Posts Tagged: Eric Mussen
And most folks don’t know what it is.
But Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the Department of Entomology faculty at the University of California, Davis, and bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, a researcher at both UC Davis and Washington State University, field dozens of queries about it.
Especially when the yellow-gold droppings splotch cars, businesses, houses and patios in large quantities. The droppings can streak windshields, block skylights, and stain clothing.
“Those little yellow-gold stains," Cobey said, "are bee feces.”
Or, what beekeepers commonly call “bee poop.”
Sacramento area TV station KCRA, Channel 3, interviewed Mussen on Aug. 24. Cobey has been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times and other media.
And, yes, sometimes, waste is a terrible thing to mind.
“It can get pretty messy, especially in the spring,” Cobey said. “It’s tough to remove—I soak it or wet it down and then wipe it off.”
However, if it’s found in large quantities in the hive, it can indicate a serious problem. “Nosema, for example, can cause dysentery,” she said. Nosema, identified as a fungus--a micro-sporidian--is a widespread disease of honey bees.
“Bee droppings have a very distinctive smell, an acidic smell,” Cobey said.
Mussen’s interview with KCRA news reporter Dea Diamont and news photographer Brian Fong, airs tonight (Aug. 26) at 6 and deals with a Patterson homeowner asking about the spots on the outside of her home. A clue: a beekeeper reportedly relocated a 40-hive apiary in the vicinity.
Honey bees are usually in the news for their pollination services or the latest research on latest colony collapse disorder (CCD), the mysterious phenomenon characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive, leaving behind the queen bee, brood, and stored food.
Curious minds, however, want to know "the scoop on poop."
Well, that's what the beekeepers call it.
Visit to the UC Davis Apiary
The wild roses planted last fall in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis, are both "heaven sent" and "heaven scent."
The fragrance is delightful.
Basically, only wild roses--not the commercially grown roses found in our gardens--attract bees, according to Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Also in bloom in the half-acre garden, located on Bee Biology Road on the west end of the campus, are salvia (sage), lavender, artichokes, seaside daisies, Mexican hat flowers and purple coneflowers, among others.
The grand opening celebration, open to the public, is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11. Folks planning to attend may RSVP to Nancy Dullum of the UC Davis Department of Entomology administrative team, at email@example.com. (Insert "haven" in the subject line and indicate how many in your party will attend.)
It's rare for any one person to serve five terms as president of an organization.
But such is the case with Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who took the helm of the Western Apicultural Society for five terms.
In fact, he and professor-apiculturist Norman Gary, now retired, founded the organization back in 1978 "as a non-profit, educational organization designed specifically to meet the educational needs of beekeepers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming; the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon; and the states of northern Mexico."
Fast forward to today.
Mussen is one of two UC Davis bee specialists who will address the group at its annual conference, set Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in the Red Lion Inn, Salem, Ore.
He wiill speak on “Hints for Successful Backyard Beekeeping” at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1 during the session on Urban/Backyard Beekeepers.”
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, who heads the breeding program at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis and also is a researcher at Washington State University, will discuss “Why We Need Better Bees” at 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30.
Cobey also will speak on “Progress on Breeding Superior Bees” at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
Mussen, who received his doctorate in entomology from the University of Minnesota, writes the bimonthly Extension newsletter, from the UC Apiaries, considered one of the best and most informative in the industry.
Cobey, who studied with noted bee geneticist Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. at UC Davis, returned to UC Davis in 2007 after 17 years as staff apiarist at Ohio State University. She received her entomology degree from the University of Delaware.
In the early 1980s, Cobey developed the New World Carniolans stock, a dark race of honey bees by back-crossing stocks collected from throughout the United States and Canada to create a more pure strain. A current focus of her research includes selecting and enhancing this stock to show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases.
Those interested in attending the conference may obtain more information from the WAS website.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, writes an interesting bimonthly newsletter.
He's been writing from the UC Apiaries since he joined the department's faculty in 1976.
Never missed an edition. Not one. And his newsletters are eagerly awaited.
His newsletters and Bee Briefs are available online for free downloading. Or, folks can subscribe for free.
In the current edition of from the UC Apiaries, Mussen explores an article in Catch the Buzz about statistics released by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) that show startling winter bee losses.
AIA and the USDA honey bee lab in Beltsville, MD, reported on losses from data collected for 22.4% of the country's 2.46 million colonies, Mussen said.
"We lost about 33.8% of those managed colonies," he wrote. "Similar to previous surveys results, 28% of the beekeepers stated that they found some totally empty hives reminiscent of colony collapse disorder (CCD).
"Beekeepers reported the following reasons for colony losses: starvation, 32%; weather, 29%; fall weakness, 14%; mites, 12%; poor queens, 10%; and CCD, 5% (Yes, that is 102% of the losses)."
"What caught my eye was the 32% starvation. Beekeepers usually do a pretty good job of paying attention to how much food is stored in the hives, and it is difficult to believe that they would allow a third of their colonies to die of starvation.
"Normally, it is pretty easy to determine when a colony has starved. The food, especially honey, is all gone and there are dead bees stuck head-first in the empty cells in the combs. Even to the uninitiated, it is obvious that the bees ran out of food and died."
But why did they die? You'll want to read his comments.
The Western Apicultural Society's annual conference.
Two bee specialists at the University of California, Davis, will be among the speakers when the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) meets Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Salem, Ore.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and WAS co-founder and past president, will speak, as will bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
The conference takes place in Salem's Red Lion Hotel, 3301 Market Street. On Tuesday, Aug. 31. Cobey will discuss her research on building a better bee. On Wednesday, Sept. 1, Mussen will offer hints for backyard beekeepers.
The lineup of speakers includes beekeepers, a conservation specialist, a college dean, a seed grower, almond growers, an integrated pest management specialist and the editor of the Bee Culture magazine (Kim Flottum), among others.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD), the mysterious malady in which adult bees abandon the hive, leaving behind the queen, brood and food stores, will be one of the timely topics. Tim Lawrence, formerly of UC Davis and now of Washington State University (and husband of Susan Cobey), will speak on "Human Dimensions of CCD and Its Impact on the Honey Bee" on Thursday, Sept. 2.
WAS and UC Davis are closely intertwined. Mussen and fellow apiculturist Norman Gary (now an emeritus UC Davis professor) co-founded WAS in 1978 as a non-profit, educational organization designed specifically to meet the educational needs of beekeepers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming; the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon; and the states of northern Mexico.
Mussen and Gary are among five UC Davis bee specialists who have received the WAS outstanding service award. Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (now deceased) received the award in 1980; Robert Page in 1989; Norman Gary in 1990; Eric Mussen in 1991; Christine Peng in 2002; and Susan Cobey in 2009. Page (now with Arizona State University), Gary and Peng are all emeriti professors.
Meanwhile, registration is under way for the 2010 WAS conference. This is definitely the place to "bee."