Hawaii is a chain of many islands, and of the seven inhabited by people and bees, only two have Varroa mites. I know, in beekeeper minds, that quickly conjures an image of paradise and perfectly healthy booming colonies with no Varroa! Having worked with bees on all those islands since 2010, I can report with confidence that the bees on these mite-free islands fall far short of this fantasy. Although there are no Varroa, these bees are a great example of how the many years of breeding and selection have provided us with the important traits beekeepers rely on, like gentle temperament, large populations and brood nests, reduced swarm tendencies, large honey stores and winter survival. Although they were abundant and successful in Hawaii’s conditions, the bees throughout the Hawaiian Islands were not, on average, large, gentle, productive colonies. They were mostly small, mean colonies of A. mellifera mellifera, brought by ship in 1850’s, and then naturalized in the jungle without beekeeper selection or improvement. The first time I met with a beekeeper as the Hawaii state apiarist, a bee met me over 50 yards from the undisturbed colony and immediately stung me in the face! This was a hobbyist, whose colonies were captured from the jungle. He likely didn’t know any different, but his bees had traits in stark contrast to the selected stocks I was used to throughout the USA and Canada. To be fair, they were also very different than the bees kept by Hawaii’s queen producers, which were painstakingly selected and improved by breeders such as Gus Rouse at Kona Queen. (See old ABJ article).
Dr. Kaira Wagoner is a post-doctoral fellow in the Social Insect Lab at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In 2013, Kaira was one of the first PAm/Costco Scholarship award recipients. In alignment with PAm’s values, Kaira is dedicated to developing practical and sustainable solutions to honey bee health threats.
Kaira has been working towards a better understanding of the mechanisms behind hygienic behavior in honey bees. Hygienic behavior is a trait that all honey bee colonies possess to some degree. It involves the ability of nurse bees in a colony to sense a health problem in capped brood cells and remove the compromised brood, effectively slowing the spread of pathogens and parasites in the colony. This behavioral trait can be an advantage to the overall health and survival of the colony.
Cameron Jack Grew up watching his grandfather work 150 hives in southern Nevada. This was his gateway-bee experience. Learning and watching – being taught about honey bees. Today, Cameron is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Florida, Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Cameron received a one-year Costco/PAm fellowship award in 2016 to conduct research at the University of Florida where he is completing his graduate work. The subject of his research: Varroa. More specifically, his focus has been on breeding Varroa in vitro in the laboratory.
The enrollment period for the Seeds for Bees® program has been extended! As soil temperatures drop germination is reduced but California’s central valley is still experiencing conditions that are appropriate for planting cover crops.
Click here to apply to enroll online today!
The USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory is glad to advertise a Research Entomologist position in Honey Bee Health, as below. Full information for the position, and application instructions, can be found at usajobs.gov (search for ARS-D19-MEA-0016). For additional questions please contact Dr. Jay Evans (email@example.com), other members of the BRL (https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-barc/beltsville-agricultural-research-center/bee-research-laboratory/), or USDA Human Resources as described at usajobs.gov.
Position Title/Series/Grade: Research Entomologist GS-0414-12/13
Position Number: 1B9469
Location of Position: Beltsville, MD
Salary: $81,548 to $126,062 /year
Request Number: 18-8042-1189
Announcement Number: ARS-D19-MEA-0016
Eligibility: US Citizens
Position: Biological Science Laboratory Technician
Salary Range: $41,365 to $59,557 per year
The US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Pollinating Insects - Biology Management Systematics Research Unit, Logan, Utah, invites applications for a Biological Science Laboratory Technician Position
The position is November 6, 2018 open immediately until November 19, 2018.
Please Click Here to read the full announcement and apply.