Basement BRL 476 Lab

The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake. The five most important words: You did a good job. The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion? The three most important words: If you please. The two most important words: Thank You. The one most important word: We. The least important word: I. –Unknown


Heather filtering for Varroa mites

Our team works in a previously unoccupied basement room. In a previous life, it used to be filled with boxes holding old alcohol sample bottles. Various insects had taken up residence with the absence of people, the flooring tiles were coming up and the sink drain had rusted through. Today, it is a room painted a soothing blue, the insects are gone (mostly), the sink is fixed, we have a microscope and a cobbled together computer, work hums along and there is often the sound of laughter.

This is the east coast arm of the Bee Informed Partnership’s sample analysis lab and we are fortunate to have four great employees as part of that team. Heather joined us in September and took to logging, analyzing, tracking shipments and a myriad of other jobs like a duck takes to water. She was joined soon after by Anna, another fantastic lady who also has an eye toward details, and together they make a formidable team that can crank through honey bee samples for Nosema and Varroa at a breathtaking pace. They both smile often and that makes us smile. Jennie, also at the lab, coordinates all of the thousands of samples coming in from both the Bee Informed Partnership and the National Survey but she also picks up the slack on so many other tasks for our team that I could not list them here. She is unflappable and is quickly learning the world of honey bees. Our team is filled out by Karen, who still resides in Pennsylvania, but distance does not keep this team apart. Karen does, well, just about anything and she does it well and quietly so that you are continually in awe of her organizational skills.

Jennie logging data

Our CA team is equally impressive and they have provided a great presence on this blog. You have met them by their array of skills and knowledge –Katie, Mike and Rob. They are the kick-butt Crop Protection Agents that work closely with the CA queen breeders to facilitate all manner of testing, sampling and reporting. They put in the grueling hours in the hot sun and cold rain, driving many hundreds of miles and sometimes work out of their kitchen to get a quick turnaround analysis on various aspects of the samples. We have been working closely as a unified team now for several weeks. Samples are taken in CA and Fed Ex’d to us on the east coast for a 1 week turnaround on the analysis reports. Samples (hundreds of them in a box) are tracked across country, arrive and are immediately logged in to our system. Heather and Anna split the work in a flurry of weighing, mashing, shaking, and counting. You’ll hear from them over the next few weeks to get their unique point of view.

Honestly, it has been a lot of hard work with numerous growing pains but we think we have it mostly figured out. Back to the quote at the top of this blog…during the weeks that this process was taking shape, I think I have heard every underlined sentence except for that least important word “I”. Teamwork is hard but we all have each other’s back, we all respect these beekeepers and want the best for them, we all care about the bees and knowing that we are making a difference more than makes up for all the hard work.

The team at work

Be Involved. Be Included.Bee Informed.