Greetings from NorCal!

Hi everyone!

I am the newest member of the Northern California Tech Transfer Team, and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and say I’m very excited to be part of the Bee Informed Partnership! I’ve only been here in the Chico/Oroville area for a couple weeks but have already learned a lot from being out in the field with some of the local beekeepers and fellow Bee Team member Rob Snyder. Being a native Midwesterner, it is fascinating to be in a completely different region of the country and seeing the bees (and beekeepers!) adapt to the environment here. Even though the grassy hillsides look somewhat dried out and barren this time of year, the bees seem to be holding their own, bringing in pollen from creekside flowers and collecting oak dew.

According to the homeowner, this colony moved in over 5 years ago and is still going strong!

According to the homeowner, this colony moved in over 5 years ago and is still going strong!

The other day I noticed a nice bee tree only a block from my house, and it’s been fascinating watching the activity every time I pass by. Chico strikes me as a great place for urban bees because of the abundance of flowers nearly year-round, availability of water from the creeks running through town, and large undeveloped areas within the city limits (Bidwell Park and a number of community gardens). I’ll have to see if I can talk my landlord into letting me set up my own hive in the backyard…

Besides learning the basics of sampling, meeting the beekeepers, and getting familiar with the BIP data collection/storage systems, I had an interesting opportunity recently to help give a little lesson in Varroa/Nosema analysis. Our Bee Team was brought in to demonstrate to three apiary workers how to process a sample of bees and come up with a mite count and Nosema levels. It was a great way for me to solidify what I’ve learned so far, as well as practice my rusty Spanish translation skills! When we left they had a much better understanding of how to use the microscope, scale and other equipment.

Getting a quick lesson on how to count Nosema spores.

Getting a quick lesson on how to count Nosema spores.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read my first blog! I look forward to sharing my observations and experiences with you all as I continue working on this project. Bee well!


Written By: Ben Sallmann

Ben Sallmann has written 10 post in this blog.

As part of the Pacific Northwest Tech Transfer Team, I work closely with beekeepers and breeders in the region and assist with colony assessments, disease monitoring, sampling for pesticides and viruses, and testing breeder colonies for hygienic behavior. My interest in bees began as a child working on our family’s apiary/organic vegetable farm in Wisconsin, and I joined BIP in the summer of 2013 in order to be more involved with hands on research that benefits beekeepers in a tangible way. I began my work with BIP based out of the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Butte County, CA, but in 2017 moved to Oregon to work with the Pacific Northwest team, based out of OSU in Corvallis.