May 2024

Beekeepers are buzzing about our recent Diagnostic Microscopy Workshops!

The WSU Bee Program held a Diagnostic Microscopy Workshop in Puyallup and Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Centers on May 18 and 19, 2024. Beekeepers could bring their own bees and/or microscopes or use provided materials! Attendees learned how to use a dissection scope and compound scope, macerate honey bee abdomens to see if the bees had Nosema spores, count Nosema spores using a hemocytometer, and dissect honey bees for tracheal mites.

Nosema sp. are microsporidian gut parasites that essentially destroy the gut epithelial cells as they multiply, and this causes bees to become starved and will weaken the colony as a whole. Tracheal mites are microscopic mites that reproduce and live in bee trachea. The presence of these mites can make it harder for the bees to breathe and atrophy muscles so they cannot fly. *Look at the picture of a beautifully dissected bee an attendee did! White arrows are pointing to the trachea*

Both of these parasites can cause symptoms that are not unique and could be indicative of a handful of stressors. Microscopy is the only way to confirm diagnosis of either of these in honey bees!

Thank you to everyone who attended this workshop. We will be creating a recorded version of the seminar and short training videos that will be publicly available.

bar graph showing results from before and after surveys that were filled out during event
Results from pre- and post- workshop surveys showing a great increase in knowledge! Happy day!

World Bee Day & Beekeeping in Kenya with EDU Africa 

Washington State University set up a collaborative program with beekeepers in Maasai Mara, Kenya last year. This May, Dr. Steve Sheppard and a group of WSU students visited as part of this new study abroad program. The Maa Trust hosted WSU students and faculty for a riveting two-week stay; students delved into the Maa Bees program and explored beekeeping initiatives across the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Guided by John Bowen, the Maa Trust’s Beekeeping Coordinator, students gained unique insights into the program’s impact and their challenges, specifically honey badgers! Highlights of the visit included tours of various beekeeping groups and their apiaries: Empurputia in Lemek, Oltupukai in Aitong, Namunyak in Oltorotua, Oltim Ogol in Olesere, Irmirisho in Irbaan, and Reto-Oreto in Endoinyo-Erinka. These groups proudly showcased their honey, beeswax byproducts, various bee hive types, and various bee forage plants in Maasai Mara! Content adapted from the Maa Trust LinkedIn Page.

WSU students in Kenya
world bee day celebration in Kenya
world bee day celebration in Kenya

Instrumentally Inseminated Caucasian Queens Available for Purchase

Through importation of A.m. caucasica semen and backcrosses of these various lines, we have re-established Caucasian bees in the U.S. Old World Caucasian germplasm is available through limited numbers of instrumentally inseminated (I.I.) breeder queens. Orders are open until the end of June 2024, for delivery of queens by September 2024. These queens are recommended for use by queen producers and organizations to propagate production queens. Experience with introducing I.I. queens is strongly recommended.

To submit a purchase request, please visit this link.

WSU Bee Program Shares About the Life of Honey Bees with the Idaho Master Naturalist Program

Molly Quade, Research Technician, recently gave a 2 hour presentation about honey bee characteristics and reproduction, pollination services, instrumental insemination, and how our bee program has played a role in supplying genetics to the Idaho Master Naturalist Program. Molly also took the group into the greenhouse space at Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and showed them honey bee equipment and Metarhizium research materials!

Molly Quade giving presentation about Metarhizium
Molly Quade giving presentation about honey bee life cycle

Check out recently published peer-reviewed publications by members of the WSU Bee Program!

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