Items of interest to beekeepers 11 August 2017

Supplied by Fran Bach Editor of both WAS and Washington State Beekeepers newsletters






WHERE’S THE BUZZ? AT UC DAVIS SEPT 5 – 8. BEE THERE! By Kathy Keatley Garvey Where’s the buzz? It will be Sept. 5-8 at the University of California, Davis, when the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) will gather for its 40th annual conference. Most events will take place in the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and surrounding facilities associated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, said Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen who is serving his sixth term as president of the organization, which was founded at UC Davis. Bee scientists and beekeepers will be among the speakers. It’s a conference filled with educational topics, networking, field trips, a silent auction and door prizes, said Mussen, who retired in 2004 after 38 years of service. He continues to maintain an office in Briggs Hall, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Professor Norm Gary, now professor emeritus of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, spearheaded the founding of WAS and served as its first president. Mussen joined him as the founding vice president and Becky Westerdahl as secretary-treasurer. Westerdahl, then a postdoctoral scholar, is now an Extension nematologist. There’s still time to register, Mussen said. The WAS conference is open to all interested persons; registration is underway at  The schedule includes:     – “Seasonal Honey Bee Colony Population Cycle” – Gene Brandi, Los Banos, Calif.     – “Moderated Honey Tasting” – Amina Harris, director, UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center     – “Keeping Your Bees Alive and Growing”  Larry Connor, Kalamazoo, Mich.     – “Rapidly Changing Bee Scene” – Bee Culture magazine editor Kim Flottum, Medina, Ohio     – “Honey Bee Queens or Varroa Control” – Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology     – “Honey Bee Behavior or Distribution of Africanized Honey Bees in California” – Brian Johnson, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology     – “Beneficial Microbes for Honey Bees at the Intersection of Nutrition and Defense – Slava Strogolov, Milwaukee, Wisc.     – “Pesticide Toxicity Testing with Adult and Immature Honey Bees” with Eric Mussen, moderator     – “Changes in Nectar Affecting Foraging” – Rachel Vannette, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology Conference participants will tour the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Häagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven (half-acre bee friendly garden), both part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and Mann Lake Ltd., and Z Specialty Foods, both of Woodland. Of special interest are the subgroup tours and workshops on Thursday, Sept. 7 that cycle through the Laidlaw facility, aka “Bee Biology Faciilty,” and the nearby bee garden:     – Various beehive iterations – Bernardo Niño, staff, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology     – Determining levels of Nosema or Varroa infestation – Randy Oliver, Grass Valley, Calif.     – Studying native bee foraging in screen houses – Neal Williams, faculty,UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and his team     – Studying plant flower selection in open field plots south of bee garden, Neal Williams and his team, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology     – Preparing honey bees for molecular Africanized Honey Bees studies or behavioral studies – Brian Johnson, faculty, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology        – Selecting for, and maintaining, a bee garden – Christine Casey, staff, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who manages the Häagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven Among the other topics: The “Next Generation Beekeepers”  session in the Sensory Building, Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road is happening Thursday evening. This event will include beer, music, networking and an interactive group session. UC Davis artist Steve Dana created the conference T-shirt featuring a bee on a high wheeler bicycle or penny-farthing, symbolizing UC Davis. Whether or not you are attending the conference, the t-shirt can be ordered on the WAS website at The conference registration form, speaker program and other information are online. WAS, a non-profit organization, represents mainly small-scale beekeepers in the western portion of North America, from Alaska and the Yukon to California and Arizona.  Beekeepers across North America will gather to hear the latest in science and technology pertaining to their industry and how to keep their bees healthy. —– PROTECTING POLLINATORS WHILE MANAGING PESTS Community-level connection urged among vector-control, pollinator experts ANNAPOLIS — Managing mosquito and tick populations and protecting the health of pollinators are growing concerns on a global scale, but success in both requires teamwork on the local level. A coalition of entomologists and other scientists specializing in both disease-vector management and pollinator protection suggest professionals in these disciplines must work closely together in their local communities to ensure that efforts to reduce mosquito and tick populations don’t harm bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. Findings from the group’s research are published recently in the Entomological Society of America’s Journal of Medical Entomology. “These collaborations work best during the planning stage of vector-control programs. Different localities generally have different vector and pathogen species and different pollinator species,” says Howard S. Ginsberg, Ph.D., research ecologist and field station leader at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. “Vector-control personnel know where the vectors are, when pathogen amplification occurs, and when during the year and day to intervene to interrupt the transmission cycle. Pollinator experts know where the floral resources and pollinator nesting habitats are, and when during the year and day the pollinators are active. Working together, these experts can devise targeted vector-management strategies that effectively minimize both pathogen transmission and harm to pollinators.” Vector-control practices based on the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) already aim to minimize impact on non-target organisms, but the complexities of conditions in any given area necessitate close coordination with local pollinator experts to develop effective strategies. As just one example, application of granular (rather than sprayed) pesticide for tick management minimizes impact on pollinating insects on flowers, but it can potentially harm soil-nesting insects such as some bees and wasps. Pollinator experts with knowledge of local nesting sites can inform such vector-control decisions. In 2014, the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign created a Vector-Borne Disease and Pollinator Protection Task Force to convene and study how to better align efforts in both realms. In their report in the Journal of Medical Entomology, Ginsberg (who served as chair of the task force) and colleagues offer several suggestions:     Collaboration on local levels between stakeholders in vector management and pollinator protection, as well as enhanced knowledge sharing between such groups on broader scales.     Research on decision-making processes in vector management to improve integration with pollinator protection.     Further development of finely targeted approaches to vector management, such as trapping, careful application of genetic technologies, and deployment of microbes that affect vectors.     Continued research on specific impacts of vector-management methods on pollinators. Despite divergent areas of expertise, Ginsberg says people who work to control vector-borne diseases and those working to protect pollinators have much to gain from each other. “Nobody wants people to get sick unnecessarily, and nobody wants to damage populations of organisms that are important to the functioning of healthy environments,” he says. “These common goals are best accomplished by collaborative groups that utilize efficiently integrated, well-targeted approaches to vector management that minimize negative effects on pollinators.” “Management of Arthropod Pathogen Vectors in North America: Minimizing Adverse Effects on Pollinators,” by Howard S. Ginsberg, Timothy A. Bargar, Michelle L. Hladik, and Charles Lubelczyk, was published online on August 8 in the Journal of Medical Entomology. —Entomological Society of America via American Bee Journal, reprinted at —– ‘BEE TALK’ MAY HELP IMPROVE HONEY BEE HEALTH Beekeeper and scientist listens in on what 20,000 honeybees are ‘saying’ to each other. BURNABY, Canada — Simon Fraser University graduate student Oldooz Pooyanfar is monitoring what more than 20,000 honeybees housed in hives in a Cloverdale field are “saying” to each other — looking for clues about their health. Pooyanfar’s technology is gleaning communication details from sound within the hives with her beehive monitoring system — technology she developed at SFU. She says improving knowledge about honey bee activity is critical, given a 30 per cent decline in the honeybee population over the past decade in North America. Research into the causes of what is referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder continues. The presence of fewer bees affects both crop pollination and the environment. Pooyanfar’s monitoring platform is placed along the wall of the hive and fitted with tiny sensors containing microphones (and eventually, accelometers) that monitor sound and vibration. Temperature and humidity are also recorded. Her system enables data collection on sound within the hives and also tracks any abnormalities to which beekeepers can immediately respond. —– From Dr. Christina Grozinger at POLLINATOR-L – MORE BEE JOBS 1. Research Entomologist/Toxicologist (Post-doc Research Associate) position at USDA-ARS, Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center, Stoneville, Mississippi MAjor duties: The incumbent will actively plan research and conduct experiments to examine the toxicological impact of pesticides on honey bees by using bioassay, biochemical, and molecular approaches. Research will focus on acute and sublethal toxicities of individual and mixtures of representative pesticides, toxicity and mechanisms of interaction of insecticides with other agrochemicals and other CCD-causing factors (such as mite and viral infestations), and factors influencing pesticide susceptibility (intoxication and detoxification) in honey bees. Biological and physiological responses; and gene regulations, including defense-, immunity-, stress-, and other important metabolism-related responses, will be examined. Send Application or Contact: Dr. Yu Cheng Zhu at or 662-686-5360 or at Southern Insect Management Research Unit, Southeast Area, Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center, 141 Experiment Station Road, P.O. Box 346, Stoneville, MS 38776-0346 2. Post-doc position in pollinator ecology in the labs of Dr. Kendra Greenlee and Dr. Julia Bowsher at North Dakota State University Position Description: A highly motivated and talented postdoctoral fellow is sought to join the labs of Dr. Kendra Greenlee and Dr. Julia Bowsher in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Dakota State University (NDSU). The position is a 2 year fellowship, renewable upon satisfactory performance reviews, up to 5 years as funding permits. The anticipated start date is September 1, 2017 or soon after hiring approval. The successful candidate will develop research in pollinator ecology, focusing on health and performance of solitary and social bees under agricultural management. The postdoctoral fellow will interact with the Insect Cryobiology and Ecophysiology Working Group, which is comprised of scientists at NDSU and USDA-ARS and focuses on improving the storage of managed pollinators, understanding pollinator physiology and responses to environmental stressors. Salary is commensurate with experience. Find the full position announcement and application instructions at: —–   CATCH THE BUZZ 1. To Bee or Not To Bee National Tour Set For October – December 2017 – Massachusetts’ Piti Theatre Company, which has a track record of collaboration with beekeepers and bee advocates in New England, will be putting their family audiences musical theatre production To Bee or Not to Bee on the road in October. The performance tells the story of farmer/beekeeper James Van Happen who has lost his bees and now there’s only corn gruel to eat. The townspeople (the audience) have arrived to protest, chanting “there’s no good food, we’re in a bad mood.” To Bee or Not to Bee is the re-telling of James’ tragic and ultimately hopeful story from diversified family farm to monoculture and back again – complete with puppetry, clowning, dance, live music and lots of audience participation. Piti created the show to raise awareness about honeybees’ plight and gives children and adults tools for helping pollinators thrive in their communities. The 2017 tour will kick off in Wareham, MA (cranberry country), head up to Maine and then out west through Ohio and Colorado, reaching California in early November. The route back will include Arizona, Texas, and Virginia among other stops. There is still time to make your town a destination this year or to get on the list for the Fall, 2018 Tour. There are also national and local sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals. Learn more athttp:// or contact Artistic Director Jonathan Mirin – (413) 625-6569, 2. Secretary Perdue Announces $16.8 Million to Encourage SNAP Participants to Purchase Healthy Foods – (WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 7, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced 32 grants totaling $16.8 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables.  The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. “These grants help provide low income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food.  Last year, SNAP helped put healthy food on the tables of at least 44 million Americans, including 19 million children,” Perdue said. “This builds on the successes of health-related incentives, with many of the projects being conducted at farmers markets. At the same time, we’re also helping to strengthen local and regional food systems.”