It seems like it is still winter in some respects (still raining and muddy in California), but it is spring and the bees know all about spring. The weather turns warms, all sorts of trees, shrubs and flowers come into bloom and put on quite a smorgasbord for the bees. However, don’t be fooled. Just when the bees are rearing brood very energetically, there are locations where the blossoms suddenly become non-existent and the bees require feeding before the next flow begins. Please keep an eye on how things are progressing with your colonies.
Things are coming along pretty well for the upcoming WAS conference. I finally rounded up the folks who are willing to serve as members and chairs of the committees that are listed in our bylaws. The committee tasks are listed in the bylaws as well, but I added a few more for the auditing and resolutions committees. The resolutions members are going to suggest ways that we can govern ourselves more efficiently and effectively. Those suggestions will be brought to the members for voting at the next business meeting of the general membership. For those of you who do things well in advance, I should tell you that Archie Mitchell is the Chair of the Awards Committee. He will be receiving the nominations of candidates for our “Outstanding Service to Beekeeping Award” (wide open) and our “Thurber Award for Inventiveness” (usually confined to the state or province in which the conference is being held). If you have a favorite candidate, please submit his or her name, with detailed supporting information before the registration cutoff – July 31, 2017. Archie’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preview: Speakers, Off-Campus Tours & Mini-Sessions
We have most of the speakers lined up and the topics are going to be quite varied. Kim Flottum, of Bee Culture, will share some of his insights on the “Rapidly Changing Bee Scene.” There will be speakers on colony management, including Les Crowder, co-author with Heather Harrell, of the book: “Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honey Bee Health.” Les will be discussing managing honey bee colonies in top-bar hives. There will be an off-campus tour to a major beekeeping supply company and sugar syrup supplier, a visit to the UC Davis Bee Biology Facility and to the Häagen Dazs Bee Haven Garden. A number of presenters will have additional mini-sessions outdoors at Bee Biology on Thursday afternoon: various types of bee hives (containing colonies), diagnosing Nosema or Varroa, native bees foraging in screen houses and in the field, preparing bee samples for molecular studies, selecting plants for bee food, and more.
For those who wish to hear more in-depth beekeeping fundamentals, Dr. Larry Connor will be visiting with us. Participants will be given the option of attending the local, off-campus tour on Wednesday after lunch, or attending Larry’s session for an additional $50 per person. That option is available on the registration form. Larry’s presentation will be: “Keeping Your Bees Alive and Growing.” It will be a three-part session, including: 1) The Numbers Game – Understanding Honey Bee Reproduction; 2) Making and Using Increase Packages; and 3) Managing Colonies for Sustainability – Location, Genetics and Nutrition. Larry also is the founder and owner of Wicwas Press, and he will have a variety of books for review at the conference. Other speakers have been mentioned in my previous President’s Message.
I am going to try to convince representatives from the major ag chemical companies to share with us their techniques for determining toxicity and risks to honey bees of using their products around apiaries. This is not meant to be an open attack on the companies, and I will be moderating the panel tightly. Protesters will be kept outside. Questions to the panelists will be screened through me. We are looking for the truth behind the research and development scenes, not for an opportunity to throw rocks. However, I am not inhibited about asking pointed questions on experimental design and experimental protocol. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you hear.
I located a superb artist within the UC Davis system to create our conference emblem. He created a whimsical design featuring the honey bee, a penny farthing, and the conference info. It is a black and gold pattern on a white, crew neck, T-shirt.
Lodging & Parking
Fran Bach suggested that it might be a good idea to list the motels in Davis, so that you might get your reservation in early. There are a limited number of motels from which to choose. Many are within “hiking” distance of the campus, but I strongly suggest purchasing a 4-day campus parking permit. Those permits are good in nearly all campus lots. Parking on any city streets within a mile of the edges of campus is controlled by residential parking permits. Lastly, I would suggest that you find lodging at a motel that provides breakfast. There are breakfast places on campus, but they are pretty busy in the morning (in fact, at all meal times).
I will keep pursuing the unfinished tasks and try to provide you with an enjoyable and educational visit to Davis during the first full week in September.