Presenter: Jennifer Berry, University of Georgia

Fighting for Our Bees

As we all know, honey bees have been threatened for decades due to the widespread use of pesticides, modernization of farming practices, and habitat loss due to human expansion. However, the most detrimental and hardest blow to Apis mellifera has been the new heavy weight challenger, Varroa destructor. We are now in round 13 and Varroa is winning. Unfortunately, mites are not going away, so let’s give our bees the best coach, the best training, and the best knock punch to at least make it to the last round. This presentation will delve into recent research from the University of Georgia and investigate relationships between Varroa and our bees. We will also discuss plans to postpone the inevitable or, more optimistically, to finally win by knocking out our opponent. Time to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!

 

Banquet Presentation: My “Almost” 20 Years of Beekeeping Experiences 

With so much vying for our attention these days, sometimes it’s just fun to be entertained. Saturday evening, let’s do just that. Forget about Varroa and viruses, global warming and pesticides, tweets and collusion. Let’s just sit back for some down-to-earth stories about bees and beekeeping. 

 

For over 19 years, Jennifer Berry has been the Apicultural Research Professional and Lab Manager for the University of Georgia Honey Bee Program. Her research objectives have focused on queen breeding, improving honey bee health, the sub-lethal effects of pesticides on beneficial insects and IPM techniques for varroa and small hive beetle control.

More recently, Jennifer has undertaken several ambitious campaigns to educate people from all walks of life. She volunteers in Central and South America to teach women and young teens the art of beekeeping in order to start their own businesses or enhance opportunities for better employment. Jennifer has also been instrumental in launching the Georgia Beekeeping Prison Program by certifying inmates through the University of Georgia Master Beekeeper Program. In little over a year, 5 prisons have been added to the fold and are now teaching beekeeping behind bars. She is also dutifully educating the public about the importance of pollinators and other beneficial insects and how to encourage their populations.

Jennifer is a somewhat regular columnist for Bee Culture magazine and occasionally for other publications across the pond. She travels extensively to speak to local, state, national and international students, groups and beekeeping associations. On nights and weekends, Jennifer operates Honey Pond Farm, a honey bee venture which strives on rearing healthy bees and selecting queens for varroa tolerance, brood production, gentleness, and longevity. Several times a year she sells nucleus colonies and teaches how to rear superior queens and keep bees alive at her farm in Georgia.