PAST PRESIDENT’S CONFERENCE 2017 WRAP
Dr. Eric Mussen, 2017 President
About 150 participants were involved in the 40th anniversary conference of WAS held on the UC Davis campus, the birthplace of WAS, between September 5th and 8th, 2017. The “home cooked” food from the caterer was very good. Working closely with the caterer, we chose three different buffets for
two lunches and the banquet. People concerned about being served on “paper” plates should be aware that the University insists on “compostable” plates and utensils. So, we were consuming our food with compressed corn and potato starch plates and utensils. They were neither “paper” nor “plastic.”
The two tour days contrasted considerably. The first day, we visited the Z Specialty Food honey packing facility. Inside the warehouse and packing area, the bulk supply of cool honey kept the temperature moderate. A table was set with samples of many different honeys that participants could taste. Some
were very unique. Z Specialty Food produces and packs a large number of varietal honeys and fruit spreads. Many folks left the facility with scrumptious food items in tow.
That same day, Eric Foster at Mann Lake said the warehouse was just too hot for folks to tolerate a 30 minute tour. Additionally, the sugar syrup plant had sprung a leak (as quite a number of beekeepers have encountered over the years with honey) and the facility was ankle deep in syrup throughout, and not available to us. So, the visitors were treated to nearly an hour to roam the isles of the Mann Lake showroom and see in person the items that appear only as photographs in the supply catalog. So, I got to read some labels. There were two brands of reduced-odor honey bee repellent used to encourage the bees to leave the honey supers. One was a single, well-known chemical that does just that. The competitive product read like an extensive list of ingredients for human food consumption. I imagine the second product was simply purchased and repackaged for the new purpose.
The next afternoon was oddly cool. The demonstrations outside the Bee Biology Facility were very comfortable and enjoyable. Bee Biology staffers were able to display and demonstrate a number of beehives, including the internally-insulated walls, plastic, Apimaye Ergo beehive. This hive was developed by students of Dr. Osman Kaftanoglu in Arizona. He has preliminary data showing that the hive interiors remained cooler than wooden hives in the warmest Arizona summer weather. Chris Casey was in the Häagen Dazs Garden showing visitors the various bee plants. Randy Oliver was making a “big splash” (literally) with demonstrations on detecting Varroa mites and Nosema spores.
At the opening “reminiscence” session, Dr. Norman Gary was on hand to revisit the founding of the society. Finding some free time, he reflected over many aspects of his career at UC Davis. He was informative and entertaining. Hopefully a number of the other invited speakers will submit a synopsis of their presentations to Fran Bach, so that you can review what transpired in their sessions.
We had a relatively laid back conference that many folks appreciated. Hope to see you in Boise, Idaho, next year to have another enjoyable experience with our friends and fellow beekeepers.