Last week Rob, Katie, and I traveled to Rohnert Park, CA for the California State Beekeepers Association Convention. The three of us presented Tuesday morning, introducing our work with California bee breeders. There were many good speakers at the convention whose work and presentations helped to spark conversation in the hallway. The fun part, for me, was being able to interact with many beekeepers and scientists who had come to discuss anything and everything pertaining to bees.
This week we had some friends from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture visit. Apiculture Specialist Danielle Downey and
Technician Lauren Rusert crossed the Pacific to have a look at the ways in which we have been working with California bee breeders. We spent most of the day on Monday in a meeting where we picked each other’s brains about things that were happening with beekeepers in our respective states. Tuesday was spent in the field assessing and sampling about a dozen
artificially inseminated queens. It was a good opportunity to show the team from Hawaii what attributes of the hive we
observe and record while going through the hive to collect an alcohol sample from the brood nest to be processed for Varroa and Nosema.
Our fall sampling is finished which means it’s time to catch up on all of the things that have been pushed to the way side. I am looking forward to getting some dissecting done. I have been collecting queens since I got here and am anxious to start cutting them up. We will also need to start gearing up for our winter/spring sampling which will include hygienic testing and virus sampling along with the alcohol sample and colony assessment. The upcoming sampling is more detailed but the number of colonies we will sample drops from 100 (in the fall) to 50 (in winter/spring).
This fall was our first round of sampling as a team of three and a good opportunity for us to work out logistics. I think things have gone well and that we have made good progress dialing in our field work. We have also added a team (BRL Team) to the east coast that (amongst other things) processes our samples out of the USDA Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. The BRL Team has done an excellent job turning around samples, generating reports to the beekeepers, and getting them back to us to report…The beekeepers have all received their reports and we are hearing positive feedback about the value of having a Tech-Team to work with and bounce ideas off of.