Excerpts from Bee Symposium 2015 : Keeping Bees Healthy

The theme that kept resonating throughout the symposium hosted by the UCD Pollinating Center was  there is no single “smoking gun” regarding honey bee health and that nutrition, bee genetics, and GMP’s were the backbone to keeping bees healthy.  The  is an example of the grounded discussions that took place _ no one was thrown under the proverbial bus that is so commonly found in the general media and blog-o-sphere.  The full proceeding can be found online.

“Neonicotinoid Pesticides and Declines in Honey Bee Health; Will a Ban Solve the Issue?” _  a poster session

(This poster is based on the 2014 UC Davis Debate Team topic for the Endangered Species Act 2014 meeting.) Over the past decade, there have been public concerns over large losses in domesticated honey bee populations. These losses could threaten honey production and, more importantly, pollination services for crops such as almonds, stone fruits, and berries. Researchers have worked feverishly to identify the most salient factors contributing to these declines. The introductions of Varroa destructor, Nosema ceranae, and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus have coincided with the onset of colony collapse disorder (CCD) and are suspected to play a role in these losses. Calls to ban neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of insecticides, overlook the fact that the magnitude of the relationship between pesticides and CCD remains disputed. Numerous studies that implicate neonicotinoids as a cause of CCD are insufficient in rigor and depth. Other classes of pesticides, including those used to control hive pests and fungal diseases, have been found to impact honey bee health and performance. Part of the perceived pollinator crisis stems from the monetization of ecosystem services, as our reliance on the honey bee shifts from demand for honey production to agricultural pollination. However, the reliance on pollinator services does not come from its necessity for overall food stability, but rather for the production of certain specialty crops. In instances where crops require pollination, stable populations of alternative pollinators can compensate for possible honey bee losses. Given the current state of knowledge, we argue that banning neonicotinoids is a premature and disproportionate response to a complex issue.”

“The Honey and Pollination Center  mission is to help make UC Davis the world’s leading authority on honey bee health, pollination, and honey quality.stablished in October 2012, the Honey and Pollination Center has continually grown its programmatic initiatives to help establish UC Davis as the world’s leading authority on bee health, pollination and honey quality.

This Bee Symposium is the culmination of a yearlong collaboration with the Department of Entomology and Nematology. The center plans to make the Bee Symposium an annual event, bringing top researchers to UC Davis.
The California Master Beekeeping Program was funded by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Course development is underway, guided by UC Davis Cooperative Extension apiculturist Elina Niño. This series of courses will help educate and strengthen the state’s beekeeping population through mentoring and hands-on experience.
Working with the Department of Viticulture and Enology, the center is developing a set of courses to meet the needs of mead makers at all levels, from beginners to commercial mead makers.
The Department of Food Science and Technology is collaborating with the center on honey authenticity research. This interest was enhanced by the publication of the Honey Flavor Wheel in summer 2014. The wheel has been featured at national honey tastings, in magazines and books, and online. The Honey and Pollination Center’s impact will increase as we forge stronger relationships with our university collaborators”

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