Posts Tagged: Honey
Our friends the honey bees make it possible for us to devour an abundance of almond products. In 2016 the California almond crop totaled 2.15 billion pounds valued at $5.2 billion. Growing 80 percent of the world's almonds in California takes a lot of honey bees for pollination, roughly two hives for every acre of almond trees. It's estimated that California has 1.3 million acres of almonds, stretching 400 miles between Bakersfield and Red Bluff.
California is rated in the top five honey producing states in the nation. The U.S. per capita consumption of honey is around 1.3 pounds per year. Our buzzing friends visit millions of blossoms, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive. Lucky for us bees make more honey than their colony needs allowing beekeepers the opportunity to remove the excess honey and bottle it for us to enjoy.
Bees are animals too
Bees are one of our planet's most important animals. They produce honey and they are the primary managed pollinators for a majority of high value specialty crops grown in the contiguous states of California and Oregon, such as nuts, stone fruits, vegetables, and berries. A problem looms for our animal friends, the bees. Colony losses are high due to a variety of environmental and biological causes including bacterial diseases. Historically, beekeepers have self-prescribed antibiotics to control these diseases.
Enter UC Davis and Oregon State University to aid beekeepers in addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial use in the feed or water of food-producing animals, namely, protecting the health and safety of bees. The overall strategy leads to a safer food supply because the potential for antibiotic resistance is reduced.
The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine are partnering with Oregon State University in a USDA funded multi-state specialty crop project to develop CE training for veterinarians on bee health and antibiotic use — a practice that is now regulated under the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). The project will offer a comprehensive bee biology online course and train-the-trainer practical training for veterinarians and apiculture educators. The ultimate goals are to protect the specialty crop — honey — from becoming contaminated with antibiotic residues; to protect the health and safety of bees, which are essential to California agriculture; and, finally, to support veterinary oversight in the use of antibiotics, which will lead to an overall reduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment.
The $483,278 award will address the unique needs of the beekeeping industry that have been experiencing high colony losses since 2006. It will also focus on new rules established by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on the use of antibiotics which are used to control certain diseases affecting bee colonies.
The principal investigator is Elina L. Niño, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Project leader is Bennie Osburn, director of outreach and training at WIFSS. Collaborating in the project is Jonathan Dear, from the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and the partner state collaborator is Ramesh Sagili from the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. A team of graphic and instructional designers from WIFSS will work with Drs. Niño, Dear, and Sagili, to translate the science into user friendly information for veterinarians and beekeepers.
Educating about honey bee health
Dear who is collaborating with WIFSS to produce an online and hands-on module to train veterinarians about beekeeping and honey bee health, points out that, “Honey bees are such an important part of our economy and, like any food producing animal, they can be affected by preventable and treatable diseases.”
He is enthusiastic about the project and says, “Our hope is that by educating veterinarians about honey bee health, they can play a key role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of this important species.”
With the efforts of extension specialists, veterinarians, and graphic and instructional designers, beekeepers and veterinarians will work together to navigate the VFD regulations, and consumers will continue to enjoy nature's sugar.
Take it from the bee scientists. Honey is NOT vomit. That incongruous belief that “Honey is bee vomit” is resurfacing on a number of YouTube channels, opinion...
Foraging honey bees return to the hive to share nectar, which the house bees will turn into honey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bees sharing nectar with their hungry sisters. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How are the bees doing? When the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) meets Jan. 9-13 at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nev. for its 75th annual American Beekeeping...
A varroa mite (see reddish-brown spot under the wing) clings to a bee foraging on lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You may have missed it, but today (Thursday, Oct. 12) is National Farmers' Day. The day originated back in the 1800s as a way to recognize and thank farmers for all the work...
Two honey bees want the same pomegranate blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee pollinating an apple blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A new beekeeper examines a frame during a UC Davis honey bee course at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her staff teach classes for the public. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sarah the Bee Girl stands in front of a cluster of first graders sitting by a six-foot worker bee sculpture in the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Her name is...
First graders, school officials and parents from Peregrine School cluster around a bee sculpture at UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee for a "Kids and Bees" program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sarah the Bee Girl reads a book about bees. In back are WAS members Cyndi and Jim Smith of Donney Lake, Wash. Cyndi serves as the secretary. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sarah the Bee Girl outfits a first grader with a forager costume for correctly answering a question about foragers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
After Sarah the Bee Girl (back) read a book about bees, she quizzed them, and those with the correct answers were given props depicting those bees. These youngsters represent (from left) a forager, a scout bee, a house bee, a nurse bee, the queen bee and a drone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp (left), distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, catches a bee with his device. A magnifying class enables the youngsters to see the bee up close. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Staff research associate Charley Nye, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, staffed the bee habitat table. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Staff research associate Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., Honey Bee Research Facility/UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, staffed the beewax table. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Zoe Anderson, a UC Davis undergraduate student majoring in animal biology, holds up a jar of honey bottled by Sarah the Bee Girl. Her bees foraged on vetch to produce this honey, which was the favorite of all the honeys tasted. Anderson staffed the honey-tasting table with WAS member Kari Hallopeter of Spokane, Wash. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)