President’s Address to AIA 2011

Below is an address I recently gave to the AIA First off, I would like to thank the people who worked hard to arrange this meeting. You have all noticed that we are a bit decentralized out here, and I’m sure you can imagine the logistics to organize shuttles, security, catering, in addition to planning a great program were not easy. Planning required a lot of effort and time. AIA Vice President Paul Cappy, USDA-APHIS Honey Bee Program Manager Robyn Rose and USDA-ARS Entomologist Bart Smith have done an extraordinary amount of work to plan this joint meeting with AAPA and ABRC. They deserve our…

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Bees in bare almonds

Right now, beekeepers are pretty much done with moving bees across the country and into the almonds. The beekeepers we work with are doing the same thing - moving colonies from their different yard locations across Northern California into the almonds. Now, everyone is anxiously awaiting bloom. The Blue Diamond Almond company has a website to estimate bloom time. Almonds are so dependent on bees to get a crop and beekeepers are paid a premium price for their colonies (why some beekeepers come in from the east coast), so this is a really anxious time for both parties. Everyone just hopes for good enough weather…

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Testing for Hygienic Behavior

Last Thursday we started with our first two days of breeder sampling at Pendell-Apiaries in Stonyford, CA. Breeder sampling includes colony assessments, hygienic, Varroa, Nosema, and virus testing. Katie did a tremendous job in the field explaining and guiding the team through the tasks that needed to be completed during the two days we spent in Stonyford, CA. We will continue the breeder sampling through the month of February and into March until we visit all 16 beekeepers participating in the project. Click on the pictures below for a description of what was going on in each.  

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Pesticide Cost-Share

Dr. Maryann Frazier at Penn State received funding from Project Apis mellifera (PAm) to run pesticide samples for interested beekeepers at a 50% discount of $80 for each samples for miticides or $142 per sample for the full screen of 171 pesticides, compared to $160 for miticides or $284 for the full 171 pesticide analysis without the cost-share. Beekeepers can send samples of wax, pollen, adult bees, brood, or nectar for analysis. In two to three weeks after the samples are sent in, the beekeeper will be provided with a report of the pesticides in samples, along with information about how those levels compare to…

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American Beekeeping Federation Conference

I spent the last week in Las Vegas at the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) annual conference. Some years the American Honey Producers, the Apiary Inspectors of America, the American Beekeeping Research Conference, and the ABF all meet together. Joint meetings are the best meetings since so many people make it out. If the meetings are separate, then you either have to choose one meeting or spend more than one week traveling. This was not a joint meeting, so attendance was down, but there were some fantastic talks. I am going to give a quick summary of some the talks I saw and summarize what I…

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Hive Beetles in Paradise

My primary purpose for going to Hawaii was to share and show Hawaiian bee breeders the type of work we are doing with the California bee breeders, and to see if they would be interested in participating in the future. It was also to train the two women I talked about in my last post, Danielle Downey Lauren Rusert, to assess colonies and take samples the same way we do in CA. This way, they will be able to work with the bee breeders in the future and be a part of the BIP. I visited a total of four beekeepers during my visit and…

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Coconuts

I ended my day last Thursday by using a hive tool to break into a fresh coconut with Lauren Rusert on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. From  December 4-18, I was in Hawaii working with the queen breeders to introduce them to the BIP program. Lauren and her boss Danielle Downey run an apiary program for the beekeepers across the Hawaiian Islands. They run tests for beekeepers, certify for shipping queens, teach classes, take samples for the National Survey, monitor for swarms, along with a host of other tasks. The program has been in operation for just over a year, and they have really established…

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What’s Happening…

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…

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Samoan Honey

Dan Gordon, a hobby beekeeper and his wife, Becky, were kind enough to have me over for dinner last week. Besides cooking the best squash dish I ever had, he gave me a jar of honey. This was no ordinary honey. He purchased it from the only commercial beekeeper in the small country of Samoa in the South Pacific. The beekeeper owns Tropical Honey Company. The jar label reads “This is pure natural tropical honey, with a unique flavor, is gathered from a variety of nectar sources found in the plantations and rainforests on the islands of Samoa”. It is pretty good. Now, imagine being…

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