- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's because bees don't fly until the temperature hits around 55, and the thermometer on that wintry day (Jan. 7) refused to budge over 47.
The facility, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, is located next to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
It slides Davis into the national spotlight as "Pollination Central" and "The Bee Capital of the World." The Davis facility is the newest of five USDA bee research labs in the United States and as the only one in California.
“This is the only USDA bee research team in California—where the action is,” said emcee Paul Pratt, research leader of the Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Lab. USDA maintains honey bee research facilities in Tucson, Ariz.; Beltsville, M.D., Baton Rouge, La., and Stoneville, Miss.
“The opening of the USDA-ARS bee lab marks a new opportunity for USDA and UC Davis entomologists to collaborate and investigate serious problems that affect stakeholders,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “We are very fortunate that the lab was built at UC Davis.”
Plans for the USDA-ARS facility began five years ago at a stakeholders' conference in the Laidlaw facility. Attendees at the November 2015 meeting targeted honey bee health, primarily varroa mites, pesticides and nutrition.
Park-Burris, of Jackie Park-Burris Queens, Palo Cedro--her family has worked with UC Davis researchers for more than 80 years--cut the ribbon with four other stakeholders: almond pollination consultant Robert Curtis of Carmichael, former director and associate director (now retired) of Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California; Kevin Adee of Bruce, S.D., president of the American Honey Producers' Association; Brad Pankratz of Can-Am Apiaries, Orland, Calif.; and Darren Cox of Cox Honey Farms, Logan, Utah, a past president of the American Honey Producers' Association.
Pratt introduced newly hired research entomologists, Arathi Seshadri and Julia Fine, who form the Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit at Davis. They are dedicated toward developing technology that improves colony survivorship through long-term studies of multiple stress factors, he said. "They will develop and transfer integrated biologically based approaches for the management of invasive species and the improvement of pollinator health.”
The speakers centered their presentations around cooperation, camaraderie, and, yes, the cold! (See new story and images on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.)
Park-Burris said it well:
"The California State Beekeepers' Association is overwhelmed that we have a USDA lab to collaborate with our UC Davis lab. We hope there's a lot of collaboration going on. We really look forward to that. As a stakeholder, my family has been raising queens just north of here (Palo Cedro) for over 80 years. Dr. Laidlaw had worked with my uncle and my father. He's been at my house. And he's been through my bees. Julia (Fine) has even already been up to see the queen farm.” (See more information on Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr., 1907-2003, the father of honey bee genetics, on the UC Davis website.)
“The queen bee breeding industry could definitely use you guys,” Park-Burris continued. “California has all the issues because everybody comes here. …it's very important that we have this lab here and how grateful we are that you have all gone to the work to make this happen."
“We look forward to solving some of our problems—varroa, varroa, varroa--and forage and pesticide interaction,” Park-Burris said, “and all that happens in California during the largest pollinator event in the world. So you're in a good place and we're grateful.”
The bees? They're grateful, too.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) is gearing up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tour on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at its newly constructed Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis.
The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The site is located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
“The focus of this new USDA-ARS honey bee research program is to develop technology that improves colony survivorship through long-term studies of multiple stress factors,” a spokesman said. “These new facilities support two recently hired researchers: Drs. Arathi Seshadri and Julia Fine. These new scientists and associated technical staff are members of the Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, whose mission is to develop and transfer integrated biologically based approaches for the management of invasive species and the improvement of pollinator health. The research team collaborates with federal, university, non-governmental and industry partners conducting research to improve honey bee survival and beekeeping sustainability in California and nationwide."
Research leader Paul Pratt of the Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Lab will give the welcoming address, followed by the presentation of colors by the Travis Air Force Base Honor Guard.
Among the speakers: Robert Matteri, director of the Pacific West Area, USDA-ARS; Anita Oberbauer, associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and Kevin Hackett, national program leader, USDA-ARS.
The two new researchers will be introduced, followed by remarks by Darren Cox of Cox Honey of Utah, past president of the American Honey Producers' Association; Jackie Parks-Burris, past president of the California State Beekeepers' Association; and Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Niño also directs the California Master Beekeeper Program.
The event is open to invited guests. All guests are invited to tour the new facilities following the program. A stakeholder meeting is set from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Laidlaw bee facility classroom. For more information,contact Platt at email@example.com./span>