Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, director of the program, introduced the 40 new apprentice-level graduates, Class of 2017, at the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium, held recently in the UC Davis Conference Center.
The 40 Master Beekeepers join the 56 members of the Class of 2016.
The program uses science-based information to educate 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.
The members of the Class of 2017 are Jesse Adcock, Heather Angeloff, Alyssa Beth Archambault, David Barbosa, Ornella Bonamassa, Max Boyce, Christopher Brennan, Cathy Carlson, Michael Conroy, Elisabeth Eschelbeck, Gerhard Eschelbeck, Yee-Yie Fogarty, Nanette Herbuveaux, Sandy Honigsberg, Russell Hudyma, Christine Jeffries, Nancy J. Johnson, Carolyn Jordan, Jesus Llamas, Meike Maag, Joel MacPherson, Shannon Marie Ciortea, Roberto Martinez, Jennifer Matthews, Cherry Mattias, Kourtney McGrath, Robert Meyer, Jeffrey Michaels, Chitra Mojtabai, Andres Molina, Holly Nelson, Sara Ramsey, Donald H. P. Sexton II, Rob Slay, Melody Wallace, Nicholas Wigle, Christine Wilson, John Winzler, German Yegorov, and Karen von Gargen.
Bernardo Niño, the founding program coordinator of CAMBP, congratulated the Class of 2017 and presented each with a pin. New program manager is Master Beekeeper Wendy Mather of El Dorado Hills. Bernardo Niño who recently accepted a position as head of bee research and development at UBEES Inc., an organization headquartered in New York City. Bernardo will be based in Davis area. He will continue to work with CAMBP as the educational advisor.
CAMBP recently received a four-year UC ANR grant of $199,949. “We are expanding geographically to include the Fresno/Madera area (Shannon Mueller, Fresno County Extension director and agronomy farm advisor) and the San Diego area (James Bethke, farm advisor and Jennifer Pelham, area environmental horticulture advisor), said Elina Niño, the principal investigator of the grant, "The California Master Beekeeper Program: Development of a Continuous Train-the-Trainer Education Effort for California Beekeepers."
"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," she 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."
Niño noted that "Development of these educational opportunities will help minimize potentially disastrous consequences, such as increased pest and pathogen transfer or spread of Africanized bees which are considered a public-health risk, due to lack of understanding of proper honey bee husbandry. To fulfill this need we established the first-ever California Master Beekeeper Program which provides California-centric, contemporary, research-based training in apiculture."
Overseeing the California Master Beekeeper Program is an advisory committee comprised of UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisers, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology research staff, UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center staff, California beekeepers, and other apiculture specialists.
Judges were Tom Seeley, professor at Cornell University, the symposium's keynote speaker; speaker Santiago Ramirez, assistant professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor at UC Davis. Master beekeeper/journalist Mea McNeil of San Anselmo served as the timer and coordinator for the panel.
“In conservation biology and ecological study, we must know the distances organisms travel and the scales over which they go about their lives,” Mola said of his work. “To properly conserve species, we have to know how much land they need, how close those habitats need to be to each other, and the impact of travel on species success. For instance, if I'm told there's free burritos in the break room, I'm all over it. If the 'free' burritos require me traveling to Scotland, it's not worth it and I would spend more energy (and money) than I would gain. For pollinators, it's especially important we understand their movement since the distances they travel also dictates the quality of the pollination service they provide to crop and wild plants."
Second place of $600 went to Maureen Page, a second-year Ph.D. student in Neal Williams lab for her research, “Impacts of Honey Bee Abundance on the Pollination of Eschscholzia californica (California golden poppy).”
Page presented her research on the impacts of honey bee abundance on native plant pollination. “While honey bees are economically important, they are not native to North America and may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts,” she related. “My research is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that honey bee abundance may negatively affect the pollination of California poppies.”
In her abstract, Page wrote: "Many studies support the claim that introduced honey bees compete with native pollinators. However, little is known about how honey bee introductions will affect native plant communities and plant species' persistence."
Page received her bachelor's degree in biology from Scripps College, Claremont, Calif. in 2006, cum laude. She seeks a career as a professor and principal investigator.
Two graduate students tied for fourth place and each received $250: doctoral student Jacob Francis of the University of Nevada, for his “A Sweet Solution to the Pollen Paradox: Nectar Mediates Bees' Responses to Defended Pollen” and Katie Uhl, a master's student, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, for her “Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Mono-Floral Honey Using HS-SPME/GC/MS." Francis studies with major professor Anne Leonard of Ecology, Evoluiton and Conservation Biology. Uhl's major professor is Alyson Mitchell.
Also honored was Kimberly Chacon, a doctoral student in the UC Davis Geography Graduate Group who studies with Professor Steve Greco for her “A Landscape Ecology Approach to Bee Conservation and Habitat Design." She received $150.
The annual Bee Symposium, themed "Keeping Bees Healthy, " is sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, headed by director Amina Harris, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, chaired by nematologist and professor Steve Nadler.
Harris and Professor Neal Williams of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the center's faculty co-chair, emceed the symposium. The symposium drew a crowd of 250 from across the country.
Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and researches the behavior and social life of honey bees. He's the author of Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive: the Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies (1995), and Honeybee Democracy (2010), all published by Princeton University Press. His books will be available for purchase and signing at the symposium.
The daylong event "is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees," said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "In addition to our speakers, there will be lobby displays featuring, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, and much more."
Graduate students throughout the country are invited to submit their research posters. The winners will share $1800 in cash prizes. Applications must be submitted to Liz Luu at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Feb. 12. For the rules, see this web page.
The conference begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., with welcomes and introductions at 9 a.m., by Amina Harris and Neal Williams, UC Davis professor of entomology and faculty co-director of the center. Seeley's keynote address at 9:15 a.m. follows.
10:15 a.m. The Evolution and Chemical Ecology of Orchid Bees
Santiago Ramírez, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology
10:45 a.m. Break
Graduate student posters available for viewing
11 a.m. Understanding the Nuances of Honey: An Educational Tasting
Amina Harris, Director, Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, UC Davis
12 Noon. Master Beekeeper Program
Honoring the Apprentice Level Master Beekeepers—Pin Ceremony
Elina Lastro Niño, Extension Apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Bernardo Niño, Staff Research Associate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Graduate student poster presentations
2 p.m. An Update from Project Apis m
Danielle Downey, executive director, Project Apis m
2:45 p.m. Designing Bee-Friendly Gardens
Kate Frey of Hopland, Calif., ecological garden designer, consultant and columnist, and co-author of The Bee-Friendly Garden (with Gretchen LeBuhn, professor of biology, San Francisco State University). The book won the American Horticultural Society 2017 Book Award.
3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Lightning Round
4 to 6-minute presentations about many different programs in the world of beekeeping followed by a question and answer session
4:30 p.m. Winners of the Graduate Student Poster Competition Announced
4:45 p.m. Close
Reception (weather permitting) in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
The poster competition, open to graduate students throughout the country, drew 14 posters that focused on bees and/or pollination. It is a traditional part of the symposium, hosted by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The event took place in the UC Davis Conference Center.
Brand, who joined the Ramirez lab in 2013, received his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, and then went on to pursue his master's degree there, studying the evolutionary history and the patterns of selection of olfactory receptor genes in a pair of sister lineages of euglossine bees.
"Pheromone communication has long been known to play a central role in the origin and evolution of species diversity throughout the tree of life," he wrote in the introduction on his poster. "What are the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms that control pheromone variation and signal detection?"
Other winners were:
- Second place, $750; Jacob Peters, Harvard University, “Self-Organization of Collective Nest Ventilation by Honey Bees”
- Third place, $500; John Mola, UC Davis, “Fire Induced Change in Flowering Phenology Benefits Bumble Bees"
- Fourth place, $250; Devon Picklum, University of Nevada, Reno, “Floral Visitation and pollen Deposition Bombus- Pollinated Dodecatheon Apinum and Pedicularis Groenlandica in the Sierra Nevada”
Judges were Robbin Thorp, UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology; and two symposium speakers, keynote speaker Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Entomology at Washington State University, Pullman, Wash, and Stacey Combes, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Sheppard's address on “Bees, Mushrooms and Liquid Nitrogen… What?” reflected the broad spectrum of his research from expanding the genetic pool of honey bees to health-related aspects of mushroom slurry. Other speakers included Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, and Maj Rundlof of Lund University, Sweden, an International Career Grant Fellow at UC Davis. Michael Karle discussed the new Food and Drug Administration rules concerning the use of antibiotics in bee colonies.
Another highlight of the symposium was the awards ceremony honoring the first class of apprentice-level master beekeepers from the UC Davis-based program. More than 50 apprentices received their first-level pins from instructors Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, and apiarist Bernardo Niño.
Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, and Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, chaired the event. Williams served as emcee.
The 2018 Bee Symposium will feature keynote speaker Thomas Seeley, the Horace White Professor in Biology at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and author of the widely acclaimed book, Honey Bee Democracy.
Keynote speaker of the event, sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Apiculture and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, Wash.
Sheppard will speak at 9:45 a.m. on "Bees, Mushrooms and Liquid Nitrogen--What?" His research involves improving honey bee health through breeding and alternative treatment approaches. Sheppard specializes in population genetics and evolution of honey bees, insect introductions and mechanisms of genetic differentiation.
He also heads the Apis Molecular Systematics Laboratory. He received his graduate degrees in entomology from the University of Illinois: his master's degree in 1979 and his doctorate in 1986. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beneficial Insects Laboratory from 1986 to 1988, and as a research entomologist at the USDA Bee Research Laboratory from 1988 to 1996 before joining the WSU faculty in 1996. He was named chair of the department in 2009.
The symposium will include speakers, displays of graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, "and much more," according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
Santiago Ramirez, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, will speak on "The Evolution and Chemical Ecology of Orchid Bees" at 10:45 a.m.
Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will introduce the apprentice-level California Master Beekeepers and present them with pins at 11:30. Niño coordinates the Master Beekeeper Program.
The graduate student poster presentations are at noon. The competition was open to all California university students engaged in pollinator-related research. Educational exhibits also will be spotlighted at noon.
The afternoon program includes a presentation at 1:30 p.m. on "Flowering Crops: A Tricky Treat for Bees" by researcher Maj Rundlöf, International Career Grant Fellow, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, followed by "The New FDA Rule on the Use of Antibiotics in Hives" at 2 p.m. by veterinarian Michael Karle of the Mid-Valley Veterinary Hospital, Oakland.
At 2:30 the fast-paced and popular "Lightning Round" will take place. Each presentation will be four to six minutes long and will be followed by a question-and-answer session, Harris said.
- "Bumble Bee Cognition in the Wild" by Felicity Muth, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
- "Habitat Planting for Bees," by the Neal Williams' lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- "Optical Tagging of Bees to Track Individual Movements in colonies" by Stacey Combes, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
- "Planet Bee: Citizen Bee Projects" by Debra Tomaszewski, executive director and co-founder of the Bay Area's Planet Bee Foundation
- "Plants and Pesticides: Keeping Bees Healthy with Ornamental Horticulture" by Christine Casey, program representative, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis
The symposium ends with Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, speaking at 3:45 p.m. on "Good as Gold: Growing Opportunities for the Small-Scale Honey Producer."
Winners of the Graduate Student Poster Competition will be announced at 4:15. Awards are first place, $1000; second place, $750; third, $500; and fourth, $250.
To register, access http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2017-bee-symposium. Harris can be reached at email@example.com for further information.