Queen failure: Two Years of Surveying BC Queens and Potential Causal Factors
Dr. McAfee is a Postdoctoral Fellow ~ Michael Smith Laboratories ~ North Carolina State University. She studies honey bee reproductive health, focusing on factors affecting sperm viability. Honey bee queens mate several times early in life, then maintain the sperm for years in a specialized storage organ until they die. Colony health directly depends on the queen’s ability to keep these sperm alive so that she can lay an abundance of fertilized eggs and keep the colony strong. However, environmental factors like heat-shock, cold-shock, and pesticide exposure can dramatically reduce sperm viability. With extreme weather patterns on the rise and persistent pesticide residues in the environment, these are major threats to honey bee colony health. Alison’s research will help us better understand the biological process underlying sperm viability and contribute to best-practice recommendations to limit adverse exposure of the queens. Alison completed her Ph.D. in Genome Science and Technology at the University of British Columbia, where she studied molecular mechanisms of hygienic behavior. Alison writes a monthly column for the American Bee Journal magazine and her research has been reported in New Scientist and Scientific American. She also enjoys steep hikes up snowy mountains, catching huge, ugly fish, and breaking speed limits on her bicycle.
Stan is the owner of Flying Dutchman Bees in Nanaimo, BC, a larger commercial operation supplying bee stock to Western Canada. Stan is a past president of the BCHPA and currently the Canadian Honey Council Representative on the current executive. Stan has many years of experience with both breeding and importing queens and bee stock into Canada.
Carolyn spent 10 years as a Commercial Pilot, including 4 years in Northern Canada as a bush pilot, before partnering with an Organic Farm in South Surrey and starting a seasonal CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Through farming, she discovered pollinators and fell in love with honeybees. She took her first beekeeping course in 2015 and has since graduated from the KPU Commercial Beekeeping Program, worked under 4 commercial beekeepers, started 2 businesses, and completed her Beemasters at UBC. Carolyn was the Chief Beekeeper for KPUs 400 colony operation for 3 years before launching into The Honest to Goodness Farm Company full time, a 150 colony operation that specializes in Queen Rearing. Her profits from this work are re-invested into pollinator conservation, winning her business the Langley Environmental Hero award in 2019. Carolyn also offers mentorship to hobby beekeepers and is the VP of the Langley Bee Club. In 2019, Carolyn co-founded Corbicula Pollen Ltd., a company that specializes in bee pollen production and processing. Carolyn has a passion for spreadsheets, food and the outdoors. She spends her very rare days off hiking and snowshoeing through Western Canada.
Dr. Dewey M. Caron is Emeritus Professor of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, Univ of Delaware, & Affiliate Professor, Dept Horticulture, Oregon State University. I had professional appointments at Cornell (1968-70), Univ of Maryland (1970-81), and U Delaware 1981-2009, serving as entomology chair at the last 2. I retired from Univ of Delaware in 2009 and moved to Portland, OR to be closer to my grandkids. I organized a WAS annual meeting and served as President of WAS in Salem OR in 2010 following the 2009 Victoria meeting. Currently am member-at-large to WAS Board. I represent WAS on Honey Bee Health Coalition and am the principal author of HBHC Tools for Varroa Management and B MPs. In retirement I remain active in bee education, writing for newsletters, giving Bee Short Courses, assisting in several Master beekeeper programs, and giving presentations to local, state, and regional bee clubs. I am the author of Honey Bee Biology & Beekeeping, a major textbook used in University and Association bee courses, and have a new bee book (my 10th) The Complete Bee Handbook published by Rockridge Press. I have conducted a Pacific NorthWest annual loss and management survey www.pnwhoneybeesurvey.com for the past 10 years and a Pollination economics survey for the last 8.
Despicable Mites: Recent Findings in the Study of Tropilaelaps mercedesae and Varroa destructor
Samuel Ramsey’s enduring interest in insect biology started 23 years ago and shows no signs of waning. Having earned his doctorate from Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp’s lab at the University of Maryland; Dr. Ramsey maintains a focus on how insect research can benefit the public through the development of IPM strategies and STEM-based outreach initiatives. His award-winning research on Varroa biology has changed the standing paradigm on how this parasite ultimately kills honey bees leading to opportunities to share his work nationally and internationally. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Cornell University in 2011 focusing his research on predator/parasite behavior. His current work, aptly named the Fight the Mite Initiative, was funded largely by the beekeeping community. It focuses on the poorly understood Tropilaelaps mite which is rapidly establishing itself as the next threat to apiculture globally. Prior to the pandemic, he was based in Thailand documenting the behavior, lifecycle, and vulnerabilities of this parasite, ensuring that in the event of its arrival in the US, we’ll have the knowledge and resources to respond effectively.
Ellen became interested in honey bees while studying plant genetics and breeding at the University of Minnesota. She then studied honey bee nutrition as part of her MS at Oregon State University. After graduating, she worked with commercial beekeepers in the Northwest as part of the Bee Informed Partnership’s Tech Transfer Team mastering on-the-ground testing, secret-keeping, and applicable research. She currently works as a research assistant in the OSU Honey Bee Lab.
Dr. Leonard Foster is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Foster comes from a family of beekeepers and got his introduction to academic bee research at Simon Fraser University while doing his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry – at SFU he worked with Drs. Winston and Slessor on honey bee pheromones, particularly the components of queen mandibular pheromone. He then did a Ph.D. in Toronto and post-doctoral studies in Denmark before starting his current position in 2005. The first independent operating grant that Dr. Foster secured was to study how bee pathogens were able to manipulate the protein machinery within bee cells. Since that time, he has led three very large-scale projects that have investigated some of the molecular mechanisms behind disease resistance in bees. This effort has recently moved into trying to apply this knowledge by using the information they have learned to guide selective breeding for hygienic behavior in honey bees. He is very active in extension and frequently engages the public on various aspects of honey bee biology. He currently lives in Richmond and keeps bees himself.