This year and last, the commercial scale beekeepers that fill out the annual Winter Loss Survey had a chance at winning a sampling session with one of the Tech-Transfer Teams. Last year’s winner was Bob Miller in California. The year’s winner was Scott Jaynes.
Scott, his brother, and his father all run bees out of the same location in North Dakota and California. The are migratory beekeepers that produce honey in North Dakota and pollinate almonds in California. We met Scott, his brother, and some of his crew at the warehouse in Tioga, North Dakota. Liz and I went out to meet Scott and sample his colonies this August. The Jaynes crew was all busy taking honey supers off colonies and extracting the honey.
We went out to the first yard with Scott, where we talked about how we go through colonies, what we look for, the samples we take and what data we record. We took 40 samples total for Nosema and Varroa, 8 samples from each of 5 yards. We also took 10 samples to be processed for virus levels. Whenever we go out an sample, we also take one pollen sample from each yard to keep records on pesticide levels.
Scott’s samples are being processed, but he will soon receive a report that contains the following data for each of the colonies sampled: Varroa and Nosema levels, frames of bees, and brood pattern. In a couple months, he will receive a report showing the virus levels in the 10 colonies sampled and how those levels compare to other beekeepers in the US.
All in all, Liz and I had a great trip out! One of the best parts of this job is meeting different beekeepers and seeing how they run their colonies. Thank you for your participation, Scott!!