A Two-Fold Bee Conference
Seattle will be the place to "bee" on Oct. 4-7.
That's where the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) will hold its annual meeting--and this year it's in conjunction with the Washington State Beekeepers' Association.
Bee scientists, beekeepers, and bee aficionados will gather in the Embassy Suites Hotels for the four-day conference to talk about what's troubling the bees, to learn about scientific advancements, and to discuss how to alleviate the declining bee population. Registration is under way; those who register by Aug. 31 will receive a discount.
"There will be more presentations devoted to commercial beekeeping topics, but we will honor our roots and have concurrent sessions for the small-scale interests," said WAS spokesperson Fran Bach.
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, known for her queen bee-rearing and queen bee insemination classes at the University of California, Davis, and now affiliated with Washington State University, will speak on queen bee rearing in the Pacific Northwest.
As the project director of the Honey Bee Stock Improvement Program, Cobey continues to work closely with California beekeepers, queen bee producers and the Almond Board of California.
Cobey and her colleague Steve Sheppard, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, are heavily involved in increasing genetic diversity in U.S. honey bees. They're gathering germplasm (drone sperm) in European countries and integrating it in the U.S. honey bee gene pool, aiming to build a stronger, more disease-resistant bee.
European colonists introduced the honey bee to America in 1622 but a genetic bottleneck occurred when the U. S. Honey Bee Act of 1922 restricted further importation.
"The selection, development, maintenance and adoption of highly productive European honey bee stocks that can tolerate Varroa (parasitic mites) and resist diseases offer a sustainable, long-term solution" to the ongoing declining bee population, they point out in their chapter of the newly published book, Honey Bee Colony Health: Challenges and Sustainable Solutions.
At the Seattle conference, Sheppard will speak on "Importation and Distribution of New Genetic Stocks of Honey Bees." WSU doctoral student Megan Taylor will discuss "New Developments in Honey Bee Germplasm Preservation at WSU." Another WSU doctoral student, Brandon Hopkins, will cover "New Developments in Honey Bee Germplasm Preservation at WSU."
Other speakers will discuss "The Value of Honey Bees in Almond Production," "Wings, Bikes and Trucks--Urban Beekeeping," "Indoor Wintering of Honey Bee Colonies," and "The Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative." Still other talks range from how to prevent swarms to how to bring more bees to your garden.
WAS co-founder Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, describes the organization as "a non-profit, educational, beekeeping organization founded in 1978 for the benefit and enjoyment of all beekeepers in western North America."
This photo of a honey bee on an almond blossom will appear on the WAS conference t-shirt. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)