Marla Spivak to Speak at Bee Symposium March 19 in Sebastopol
March 9, 2011
Marla Spivak of St. Paul, Minn., a recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship, also known as "the genius award," will give two presentations at the Bee Symposium March 19 in Sebastopol. She's a professor of apiculture and an Extension specialist at the University of Minnesota. (Photo by Dan Marshall)
DAVIS--MacArthur Fellowship recipient Marla Spivak, professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota, will give two presentations on Saturday, March 19 at the fifth annual Bee Symposium, a benefit for bees.
The all-day event, sponsored by Beekind, takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Sebastopol Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol.
This year's theme is "Medicine from the Hive."
Spivak will speak on “Socialized Medicine in Honey Bee Colonies” in the morning and “Bee Health and Breeding” in the afternoon.
Spivak is the Distinguished McKnight Professor and Extension specialist in apiculture at the University of Minnesota. She developed the Minnesota Hygienic Line. Her current research is investigating the benefits of propolis to bees. Last year she was named a recipient of the $500,000 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, often referred to as a "genius award."
UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and staff have participated in the Bee Symposium for the past several years. They include Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen; native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology; and bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey.
Spivak studied with Thorp and other volunteer instructors at the 2010 The Bee Course, Portal, Ariz. The annual workshop is offered for conservation biologists, pollination ecologists and other biologists who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees. Spivak has also done research with Mussen and Cobey.
Two other speakers are billed at the March 19 event. Acupuncturist Frederique Keller of Apitherapy for Health and president of the American Apitherapy Society, will speak on “Medicinal Use of Raw Honey, Pollen, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Bee Bread and Beeswax” in the morning. In the afternoon, her topic is: “Bee Venom Therapy: Historical Perspective into Modern Applications.” A native of Paris, she now lives in Northport, N.Y
Retired physician Ron Fessenden of Colorado Spring, Co.,, author of “The Honey Revolution: Restoring the Health of Future Generations” and other books on honey, will speak on “The Revolutionary Effects of Honey on Human Metabolism” in the morning. In the afternoon he will share “How to Sleep Your Way to Better Health with Honey.”
A small group of bee folks who want to share their knowledge and promote enthusiasm about and for the bees organized the conference, said Katia Vincent of Beekind, Sebastopol.
Tickets to the Bee Symposium are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees and Partners for Sustainable Pollination.
For more information contact Katia Vincent at email@example.com.
About Marla Spivak's Talks
"Socialized Medicine in Honey Bee Colonies"
Summary: Why do bees collect propolis? Most beekeepers are annoyed by the presence of sticky propolis in a bee colony as it makes hive manipulations difficult. Unlike pollen and nectar, propolis provides no nutritional benefit to the colony, so what do bee collect tree resins and cement them into the nest cavity as propolis? Our research demonstrates that the presence of a "propolis envelope" inside the hive helps the immune system of individual bees, and so is a form of social immunity for the colony. We are also exploring the antimicrobial properties of propolis, using modern analytical methods, to test the activity of different sources of propolis against bee viruses and bee bacterial pathogens. We hope to provide medical researchers with compounds in propolis that can be tested for their activity against human pathogens. Propolis has amazing antimicrobial properties, and has great potential for bee and human health.
"Bee Health and Breeding"
Summary: My research strives to help bees help themselves. Bee breeding is a way to enhance bees' natural tendencies to defend themselves against diseases and mite parasites. One natural trait of bees is called "hygienic behavior" in which individual bees detect diseased and parasitized brood and remove the unhealthy brood from the nest. This detection and removal process is analogous to how the immune system works to fight off disease, thus hygienic behavior is a form of social immunity for the colony. We are now working one-on-one with commercial bee breeders in northern California to help them enhance their tried-and-true stocks of bees by selecting for hygienic behavior. The goal is to maintain genetic diversity while improving disease and mite resistance in our bees.
For more information on the other speakers, see their summaries.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology