Bee Ready Vol 73 - October 2005

Dennis Ring, Morgan, Alan L., Pollet, Dale K.

Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita Relief

Hurricane Katrina has left parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in rubble; and, as the world watched this tragedy unfold, another hurricane, Rita plowed through East Texas and western Louisiana, adding to the despair that Katrina had dealt to the citizens of the Gulf Coast.
Of all, it is feared that Louisiana has been hit the hardest. Reports of damages are still incoming as power and communication lines are re-established; however, one reliable source gave notice that one beekeeper in Louisiana alone had lost 1,500 hives to Rita. We have not yet received reports from East Texas.

The full scope of this double disaster is still unraveling; many hobbyists and commercial operations have had severe losses. A report from Mississippi noted that at least three hobby beekeepers have lost their homes and their bees. There are reports of trees and hives blown over as far as 200 miles inland. In Alabama, some of the worst cases are reports of hives being hit by Katrina and washed away by the storm surge. Other hives were killed when the winds knocked off lids or turned over hives and then 8 to 10 inches of rain drowned the bees. Out yards were difficult to access as many roads were filled with debris and downed trees. Other roads have been left impassable or washed away. This is an area used extensively for overwintering colonies and as a home base for commercial honey and pollination operations.

Most of America’s commercial queen operations are in a broad band ranging from southeast Georgia to eastern Texas. Many queen operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have endured severe losses, and it is feared that those operations in East Texas have met the same fate. It will be months before the true amount of damage can be fully assessed. The loss of hives and resources to these two hurricanes will affect beekeeping for some time.

You can help! You can send your donation by money order, international money order or check payable to the state organization of your choice to the address below. In about one year, an accounting of the donations and the resulting efforts of each state organization will be published in this periodical.

Alabama Beekeepers Association
Mr. Jimmy Carmack, President
201 17th Avenue NW
Birmingham, AL 35215-5444

Louisiana Beekeepers Association
Mr. William Hummer, President
287 Sligo Road
Bossier City, LA 71112

Mississippi Beekeepers Association
Mr. Harry R. Fulton, Secretary/Treasurer
P.O. Box 5207
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Texas Beekeepers Association
Mr. Jimmie Oakley, Treasurer
1799 Goodson Court
Round Rock, TX 78664-3706

Thank you for your kindness and your generosity.

Mosquito Spraying

Large broods of mosquitoes always follow hurricane storm surges in coastal Louisiana. If the storm is a “wet” storm, it also produces massive numbers of woodland and pasture land mosquitoes.Also, power outages affect sewage treatment facilities and create situations ideal for the production of southern house mosquitoes in urban areas. Many of these mosquitoes can transmit the West Nile virus, Saint Louis encephalitis and Eastern Equine encephalitis. In addition, some species are serious pests of livestock and people in areas ravaged by the storm. These people are often without electricity and are more exposed to biting mosquitoes.

Some species of salt marsh mosquitoes lay eggs that will remain dormant for years, waiting for water with the right salt content. The eggs hatch after being flooded by a storm surge, and the larvae (wigglers) and pupae (tumblers) develop in the salt water. The adult female mosquito emerges within seven to 10 days and seeks a blood meal so her eggs will be viable. She isn’t very choosy about the source of blood. People, livestock, large and small game animals, and wild birds are equal opportunity targets. After the storm surge retreats, the salt marsh mosquito will lay her eggs on the moist soil and the eggs will not hatch until the next hurricane brings salt water to the area. It is not uncommon for some salt marsh mosquitoes to fly 10 to 20 miles in a 24-hour period. They are often found 50 or even 100 miles inland following hurricanes.
There are also floodwater mosquitoes that lay their eggs on relatively dry soil at the edge of rain pools, floodwaters, roadsides or the backyard puddles, and practically any temporary body of freshwater. The eggs, however do not develop until water fills the area again.

Some woodland mosquitoes also lay eggs that remain dormant for years. Hurricanes and tropical storms often bring large amounts of rain to an area, causing bayous, canals and creeks to leave their banks, allowing water to reach areas that are not often flooded. These unusual floods often produce large broods of woodland mosquitoes by flooding mosquito eggs that were deposited during a previous storm. Many of the woodland mosquitoes normally feed on squirrels, raccoons, birds and other animals in the forest, but hurricanes often kill or displace these animals. This forces mosquito species to leave the forest and become urban pests.

Aerial applications of insecticide will be necessary for some time in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Air Force, private contactors and parish abatement units will be applying insecticides  day and night to keep mosquito populations down. Expect multiple chemical applications at any time during this mosquito control effort. Beekeepers should be aware of this effort and rely on the natural canopy provided by trees or cover exposed hives to reduce losses to bee populations. Mosquito problems will not cease soon but will become less intense as living conditions improve. Individual homeowners can help the situation by making sure there are no standing pools of water in their yards. The female mosquito does not need much water to lay her eggs, and some prefer to lay eggs in small containers so try to make sure there are no breeding sites in the yard. If a large area is flooded, homeowners can purchase larvicides that are either bacterium or an insect growth regulator and can be used safely. Please read the label and follow directions on the label.

Louisiana State Fair

Time is short. Be sure to get your samples ready for the competition at the fair. Entries need to be at the fair before the close of business on the 20th of this month (October). If you cannot bring them, contact your county agent about making arrangements to get them there.

State Beekeeper Meeting

Remember the state beekeeper meeting will be in Lafayette at the Hotel Acadiana on December 2 - 3, 2005. Come pass a good time with fellow beekeepers.

10/6/2005 6:40:57 PM
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