- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
But it will be bee-boggling--all bee-boggling--when the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) meets Sept. 5-8 at the University of California, Davis for its 40th annual conference.
So much to do. So much to hear. So much to talk about.
It's a conference filled with educational topics, networking, field trips, a silent auction, door prizes and just plain "bee" fun, says honey bee guru and WAS co-founder Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who is serving his sixth term as president.
Professor Norm Gary, now professor emeritus of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, spearheaded the founding of WAS and served as its first president. Mussen joined him as the founding vice president and Becky Westerdahl as secretary-treasurer. Westerdahl, then a postdoctoral scholar, is now an Extension nematologist. Both Gary and Mussen will be speaking at the conference.
Mussen, who retired from UC Davis in 2014 but maintains an office at Briggs Hall, said most events will take place in the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and surrounding facilities associated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Off-site tours are also planned during the afternoons.
Just a few of the topics and speakers:
- “Seasonal Honey Bee Colony Population Cycle” – Gene Brandi, Los Banos, Calif.
- "Moderated Honey Tasting” – Amina Harris, director, UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center
- "Keeping Your Bees Alive and Growing” Larry Connor, Kalamazoo, Mich.
- "Rapidly Changing Bee Scene” – Bee Culture magazine editor Kim Flottum, Medina, Ohio
- "Honey Bee Queens or Varroa Control" – Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- "Honey Bee Behavior or Distribution of Africanized Honey Bees in California" – Brian Johnson, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- “Beneficial Microbes for Honey Bees at the Intersection of Nutrition and Defense – Slava Strogolov, Milwaukee, Wisc.
- "Pesticide Toxicity Testing with Adult and Immature Honey Bees” with Eric Mussen, moderator
- "Changes in Nectar Affecting Foraging” – Rachel Vannette, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Conference participants will tour the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Häagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven (half-acre bee friendly garden), both part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and Mann Lake Ltd., and Z Specialty Foods, both of Woodland.
Of special interest are the subgroup tours on Thursday, Sept. 7 that cycle through the Laidlaw facility, aka "Bee Biology Faciilty," and the nearby bee garden:
- Various beehive iterations – Bernardo Niño, staff, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Determining levels of Nosema or Varroa infestation – Randy Oliver, Grass Valley, Calif.
- Studying native bee foraging in screen houses – Neal Williams, faculty,UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and his team
- Studying plant flower selection in open field plots south of bee garden, Neal Williams and his team, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Preparing honey bees for molecular Africanized Honey Bees studies or behavioral studies – Brian Johnson, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Selecting for, and maintaining, a bee garden – Christine Casey, staff, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who manages the Häagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven
Among the other topics: The "Next Generation Beekeepers” session in the Sensory Building, Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road. This event will include beer, music, networking and an interactive group session.
UC Davis artist Steve Dana created the conference T-shirt featuring a bee on a high wheeler bicycle or penny-farthing, symbolizing UC Davis. The t-shirt can be ordered on the WAS website athttp://www.westernapiculturalsociety.org. The conference registration form, speaker program and other information are online.
WAS, a non-profit organization, represents mainly small-scale beekeepers in the western portion of North America, from Alaska and the Yukon to California and Arizona. Beekeepers across North America will gather to hear the latest in science and technology pertaining to their industry and how to keep their bees healthy.
Eric Mussen offers 10 reasons why one should attend the conference. See Bug Squad blog.
(Editor's Note: Initially on the schedule was Serge Labesque of Glen Ellen, who will be unable to participate. Gene Brandi of Los Banos will be speaking instead.)