- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's rare for any one person to serve five terms as president of an organization.
But such is the case with Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who took the helm of the Western Apicultural Society for five terms.
In fact, he and professor-apiculturist Norman Gary, now retired, founded the organization back 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."
Fast forward to today.
Mussen is one of two UC Davis bee specialists who will address the group at its annual conference, set Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in the Red Lion Inn, Salem, Ore.
He wiill speak on “Hints for Successful Backyard Beekeeping” at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1 during the session on Urban/Backyard Beekeepers.”
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, who heads the breeding program at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis and also is a researcher at Washington State University, will discuss “Why We Need Better Bees” at 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30.
Cobey also will speak on “Progress on Breeding Superior Bees” at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
Mussen, who received his doctorate in entomology from the University of Minnesota, writes the bimonthly Extension newsletter, from the UC Apiaries, considered one of the best and most informative in the industry.
Cobey, who studied with noted bee geneticist Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. at UC Davis, returned to UC Davis in 2007 after 17 years as staff apiarist at Ohio State University. She received her entomology degree from the University of Delaware.
In the early 1980s, Cobey developed the New World Carniolans stock, a dark race of honey bees by back-crossing stocks collected from throughout the United States and Canada to create a more pure strain. A current focus of her research includes selecting and enhancing this stock to show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases.
Those interested in attending the conference may obtain more information from the WAS website.