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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
University of California
Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Helping the Honey Bees

The Western Apicultural Society (WAS) conference, taking place this week in the Dry Creek Inn, Healdsburg, is drawing a lot of interest.

Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is finishing his yearlong term as president of WAS.

The key point: Honey bees are in trouble. The beekeepers and scientists attending the conference are receiving up-to-date, unpublished research on colony collapse disorder (CDD) the mysterious phenomonen characterized by adult bees abandoning their hive, leaving behind the brood and food storage.

No one knows what causes CCD, but it's thought to be a combination of factors: diseases, pesticides, viruses, stress, pests, malnutrition, and weather changes.

What's new: newly discovered pathogens are landing on the suspect list. Expect to hear more about these new pathogens later this year when the research is published.

It's rather ironic--but expected--that honey bees are nectaring the flowers outside the conference room as the participants are discussing bee health.

The bees will return to their hives and perform round dances and waggle dances to let their sisters know the direction and quality of the food source.

They have a keen sense of direction, like built-in clocks based on a sun-compass orientation.

But for humans, another clock is ticking...

Honey Bee
Honey Bee

HONEY BEES are nectaring outside the Western Apicultural Society conference in Healdsburg. The key subject at the conference: bee health. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 10:07 PM

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