robtest

Speaker schedule

April 19, 7:30 PM: Prof. Matthew E. O’Neal

Special Guest Speaker Program over Zoom

A professor of entomology at Iowa State University, Dr. O’Neal oversees research related to the management of insect pests of annual crops, with a focus on soybeans.  His overall goal is the development of management programs that are economically and environmentally sustainable. To achieve this goal, he explores the ecology of pests with their host-plant and natural enemies, often within a landscape context. More recently, his lab is exploring how conservation methods may improve the abundance and diversity of beneficial insects that contribute to crop pollination and more sustainable beekeeping. This later topic includes study of the pollinator community that resides within the agricultural landscape. O’Neal has published more than 90 scientific papers, many of them can be found at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3HpHhVcAAAAJ&hl=en. His work with the STRIPS project highlights the combination of entomology, ecology and agriculture: https://www.nrem.iastate.edu/research/STRIPS/

How can engineering help us track bees, and can this benefit beekeepers? Beekeepers and those interested in conserving wild bees are often in need of information regarding where bees are foraging. Collecting this information requires understanding the biology and ecology of the insect of interest. Entomologist often look to advances from various fields of engineering, to develop more accurate and efficient sampling techniques. I will describe some of the basic and more advanced ways in which my colleagues and students have attempted to track bees in the environment while taking advantage of techniques like harmonic radar, machine learning and bowls of soapy water. I’ll describe how data from these various techniques could help everyone interested in bees and beekeeping. I’ll also describe some ways engineers and other branches of science could help entomologists and ecologists advance our goals for conservation and agricultural.”

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May 10 → Rescheduled to Saturday May 7

Outdoor meeting at Pirate Creek ranch in Sunol.

Program under development.

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May 17, 7:30 PM: Prof. Stephen Martin (University of Salford, Manchester, UK)

Special Guest Speaker Program over Zoom

Prof. Martin holds a Chair in Social Entomology in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at Salford University, Manchester. He studied social insects (bees, wasps, termites and ants) for most of his career, specializing in ‘hornet ecology’, ‘pest and diseases of honeybees’ and ‘chemical ecology of ants’.
Dr. Martin is best known for his work on the Varroa mite and its association with viruses, especially the Deformed Wing Virus. His team of researchers at Salford, funded in part by beekeepers, use the very latest molecular methods to read the genetic code of the DWV virus. The aim is to understand why some honey bee colonies have become naturally tolerant to Varroa and see if this information can provide beekeepers with a long-term solution to the problem.
More recently his expertise in hornet biology is in demand, both nationally and internationally.
Prior to his Salford appointment, he spent 12 years at Sheffield University, 7 years with the National Bee Unit and 7 years in Japan conducting research into Giant Hornets.

Understand the evolution of natural Varroa-tolerance mechanisms in various beekeeping populations. Since the arrival of the Varroa mite from Asia, millions of honey bee colonies have died. For decades, beekeepers have continued to control Varroa populations by the use of chemicals and other invasive methods. However, throughout Africa and most of South and Central America mite-infested colonies survive without any form of mite-control. This has been linked with poor mite reproduction, although what causes this has remained unknown. Throughout, Europe the USA and Wales an increasing number of naturally evolved, mite-tolerant colonies are been discovered. The talk will discuss the various tolerant mechanisms and how honey bee populations in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, USA and UK all appear to have evolved similar ways to combat the Varroa mite.

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June 21 to August 9

TBD.

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August 16, 7:30 PM: Dr. Gordon Wardell

Special Guest Speaker Program over Zoom

Upon earning his PhD in Entomology in 1982 from Michigan State University, Dr. Wardell embarked on 12 years with International Apicultural Development on projects in east Asia (Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji). He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in 1988 as extension agriculturist. In 1996 Dr. Wardell embarked on a product-oriented research at his company S.A.F.E Research, in Tucson, AZ., which culminated in the development of a protein supplement called MEGABEE, which entered the marketplace in 2002. Development involved identifying ingredients bees prefer.
Dr. Wardell is a director of Project Apis m., Director of Bee Biology with Paramont Farming Company, science advisor to the Almond Board of California, and holds the post of lecturer at California Polytechnic University. Specialties include Africanized Honey Bees, Small Hive Beetle, and Fire Ants. Dr. Wardell is author of numerous journal articles as well.

Supplemental Nutrition for Honey Bees

For at least the last half century, beekeepers have fed protein supplements, like brewers-yeast, to stimulate brood build-up, and ensure good colony health. Around 50 years ago research began to influence formulations. We will hear what’s-new, how it can improve our colonies, and why it matters.

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Workshops are as yet unscheduled.