- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The Western Apicultural Society's annual conference.
Two bee specialists at the University of California, Davis, will be among the speakers when the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) meets Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Salem, Ore.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and WAS co-founder and past president, will speak, as will bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
The conference takes place in Salem's Red Lion Hotel, 3301 Market Street. On Tuesday, Aug. 31. Cobey will discuss her research on building a better bee. On Wednesday, Sept. 1, Mussen will offer hints for backyard beekeepers.
The lineup of speakers includes beekeepers, a conservation specialist, a college dean, a seed grower, almond growers, an integrated pest management specialist and the editor of the Bee Culture magazine (Kim Flottum), among others.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD), the mysterious malady in which adult bees abandon the hive, leaving behind the queen, brood and food stores, will be one of the timely topics. Tim Lawrence, formerly of UC Davis and now of Washington State University (and husband of Susan Cobey), will speak on "Human Dimensions of CCD and Its Impact on the Honey Bee" on Thursday, Sept. 2.
WAS and UC Davis are closely intertwined. Mussen and fellow apiculturist Norman Gary (now an emeritus UC Davis professor) co-founded WAS in 1978 as a non-profit, educational organization designed specifically to meet the educational needs of beekeepers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming; the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon; and the states of northern Mexico.
Mussen and Gary are among five UC Davis bee specialists who have received the WAS outstanding service award. Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (now deceased) received the award in 1980; Robert Page in 1989; Norman Gary in 1990; Eric Mussen in 1991; Christine Peng in 2002; and Susan Cobey in 2009. Page (now with Arizona State University), Gary and Peng are all emeriti professors.
Meanwhile, registration is under way for the 2010 WAS conference. This is definitely the place to "bee."