October 2023: Check out our new blog!

WSU Honey Bees + Pollinators program is the home for 20+ bee lovers. Coming from all walks of life, our program fosters a welcoming and enthusiastic environment to research honey bees. This new blog serves as an avenue to shine a spotlight on fun or interesting happenings within the program.

New faces at WSU

Since March 2023, we have said goodbye to some awesome researchers that moved on to different opportunities: Dr. Kelly Kulhanek, Dr. Jennifer Han and Dr. Nick Naeger. We also had quite a few people join the program! Visit our people page to learn more about them:

Ben Moline
Ben Moline: Apiary Manager (Othello Research Facility)
Pooja Malhotra
Pooja Malhotra, M.Sc.: Honey Bee Program Manager
Dr. Ryan Kuesel
Dr. Ryan Kuesel: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jenifer Silva
Jenifer Silva: Othello Research Facility Front Desk Assistant
Taydin Macon
Taydin Macon: Ph.D. Student, Hopkins Lab
Dr. Rae Olsson
Dr. Rae Olsson: Program Administrator
Bri Price
Bri Price, M.Sc.: Program Extension Coordinator
Dr. Saumik Basu
Dr. Saumik Basu: Principal Investigator of Basu Lab

Development of the WASBA Master Beekeeper Certification

The Washington State Beekeepers Association (WASBA) has partnered with us to create a WASBA Master Beekeeper level. This level is the last of four successive levels in the WASBA educational program. Dr. Kelly Kulhanek was involved in this collaboration, but since her departure from WSU, the new Honey Bee Program Extension Coordinator, Bri Price, has continued working it! She has found her footing rather quickly; she is designing the course to include lectures from experts in the bee world and involve opportunities to expand Washington beekeepers’ knowledge, build new skills, and become certified ambassadors of science-based information for other beekeepers. We are hoping to launch this course in May or June 2024.

Buzzy Bees in the Community

WSU Instrumental Insemination Workshop

Pooja holding drone bee
Sue Cobey looking in microscope

In July, we hosted a three-day instrumental insemination workshop at our Othello facility. It was attended by participants from the US, South Africa, and Canada. The participants learned a variety of techniques including drone semen collection, preservation of honey bee semen, instrumental insemination of queens, and care of queens upon returning them to the hive. The workshop was led by Sue Cobey and was facilitated by many members of the WSU Bee Program.

Taking the Sting out of Honey Bee Veterinary Medicine

Title slide to a presentation Dr. Ryan Kuesel gave to veterinarians

Our post-doctoral associate, Ryan Kuesel, recently presented the importance of veterinarian relationships with apiaries to 40 veterinarians at the Pacific Northwest Veterinarian conference in Tacoma! He educated veterinarians about the diagnostic symptoms of diseases in honey bees, the full life cycle of varroa mites, the available treatments for varroa and the tools available to genetically identify American foulbrood and European Foulbrood (sending samples to the USDA Bee Lab for PCR, self-run PCR, and field antigen test kits (COVID tests for bee larva)). They learned to diagnose American and European Foulbrood, parasitic mite syndrome, Nosema, sac brood, black queen cell virus, and twisted wing virus. Since the well-timed, imperative treatments for foulbroods and Nosema must be done under a veterinarian’s feed directive, WSU Bee + Pollinators Program hopes that this educational seminar prepared the veterinarians to be capable and more willing to work alongside beekeepers to improve hive health.

WASBA 2023 Pacific Northwest Beekeeping Conference in Olympia, WA

WSU Bee Program at WASBA conference
Jenifer Silva talking to WASBA Conference Attendee

In October, the WSU Honey Bee + Pollinators group attended the WASBA Annual 2023 Conference in Olympia and was a popular source for awesome bee program swag and conversation. Last year’s scholarship winners, Riley Reed, Adam Ware, and Igbagbolere Adeoluwa, presented their interesting research findings! Then, a handful of students, undergraduate and graduate level, presented brief research proposals for next year.

Two of our graduate students won a $5000 research scholarship: big congratulations to Taydin Macon and Riley Reed! Taydin’s proposal was to investigate blueberry crop soil for Melissococcus plutonius as a possible cause of novel European Foul Brood infestation in honey bees. Riley’s proposal was to research an emerging pest in Western WA, the small hive beetle. He plans to use Metarhizium on various life stages to see if there is potential for fungal biological control and plans to create fact sheets to educate beekeepers all over WA state on this damaging pest. We are excited to see what their findings are at next year’s annual meeting!

Looking for more updates on beekeeper happenings in Washington? Check out the Washington State Beekeepers Association newsletters!

Author: Bri Price, Honey Bee Program Extension Coordinator

Categories: General