August 11th Meeting: Learning About Risk from Well-Trained Bees

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday August 11th  at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg  when PhD candidate James M. Wilson will talk about “Learning About Risk from Well-Trained Bees.”

Pesticide risk to non-target organisms can be easily thought of as the combination of exposure to the pesticide and the toxicity of that pesticide.  If there is not a route of exposure then the risk is very small.  Conversely, if the toxicity of the pesticide is minimal, then risk is as well.  James has been working on a new insecticide that is very specific in what insects it affects.  Because the insecticide label will include use on pollination-dependent fruit crops there has been concern about its potential effects on honey bees.  He has built high tunnels, which are typically used as temporary greenhouses, to use as flight cages for the bees he wanted to study.  He introduces nucleus colonies of bees to this structure and trains them to artificial feeders.  Then he introduces the insecticide in question and records what happens.  To hear more, please come to the meeting  and find out!

James is originally from coastal North Carolina and majored in Fisheries and Wildlife Science at NC State.  He started his masters in entomology with Dr. Rick Fell on forensic entomology in wildlife in January of 2009.  Through his research and teaching assistantships, he has gained all kinds of experience in beekeeping.  He most recently taught the Bees and Beekeeping lecture and lab sections this spring semester at Virginia Tech.  He is currently finishing up his PhD in entomology on an integrated pest management approach to cucurbit production in Virginia.  This has led him down the path of assessing risk of new and common insecticides to pollinators and honey bees in particular.  He has come to enjoy the mountains as his new home and loves to fish and mountain bike throughout the area and seasons.

We will also have our monthly beekeeper raffle and a “what should you be doing with your hives this month” discussion.

Please consider bringing a snack or drink to share.

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