Tech Teams

What are Tech Transfer Teams?

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Tech Team members inspecting colonies for honey bee diseases.

We’re not just about the numbers. The heart and soul of the Bee Informed Partnership lies in the people that make up our team. Tech Transfer Teams are trained field agents who offer regular on-site hive inspections and sampling for large commercial beekeepers and queen breeders. The data they collect help provide large-scale beekeepers with the knowledge to make management decisions to maintain healthy colonies. Tech Team samples come directly to the lab and are processed very quickly to efficiently bring information back to participating beekeepers.

If there’s a problem, Tech Team members continue the process on-site by analyzing lab reports and working with the beekeeper to find the best options moving forward. We’re creating a real time feedback loop so beekeepers have the most up to date information to make timely management decisions in their operations.

Tech teams are composed of highly trained honey bee health consultants who:

  • Sample and evaluate hives for a select group of beekeepers
  • Provide near real time data on colony health
  • Present colony health comparisons using our extensive honey bee health database
  • Maintain the highest level of confidentiality

Currently Tech teams serve over 80 commercial beekeepers, who collectively manage over 400,000 colonies. These beekeepers have been overwhelmingly pleased with the services provided by tech teams, and preliminary data suggest members loose significantly fewer colonies after their second year involvement in the program.

Take a look at our Tech Team Members on our About Us page and see who represents your region. And don’t forget to check out the Bee InformedBlog, where team members convey their experience, knowledge, and opinions about their work with bees.

An important aspect of the Tech Teams are the detailed Tech Team Inspection Reports that they provide to the beekeepers.  These Tech Team Inspection Reports provide an archived record of their apiary health over time and the changes that occur throughout each season.  From the reports, beekeepers are able to view characteristics of their colonies such as location, hive body composition, queen status, frames of bees and brood patterns.  The report also provides important honey bee pathogen information that includes number of mites per 100 bees, nosema spores per bee and a visual colony inspection for known diseases.  A sample Tech Team Inspection Report is provided below of what you would expect to receive from a Tech Team:

Sample Tech Team Inspection Report

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Test for hygienic honey bee behavior.


 

Remote Tech Transfer Teams

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Processing Samples for Varroa destructor using the alcohol wash method.

What Are Remote Tech Teams?

While we continue to explore ways to expand to other areas, the fact is some beekeepers keep bees in places so isolated from other beekeepers that the traditional tech team model would not be economically feasible. Remote teams differ from the traditional model in that each team member will be employed by the beekeeper receiving their service and only sample that beekeeper. These team members will:

 

  • Receive specialized training
  • Correspond with a non-Remote Tech Team for supplies and assistance
  • Ensure regular and systematic sampling for report generation

How do I get involved in a remote team?

To become involved in the remote tech transfer team program, interested beekeepers need to attend, or have one of their field managers attend a training program.  This training will ensure that samples and colony health evaluations will align with data collected with other teams.

Training will include pest and pathogen identification, data entry and reporting utilizing the BIP database and auto-report framework already in place. These reports will give the beekeeper or field manager the data they need to make real time decisions on management decisions.  For instance, beekeepers can compare their mite levels with all others participating in the program at a certain time of year. A sample report has been included with this letter. We hope to provide remote tech team training once or twice a year as the interest and need demand.

Who should attend training?

Apiary managers or those responsible for managing and maintaining large operations (>500 colonies) who cannot be serviced or do not want to be serviced by an existing tech transfer teams. Person(s) should be experienced in managing colonies in a commercial operation. Attendees will receive a training manual and a demonstration sampling kit. Training will occur with our Northern CA tech team in Chico, CA. Once registered, we can provide you with recommended travel information.

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Image of Nosema spp. utilizing phase contrast microscopy while processing for nosema spore load.

 

How do I register?

Training Information

Location: Chico, CA

Date: May 12-14, 2015

Contact:  Karen Rennich – support@beeinformed.org


 Tech Team and Remote Tech Team Documents

Sample Tech Team Inspection Report