Packing for Sampling Trips

As Rob prepares to take one last trip to California (early May) to complete the field work for the National Honey Bee Survey I was reminded of this Gigapan. I chose to post this panorama because it illustrates the kind of thought and time that goes into our sampling trips. Keep in mind that this is only a picture of the electronic equipment we bring with us when we travel. There is much more that needs to be prepared and packaged before we can leave to complete field work. To view snapshots that describe what each of these items are and why I have packed…

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Honey Bee Autopsy

It has been nearly four years since I began working for Penn State University under the supervision of Dennis vanEngelsdorp. I have done just about every task, duty, or job in our lab since then. My responsibilities as a technician range from collecting and analyzing samples to shipping and receiving samples, as well as cataloging, processing, and analyzing them. Job responsibilities have come and gone over the days, weeks, months, and years as an employee of the University. Just as I learned a new skill Dennis was always there pushing me to learn another and another and another… One of the duties I was originally…

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In the field: National Honey Bee Survey

This post comes in from Rob Snyder. This is a gigapan of Pat Stayer's Queen Production operation. In the image they are breaking up large colonies into smaller nucleus colonies. These nucleus colonies will have a queen cell placed inside each hive. The nucleus colonies are then located in apiaries called "Mating Yards." This yard is where queens will successfully mate, die or be superseded. After approximately 10 days in warm sunny weather, beekeepers will check the nucleus colony to observe the status of the queen. See snapshots and more detail about making up these sample kits at We were here to sample 8…

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Overwhelming Participation!

Late-breaking news for supporters of The Bee Informed Partnership – as of Sunday night, we have had over 4,000 participants in the Winter Loss Survey and almost 2,500 participants in the Beekeeper Management Survey!  This has exceeded our expectations and we hope to keep those surveys coming. We know that it is a tough decision whether to do your taxes first or take our surveys, but we aren’t asking for any money so perhaps that will sway your decision.  Please remember that the surveys are only open for 1 more week (closing on the same day that taxes are due – April 18th).  Thank you…

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Catching Queens

This week I spent some time with Leonard Pankratz and his crew catching queens. It was a bit chilly and cloudy in the morning, but about noon the clouds parted and it got to be about 75 and sunny. I worked in a sleeve-less shirt and veil-less along side Linda Pankratz. After the unseasonably cold and rainy beginning to this years queen breeding season that set everyone back about two weeks, it was fantastic to work in the sun catching some lovely queens and absorbing the sun.

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Katie Reports from the Field

The other day I did hygienic testing on Buzz Landon’s colonies while they were in the almonds. He brought his two little boys on the day we checked the test. They wore little mittens to protect their hands, but couldn't resist taking them off to poke at the bees. We rode around from pallet-to-pallet on a golf cart that the kids adored and would always yell for their dad to go faster. Buzz would occasionally let them puff smoke on the bees. He laughed and asked me “How many dads do you think let their kids smoke?”

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