Breeding Better Bees for Southern California
One of our aims is to use local honeybees and breed them to better cope with environmental stressors by themselves. For the initial setup of a breeding program, we will focus on two colony traits: parasite tolerance, specifically towards Varroa mites and the intestinal parasite Nosema, combined with low defensiveness. This workshop will examine the next crucial steps of setting up an artificial insemination program and will fuel discussions around desired traits for future breeding projects.
Remote Bee Health Sensing
Beekeepers often struggle to identify the earliest signs of declining colony health. Electronic sensors affixed within hives could be a solution to alleviate these issues and can additionally measure variables that provide useful information for management decisions. A functional sensor depends on the availability of large-scale data collections from colonies with known health status. This workshop will bring together beekeepers and researchers interested in collecting and understanding these data and the deployment of a first generation of bee hive sensors.
Novel Disease Treatments
Honey bees host an unusually large variety of different parasites and several of them, such as mites, bacteria, fungi as well as a number of viruses are highly contagious and/or virulent. As a result, they are not only capable of inflicting substantial mortality in individual bees, but can ultimately result in the decline and death of the entire colony. Fortunately, honey bees are not completely defenseless, and our research has already confirmed that they can mount various defenses to protect themselves against parasite attacks. This workshop will showcase some of the groundbreaking medications discovered at CIBER, and how they may be used in the field to improve honey bee health.
Pesticides in Beehives
Pesticides and agrochemicals are a major factor in declining bee health. The goal of this workshop is to consider ways in which we can reduce the harm of agrochemicals on honey bee health by considering a broad range of factors including, but not limited to, integrated pest management, beekeeping practices, and potential new treatments for bees exposed to pesticides.
Training and education opportunities for beekeepers are limited in Southern California, and the current programs are spread thinly without extensive coordination. In collaboration with the Master Beekeeper Program we would like to establish a “Beekeeping School for Southern California” through a combination of courses offered at multiple universities and beekeeping clubs. In this workshop we will explore the various hurdles of establishing a program of this scale, as well as a priority list of topics for a beekeepers' education.