The summer edition includes Bernardo Niño's article, "Educational Apiary at UC Davis Is A-Buzz."
"After much preparation and planning, we finally established an educational apiary here at the UC Davis Bee Facility," he wrote. "The main goal of this apiary is to provide beekeepers of all levels with an opportunity to experience a variety of hive types. We have been teaching beekeeping courses for awhile now and we always get asked about hives other than Langstroth. So we have finally made the first step towards providing a comprehensive demonstration of the different ways to keep honey bees. If you were to come by the apiary right now, you would get a chance to see a Kenyan Top Bar hive, Warré hive, Langstroth hive, and even a Langstroth hive modified with Flow™ Hive frames. Next season we are excited to add the Hungarian Rotating hive, as well as plastic and polystyrene hives." Bernardo Niño also offers a quick review of what these hives are.
Other articles feature:
Africanized Bee Testing. UC Davis does not test honey bee samples to determine if they are Africanized. But Elina Niño lists some facilities that do.
Do Bees Have a Personality? "I have been asked, jokingly, of course, if I call the bees in a colony by their names. I would laugh and maybe even say a few names like 'Bee-anca' and 'Bee-atrix.' Doctoral candidate Cameron Jasper provides information.
A Few Notes About 'Our Colonies.' This year we partnered with a local beekeeper to complete the second year of our project of evaluating various biomiticides for Varroa management.
Let's Talk About American Foulbrood. Over the past few months, I heard from several beekeepers that they've been finding American Foulbrood (AFB) in their hives.
Is Honey 'Bee Vomit'? Extension apiculturist (emeritus) Eric Mussen is a guest columnist. The answer? "In a word, 'No.' Honey is neither bee vomit nor bee barf."
Kids' Corner: Bees Recognize Human Faces. Do you have a hard time remembering names of people you meet? I do, too--I'm MUCH better at remembering faces. And guess what--bees can do it, too.
To stay-up-to-date with the most current news from the E. L. Niño lab, access the lab's Facebook page. You'll learn about upcoming beekeeping courses, as well as the Master Beekeeper course.
The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility is located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
If you're a beekeeper and have kept bees for at least a year, you might want to become a Master Beekeeper.
The E. L. Niño Bee Lab, directed by Extension Apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, University of California, Davis, is now recruiting for its first-ever California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP). The deadline to fill out the application form is Wednesday, June 1. Notifications of acceptance will be made by June 15.
Its mission: “To provide science-based education to future stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. The apprentice level is designed to build a solid foundation of basic beekeeping skill and knowledge. When participants achieve this level they may opt to stop or continue on to the more advanced levels: journeyman and master levels.”
“We are extremely excited about launching this program which will bring timely and most current beekeeping and other pollinator information to the stakeholders in California," said coordinator Bernardo Niño. "With the increased interest in beekeeping and need for continued public education we really want to engage those who love bees as much as we do be the true bee ambassadors in their communities."
"And with unique challenges for beekeeping in California--that is, about two million bee colonies end up in California in February each year for almond pollination--it was time to have a California-based program," he said. "We are here to support the bees and the beekeepers and we can't wait to start this new partnership."
Participants must own or have managed a minimum of one colony for at least one year. They must have at least one registered hive where possible (certain counties do not have the ability to provide this service to the beekeepers; this will be confirmed prior to acceptance into the program).
A $200 program fee will be due no later than July 1. This cost covers a single exam fee, CAMBP study guide, priority access and program discount to all CAMBP-approved courses at UC Davis.
Individuals must score 75 percent or higher on both a written and field practical examination.
Upon completion, apprentice level beekeepers will at the minimum be able to complete the following practical tasks:
- Light and appropriately operate a smoker (including fire safety crucial for California)
- Identify different casts in the colony
- Confidently open and examine a colony
- Properly manage the colony throughout the year
- Be able to identify and take care of any issues that the colony encounters
- Identify and build/assemble standard hive equipment
- Be able to properly feed colonies if needed
- Prevent colony robbing
- Monitor for pathogens and pests
- Re-queen a colony
They are also expected to engage in community service activities, such as assisting members of youth organizations with bee-related projects; giving a public demonstration on beekeeping at a fair, festival or other similar event; or successfully mentoring a new beekeeper through at least one season.
The program is so far supported by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Kaiser Family Foundation, Mann Lake LTD, and Gilroy Beekeepers Association.
For more information, including the application form, access http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/CAMBP.html or call (530) 380-BUZZ (2899).
Make way for the new beekeepers! Or "beeks," as they fondly call themselves in the apiary industry.
A short course on "Planning Ahead for Your First Hive" drew an enthusiastic group of prospective beekeepers last Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
Aimed at those with little or no beekeeping experience, the all-day course included lectures and hands-on experience. The instructors--Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, Bernardo Niño, Charley Nye and Patricia "Tricia" Bohls--explained what beekeeping is all about. The lectures covered honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to start your own colony, and maladies of the hive. The participants also learned how to build a hive, how to install a package, how to inspect your hive, and how to monitor for varroa mites.
This was the first in a series of several beekeeping courses that began Feb. 13 and will conclude on March 20. All classes are filled, but folks can contact Bernardo Niño at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-380-BUZZ (2899) to be put on a list.
Meanwhile, the instructors are busily gearing up for these courses, all filled:
Working Your Colonies on Feb. 20: For novice beekeepers who already have a colony and/or have taken a previous course, and seek to develop their skills. Lectures will cover maladies and biology review, products of the hive, and troubleshooting problems in the colony. Hands-on information will encompass colony evaluations, monitoring and managing pests, feeding your colony, and honey extraction.By the end of the course, participants will be knowledgeable about evaluating colonies, solving common beekeeping problems, extracting honey and wax, trapping pollen and propolis, and treating colonies for pests, the instructors said.
Queen-Rearing Techniques: (two separate sessions) March 12-13 and March 19-20: Topics will include honey bee queen biology, basics of selective honey bee breeding programs, various queen-rearing techniques, testing hygienic behavior, and assessing varroa mite levels. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and practice multiple methods for queen rearing. “We will go through a step-by-step process for queen rearing via grafting, including setting up cell builders and mating nucs,” Elina Niño said.
The Niño lab launched a website last year at http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/, and administers a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elninolab/. In addition, Elina Niño writes a bi-monthly apiculture newsletter, free and online.
Registration is now underway for the “Beekeeping Basics Workshop,” sponsored by the Highland Springs Resort and SuperOrganism, a non-profit, San Anselmo-based organization that books speakers and does bee projects.
The event, limited to 25 registrants, takes place from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 27 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Highland Springs Resort.
Conference speakers will include Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Elina Niño discuss how bees communicate and beekeeping basics and offer hands-on instruction. Bernardo Niño will cover beekeeping basics—from how to examine a colony to how to split a hive.
Other speakers include
- Megan Mahoney of the national Bee Informed Partnership Tech Transfer Team, who will discuss top bar beekeeping and what forage to plant.
- Mark Brandenburg, an agronomist whose topic is soil development for forage grasses.
- Jerry Draper of SuperOrganism and a 30-year beekeeper who will share his experiences on “what an inexpensive electronic hive can reveal.”
- M.E.A. McNeil of SuperOrganism and a master beekeeper and journalist writing for The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture who will provide insight into what's happening for bees nationally--on both a grassroots and national level.
- Ricardo Placienta, Highland Springs Resort beekeeper who will discuss his philosophy of beekeeping and provide a hands-on look at the bees.
- Tina Kummerle, beekeeper and manager of the Highland Springs Resort who will introduce the attendees to the history of the resort, its plantings and information on the bees
The Highland Springs Resort, located just west of Palm Springs, is an historic site that once served as a stage coach stop. Its 2400 organically maintained acres include hiking trails and large lavender beds that provide an ideal home for bees.
"I think this is a rare opportunity for people to have face time with these expert beekeepers, the Niño and Megan Mahoney," said McNeil, who as the co-founder of SuperOrganism, lined up the speakers.
Of the venue, she said: "It's a beautiful place with enormous organic acreage, hoping to promote beekeeping."
For more information, access the beekeeping conference on the Highland Springs Resort website. It includes information on conference fees, accommodations and meals. The conference fees will go toward travel expenses of the speakers.
Bee scientists at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, are offering a total of four short courses from Feb. 13 to March 20. All will be at the Laidlaw facility, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. They will be comprised of lectures in the conference room and hands-on exercises in the apiary.
Instructors are Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño; staff research associate Bernardo Niño; facility manager/staff research associate Charley Nye; and graduate student Tricia Bohls.
The first short course, "Planning Ahead for Your First Hives," is set Saturday, Feb. 13. "This is perfect for those who have little or no beekeeping experience and would like to obtain more knowledge and practical skills to move on to the next step of owning and caring for bees," says Elina Niño. You'll learn about honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to start your colony, and maladies of the hive. You'll be shown how to install a package, how to inspect your hive and how to monitor for those dreaded varroa mites. The $95 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch, and refreshments
Next will be the "Queen Rearing Techniques" short course. Due to popular demand, there will be two sessions and you can select the one on Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13 or the one the following weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, March 19-20. You'll learn about honey bee queen biology, basics of selective honey bee breeding programs, various queen-rearing techniques, testing hygienic behavior, and assessing varroa mite levels. You'll have the opportunity to learn about and practice multiple methods for queen rearing.
“We will go through a step-by-step process for queen rearing via grafting, including setting up cell builders and mating nucs,” Elina Niño said. At the end of the course, you'll be able to check your grafting success. If you live in the area, you can take home queen cells from the workshop. You'll also learn techniques to assess varroa mite loads and to evaluate hygienic behavior. Each session also will include a guided tour of the adjacent Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden that attracts many pollinators and is filled with art from the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and entomology/art classes taught by Diane Ullman and Donna Billick.
The $350 registration fee for each queen-rearing session covers the cost of course materials (including a set of grafting equipment: grafting frame with bars, plastic queen cups and a grafting tool), breakfast, lunch and refreshments on the days of the short course.
Interested? For more information, contact Bernardo Niño at email@example.com or call (530) 380-BUZZ (2899). The Niño lab website is at http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu/, and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elninolab/. The bi-monthly apiculture newsletter, written by Elina Niño, is online.