The conference, themed “Multidimensional Solutions to Current and Future Threats to Pollinator Health,” will cover a wide range of topics in pollinator research: from genomics to ecology and their application to land use and management; to breeding of managed bees; and to monitoring of global pollinator populations. Topics discussed will include recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators, and their policy implications.
Keynote speakers are Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Pennsylvania State University, (the research center launched the annual pollinator conferences in 2012) and Lynn Dicks, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, England.
Grozinger studies health and social behavior in bees and is developing comprehensive approaches to improving pollinator health and reduce declines. Lynn Dicks, an internationally respected scientist, studies bee ecology and conservation. She received the 2017 John Spedan Lewis Medal for contributions to insect conservation.
Other speakers include:
- Claudio Gratton, professor, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, UC Riverside
- Scott McArt, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, Cornell University
- Maj Rundlöf, International Career Grant Fellow, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden
- Juliette Osborne, professor and chair, Applied Ecology, University of Exeter, England
- Maggie Douglas, assistant professor, Environmental Studies, Dickinson College
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, is playing a major role in the international conference. The center's events manager, Elizabeth Luu, is serving as the conference coordinator. For more information on the conference, access the UC Davis Honey and Pollination website at https://honey.ucdavis.edu/pollinatorconference2019 and sign up for the newsletter for up-to-date information.
Or you may have seen her volunteering at the annual California Honey Bee Festival in Woodland, an all-day program co-sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
Or you may have seen her volunteering at the UC Davis Pollinator Education Program at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
But if you enroll in the California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) at UC Davis, you definitely will see her—and know her as Wendy Mather, the program manager.
CAMBP, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, educates stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping.
Members of the program serve as knowledgeable ambassadors who disseminate science-based information about the importance of honey bees, preserving bee health, and responsible beekeeping, Niño said.
Mather succeeds founding CAMBP manager Bernardo Niño, who now heads bee research and development at UBEES Inc. He continues to works with CAMBP as its educational advisor.
“CAMBP is designed for beekeeping at the urban and homesteader levels, and small hobbyists,” Mather said. “We work with beekeepers and bee clubs throughout the state to ensure an ongoing interest in keeping bees healthy.”
In 2016, 56 participants successfully passed the Apprentice Level exams and became Master Beekeepers in the Class of 2016. In 2017, 40 more joined them. Next on tap is the Apprentice Level exam for the Class of 2018. The prospective members, who all pre-registered earlier this year, will participate in the CAMBP Apprentice Exam Review on Saturday, Sept. 15, with the exam set on Sunday, Sept.15. Both will take place in the Laidlaw facility on Bee Biology Road.
Mather, an El Dorado Hills resident, has been keeping bees since 2007. “I learned from the Tech Transfer Team at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, on the job from my former boss at Nature's Own Design (NOD) Apiary Products, the manufacturer of Mite Away Quick Strips, and from the many customers I have had the honor of working with in the field.” While at NOD, she also served on the Honey Bee Health Coalition. She holds a Journeyman Beekeeper Certification from the University of Montana.
Born and raised in Montreal, Wendy moved to the Toronto area in her late teens. “I've always loved bees,” she said. “I've always loved watching bees forage, but I never imagined becoming a beekeeper! I was invited to cover a leave of absence for a position that required some apiculture knowledge, and was given a couple of hives to 'bring me up to speed'! I've been keeping bees ever since.”
Active in eight beekeeping or bee-affiliated associations, Mather is a member of CSBA, Delta Beekeepers, Sacramento Area Beekeepers, Nevada City Beekeepers, Colorado State Beekeepers, American Beekeepers Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the El Dorado Beekeepers' Association (she is a past secretary).
Beekeeping runs in the family. Wendy and her husband, Darrell, kept an apiary with 24 colonies in Cold Springs, Ontario, Canada before they moved to California. "Darrell and our eldest daughter, Aislyn, and I all took the 'Introduction to Beekeeping' offered through the Tech Transfer Team at the University of Guelph," Wendy said. "Darrell and I took that course twice. Darrell has successfully raised queens, too!" The couple and their three daughters participated in the extraction, packing and labeling. "Extraction weekend was also a great time for the extended family to gather and enjoy fun times together during the sweet harvest," Wendy recalled.
California Master Beekeeper Program Grant
"Honey bees are arguably the most important managed pollinator and are used as the primary pollinator for over 30 crops in California many of which are considered specialty crops such as almonds," wrote Niño in her successful grant application. "Therefore, the food security of our state and our nation depends largely on robust and healthy honey bee populations. However, in recent years, U.S. beekeepers have been reporting annual colony losses of up to 45 percent. These losses are attributed to many pathogens and pests associated with bees, as well as pesticide exposure and lack of access to plentiful and diverse forage."
"Colony losses have also prompted those who have never kept bees before to try their hand at beekeeping in an effort to help honey bee conservation," Niño pointed out. "Currently, in California there are an estimated 11,000 backyard and small-scale beekeepers, with many of them belonging to one of 35 beekeeper associations within the state. While these associations often serve as hubs of information transfer, the information provided is not always accurate or supported by research findings. Considering the importance of California to the US agriculture and the fact that almost 80 percent of the U.S. colonies start their pollination and honey production routes in almonds, it is clear that there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive, science-based, and state-wide apiculture curriculum."
The statewide funding that CAMBP received will enable the program to
- expand to the intermediate and advanced levels of the curriculum
- create partnerships with advisers in UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) offices throughout the state (UC Davis currently has collaborators in Fresno and San Diego);
- begin creating comprehensive web-based resources such as a library of online materials including an online classroom; and
- support the expansion of the program's educational apiary.
Those interested in enrolling in the California Master Beekeeper Program can find more information about the Apprentice Level at https://cambp.ucdavis.edu/levels/apprentice.
She is staffing one of five interactive learning stations assembled in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, to teach third-graders from Amador County the importance of bees and other pollinators.
Brutscher discusses the residents of the hive: the queen, worker bees (females) and drones (males). The third-graders, sitting, standing or kneeling in the garden, listen to her wide-eyed.
“Who knows what the job of a drone is?” Brutscher asks.
A hand shoots up. “The drones protect the queen!” a boy declares.
“The drone's only purpose is to mate with the queen,” Brutscher tells him. “The worker bees or females guard the hive.”
The students learn that the honey bee colony is a matriarchal society. The females do all the work, performing specific tasks with job titles such as nurse maids, nannies, royal attendants, builders, architects, foragers, dancers, honey tenders, pollen packers, propolis or "glue" specialists, air conditioning and heating technicians, guards, and undertakers. The queen can lay up to 2000 eggs a day during peak season.
The third graders then suit up, donning assorted beekeeper protective gear. They pose gleefully in oversized suits while adults on the tour--teachers, parents and mentors--photograph them.
Overall, it was a honey of a day at the haven, a half-acre public garden installed in 2009 on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. Divided into small groups, the students excitedly buzzed from one learning activity to another, not unlike bees buzzing from one flower to another.
Statewide Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty and director of the California Master Beekeeper Program, explained pollination and how honey bees differ from such generalists as bumble bees and such specialists as squash bees. She invited the students to build their own bee, using pipe cleaners of various lengths to mimic how they are able to pollinate flowers. The youngsters also tasted apples, blueberries and almonds. Honey bees, she told them, pollinate one third of the food we eat.
Charley Nye, beekeeper and manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, zeroed in on the products of the hive. “When we see bees flying around, what are they doing there?” he asked.
“They're out gathering nectar and pollen,” responded one youngster.
The students and adults liked the meadowfoam the best. “It tastes like cotton candy!” one girl said, slowly savoring the flavor she found reminiscent of a county fair. Most considered the almond honey "a little bitter and acidic," Nye said, but a few favored it because "it's not so sweet."
Wendy Mather, California Master Beekeeper Program manager, showed the youngsters a bee vacuum device and how to catch and release bees. “They gently collected, viewed and released the bee specimens,” Mather related. The other half of her group crafted seed cookies, decorated pots, and planted seeds for pollinators. They also viewed the bee and syrphid (hover) fly specimens loaned by pollination ecologist Neal Williams, UC Davis professor of entomology. The hover fly, sometimes called a flower fly, is a major pollinator.
Another station focused on solitary bees: leafcutter bees and blue orchard bees. The students painted nest boxes and learned how the native bees differ from honey bees. Honey bees are not natives of America; European colonists brought them to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1622. Honey bees did not arrive in California until 1853, the year a beekeeper installed colonies near San Jose.
Marcel Ramos, lab assistant in the Elina Niño lab, opened a hive inside a netted enclosure and showed the students the queen bee, workers and drones and pulled out frames of honey.
The event received financial support from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Programmatic Initiative Grant, the Scott and Liberty Munson Family, and matching funds from Microsoft.
“This program was developed to ensure that our young scientists and future voters are aware of the importance of pollinators to our food production and ecosystems," Niño said. "We are also very excited to partner with programs across the university to recruit and support UC Davis students in becoming interns and mentors for the program. This program has already generated so much excitement with the kids and we want to provide this opportunity to as many schools as possible.”
Ron Antone, chair of the Farms of Amador and an Amador County Master Gardener, coordinated the Amador County visit, which drew third-graders from four schools: 67 from Plymouth and Sutter Creek elementary and "about the same number" from Pioneer and Pine Grove elementary. “The tour was coordinated and funded by Farms of Amador,” he said. “We are also associated with the Amador County Farmers Market Association."
“The program presented by Elina and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven team was an incredible experience for all involved: students, parents, teachers and mentors from Farms of Amador and Amador County Master Gardeners," Antone said. “I could not have imagined a more successful trip."
Neither could the students. It was all that it was cracked up to "bee"--and much more.
- Elina Lastro Niño website
- California Master Beekeeper Program
- E.L. Niño Bee Lab, Facebook
- Amador County Master Gardeners
- Farms of Amador
- Amador County Farmers Market Association
In partnership with the UC Davis-based Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Oregon State University, the USDA's Specialty Crop Multi-State Program is funding the grant to support food safety and honey bee health through veterinary education. WIFSS is associated with the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Joining Niño on the project are two School of Veterinary affiliates, project leader Bennie Osburn, former dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and collaborator Jonathan Dear, assistant professor of clinical medicine and epidemiology, Department of Medicine and Epidemiology; and state partner collaborator Ramesh Sagili, associate professor at Oregon State University.
“California regulations stipulate that veterinarians participate in continuing education that addresses antimicrobial stewardship,” commented Dear. “The Veterinary Feed Directive that's at the heart of the new interaction between veterinarians and beekeepers is all part of this renewed emphasis on stewardship.”
The nearly $500,000 grant is part of $7 million in funding announced April 30 to support 11 projects in six states to develop solutions to challenges affecting the specialty crop industries that cross state boundaries. The Specialty Crop Multi-State Program manages the grants, which are administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service.
“Honey bees play a dual role in the production of specialty crops,” Niño wrote in the abstract. “They produce honey, classified as a specialty crop, and they are the primary managed pollinators for a majority of high value specialty crops grown in the contiguous states of California and Oregon. Currently, annual colony losses are unacceptably high due to a variety of environmental and biological causes including bacterial diseases. Historically, beekeepers have self-prescribed antibiotics to control these diseases. However, the Food and Drug Administration and the State of California have taken steps to address antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial use in the feed or water of food-producing animals.
Osburn and Dear noted that “Currently, veterinary schools are lagging in adopting curricula focused on apiculture. This project will offer a comprehensive bee biology online course and train-the-trainer practical training for veterinarians and apiculture educators with the ultimate goal of supporting safety and security of specialty crops that depend on honey bees for production.”
The WIFSS mission “is to serve the global community by conducting research, developing training, and providing outreach programs that will enhance the health and security of people, animals, and the environment.”
In announcing the funding, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said: “The best way to tackle many of the biggest challenges in food safety and to promote markets is to make it easier for a lot of stakeholders to work together. USDA's Specialty Crop Multi-State Program provides the grease to help them leverage state and private sector resources across state lines—especially the knowledge and experience of farmers and the agricultural industry.”
Ibach said SCMP strengthens food safety; seeks new ways to address plant pests, disease, and other crop-specific issues; and increases marketing opportunities for specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and dried fruits to horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. USDA competitively awards funds to state departments of agriculture that partner with stakeholder organizations in two or more states.
Among the other awards announced:
- The University of California and Oregon State University for a pest and plant health project to optimize phasmarhabditis nematodes for mitigating invasive gastropods in the western United States. Awarded $770,356.
- USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University and the University of California, Davis for a pest and plant health project to better understand esca trunk disease in multiple grape-production systems.Awarded $348,991.
The second annual California Honey Festival, sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the City of Woodland, will offer scores of entertainment and educational activities and food and drink from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 5 in downtown Woodland. It's a free, family friendly event.
The festival was created in 2017 to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "Bees face many threats today—it is the goal of the festival to help attendees understand the importance of bees to food diversity in the United States. "
The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
One of the highlights: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, California's state apiculturist, and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, will be "opening a bee hive to show attendees just how a bee hive works," said Harris. "The intriguing catch? The hive will be full of bees!"
At the festival, the crowd can also learn what to plant in their gardens to feed the bees and other pollinators. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the American diet. Proceeds garnered at the festival will benefit bee and pollinator non-profit organizations involved in research and education.
Restaurants will offer creative and tasty honey centric menus throughout the week, officials said. Bars will offer a selection of mixed drinks with mead or honey and local breweries will include honey beers on tap.
UC Davis Stage
The UC Davis Stage will be a beehive of activity. The schedule:
10:30 a.m.: Gene Brandi, past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, speaking on "Beekeeping and Honey Production in California"
11:15 a.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
11:45 a.m: James Sherman, chief operating officer of Pollinator.org, speaking on "Protecting Bees and All Pollinators at Home and on the Farm--What Can You Do?"
12:45 p.m.: Frank Golbeck, chief administrative officer of Golden Coast Mead
1 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
1:45 p.m. John Mola, winner of the 2018 Bee Symposium Graduate Student Poster Contest, speaking on"Where do Bees Go and How Do We Know?"
2:15 p..m.: World-class garden designer and author Kate Frey, speaking on "How to Design Bee-Friendly Gardens." She is the co-author the popular book, The Bee Friendly Garden, with Professor Gretchen LeBuhn of UC San Francisco
3:45 p.m.: Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs, Project Apis M, speaking on "California Almonds an the Upper Midwest"
3:45 p.m.: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, live bee demonstration in the bee tent
Other activities will include the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's insect petting zoo and displays; educational displays spotlighting honey bees, honey, bee hives, bee health and the life cycle of honey bees; a 7-foot Honey Wheel and honey tastings; bee costumes for kids and adults, and information on the California Master Beekeeper Program, operated by Elina Lastro Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Honey? It's there in all the cooking demonstrations:
Fire Brothers will prepare Smokey Chipotle Sauce a chicken street taco marinated with honey, served with a “honey slaw” and topped with Fire Brothers' Smoky Chipotle Sauce
11:30 to 12:15:
Mason Partak will prepare Honey Corn Bread Cobbler
Mani Niall will prepare honey and mustard vinaigrette, a savory rosemary semolina scone and chocolate mead truffles
1:30 to 2:15
Cache Creek: dish pending
Santana Diaz will prepare UC Davis Honey-Strawberry and Spring Pepper Vinaigrette, and UC Davis Honey-Rosemary and Apricot Chicken
Father Paddy's will prepare Justin Severson appetizer: honey almond panco crusted prawns main dish: honey soy-glazed chicken breast both herb basmati rice and daily vegetables dessert: bacon vanilla ice cream honey sundae with butterscotch crack nut cookies cocktail: and honey bourbon smash.
Busy Bee Kids' Zone
The "Busy Bee Kids' Zone" is billed as fun and educational insights for all. The Woodland Library holds the first slot, 11 to 11:45; Uncle Jer from 12 to 12:45; Planet Bee from 1 to 1:45; Uncle Jer from 2 to 2:45; Dilly Dally from 3 to 3:45, and Planet Bee from 4 to 4:45.
Plaza Main Stage Music
Entertainers will perform throughout the day.
10 to 11: Gold Souls
The Gold Souls will offer driving grooves of funk, the rich textures of soul, and the compelling storytelling of the blues. Launched in early 2017, the band combines their many influences to create a unique sound. This effort came to fruition with the release and tour of their self-titled EP last May.
11:30 12:30: City of Trees Brass Band
Over the last three years, City of Trees Brass Band has canvased Sacramento and San Francisco in an effort to deliver the spirit of New Orleans to the West Coast. Compiling 1,200 hours of street performance, dozens of educational clinics, and many inspirational assemblies for K-12th graders, the Brass Band takes pride in its contribution to Sacramento-area culture. In the ultimate test of brass and brawn, the Trees took a two-week trip to New Orleans where they said, "we discovered our sound not only holds up to the standards of the Crescent City, it belongs there."
1 to 2: The Sam Chance and the Untraditional
The Sam Chase and The Untraditional is described as "blending rock n 'roll and folk music while maintaining the sensibilities and attitudes from growing up on a healthy diet of punk rock." This band has performed at festivals such as Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, High Sierra Music Festival, and Kate Wolf Music Festival.
2:30 3:30: Cameron Calloway
Named The “Soul Child” by COACHELLA Magazine, Black/Filipino rhythm and blues singer Cameron Calloway is described as "a man of soul based in the heart of Sin City." The soul singer performed at the 5th annual Life Is Beautiful Music Festival, sharing the bill with chart topping acts including Chance The Rapper, Lorde, Muse, Gorillaz, Blink 182. aHe has performed with the likes of Grammy-nominated r&b/hip-hop band The Internet; soul sensation Allen Stone; Emily King; Mayer Hawthorne; multi award winning group Dru Hill; Robert Randolph and The Family Band;and The Stone Foxes. He also sang at tje11th Annual Joshua Tree Music Festival. He recently released his debut EP “My Neighborhood,” available on Spotify and Apple Music.
4 to 5: Mojo Green
This is a 7-piece, female-fronted, horn-heavy funk from Reno. They pride themselves on high energy and being "one of the funkiest live shows around." They have performed at tje Mateel Music Fest, Hangtown Halloween, For The Funk Of It, Squaw Valley Funk Fest, The Bounce, Ridgestock, Burning Man, Guitarfish, Enchanted Forest Gathering, Off Beat Music Fest-, Spookadelic Halloween Funktacular, Nugget Rib Cook Off, Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Lake Tahoe's Grand Opening, Sandpoint Summerfest, Concerts At Commons Beach,and Live at Lake View Tahoe, among others.
Mead and wineries featured are Strad in Sac, Honey Run, Gold Coast Mead, Nectar Creek, Crystal Basin Cellars and Running Rivers Wine Cellars
Breweries serving: Yolo Brewing, Lagunitas, Sudwerk and Blue Note.
Live Music in the Beer Garden
The schedule includes:
1: Boot Juice
2:30: Michael Ray
4: Elisa Sun