- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Eric Mussen of UC Davis, who is serving his sixth term as president of the Western Apicultural Society (WAS), says those registering early will save $50. “There will still be an opportunity to register after July 31 but you won't get the ‘early bee' special,” he said.
The early registration fee for the full conference is $175, while the cost after July 31 is $225. One-day registration is also offered at $60. The conference is open to all interested persons.
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.
Most events, Mussen said, will take place at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and surrounding facilities associated with the Department of Entomology and Nematology. Off-site tours are also planned during the afternoons. Mussen retired as California's Extension apiculturist in 2014, but, as emeritus, continues to maintains his office at Briggs Hall, UC Davis.
At the conference, Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine, will share his insights on the "The Rapidly Changing Bee Scene"; Les Crowder will discuss managing honey bees in top bar hives, and Larry Connor will cover "Keeping Your Bees Alive and Growing.” Several speakers will present mini-sessions outdoors at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and the adjacent Häagen Dazs Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Both are on Bee Biology Road.
"The beekeeping and honey industries are, and have been extremely volatile,” said Flottum, editor of Bee Culture for more than 30 years. “That's what happens when you have animals, the weather, government and humans in the mix.” He will discuss “what's going on at the moment that beekeepers should be aware of, and more importantly, what to expect in the near and not so near future that will affect bees, beekeepers and honey, queen and honey bee production."
Flottum also authored three books on beginning, intermediate and advanced beekeeping and one on honey plants and honey tasting, and is working on several more books. He is the editor of BEEkeeping, Your First Three Years since its inception two years ago. He keeps about a dozen colonies at his home in Northeast Ohio, where he lives with his wife, chickens and of course, the bees.
"Kim Flottum has been a stalwart in U.S. beekeeping for decades,” Mussen said. “He ferrets out information on national, regional, and local beekeeping happenings and disseminates the news in various places, depending upon his role at the time.”
Other presenters will include beekeeper Serge Labesque of Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, who advocates selecting local bee stocks that can handle the problems of current-day beekeeping. Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center will lead a formal honey tasting, and Sarah Red-Laird of Oregon, executive director of Bee Girl and the American Beekeeping Federation's Kids and Bees Program director, will present a breakout session on “Beekeeping Education/Honey Bee Conservation."
UC Davis is a world-renowned entomology/apicultural facility. Among the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty are Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist; pollination ecologist Neal Williams; bee scientists Brian Johnson and Rachel Vannette, and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor. Niño and Williams are on the speakers' list.
UC Davis artist Steve Dana created a T-shirt for the conference featuring a bee on a high wheeler bicycle or penny-farthing, symbolizing UC Davis. The t-shirt can be ordered on the WAS website at http://www.westernapiculturalsociety.org. The conference registration form, speaker program and other information are online.
Eric Mussen offers 10 reasons why one should attend the conference. See the Bug Squad blog, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.