January 10, 2020
We haven’t posted as often lately, but it’s not because we’ve been idle. Since the honey bees are all snug in their hives for winter, we’ve moved from testing to...well, literally everything else. Social media, still puzzling over the ongoing question of whether or not we should try crowdfunding, and, this past week, rubbing elbows (the femoro-tibial joint?) with everyone who’s anyone in the bee world.
We went to the American Beekeeping Federation conference.
Well, not all of us (hey, someone has to keep things running here at home). Carissa and Jim represented Perpetual Pollen, and they did an amazing job. In fact, the entire thing was Carissa’s idea, and if you know her, that’s not surprising at all. We’re continuously blown away by her ability to reach out and grow our and knowledge. Jim, of course, knew a lot of the people scheduled to speak or attend, so off to Schaumburg they went.
Being able to see what already exists in the market for mite control, as well as where it’s going, was incredibly valuable to us (and, it proved to us again that there’s nothing else on the market like what we’re creating). We learned so much more about how beekeepers manage varroa populations, and more on the relatively new discovery that the varroa mite feeds primarily on the adipose tissue in bees. That second part is important because in honey bees, as in humans, it’s fatty tissue that produces antioxidants, protects bees from disease, and serves as food stores in dearth periods. So bees infected with mites are then exponentially more susceptible to secondary diseases and to starvation.
We learned how contentious and political the question of neonicotinoids is. Opinion is fiercely divided, and so is the science. We learned that bees have now evolved to be able to break down about 60 different types of neonics and fungicides, but they can’t break down multiple types at once.
We sat in on a panel discussion about selective breeding of queens designed to produce queens more resistant to varroa mites.
But of course, neither selective breeding nor pesticides benefit wild bees. And wild bees are the ones we’re trying to save.
Eugene Killion, of Bee Hill Micro Farm Mentor (right), and Matthew Sanchez, Lead Beekeeper, Marriot International.
We left all the discussions with a renewed sense of urgency.
But the best part, honestly, was the social aspect of the whole thing.
After such a warm and productive relationship through a million conference calls and emails, we finally got to meet Dick Rogers!
And we had lunch with the incredible Peter Nelson. If you don't know who that is, click on this link right now and go watch The Pollinators. Peter created the most life-changing film on the importance and wonder of the honey bee that we’ve ever seen.
We had a wonderful meeting with bee researchers Steve Cook and Jody Johnson of the USDA, and with Albert Chubak, who makes urban beekeeping supplies that we definitely want.
We’re so excited to be a part of this warm, welcoming community. And we can’t wait to do more.