Could Colony Collapse Disorder be ebbing?

DAVIS
September 27, 2010 9:01pm
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•  California bees may be better prepared for winter this time

•  Beekeepers cautiously optimistic


Beekeepers in California “are cautiously optimistic that their colonies are going to survive the winter in better shape that they have in the past few years,” says University of California Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty.

”Instead of having to feed their colonies all summer, they were glad to see that many colonies actually benefited from last year’s nearly seasonal rainfall and produced some honey,” says Mr. Mussen.

Colony collapse disorder, a mysterious phenomenon characterized by adult bees abandoning their hives, surfaced in the winter of 2006-2007.

Mr. Mussen says it’s too early to predict whether the stress relief of better season forage will result in “a lessening of CCD, but better-fed bees can handle much more adversity than poorly fed bees.”

Mr. Mussen is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a “Bee Informed” reception, set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 in the Historic Ballroom of the Citizen Hotel, 926 J St., Sacramento.

The event, open to the public, is a benefit for Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis. A donation of $10 per person will be asked at the door.

Event coordinator Elaine Baker, pastry chef of the Citizen Hotel/Grange Restaurant, says it is an educational celebration focusing on bees and honey through speeches, displays, drinks and food.

With the recent rise of colony collapse disorder, increased honey bee awareness is vital for the preservation of local honey farms, says Ms. Baker.

“We’ll have honey-based cocktails available at a cash bar, a tea and coffee station, and I’m creating a selection of mini desserts, each featuring a different honey,” she says. “Honey is one of my favorite ingredients to use in desserts because of its beautifully nuanced flavors and gorgeous colors.”

Also speaking will be third-generation beekeeper Stephen Covey of Covey Family Apiary of Richmond. His topic will be urban beekeeping.

Those attending can “see what the buzz is all about” and learn more about honey bees and honey and purchase products at specially set up tables. The event will include a bee observation hive and honey tastings.

Participants will include Sacramento Area Beekeepers Association, Sacramento Beekeeping Co., UC Davis, Z Specialty Foods, Lienert’s Quality Honey, area beekeepers Kate Morton and Pete Laudi, and All Things Wild, specializing in native California plants.

Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central UC Davis campus, is open to the public year-around. Its goals include a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators; public awareness of the plight of honey bees; an educational opportunity to learn what to plant to attract bees; and a research garden.


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