The conference, “Multidimensional Solutions to Current and Future Threats to Pollinator Health,” took place in the ARC Ballroom and covered 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, according to the co-chairs, pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams and Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, coordinated the conference, with events manager Elizabeth Luu praised as "the heavy hitter." (See agenda.)
"This was the fourth International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy," Williams said. "Each time we try to add new elements that address emerging challenges and new directions in research. This year's sessions felt as fresh and innovative as ever, adding symposia on climate change, innovative monitoring and data collection, and urban bees. By restricting presenters to those who had not presented in the past six years we also added new voices and perspectives."
"We also grew," Williams said "In the past the conference has been just under 200 attendees. This year it topped 250, and we had to turn away several people because we simply could not fit more into the space. We added a second evening of posters to provide more time to interact. The response was overwhelming with 112 poster presenters!"
"We also added more explicit policy elements by creating a set of ViewPOINTS documents summarizing key areas in pollinator biology and heath that target policy makers. This has allowed for collaborative interaction across the attendees and a set of deliverable products from our interactions."
"It was an amazing team effort pulling it all together," Williams said. "Liz Luu from the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center was in a word, fantastic, keeping every thing and everyone together. The HPC really showed what it can do and what tremendous value it adds to our campus. The organizing committee worked so well together, sharing the load throughout. A great set of colleagues!"
Keynote speakers were Lynn Dicks, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, England, and Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Pennsylvania State University.
Dicks keynoted the conference on Thursday, July 18, discussing "The Importance of People in Pollinator Conservation." Grozinger delivered the keynote address, "Bee Nutritional Ecology: From Genes to Landscapes" on Friday, July 19.
Elina Lastro Niño delivered a presentation on the California Master Beekeeper Program, which she founded and directs. UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, presented a talk on her hummingbird research.
Two receptions took place at the Honey and Pollination Conference on Old Davis Road: the opening night reception on Wednesday, July 17 and a honey-tasting and dinner reception on Thursday, July 18.
The next International Pollinator Conference will take place at Pennsylvania State University. Grozinger and Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University launched the conference in 2012. They are held every third year.
An image of the late Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and a global authority on bees, held a prominent place at the conference. He assisted many scientists who have attended the conferences.
The third annual California Honey Festival, sponsored by the City of Woodland and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 4 in downtown Woodland. It's free and family friendly.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says the event will include a cooking stage, a UC Davis educational stage, a kids' zone, a refreshment zone (beer and wine) and live entertainment.
Among the featured attractions will be a screened bee tent, where festival-goers can see beekeeper Bernardo Niño, staff research associate III in the Elina Niño lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, open the hive and point out the queen, worker bees and drones. Bernardo is the educational supervisor of the California Master Beekeeper Program, directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and operated by the Niño lab.
"Bernardo will be taking the girls through their paces three times during the day," Harris quipping, referring to the worker bees. This will be at 11 a.m., 1:15 and 3:30 p.m.
Kitty Bolte from the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, the first speaker on the UC Davis Educational Stage at 10:15, will welcome Woodand as a "Bee City." Plans also call for UC Davis to be named "Bee University" on Saturday, Harris said. "Rachel Davis, director of the Gateway Gardens, Arboretum has been spearheading this designation."
Pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will speak on "The Huge Impact of Native Bees" at 12:30 p.m. on the UC Davis Educational Stage.
The UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will feature a pollinator garden installation highlighting what and how to plant for pollinators, along with displays about common bees found in gardens, said Christine Casey, academic program management officer and manager of the half-acre garden, located on Bee Biology Road. She also will be speaking on bee gardening at 2:45 p.m. on the UC Davis Educational Stage.
The UC Davis area, located in the Woodland Opera House Plaza, in the middle of the festival activities, will be abuzz with new additions, Harris said. Newcomers to the festival include the World Food Center Plant Breeders, UC Davis entomology students. (See schedule.)
California Master Beekeepers will be teaching on the educational platforms at the festival. The Pollinator Posse of the Bay Area, headed by Tora Rocha and Terry Smith, will be on hand to explain the importance of pollinators and what everyone can do to help them.
Live entertainment will include Jayson Angove, Jessica Malone, Big Sticky Mess, Bocado Rio, Case Lipka, David Jacobin, Katgruvs, accordionist Jared Johnson, The City of Trees Brass Band and Double X Brass Band. Other live entertainment includes Space Walker and the Hand Stand Nation.
The festival, launched in 2017, aims to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Last year's festival drew 30,000 people and some 16 California honey companies.
The California Honey Festival's mission: 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.
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.
The inaugural California Honey Festival, set Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland, promises to be both educational and entertaining, says coordinator Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
The event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will stretch four blocks on Main Street and side streets. It is free and open to the public.
Visitors will learn about bees, honey and beekeeping; sample honey; taste mead at the Mead Speakeasy; listen to live entertainment, and browse the many booths, including six UC Davis exhibits: Department of Entomology and Nematology, Bohart Museum of Entomology, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (a bee friendly garden), Art-Science Fusion Program, graduate students (research posters), and the California Master Beekeeper Program, managed by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Beekeepers will compete for prizes and bragging rights in the Wildflower Honey Contest (submissions are due March 15). See http://californiahoneyfestival.com/honey-contest/
The event is coordinated by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Sponsors include the National Honey Board, the American Beekeeping Federation.
“The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping through this unique educational platform, to the broader public,” said Harris. “The scope of the event includes a culinary stage, a garden stage, a speakers' forum in the Woodland Opera House, kids' zone, live entertainment and loads of vendors and food. In addition, restaurants in Woodland will have honey centric menus and drinks enhanced with honey. Mead anyone? We have a Mead Speakeasy with five meaderies already signed up.”
Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo., will be among those speaking on the Beekeeper Stage, one of five stages at the festival.
Among the other speakers:
- Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m., Paso Robles, and former manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility;
- Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Vicki Wojcik, research director of Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco
- Gene Brandi of Gene Brandi Apiaries, Los Banos (he is active in the California State Beekeepers' Association, the American Beekeeping Federation and the National Honey Board)
On the culinary stage will be Marie Simmons of Eugene, Ore., an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and story teller; Frank Golbeck, CEO of Golden Coast Mead, San Diego; Toby Barajas, executive chef at Savory Café on Main Street, Woodland; and Casey Willard, executive chef for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Capay Valley.
Sharing the Gardening Stage will be Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture; UC Davis Arboretum; and Chris Casey, program representative for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road.
Among the entertainers, as of Feb. 24: Mike Blanchard and the Californios, City of Trees Brass Band, Boca do Rio, Joe Craven and the Sometimers, Jared Johnson, Hannah Mayree, and the Gold Souls.
Education platforms will feature the Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel, a project of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center; a bee demonstration hive; and posters on pollinators, the life cycle of bees, and bee threats, including pesticides, pests and pathogens.
Vendors will include beekeepers, bee clubs, honey packers, beekeeping supplies, crafts people, food vendors, Harris said. She is seeking volunteers to help with the festival; she may be reached at email@example.com or 530-754-9301. In addition, there's still time to fill out a vendor application form; sign up for educational and entertainment activities, and become a sponsor.
It will be a busy weekend, Harris said, noting that the third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium, "Keeping Bees Healthy," will take place on Sunday, May 7 in the UC Davis Conference Center, the day after the California Honey Festival. The educational program is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees. The event will include speakers, displays of graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, "and much more," Harris said.
Keynote speaker at the Bee Symposium is Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Apiculture and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman. Among the other speakers: Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology; Extension apiculturist Elina Nino of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; Maj Rundlof of the Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden, and Margaret Lombard, National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo. Registration begins March 1 at http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2017-bee-symposium.
Bohls, who is seeking her doctorate in entomology, with a focus on honey bee queen rearing and health, studies with Extension apiculturist Elina Niño. Originally from Macedonia, Ohio, Bohls received her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and environmental studies at Hiram (Ohio) College.
Page, who began her graduate students this fall with pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology, is exploring pollinator communities in response to agricultural management and the benefits of providing diverse floral habitat. She completed her undergraduate work at Scripps College, Claremont, Calif.
The Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, received financial support from philanthropists Doug and Juli Muhleman of Healdsburg and through the Center's sale of UC Davis honey, honey wheels and notecards.
To date, the center has donated more than $65,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The Center helped fund the newly launched California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), the annual Bee Symposium and has increased its support of graduate students through scholarships, awards and travel allowances, Harris said.
The Muhlemans last year received the Charles J. Soderquist Award, a $5,000 gift from the UC Davis Foundation to be donated to a university program of their choice. The annual award is presented to individuals who demonstrate excellence in philanthropy, volunteerism, leadership and overall commitment to UC Davis. The Honey and Pollination Center was selected to steward their award, which was matched by the Muhlemans, bringing the gift to $10,000.
Doug Muhleman, a UC Davis alumnus, retired in 2008 as Anheuser-Busch's Group Vice President of Brewing Operations and Technology, where he was responsible for 10,000 employees across five corporate groups, the company's domestic and international breweries and its agricultural operations. “Over the course of my career, AB hired scores of UC Davis grads because the UC Davis-educated brewer came with a skill set and knowledge base that really wasn't possible from another university,” Muhleman recently told UC Davis Giving. The Muhlemans' two children are also UC Davis graduates.
Muhleman furthered the partnerships between his employer and alma mater by helping create the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair for Malting and Brewing Sciences in the Department of Food Science and Technology and the pilot brewery, a campus research facility that opened in April 2006. He also was instrumental in arranging a $5 million matching pledge from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation to establish the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory in UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
In addition to donating to the Honey and Pollination Center, the Muhlemans have supported several initiatives around campus, including the creation of the Michael J. Lewis Endowment for Brewing Science in honor of his teacher and mentor.
Other benefactors of the Honey and Pollination Center:
Poster Competition Winners
As part of its drive to support students engaged in research, teaching and outreach, the Honey and Pollination Center provided cash awards to the winners of its annual UC Davis Bee Symposium Graduate Student Poster competition, held May 7.
- First place, $1000: Co-authors Laura Ward and Sara Winsemius, Ph.D. candidates at UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, for their work on “Exploring Potential Routes of Neonicotinoid Exposure within Pollinator Hedgerows Adjacent to Seed-Treated Sunflowers.”
- Second place, $750: Cameron Jasper, a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Davis Department Entomology and Nematology for his research project, “Investigating Potential Synergistic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Amitraz and Multiple Pesticides on Honey Bee Survivorship.”
- Third place, $500: Brittney Goodrich, a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, for her research project, ""Honey Bee Health: Economic Implications for Beekeepers in Almond Pollination."
- Fourth place, $250: John Mola, a Ph.D. candidate from the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology, for "Fine Scale Population Genetics and Movement Ecology of the Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee (Bombus vosnesenkii)."
The poster competition drew eight submissions. A panel of three judged the presenters and their work: Dennis vanEnglesdorp, assistant professor of entomology, University of Maryland; Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor of entomology, UC Riverside and Robbin Thorp, distinguished professor emeritus of entomology and nematology, UC Davis.
California Master Beekeeper Program
The Center is helping to fund the newly created California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), aimed at using science-based information to educate beekeepers to be ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping, Harris said. California has more than half a million commercial beehives and thousands more in backyards. The Center has channeled gifts from the Springcreek and Kaiser Family Foundations to expand funding for CAMBP. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Science has also helped fund the program “which will help to ensure that every beekeeper has access to ongoing education to help keep our bees healthy and our citizens educated about the value of bees to our lives and our economy,” Harris said..
“In addition to the educational component, a full website for CAMBP will be developed so that beekeepers can access courses, lectures and additional information on an ongoing basis,” Harris said. “The program will include classroom experiences with hands-on training at UC Davis this fall with plans to extend classes throughout the state in upcoming years.”
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, ranked nationally, continues to lead the way in agricultural innovation and sustainability, in part through fostering pollinator-related research and conferences.
To learn more information about the Honey and Pollination Center and its programs, or to provide support for its work, see www.honey.ucdavis.edu.