‘Bee college’ speaker is an expert on pesticides, bee-colony collapse | News

This Saturday, the internationally acclaimed no-till farming advocate and bee scientist Dr. Jonathan Lundgren will address the Colorado State Beekeeping Association’s summer bee college at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle.

In 2017, Lundgren gave the keynote address at the joint convention of the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation. Lundgren seeks to transform agricultural practices worldwide, based on research from his Blue Dasher Farm in South Dakota.

A former USDA senior scientist, Lundgren’s work on soil and pollinator health garnered him a White House award. Later, he found himself harassed and ostracized for politically inconvenient scientific conclusions concerning the overuse of pesticides.

A prodigious contributor to scientific journals, Lundgren argues that modern monoculture farming stresses the land and our pollinators. He preaches that crop rotation, cover crops and no-till farming can encourage natural predators, reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides and improve farmers’ bottom line.

More to the point from a beekeeper perspective, he postulates that inappropriate application of some agricultural pesticides sets the stage for honey bee colony collapse from Varroa mite infestation.

In his 10:35 a.m. talk, he will outline the problem, as he sees it. At 12:45 p.m., he’ll offer his proposed solutions.

The association’s bee college is geared to provide practical, up-to-date information on beekeeping for lifelong commercial beekeepers, as well as beginning backyard enthusiasts.

This year’s event also features Silt commercial beekeeper Paul Limbach’s demonstration on how to identify common bee diseases, along with a panel of veteran beekeepers eager to take questions from the audience. Beehives will be opened. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bee veil.

The bee college kicks off with a Friday potluck in New Castle, with free camping available. A spaghetti dinner with mead at Burning Mountain Pizza and Subs in Silt is scheduled for Saturday evening. Sunday morning attendees can examine more beehives, or, alternatively, soak in the waters of the Glenwood Hot Springs.

For pre-registration discount and all the details on the association’s educational weekend, visit coloradobeekeepers.org/summer-bee-college-2019/ or call Ed Colby at 970-355-5256.

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