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…

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South Florida Bee College

Hi everybody, My name is Liana Teigen and I recently joined BIP to be a part of the FL/GA tech team. I am based out of the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab (HBREL) at the University of Florida in Gainesville where I’ve had the pleasure to work with Jamie Ellis for the past several years on everything bees from Varroa research to native bee conservation.  For the most part I’ve worked on sustaining native bee populations for crop pollination and while I run my own bees on the side, I am thrilled to get back to honey bees full time!  HBREL is primarily an extension…

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Spring Sampling in Northern California 2013

Sampling large numbers of beekeepers takes considerable behind-the-scenes planning and work and this aspect of the project usually goes unseen and is underappreciated. I want to shed some light on what we all do to prepare for a hectic and fast-paced sampling season. Our spring sampling kits arrived from the east coast in several boxes. Team member Karen Roccasecca in Pennsylvania put the kits together consisting of a labeled alcohol bottle and virus sample bottle in individual bags. The individual bags contain both bottles and were grouped in 12 then placed into larger bags and eventually boxed. She then shipped them to our team at…

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How are your bees?

Most of the commercial beekeepers in the Midwest move their colonies to southern locations for the winter, primarily to California for the pollination of almonds. I get to go where the bees go.  I spent the last couple of weeks sampling beekeeper sin the San Joaquin valley in California. Beekeepers from across the nation truck bees to California to place them in the almond orchards. Just driving around, you can see all sorts of bee trucks. Most often, the truck drivers will unload in holding yards or staging yards where the colonies will wait until placement in the almond orchards. I attended meetings held by…

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Flora at Joshua Tree National Park

Some of my favorite memories of the great outdoors in 2012 include sunny days spent in Joshua Tree National Park last November. Having never been, I was amazed at the diversity of plants to be seen. Situated in both the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, the park has a multitude of cacti and shrubs as well as some junipers and oaks at higher elevations. The desert shrubs have really grown on me as, in addition to their varied appearances and the stunning habitats in which they are found, they also have excellent names. For example, Ocotillo, the common name for Fouquieria splendens, just rolls off the tongue.…

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Spring Sampling Season

Our spring sampling season is almost finished (in Northern CA, spring starts in January - coming from the Midwest, I initially found that very confusing) . It has been a marathon to try and get all the bees sampled before the queen breeding season starts. We've been sampling colonies for Varroa, Nosema, viruses, and hygienic behavior that the beekeepers picked out as potential queen mother colonies. The data is only really useful if they get it prior to the start of their grafting, so we have been working pretty much non-stop since the end of January to get the information to them in time. We…

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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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The Promised Land

This past week has been incredibly busy. We just started our major sampling for beekeepers – collecting about 100 samples in alcohol for Nosema and Varroa and recording information for each of the 100 sampled colonies like frames of bees, queen status, colony weight, temperament, bee color, and any diseases. The goal is to help them choose colonies to breed the next generation of queens. Queen breeding season doesn’t start until the end of February, so we are helping them get a jump start on grading colonies. Last Wednesday, a reporter, Robin Wise, from program called The Promised Land came out to the first beekeeper…

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Origins

On this blog, I will share the work I am doing with bee breeders in Northern California. However, I would to give a more complete story through a three-part blog of how I got here, what I am doing now, and where I hope this project will go. Origins Bee breeding if the most interesting part of beekeeping. There is so much to learn with all the complexities of how to choose breeder queens, how to maintain lines, and different ways to use the bee’s biology to raise new queen bees.  I was one of Dr. Marla Spivak’s students at the University of Minnesota, and…

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