UC Davis Offering Beginner Beekeeping Classes

Do You Want to Become a Beekeeper or Learn More About Beekeeping?

News Release

The California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is hosting two short beekeeping classes in early August: one on “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” and the other, “Working Your Colonies.”

Each will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. The deadline to register is Thursday, Aug. 1.

“These courses are foundational to beekeeping husband excellence,” said Wendy Mather, program manager. “They are great for folks who are thinking about getting bees next season, as well as those who currently have bees and want to ensure they’re doing whatever they can to ensure the success of their hives.”

The classes are not required to become a California Master Beekeeper, but are highly recommended, as “they will help folks prepare to become a science-based beekeeping ambassador,” Mather said. Instructors are Elina Niño and CAMPB educational supervisor Bernardo Niño, a staff research assistant in the Niño lab.

Planning Ahead for Your First Hives
“Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” will take place Saturday, Aug. 3, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what’s necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving. They will learn about bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to install honey bee packages, how to monitor their colonies (that includes inspecting and monitoring for varroa mites) and other challenges with maintaining a healthy colony.

The course is limited to 25 participants. The $105 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch, and refreshments. Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/572.

 Working Your Colonies
“Working Your Colonies” will take place Sunday, Aug. 4, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what is necessary to maintain a healthy colony. Lectures will cover advanced honey bee biology, honey bee integrated pest management, and products of the hive. Participants also will learn about queen wrangling, honey extraction, splitting/combined colonies, and monitoring for varroa mites.

The course is limited to 25 participants per session. The $175 registration fee covers the cost of course materials, lunch, and refreshments. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/559.

Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. All participants are to wear closed-toed and closed-heel shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

The California Master Beekeeping Program uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. For more information, contact Mather at wmather@ucdavis.edu.

Frank Zalom Named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Economic Entomology

UC Davis Professor to Head Distinguished Publication

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

Integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) is the newly selected editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology, the largest and most cited of ESA’s family of scientific journals.

Frank Zalom

The ESA Governing Board today announced that Zalom will succeed John Trumble, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Riverside. Trumble, editor-in-chief for 20 years, informed ESA in late 2017 of his intent to leave the role in 2018. In January, the journal’s editorial board launched a widespread search for his successor.

A 43-member of ESA and the 2014 president, Zalom will serve a five-year term as editor-in-chief. The journal publishes research on the economic significance of insects. It includes sections on apiculture and social insects, insecticides, biological control, household and structural insects, crop protection, forest entomology, and other topics.

“Dr. Frank Zalom’s career can be viewed as a model of applied entomology derived from an understanding of basic biology, and he is an ideal choice to be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE),” said ESA President Michael Parrella in an ESA news release.

“His unparalleled and broad expertise will serve to continue the journal’s growth as the publication of choice for applied entomological research and to build upon the legacy of Dr. John Trumble,” said Parrella, who is also dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Idaho State University and former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. 

Zalom’s 40-year career intersects entomological research, teaching, and application. He served 16 years as director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) and is the only entomologist in the UC system to receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. He focuses his research on IPM of agricultural crops.

Editorial board chair Xuguo Zhou, associate professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky, said he and his colleagues are delighted to welcome Zalom as the next editor-in-chief. “We could not have asked for a better candidate in terms of vision, dedication, reputation, experience, and integrity,” Zhou said. “And we also express our deep gratitude to Dr. John Trumble, whose tireless work ethic and unerring leadership have driven JEE to such great success for so long.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased to be selected the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology,” Zalom said. “I have spent the last 40 years of my career trying to solve economically important problems caused by arthropods using an IPM approach, and this journal, as well as ESA’s other journals, have always served as a primary foundation and outlet for research conducted in my lab. As I approach the end of my career, I hope to be able to dedicate my efforts to enhancing our Society’s influence on science and its application to addressing some of the most important entomological challenges that affect communities worldwide. JEE is uniquely positioned to do exactly that.”

Zalom joined the UC system in 1980, serving in roles ranging from extension IPM coordinator to professor to vice chair of the department to advisor of the UC Davis International Agricultural Development Graduate Group. He has authored more than 335 journal articles and book chapters. including “Food, Crop Pests, and the Environment” published by APS Press. 

His career includes serving as major professor for 12 Ph.D students and seven master’s degree students.

Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society, and ESA.  Among his numerous honors: a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship (1992-93), the ESA Achievement Award in Extension (1992), the ESA Recognition Award (2002), the James H. Meyer Award from UC Davis for teaching, research and service (2004), the Entomological Foundation IPM Team Award (2008), the Entomological Foundation Excellence in IPM Award (2010), Outstanding Mentor Award from the UC Davis Consortium for Women and Research (2013) and the C. W. Woodworth Award (2011), the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA).

More recently, Zalom received a lifetime achievement award, presented at the 9th International IPM Symposium, held March 19-22 in Baltimore. Last month he played a key role in a U.S. Congressional briefing held in the Rayburn House Office Building to raise awareness for and increase understanding of areawide integrated pest management (AIPM) and the benefits of a comprehensive pest management policy, particularly as it relates to invasive species.

Zalom, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978, holds two degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University (bachelor of science, 1973, and master’s degree, 1974).

Founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., ESA is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines.

UC Davis Student Maureen Page Speaks for the Bees

Maureen Page to Spread Flowers for Bees

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
Maureen Page pollination
Maureen Page

California Ag Today recently spoke with doctoral student Maureen Page of the Neal William’s lab at UC Davis, Department of Entomology and Nematology. She is the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship for promoting food security by optimizing wildflower planting. She supports the wild and bee management. We asked her about the flowers that she plans on planting to help those bees.

“I do believe that in general, flowers are really important for bees. Planting flowers are generally good for them,” she said.

Although planting is good for the bees, there are some precautions that need to be made.

“Some flowers can be somewhat toxic to bees. Some do not actually provide bees with pollen and nectar resources,” Page said.

There are many ornamental plants that are bred to not have much pollen so that people do not sneeze as much.

“On top of that, if you are planting non-native species that are really weedy, it may be great for the bees, but might not be great for other plant species,” Page said.

UC Davis Pollination Ecologist Wins 3-Year Fellowship

Fellowship Comes From the Department of Defense

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Maureen Page Awarded Fellowship to Optimize Wildflower Plantings

Doctoral student Maureen Page of the Neal Williams lab at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship for her research proposal: Promoting Food Security by Optimizing Wildflower Plantings to Support Wild and Managed Bees.

Page, a pollination ecologists, was one of 69 awardees selected from more than 3,600 applicants. The Department of Defense funds her fellowship.

“Most people probably are aware that both managed honeybees and many of the wild native species that we have in California as well as in the U.S. have major stressors that are contributing to declines in their populations,” Page said.

And of course, the bee populations suffer when there’s a lack of floral resources to pollinate. “Especially when crops are not in bloom and bees need pollen and nectar to survive. And so without enough resources, it can have dramatic declines in bee populations,” she said.

Page explained that bees are critically important to our food supply. “It’s estimated that about a third of the food supply directly benefits from insect pollination. Many of those crops are entirely dependent on insect pollination,” she said. “Without bees and other insects, those particular crops wouldn’t even be able to set fruit and many others, which while not wholly dependent on insect pollination benefit very much from insect pollination, which means more production and lower prices so that more people can afford healthy, nutritious food.”

Pollinator Survey Shows Better Results but Significant Losses, Plus USDA Fall Summit on Bee Nutrition and Forage

While an annual pollinator survey of beekeepers, released yesterday, shows fewer U.S. colony losses over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, beekeepers say losses remain higher than a sustainable level. According to the survey, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland Bee Informed Partnership, the total loss (death) of managed honey bee colonies from all causes was 23.2 percent nationwide, well above the 18.9 percent level of loss that beekeepers accept as economically sustainable. Nevertheless, the losses were an improvement over the national 30.5 percent loss, and the California 28.6 percent loss, both for the winter of 2012-2013, and over the eight-year average loss of 29.6 percent.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

“Pollinators, such as bees, birds and other insects are essential partners for farmers and ranchers and help produce much of our food supply. Healthy pollinator populations are critical to the continued economic well-being of agricultural producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While we’re glad to see improvement this year, losses are still too high and there is still much more work to be done to stabilize bee populations.”

“Honeybees pollinate more than 130 California crops, including almonds, California’s largest agricultural export. More than 780,000 acres of almonds grow in California, and for pollination, they need an estimated 1.6 million hives, more than 60 percent of the nation’s total,” according to Debbie Arrington, Sacramento Bee.

There is no way to tell why the bees did better this year, according to both Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland assistant professor and director of the Bee Informed Partnership, and Jeff Pettis, research leader of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratory.

Although the pollinator survey shows improvement, losses remain above the level that beekeepers consider to be economically sustainable. This year, almost two-thirds of the beekeepers responding reported losses greater than the 18.9 percent threshold.

“Yearly fluctuations in the rate of losses like these only demonstrate how complicated the whole issue of honey bee heath has become, with factors such as viruses and other pathogens, parasites like varroa mites, problems of nutrition from lack of diversity in pollen sources, and even sublethal effects of pesticides combining to weaken and kill bee colonies,” said Jeff Pettis.

The winter losses survey covers the period from October 2013 through April 2014. About 7,200 beekeepers responded to the voluntary survey.

A complete analysis of the bee survey data will be published later this year. The summary of the analysis is at http://beeinformed.org/results-categories/winter-loss-2013-2014/.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also announced a summit in Washington D.C. on October 20-21, 2014 aimed at addressing the nutrition and forage needs of pollinators. Attendees will discuss the most recent research related to pollinator loss and work to identify solutions.

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Additionally, in March of 2014, Secretary Vilsack created a Pollinator Working Group, under the leadership of Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, to better coordinate efforts, leverage resources, and increase focus on pollinator issues across USDA agencies.

USDA personnel from ten Department agencies (Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Economic Research Service, Forest Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Risk Management Agency and Rural Development) meet regularly to coordinate and evaluate efforts as USDA strives toward improving pollinator health and ensuring our pollinators continuing contributions to our nation’s environment and food security.

Photo credit: UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology