Posts Tagged: Bill Lewis
Honey bees will be "all the buzz" next week when the California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia, Calif., and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meets Nov. 16-19 in Portland, Ore.
Those who belong to both organizations have a decision to make: go to Portland, "The City of Roses," or to Valencia, known as "Awesometown." They're 932 miles apart. Interestingly enough, they have more in common than you think. Both were founded in 1889. CSBA is gathering for its 125th annual meeting while ESA is holding its 62nd annual meeting.
ESA, headed by Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will discuss scores of insects, including honey bees. Topics include "Nutrition and the Health and Behavior of Wild and Managed Bees" and "New Frontiers in Honey Bee Health Economics: Incorporating Entomological Research and Knowledge into Economic Assessments."
CSBA, headed by Bill Lewis of the San Fernando Valley, will zero in on safe pollination of almond orchards, urban beekeeping, honey bee forage and nutrition, mead-making, and honey bee health, exacerbated by pests, pesticides, parasites, diseases, malnutrition and stress. Varroa mites continue to be the beekeepers' No. 1 problem.
At the CSBA meeting, Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker), will pass the torch--a smoker?--when he introduces the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation. It's titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch."
What we need now in California is rain. The drought worries us all. (Listen to what Mussen recently told Capital Public Radio about bees, the lack of floral resources, and the drought.)
And, as if on cue, it rained today. A honey bee in the apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility ventured from its hive and encountered something it may not have seen before: rain drops.
A honey bee encounters rain drops Nov. 13 in the midst of the California drought. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is what beekeepers want more of: rain and forage for their bees. This is a blue aster, member of the sunflower family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When the California State Beekeepers' Association, founded in 1889, meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia for its 2014 convention, it will mark a milestone: 125 years of beekeeping. Not so coincidentally, the theme is "Celebrating 125 Years of California Beekeeping."
And to think that California's first honey bees are "fairly new" newcomers: they didn't arrive in the Golden State (San Jose area) until 1853.
The conference promises to be educational, informative, timely and fun. "We will hear about things going on in the world of beekeeping on the local, state, and national levels," said CSBA president Bill Lewis, who lives in the San Fernando Valley and maintains 650 colonies of bees (Bill's Bees) with his wife, Liane, and business partner, Clyde Steese.
Topics range from “Keeping Bees Safe in Almonds" and “Land Trusts Working with Beekeepers," to "Mead Making" and "Urban Beekeeping, Beginner to Advanced."
Among the hot topics: Entomologist Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University will speak on “The Effects of Bee Safe Insecticide" on Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Biologist Thomas Seeley of Cornell University will speak on "Survivor Population of European Honey Bees Living Wild in New York State” at the research luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 20. He is also scheduled for two other talks, "Honeybee Democracy" (the title of one of his books) and "The Bee Hive as a Honey Factory," both on Nov. 20. In addition, speakers will address such topics as forage, land management, queen health, genetic diversity, and pests and diseases.
One of the featured presentations will be the richly illustrated documentary, "Almond Odyssey," a look at California's almond pollination season, the world's largest managed pollination event. The state's 900,000 acres of almonds draw beekeepers and their bees from all over the country.
The gathering of beekeepers will include multiple generations of family-owned commercial beekeeping operations, bee hobbyists, and those hoping to start their very first bee hive, Lewis says. They're there to learn the latest about beekeeping from world-renowned researchers and industry authorities.
The University of California, Davis, is expected to be well represented. Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker). He will introduce the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch." (For a complete list of sessions and speaker biographies and to register for the conferene, access the CSBA website.)
CSBA's mission is to support and promote commercial beekeepers and pollination services in California's agricultural farmlands. Each year funds raised at the CSBA convention go to research. Researchers attend the conference and provide updates. They are in "the front lines of the bee health battle," Lewis noted.
The conference (as well as membership in CSBA) is open to all interested persons.
CSBA President Bill Lewis of the San Fernando Valley talks bees with Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) at the California Agriculture Day, State Capitol, in March. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bees pollinating almonds. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) and the Sacramento Area Beekeepers' Association (SABA) staffed a beekeeping booth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and filled it with honey straws, Häagen-Dazs premier ice cream and bee-related pamphlets from Project Apis m. A bee observation hive, brought by Bill Cervenka Apiaries of Half Moon Bay, fronted the booth.
The bees buzzed all right, but the people--the general public lining for the ice cream donated by Häagen-Dazs--seemed to create the biggest buzz. They made a literal beeline for the strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Häagen-Dazs supports the University of California, Davis, through its bee garden and bee research (some 50 percent of its flavors require the pollination of bees).
By 11:35, the honey was all gone. "It vanished, just like our bees," quipped Bill Lewis, CSBA president.
Staffing the booth with him were Carlen Jupe, CSBA treasurer; Marti Ikehara of SABA, and Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Among those stopping to chat with the beekeepers were California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). The California Department of Food and Agriculture sponsors the annual event, this year focusing on "Celebration, Innovation and Education."
Their bees pollinate almonds, oranges, avocados and alfalfa.
For Lewis, his interest in bees began at age 14 when he took up beekeeping in the Boy Scout program and earned his beekeeping badge. That was in Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee, where he maintained several bee hives in his backyard. "I 'abandoned' them when I went off to college," he said.
After earning his master's degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, he settled in California to work in the aerospace industry. Ten years later he began a 10-year period of working at a horse-boarding stable. "Horses don't much like bees," he commented. "It bothers the horses when they have to share the same water bowl."
How did he get back into beekeeping? "The bees found me," Lewis said. He began keeping bees in 1991, first as a hobby, and then as a business. "I'm a first-generation beekeeper."
"Our food supply is so dependent on bees," Lewis said. As visitors flowed by, some asked him what they could do to help the bees. Plant bee friendly flowers, buy local honey, try not to use pesticides in your garden, and generally, provide a friendly place for bees.
His favorite variety of honey is black sage "but we're not getting to get much of it this year due to the lack of rain." His second favorite: orange blossom.
He also has almond honey, which he and Mussen describe as "bitter." And, Lewis said, it gets more bitter with time."/span>
Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC ANR, "talks bees" with Bill Lewis, president of the California State Beekeepers' Association. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Say "Honey!" From left are Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis; Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC ANR; Bill Lewis, president of the California State Beekeepers' Association; and Marti Ikehara of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers' Association. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
California grown! From left are CSBA treasurer Carlen Jupe, Sacramento, CSBA member Bill Cervenka of Bill Cervenka Apiaries, Half Moon Bay; CSBA president Bill Lewis of Lake View Terrace; California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross; Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis; and SABA member Marti Ikehara of Sacramento. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)