This November, several BIP team members headed to beautiful Santa Barbara, California, to attend the California State Beekeepers Association Annual Convention. The convention site was right next to the beach, the weather was perfect, and beekeepers were primed for an amazing in-person meeting, after having to go a year without due to 2020 COVID-19 restrictions. For Anne Marie, Matt and Rob it was really good to visit with so many California BIP member beekeepers, and to meet a few new beekeepers too. We especially enjoyed talking shop – in the hallways at the convention by day, and in the evenings over a drink, under a palm.
There were also many terrific talks given by researchers highlighting their recent work on a range of honey bee topics. BIP Tech Transfer Team Coordinator, Anne Marie Fauvel, danced her way through a great presentation, highlighting results from some of the research projects and field trials that BIP has undertaken over the last two years. Matt and Rob were in attendance and definitely clapped the loudest.
Some of the other CSBA convention presentation highlights include:
Dr. Michele Flenniken, Associate Professor at Montana State University, presented her latest research working with honey bee viruses, whilst simultaneously giving us a much-appreciated virology primer. One topic she covered that was particularly interesting was the potential for thymol, typically used as a miticide, to reduce honey bee viral loads.
Dr. Kelly Kulhanek, Postdoctoral scholar at Washington State University, presented data showing better bees coming out of indoor storage facilities than bees that were overwintered in California yards. However, bees in northern climates kept outside during the winter months seemed to do nearly as well as those kept indoors. She also explained how manipulating carbon dioxide concentrations in storage facilities could be another tool for controlling Varroa mites. As scientists like to say, more research needs to be done!
Dr. Ramesh Sagili, Associate Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University and BIP collaborator, presented updates on his latest projects focused on honey bee nutrition and sterols. Because of his research, protein supplements available to beekeepers will keep getting better and better. Plus, who knew a gram of fancy sterols costs $70,000?
Of course, no BIP trip would be complete without a visit to the local botanic gardens. Anne Marie, Mat and Rob were lucky enough to find a few hours where they could get some exercise at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens. The garden grounds are gorgeous, and the collection boasts some awesome native succulents and a grove of giant sequoias.
All in all, the convention was a great success! We look forward to seeing everyone again next year to provide updates on all of the exciting projects BIP has in store in 2022. And a special thanks to the California State Beekeepers Association for their continued research and travel support that helps make the work BIP accomplishes possible.