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.)
Imagine watching your honey bees gathering nectar from star thistle--which some beekeepers claim makes the best honey. (Yes, Centaurea solstitialis is an invasive weed. The love-hate relationship runs deep; farmers and environmentalists hate it; beekeepers love it.)
Then imagine you picking up one of the top prizes in the country for having the best honeycomb--made from star thistle honey.
That's what happened when Miss Bee Haven Honey of Brentwood, Calif., entered its honey in the national Good Foods Awards competition and won one of the top 2017 awards. Their bees, based in numerous locations, primarily forage in the San Francisco Bay Area and along the Delta.
Fast forward to today. There's still time to fill out the forms to enter your honey in the next Good Foods Awards competition; the deadline is Monday, July 31. Only the form--not the honey--is due July 31. The honey can be the August harvest, as the judging won't take place until Sept. 17 in San Francisco, said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, who coordinates the contest. She announced that awards will be given in four subcategories: Liquid and Naturally Crystallized, Creamed, Comb, and Infused Honey.
Dates to keep in mind, in addition to the July 31 entry deadline (see entry information and the full criteria for honey) are Sept. 17 when the blind tasting takes place in San Francisco (entrants will be asked to ship their product a week in advance; and October 2017 (high scoring products undergo sustainability vetting) and November 2017 (when finalists are announced).
Harris says there are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States. "The Good Food Awards," she said, "will showcase honeys most distinctive in clarity and depth of flavor, produced by beekeepers practicing good animal husbandry and social responsibility."
Harris and master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo are coordinating the honey committee, which also includes
- Emily Brown, Owner, AZ Queen Bee
- Mark Carlson, Beekeeping instructor and entomologist, Round Rock Honey Beekeeping School
- Kim Flottum, editor, Bee Culture Magazine
- Marina Marchese, Founder, The American Honey Tasting Society and co-author The Honey Connoisseur
- Terry Oxford, Owner, UrbanBee San Francisco
The 2017 winners who took home the bragging rights:
- Bee Girl, Bee Girl Honey, Oregon
- Bee Local, Bee Local Sauvie Honey, Oregon
- Bee Squared Apiaries, Rose Honey, Colorado
- Bees' Needs, Fabulous Fall, New York
- Bloom Honey Orange Blossom, California
- Gold Star Honeybees, Gold Star Honey, Maine
- Hani Honey Company, Raw Creamed Wildflower Honey, Florida
- Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California
- MtnHoney, Comb Honey Chunk, Georgia
- Posto Bello Apiaries, Honey, Maine
- Sequim Bee Farm, Honey, Washington
- Simmons Family Honey, Saw Palmetto Honey, Georgia
- Two Million Blooms, Raw Honey, Illinois
- UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince and Tree Blossom Honey, Napa, California
The Honey and Pollination Center is affiliated with the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For more information contact Amina Harris at (530) 754-9301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was the early 1980s. The invasive insect, better known as the medfly (Ceratitis capitata), threatened the state's multi-billion-dollar fruit and vegetable industry, leading to widespread detection, eradication and quarantine attempts. Aerial spraying of Malathion drew widespread protests.
Entomologist James R. Carey of the University of California, Davis, stepped forward to launch an informed, concerted and widespread effort to reveal the science about the invaders. His well-documented research in basic and applied aspects of invasion biology shows that these pests are established and cannot be eradicated.
Fast forward to today.
Carey, a distinguished professor of entomology with UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and an internationally recognized leader and distinguished scholar in invasion biology, will appear in a 32-minute interview on the nationally televised Through the Decades program on Monday, July 3.
Through the Decades, based in Chicago, is known for covering high-profile or important historical events. It is hosted by Bill Kurtis of National Public Radio's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me."
The interviewer "asked about the medfly program back in 80s, my involvement, and I talked a lot about how medfly really has never gone away," Carey related.
Tune in on Monday to hear the interview. Link to http://decades.com/wheretowatch/ to find the local program. In California, the show will be broadcast on KFAZ Fresno, KCBS Los Angeles, KOVR Sacramento and KPIX San Francisco. Through the Decades airs daily at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 a.m., Eastern Time, or 4 a.m., 10 a.m., 4 p.m., and 10 p.m., Pacific Time.
As one of the five members of the state's Medfly Science Advisory Panel, Carey testified in 1989 before the California State Assembly, which later convened as a “committee of the whole” (a high profile public hearing examining the handling of the eradication program) that the pest is established in California and eradication efforts are futile. Carey subsequently wrote two news and review pieces in Science, plus an article on its establishment. The New York Times' Retro Reports profiled him and his involvement in the medfly issue.
The American Entomologist journal, in its "Issues in Entomology," has just published a piece by Carey and colleagues Nikolas Papadopoulos and Richard Plant on "The 30-Year Debate on a Multi-Billion-Dollar Threat: Tephritid Fruit Fly Establishment in California." It begins with: "It is virtually impossible to overstate the seriousness of the tephritid fruit fly threat to the $25 billion California fruit and vegetable industry constituting over half of the overall $47 billion agriculture economy of the state. Consider these facts: a total of 17 different species of fruit flies have been detected in California, several of which are detected every few years and one of which is detected every year (Papadopoulos et al. 2013). More than 350 California cities have experienced fruit fly outbreaks, seven cities (e.g., Fresno, Bakersfield) of which are located in one of the world's most productive agricultural regions—the Central Valley."
Hmmm, run that by again?
We've all written "please-let-me-do-this-over-again" answers on our tests, right? Too much coffee, too little time, too much anxiety, and too little comprehension? And no spell-check or thought-check? Check!
Professor Lynn Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology--she's probably better known for her role as director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology--collects the strange, funny and odd answers that students pen on her tests in her Entomology 100 class.
Here's a sampling of her favorites from spring 2017:
- Locust go under behavioral, morphological, and physiological changes in a rapid amount of time with no warning.
- Because this is the lethal range of bed bugs, this will cause all of them to die without damaging or moving any furniture around the house.
- The danger of neonicotinoids are not in question, but rather there is still discussion on whether they are the primary source of alarm for honeybees when there are many other artificial chemicals they are equally exposed to.
- A large variety of evidence been presenting itself regarding this topic with many such papers contrasting what has previously been deemed certain.
- The spraying of insecticide is a very effective means of eliminating large areas of land where tsetse flies are commonly found.
- In understanding succession of insects, forensic entomologists can piece together the estimated time frame of when specific insects would have taken part in the decomposition of decaying carcasses and can provide a reasonable date of when the carcass would have died.
- This succession of insects is more important for dead carcasses that have been eaten off of for a long time.
- Seeing the oozing and blackened lesions, cysts, and tumors wrapping around its dead or dying victims, Europeans referred to plague as the Black Death, and they saw it as the end of the world.
- A disease such as this is easily dispersed by the vector flies and also infected mammals but especially in humans who, now more than ever, can travel long distances in very short periods of time.
- For example, C. thalictra, was first recorded participating in hematophagous behaviors when a scientist working on the project tested if the moth would feed on its finger.
- The number of those killed by bee sting is increasing yearly because of aggressive Africanized honeybees that are taking control of Texas.
- The idea that a minuscule mosquito could help transmit some of the most important pathogens of global diseases, was not an easy idea to grasp.
- On the head, they also have long, filiform antennae and mandibles for digestion and mating.
- In climates such as Sacramento, California native adults will begin to emerge in spring and summer months.
- Ants live a very foraging lifestyle, which allows them to have a mutualistic relationship with both insects and plants, as well as a parasitic relationship with their own kind.
- Today they use their large frame, powerful sting, and pure wit to dominate areas throughout Central and South America.
- Fleas do not "jump" like mammals do; fleas charge their elasticated legs with tensity, like a drawn bowstring, then shoot themselves through air.
- Due to their multi-stage, holometabolous lifecycle, fleas are not only talented at infesting their animal hosts, but also the dwellings of their hosts-such as houses, towns, cities, all of which harbor innumerable flea colonies.
- As Y. pestis grows in the proventriculus, they disturb the valvular function of the proventriculus, caushing a gut bloackage.
- Drones are distinguished from other bees in that they do not have a stinger.
- The fungi allows it to protect itself from harsh environment of the soil where it thrives.
- It is unknown if the hematophagous behavior is capable of transmitting disease between the same or different species, but if it were to, perhaps the safety from the moth would come into question giving this facilitative hematophagg ous group of organisms mirror like acknowledgment from that of obligatory hematophagous groups of organisms.
- Yet, the more feasible harm the moths would have on humans or other organisms' safety is in the agricultural realm.
- Nevertheless, bee stings can cause fatal effects on people in the United States; being among the direct deaths caused by animals since the allergic reaction of the poison kills 53 individuals every year.
- The female worker bees carry out large number tasks that are necessary for the continued existence of the hive thus they exist for six weeks due to constant laboring.
- These species are found exclusively in the Americas, or New World, and thrive throughout much of North and South America.
- Most species are seed harvesters, leaving the nest to collect resources and a variety of other items including dead or dying insects unlucky enough to wonder in their path.
- Though unclear how and when Triatoma infestans became domesticated, some predictions claim that it was first introduced into the human environment via vector transition from rodents inside their burrows to cave-like pre-Columbian peoples
- Killer bees can pursue people for more than a quarter mile when they are animated and antagonistic and die once they sting since the stingers are located at their abdomen.
Bees are known to prefer yellow and blue flowers, but pink suits them just fine, too.
- Two honey bees nearly collide over a pink zinnia.
- Another honey bee burrows into a pink oxalis.
- A young honey bee takes a liking to a pink begonia. Begonias aren't considered bee friendly flowers, but this bee buzzes to its own tune.
Meanwhile, the Western Apicultural Society (WAS), under the presidency of Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and Nematology, is gearing up for its 40th annual meeting, returning to its roots at UC Davis, and the major concern is bee health.
The conference takes place Sept. 5-8 and you're invited. Registration is now open.
Mussen, who retired as Extension apiculturist in 2014 after a 38-year career, is serving his sixth term as WAS president since 1984.
WAS, which serves the educational needs of beekeepers from 13 states, plus parts of Canada, was founded in 1977-78 for “the benefit and enjoyment of all beekeepers in western North America,” said Mussen, who retired as Extension apiculturist in 2014 after a 38-year career. As emeritus, he continues to maintain an office on the third floor of Briggs Hall, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The organization was the brainchild of apiculture professor Norm Gary (UC Davis faculty, 1962 to 1994), who patterned it after the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS). Gary participated in the EAS meetings as a graduate student at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., where he received his doctorate in apiculture in 1959.
Now why do we want our bees to "be in the pink?"
"In the pink!" means being in good health.