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W.A.S. Conference

Apiculture News- July/August 1997

Dr. Eric Erickson was our final presenter at the meeting. He was a little disappointed that his AHBs were so tame at the time of our visit. So he showed us a video of what the same colonies were like earlier in the season. I’m glad they were “off” when we were there.

Eric reported that local bees, living in combs with smaller cell sizes, have survived the onslaught of Varroa and have less than 10% infestation rates. Tracheal mites are very low, too. They are hoping to breed from those queens for mite resistance. [Editor's Note: The AHBs in the USDA yard were living in previously drawn EHB combs. Their mite level in uncapped drone brood was about 50%.]

If you have knowledge of one or more colonies of bees that seems to have survived for years without treatment for either mite, Dr. Erickson would like some samples of the workers from those colonies.

The WAS Conference wrapped up with the annual awards banquet. Dee and Ed Lusby, Tucson area beekeepers, received the Thurber Award for Inventiveness in Beekeeping. The Lusby’s have spent many years and personal resources on breeding a bee specific for desert beekeeping. They also have experimented with reduced sized comb foundation and cell sizes. When adequately small, the cell size seems to positively affect disease and mite control in a colony.

Sincerely,

Eric Mussen

Entomology Extension
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
(916) 752-0472
fax: (916) 752-1537
Internet: ecmussen@ucdavis.edu