nachbaur says (the parallel of
"bee immune deficiency" to human AIDS is implicit).  He also suggests that
beekeeper management procedures might have an effect.

"These hives appear to be strong productive hives after a honey flow or
extended broodrearing period," Mr. Nachbaur contends.  However, he
continues, they can lose population quickly, leaving boxes full of honey
and empty of bees.  Two symptoms of SAD and BAD bees Mr. Nachbaur
describes are (1) increasing numbers of black, shiny or old bees and (2)
numbers of dead, dying and crawling bees.  Although pesticide use in
California is heavy, Mr. Nachbaur has found SAD and BAD bees in areas
where few pesticides are used and in some instances bees sent in for
analysis showed no residues of toxic chemicals.

The symptoms described above, according to Mr. Nachbaur, could be related
to viral infection.  The realities of bee viruses, he says, are that there
are no quick fixes or magic bullets.  Mr. Nachbaur believes viruses are
present in most bees, but don't become epidemic every year.  He correlates
viral infections with stress put on colonies by a number of causes.  One
is the extreme crowding of apiaries in California during almond

Nutritional resources also have much to do with SAD and BAD bees, Mr.
Nachbaur says.  "Bees reared on low quality diets may look normal and be
in great numbers, but not have the ability to properly feed brood; or rear
bees that have shortened longevity."  Poor pollen sources, Mr. Nachbaur
says, associated with SAD and BAD bees are those of grasses:  rice, corn,
milo.  In California, pollen of two wild plants, tarweed and coastal
manzanita, seem to be involved. In the case of tarweed, Mr. Nachbaur has
observed that a great deal of this pollen will in fact stop broodrearing,
even though other conditions appear optimal.  Another source of pollen,
almonds, is also suspect.  As Mr. Nachbaur says, "The generation of
beekeepers that I learned from did not regularly go to the almonds in the
spring even though they lived close to the almond growing regions, because
their bees did better elsewhere." It was only when cash rental became
popular that bees were purposefully moved into almonds. Mr. Nachbaur's
conclusion is that bees require a balanced diet and to get this almost
always require more than one kind of pollen.

Sugar syrup feeding can also help reduce cases of SAD and BAD bees, Mr.
Nachbaur says, if applied at certain times.  These include the fall and/or
right after bees are unloaded from being trucked out of summer pasturage.
However, Mr. Nachbaur indicates that bees with advanced cases of SAD and
BAD are unable to use syrup, which eventually may simply pool up on the
ground. In Florida, bees under heavy stress have also been rescued by
inserting a frame of emerging brood.

Poor diets, pathological viruses and subsequent reduced broodrearing take
a great toll on colonies, according to Mr. Nachbaur, who says, "The stress
of nectar collection is easy to understand when no broodrearing is taking
place. The bees work themselves to death...the results may be full boxes
of honey and knot heads..."   The latter are colonies with small clusters
of bees.  This situation quickly leads to colony death.

Mr. Nachbaur does not minimize the effects of other diseases, pests,
predators and toxic chemicals which can lead to large numbers of SAD and
BAD bees.  As he says, "The results of so many BAD, SAD bees over the last
few years has been a lot of SAD beekeepers looking for a quick fix to a
very complex problem, keeping healthy, productive bees."  Beekeepers need
a laboratory that will examine bees for common pests, predators and also
viruses, Mr. Nachbaur says, and the time has come to accept the fact that
any single affliction may be of little harm alone, but in combination can
be fatal to bee colonies.

Mr. Nachbaur describes two major constraints to successful beekeeping in
the 1990s.  These are finding high quality bee pasture and renewing
colonies that die for whatever reason.  Actually, it turns out the second
constraint is also very much related to the first.  That is, Mr. Nachbaur
says, "The ability of beekeepers to renew or replace colonies that die
out, or become so poor as to be a liability, is a serious problem that can
be met by applying rule number one:  keep your bees on high quality
pasture."  Failing this, Mr. Nachbaur says that dramatic loss of colonies,
such as those experienced by California beekeepers in 1987-88, will
continue.  In addition, there may be even more frequent unexplained losses
causing SAD and BAD bees in the future.

I was struck by the similarity of Mr. Nachbaur's remarks to what has been
occurring in Florida in the last few years.  Colony conditions in the
panhandle and other parts of the state reporting unexpectedly large
dieoffs are in many ways parallel to the SAD, BAD bees of California.  
Mr. Nachbaur's notions about a diagnostic laboratory, the importance of
the pollen resource, experimental pesticide use in colonies, monitoring
thresholds for pests, nutrition and other limiting factors have all been
addressed in past issues of this newsletter.

This is not to say that all Mr. Nachbaur's ideas should be categorically
accepted.  Some are controversial and based on observations with little
scientific data to back them up.  Nevertheless, he has taken the time to
write down what he has seen over the last three decades of commercial
beekeeping. This is an important first step in determining how he and
other beekeepers might begin to deal with SAD and BAD bees.


The Florida panhandle feeding study is now in the hands of reviewers. 
When it is published, I will provide information on how to obtain a full
copy.  Like many scientific studies on honey bees, the results are not
definitive and the causes of unexplained bee losses in that region remain

One of the major arguments I used to embark on a feeding study was that
protein nutrition played a great role in the large-scale dieoff reported
in the panhandle and that its manipulation was something the beekeeper
might incorporate into a management plan.  Much of what Mr. Nachbaur said,
reported elsewhere in this issue of APIS, corroborates this idea. 
Practically every time the possibility of protein deficiency was broached
as contributor to the problem, however, the hue and cry was raised that
pollen was not in short supply.  This may have been true, but the quality
of that pollen not deemed to be a limiting resource by beekeepers in the
area remained, and still remains, a mystery.

Beyond Mr. Nachbaur's concerns about almond and tarweed pollen elsewhere
in this newsletter, other information exists showing pollen quality cannot
be ignored in bee management.  Study in Australia by G. Kleinschmidt and
A. Kondos published in the Australasian Beekeeper has shown that colonies
on high quality pollens maintain sufficient brood levels and can be moved
to successive honey flows.  On the other hand, when feeding on low protein
pollens, colonies maintain large populations working light flows, but
rapidly decline under heavy workloads which also leads to increase in
nosema levels. In addition, under heavy honey flows, bees in colonies with
a rapid decrease in body protein lived only 20-26 days, whereas those with
40% lived 46-50 days.  Thus, colony reproduction was not able to replace
bees fast enough when longevity was short, whereas populations remained
large during a twelve week flow when longevity increased.

Given the above information, Mr. Kleinschmidt suggests careful management
of the following factors to maintain optimum bee populations:

A.  A prolific queen. B.  Brood movement and/or supplementation. C. 
Attention to nutrition (carbohydrate and protein).

Most beekeepers in the U.S. usually pay attention to all of the above,
except protein nutrition.  Here is what Mr. Kleinschmidt says concerning
colony nutrition: "The use of sugar syrup will substitute for nectar, but
current artificial pollens only supplement or extend natural pollens in
the Australian environment, not replace them."  Thus, he continues,
natural resources can be more fully utilized by:  (a) managing colonies to
maintain body protein at pre-determined levels; (b) collecting and storing
(freezing) pollen for later use; and (c) using supplements for the first
one to two generations of buildup.

Mr. Kleinschmidt says that all of the above strategies require specific
beekeeper action and continuing production costing to determine their
suitability.  Passive management previously practiced only permitted
economic survival, he continues, because natural resources were abundant
and production costs lower.  He concludes that active management for a
pre-planned specific purpose and crop is necessary for survival of
Australian beekeepers, and that planning often begins nine months before
the selected honey flow.

The quality of pollens is determined by Mr. Kleinschmidt and his
colleagues using the Kjeldahl method, a standard procedure which shows how
much nitrogen (crude protein) is present.  Some 50 bees are taken from the
brood nest and analyzed.  This nitrogen or crude protein determination is
another reason, besides detection of diseases and pests, for beekeepers to
consider using a diagnostics laboratory.

In addition to crude protein, another technique used to determine
nutritional status of bees is to look at their brood food glands.  Dr.
Christine Peng, University of California, Davis recently said at the
Western Connecticut Beekeepers Association meeting that bees highly
infested with tracheal mites had very poor glandular development.  This
indicated an inability to rear brood at all or if they did, the resulting
bees were small.  When Dr. Peng's remarks were reported by Dr. Larry
Connor in his column, "Students of the Honey Bee," in the June, 1990 issue
of The Speedy Bee, he asked the question: "Is intensive protein feeding
part of proper management against mites?"  It could be.  Paying closer
attention to protein management might be an important key in determining
the reason for many of the SAD and BAD bees in beekeeping outfits today.