There is so much we can do in the future. During the formation of the BeeInformed Partnership, Dennis approached Marla about taking the Bee Team under its umbrella. Dennis wanted people on the ground to work hands-on with beekeepers in northern California. Marla and I were all too excited at the prospect of being a part of BeeInformed. For one, I get two new team members, Rob Snyder and Mike Andree, who just arrived last week. They are great guys and experienced samplers, so working with them out here should be lots of fun and go smoothly. BeeInformed will also fund the analysis of virus samples and determine Nosema species; two things that would have been far too cumbersome for me to do on my own. One really interesting feature of BeeInformed will be to tie each bee breeder’s management practices with colony health and give them personalized feedback. I get to work with the skilled computer guys to create a database and to design the most useful out-put we can give to the beekeepers.
My focus on the queen breeder and my main objectives will not change with the integration into BeeInformed. I will have additional tasks to do, but there will also be more of us to get the sampling done. The Bee Team will continue to test for hygienic behavior, Varroa mites, and Nosema. For the first year, we plan to test at least 50 colonies at each bee breeder’s operation three times each year, following the same colonies. And, again, the data from the testing will be provided to each bee breeder in a timely manner to help them make informed decisions on both choosing breeder queens and treatments. Our next intensive sampling period will be in Sept-Nov, then again in Jan-Feb.
In the future, we see the Bee Team as self-sustaining. If this model works well, we hope to find funding to establish similar teams to assist queen producers in the Southeast and other regions of the U.S.