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Jan. 30, 2023

Bee Research Update In Germany with Dr. Kirsten Traynor (S5, E33)

Bee Research Update In Germany with Dr. Kirsten Traynor (S5, E33)

The last time we talked with Dr. Kirsten Traynor she had just started her new role in Germany. On today's episode we catch up with Kirsten and learn what research her students are conducting in Germany, at the University of Hohenheim, just outside...

The last time we talked with Dr. Kirsten Traynor she had just started her new role in Germany. On today's episode we catch up with Kirsten and learn what research her students are conducting in Germany, at the University of Hohenheim, just outside Stuttgard. Of particular interest is the current research on the use of Lithium Chloride (LiCl) as a treatment against beekeepers number one foe - Varroa!

We also learn a bit about the beekeeping practices in Germany and the future of Kirsten's 2 Million Blossom's podcast.

We hope you enjoy the episode. Leave comments and questions in the Comments Section of the episode's website.

Thank you for listening!

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast: 

Honey Bee Obscura


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Podcast music: Be Strong by Young Presidents; Epilogue by Musicalman; Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus; A Fresh New Start by Pete Morse; Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

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S5, E33 – Bee Research Update In Germany with Dr. Kirsten Traynor


Jeff Ott: Welcome to Beekeeping Today podcast presented by Bee Culture. Beekeeping Today podcast is your source for beekeeping news, information, and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim Flottum: I'm Kim Flottum.

Global Patties: Hey, Jeff, and Kim. Today's sponsor is Global Patties. They are a family-operated business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honeybees. It's a good time to think about honeybee nutrition. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will ensure that they produce strong and healthy colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Now is a great time to consider what type of patty is right for your area and your honeybees. Global offers a variety of standard patties as well as custom patties to meet your needs.

No matter where you are, Global is ready to serve you out of their manufacturing plants in Airdrie, Alberta and in Butte, Montana, or from distribution depots across the continent. Visit them today at

Jeff: Thanks, Sherry. Thank you, Global Patties. You know, each week we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor support, and we know you'd rather we get right to talk about beekeeping. However, our great sponsors are critical to help making all of this happen. From the transcripts, the hosting fees, the software, the hardware, the microphones, the subscriptions, and the recorders, they enable each episode. With that, thanks to Bee Culture Magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship of this podcast. Bee Culture's been the magazine for American Beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today. Hey everybody, thanks for joining us. We're really happy you're here.

Before we get started, just a quick reminder to subscribe or follow Beekeeping Today podcast and give us a five-star rating. It really does help. Also, we are now adding complete transcripts of each episode on the website after the show notes. Check them out. You can also leave questions and comments online under each show. You can leave a comment, ask a question, reply to a question from our listeners. Click on 'Leave a comment' at the top of the episode's show notes to join the discussion.

Have you listened to an episode and thought, "That person sounds really interesting and I'd like to know more about them"? Well, now you can. Each episode links to a guest profile. Each profile has a guest photo, bio, contact information, including Instagram and Twitter details, if they have them. Check it out. Finally, share the podcast with your beekeeping friends. Email them links or mention it at your next beekeeper meeting. Hey, everybody, sitting here in the Beekeeping Today podcast studio is my good friend. Kim. Kim, how are you doing?

Kim: Doing okay, Jeff. Beginning to weary of winter, but it's going okay.


Jeff: If there's a beekeeper out there who's not tired of winter, I'd be amazed. I know we're sitting here upset about that, but a couple of weeks ago we talked with Etienne, and he's sitting up there in the Yukon. His winter's going to be a little bit longer than what we're experiencing. Etienne, we're thinking of you, Buddy [laughs].

Kim: There you go.

Jeff: Hey, can we have some--? You know, that's a new year. Some things coming up that we're changing. We're going to be starting our 6th year in June. Can you believe that?

Kim: No, I can't [laughs].

Jeff: That's amazing. I mean, that's fantastic. It's gone by so quickly. Some of the things that we're changing, even before the start of our 6th year, is the opening. I need, and we need participation from our listeners. Let me explain this to you, Kim, and everybody else here. What I want to do is invite our listeners and I'll provide a script. It's not there yet. Don't look yet, I'll make an announcement when it is there. I want to get you thinking, because I tried this with the local Olympia Beekeepers meeting this last week. What we're going to do is going to give a short script along the lines of, 'let clubs and the individual beekeepers open our show'. It'll be a quick opening.

Kim, if I was going to do one for the show, it would be something along the lines of, "Hey everybody, this is Jeff Ott, and when I'm not working my bees, I like to listen to Beekeeping Today podcast," or something along those lines. A club might want to say, "From the South Shore of the Puget Sound, welcome to," and have the group say, "Beekeeping Today podcast." It'd be a way for our listeners to hear themselves on our podcast and promote themselves and or promote their clubs. What do you think, Kim?

Kim: I think it's a good idea, and I can see why people would enjoy doing it. Are you going to put--? We've got a show coming up and you've got a club that wants to do it. Somehow they're going to record their message and get it to you. Is a contact for that club going to be made available on the webpage? If I didn't know there was a club in wherever Ohio, I could get in touch with them?

Jeff: Yes. The idea would be to give them an opportunity to send in a photo and some club details, or their details, and we'll include it in the show notes. In the beginning of the show notes, we say, "Introducing the show today is the Phoenix Beekeepers Association. Introducing the show today is Sally, Beekeeper of Tennessee." Something along those lines. It's just a great opportunity-- along with a picture, a great opportunity to interact with our listeners.

Kim: Yes, and for clubs to be able to interact with other clubs.

Jeff: That's right.

Kim: For beekeepers to find a new club or a different club. Good idea.

Jeff: The one thing that you pointed out, with the availability of voice memos on cell phones, on an iPhone, or whatever else, it's an easy thing to do. Record, do a couple of takes, and make sure that there's a good one that we can use. We'll run them, we'll go through them and run them. Stand by for more information and I'll provide that and some script and some other details. It'll be a couple of weeks, that's where we're heading. Start thinking about it.

Kim: If I'm interested in doing this, Jeff, I should probably go to the Beekeeping Today webpage and you'll have info there in a while.

Jeff: Yes, Kim. What I'll do is I'll just do a short entry on our blog page about contributing to Beekeeping Today Podcast at the opening. In that little blog, I'll have one or two scripts, one for a group, and one for an individual beekeeper. Kim, what have you been working on?

Kim: Unless you've been living under a rock someplace, probably everybody listening to this is keenly aware of all of the controversy going on about climate change. What I started noticing very quickly was that there are two or three sides to this discussion. When you take those two or three sides and you apply them to what's it going to be for bees, beekeepers, and beekeeping, suddenly you've got a lot of information that some of it doesn't make any sense at all. Some of it might be right. Some of it makes a lot of sense. What I'm trying to do is to take a look at all of these arguments, all of these fact-filled articles, and distill out what's the best information for a beekeeper that's going to affect hives, honey production, all of the things that we have to do all year long outside.

Well, one of the things that I'll bring up here is we just had, and coming up soon on our show is the people from Seeds for Bees, on Project Apis m. What they're looking at is, what they're hoping to find out is that if almond growers put forage between the rows of their almond trees, that forage is going to be taking carbon out of the atmosphere and locking it up in their soil. Almond growers may be able to take advantage of that and selling carbon back to the people that need it. They can get paid, so they can get double duty. They're feeding bees, they're getting credit for the carbon. That's the thing I'm going to be looking at. It's a story not told.

Jeff: Excellent. Where will our listeners be able to find that?

Kim: It'll be on the blog, on the webpage.

Jeff: Fantastic.

Kim: It'll be numbered in an order, and you can-- I say this carefully, there'll be some order to them, I'm going to be jumping all over the place in terms of the topics I'm looking at because things are breaking this week that weren't known last week. I found things that were viable six months ago that we didn't notice before, though.

Jeff: Well, that'll be really good and I look forward to reading those. Well, coming up on today's show, we have Dr. Kirsten Traynor back with us. Kirsten's been busy getting her courses organized, getting her students in line, buying houses. She's just moved lock, stock and barrel over to Germany. As anyone can imagine, that's quite the undertaking. It'll be fun to get caught up with Kirsten and hear what she's doing.

Kim: I was surprised, because she's been busy for quite a while. Hasn't been here very much. It sounds like she's going to be back on some sort of regular basis?

Jeff: That's what we're working towards, yes.

Kim: Okay, good.

Jeff: Yes. Let's hear from Kirsten, but first a quick word from our great friends at Strong Microbials.

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Jeff: While you're at the Strong Microbials site, make sure you click on and subscribe to The Hive, the regular newsletter full of interesting beekeeping facts and product updates. Hey everybody, welcome back. Sitting across the virtual Zoom table right now, I want to welcome back to this show, our good friend, Dr. Kirsten Traynor. Kirsten, welcome back to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Dr. Kirsten Traynor: Thank you so much for having me on the show. Sorry, I ducked under for a little bit.

Jeff: Yes.

Kim: Good to have you back again, Kirsten.

Kirsten: It's good being back. Life's been a little bit busy, but very exciting and filled with bees.

Jeff: Let's get into that. Where in the world are you, Kirsten?

Kirsten: That is a very good question. I am currently at the State Institute for Bee Research at the University of Hohenheim. It's just outside of Stuttgart, Germany, and I'm director of the institute there. I started in May, 2020. I took over for Peter Rosenkranz, who's quite well known for his Varroa research, and we're continuing that line of research at the institute. We have a team of about 10 permanent employees, and then when you count all the students rotating in and out, we're about 25 to 30 as total group.

Jeff: Wow, and you're in charge of all of that?

Kirsten: I am. It's been a big learning curve, but I'm having a blast and every day is different.

Kim: Wow. It sounds exciting. I'm happy to watch. I'm glad I'm not in the middle of that.


Kirsten: Yes, we run about 200 colonies. The majority of them are, of course, used for experimental research. We're hiring at the moment because our long-term master beekeeper is retiring. That's a true German master beekeeper with an official letter in the trade, so that we will be replacing in December of this year.

Jeff: What's the biggest difference that you could point out between German beekeepers and North American beekeepers?

Kirsten: I would say there are way more arguments about what is the correct hive style to use in Germany because there are just so many of them. Whereas in the States we argue about 8 frame and 10 frame or medium versus deep. Here, there are at least 50 different hives styles, and so yes, it gets very, very complicated very quickly. They also, a lot of them use jumbo Dadants that don't exist in the US at all anymore as a giant brood box in the bottom, and then smaller supers up above. There are some very interesting discussions about whether a brood nest should split across two boxes or only be in one. You can have very, very long conversations about the perfect frame size.

Jeff: Are they making all that equipment themselves or are the bee supply houses having to stock 50 different types of equipment?

Kirsten: There's about four that are more popular, I would say, than others. Most bee suppliers stock all of those frame sizes and then the appropriate hive bodies to go with it. Then, there's also the debate between this really thick Styropor, which is like a heavy-duty styrofoam versus wood. The northern part of Germany tends to use more of the Styropor. The southern part of Germany tends to use more wood. It's fascinating. For bee techies who love gadgets and gizmos, Germany is the country. They have fabulous things for lifting your supers up with an automated machine, so you don't have to lift anything yourself.

Most of the hive bodies have a lip so you can tilt them. You can tilt all your honey supers in a stack. Yes, just a whole lot of differences.

Kim: I'm happy to watch. I'm glad I'm not involved.

Kirsten: [chuckles] Yes. I recently learned that you can buy Langstroth. I'm planning on getting some private colonies again for myself this spring. Not a whole lot, but I'd like to have three to five again on my own to tinker with. The debate is, do I go with what we have at the university, which is Zander in wood boxes, or do I distinguish myself and go with the Langstroth, all mediums that I love and know, and be the odd man out in this part of the world [laughs]?

Kim: What about long hives? Any presence there?

Kirsten: They are starting to become more popular. They call them Nassenheider professional, which doesn't mean coffin hive, but it's like giant chest hive. They are becoming more popular because beekeepers with back problems can, of course, use them. Most of them, they have divided up, so you can either have three colonies in them, two colonies or one, depending on the time of year.

Kim: Let's see how complicated we can make it, should we?

Kirsten: Yes. They use dividers and they have multiple entrances.

Kim: The kinds of bees that you have?

Kirsten: The majority of German beekeepers for a large part, especially amongst the hobbyists, they tend to have carniolans and they have a long tradition of breeding very, very gentle, very easy to work, lovely carniolan stock. The commercial beekeepers for a large part tend to prefer buckfast, although you have commercial beekeepers that also run carnies. There's a little bit of a resurgence in Apis mellifera mellifera, the black bee, with some diehard breeders trying to bring it back.

They have mating stations here that are legally sanctioned areas, so no other stock is allowed to be within a certain circumference of it. They can do open mating and get an almost guaranteed cross depending on where the mating station is. They have land mating stations and they have island mating stations. Then, there's a lot of breeding efforts also for Varroa tolerance or resistance.

Kim: Of course, that was the next question is, how is Varroa there? Is it-- Yes, you use this term carefully. Is it as bad there as it is here?

Kirsten: I would say, in general, it's still the number one problem for beekeepers, but winter losses in Germany tend to be lower than winter losses in the US due to Varroa. The state I'm in tends to have one of the highest beekeeping densities. You have a problem with re-invasion that's become difficult to handle. Even if you've done everything correctly, you can end up with a spike in Varroa levels if other individuals in the area have not and their colonies collapse and there's no nectar source, and then your bees rub out other collapsing colonies and bring back mites.

They almost only-- for the most part beekeepers here use organic varroacides, so there's a focus on oxalic and formic. The problem is the way formic is used, they use dispensers. It's a 60% formic acid solution in a dispenser. The legal right to do that is going to fall away in 2027 unless enough data is provided and they do the official step through the government to get it approved as medicine.

In the past, there was a general ability to use formic acid using a dispenser, but now with the EU animal health law, they have to adapt to that. That general ability to use it is going to fall away in 2027. We're actually, as an institute, helping to coordinate with the other bee institutes to collect enough data because we need to have at least a 90% efficacy for the formic acid to work using these dispensers for them, for somebody to make the effort and get it approved legally for the future.

Jeff: What is a dispenser? I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time visualizing that.

Kirsten: There's two types. There's the Nassenheider professional, and then there's the Liebig dispenser. It's basically a bottle into which you fill formic acid and then it dribbles onto a platform and has continuous evaporation within the colony, that due to the size of the width is dispensed at different concentrations depending on outside conditions and colony size. It's a plastic setup in effect that allows you to dose out your formic acid. The goal is to get 25 ml to evaporate per day. Using these dispensers, you have much higher control over it.

Formic Pro has also just come out on the market here in Germany, but that is just starting. In the past, people have used the 60% formic acid solution using these dispensers very effectively.

Jeff: I know the temperature is such a important factor in formic acid evaporation and everything. How do they monitor? Is it an external device where they can monitor the application?

Kirsten: No, they pretty much see what the weather forecast is going to be for the next 10 days. It needs to be above 20 degrees celsius and below 30 degrees celsius for it to be effective. Then, they dose the hive based on the size of the colony. They check it every few days to see if it's evaporating off based on how much is left in the bottle. You usually do a diagnosis using your mite tray after treatment to make sure that the treatment has worked. You know you mite levels before you do the treatment, you see how many mites fall. Then, ideally you would do another diagnosis using these pushing trays so that you know if you've substantially reduced your Varroa mite population.

Usually, you treat for 10 days, then there's a pause where you will often feed the colonies, some of it's winter food. Then, you treat it again. Usually, you have to do two 10-day treatments back to back with a break in between.

Kim: Sounds like here, there's some level of guess and hope.

Kirsten: It's very weather-dependent and the summers have become a lot hotter and so sometimes it's too hot in August to do an effective treatment, so then you're pushing it out. Then, our Septembers this year were extremely cold and then October was hot again. I would say, to do it well, you probably have to have two to three years' beekeeping experience. Otherwise, you're going by what everybody else is doing and you're hoping for the best. If it's too hot, you can burn a lot of brood and lose a lot of bee mass in your colonies. You do have to be careful due to the weather conditions.

The other thing that's becoming popular is caging queens for three weeks so that the whole colony is broodless. Then, spraying the whole colony with oxalic acid.

Jeff: Doing that in the fall or late summer?

Kirsten: Late summer. After their summer honey harvest in August, they'll cage the queen and then late August they'll tend to treat when the colony broodless. Then, of course, Peter Rosenkranz and his PhD student Caro Rein, they've been working with lithium chloride as a varroacide as well. That research is continuing at our institute. It's not yet approved. Those are preliminary work, but it's highly effective in a broodless state when fed to a colony in eliminating varroa mites.

Jeff: Lithium chloride. It sounds familiar, but--

Kirsten: It's a salt. Lithium is also used in medicine for treating schizophrenia.

Jeff: Interesting. Let's take this opportunity for a quick break and we'll be right back.

Betterbee: Hi. We're starting the winter holiday celebrations. Nothing is better for a stocking stuffer, hostess gift or party favor than honey, homemade hand cream, candles or lip balm. If you want to learn how to craft these or other products of the hives, such as beeswax, you can visit for tips, tricks and products made by love by you and your honeybees. From all of us at Better Bee, we wish you wonderful winter holidays and terrific celebrations.

Jeff: Well, the varroa definitely keeping you busy and look forward to hearing more about the research you and your team is doing. Folks may know you from the 2 Million Blossoms publication and podcast. Can you give us an update on those two?

Kirsten: Yes, I unfortunately had to stop publishing the magazine, 2 Million Blossoms, juggling full-time production and a full-time job as head of an institute. Got to be a little too much. The podcast does continue. It took a little bit of a hiatus as I was getting used to the new job, but we're ready to get going again. That will be back up and running. If you have any ideas for speakers you'd love to have on the show, let me know. Drop me a name and I will be sure to interview them. We'll be popping those episodes back out about once a month.

Jeff: That's fantastic. We look forward to hearing those. You're being quite modest, because not only were you starting a new job, you moved from Tucson or Phoenix area over to Germany. It wasn't like down the street starting a new job on the next block.

Kirsten: No. I moved during the pandemic from Arizona, although at the time I was actually in Connecticut because I couldn't get back to Arizona due to the pandemic, to Germany while all stores were in lockdown. I moved with two suitcases and no furniture stores were open. Made for an amazing and very interesting time. I had to buy all my initial furniture via eBay advertisements because-- After two months they finally opened up a department store, but you had to book an appointment and I booked an appointment so I could finally like look at linens instead of buying stuff online.

Jeff: Oh my gosh. Your cat was in Arizona?

Kirsten: My cat had been in Arizona and then he's been living with my parents in Connecticut. I will be moving in May and then the goal is to bring Galveston over to Germany, so he's going to have to learn German.


Jeff: Well, we'll look for an update on how to teach a cat German, because I've never heard anybody teaching a cat anything, so this ought to be interesting.

Kirsten: Oh, my cat is smart. He can do sit, he can do tunnel and he can do penguins. I have him well-trained. I'm pretty sure he'll do all right in Germany.

Jeff: This is a beekeeping podcast but how does a cat do penguin?

Kirsten: Penguin is just him standing up on his hind legs and hands up in the air begging for a treat, but it's quite adorable.

Jeff: [laughs] The podcast will be available coming up soon. What about past issues of the publication of your magazine?

Kirsten: Better Bee has kindly given a home to all the past issues. If you're in touch with them, you should be able to get the back issues of 2 Million Blossoms. We published eight issues altogether and there are still back issues available of all eight issues.

Jeff: Very good. I have them all sitting on my coffee table, so they're very great publications. Sorry to see it's no longer in print but it's a great publication.

Kirsten: They're timeless, so even though they have a date on them, I think you'll enjoy them five years down the road.

Jeff: The artwork is wonderful.

Kirsten: Thank you.

Jeff: Speaking of artwork and publications, you've also been busy, besides moving and starting a new job, on other efforts. What are you doing?

Kirsten: This is true. I am very lucky and I have in February a children's book coming out. It's being published by the Taschenbuch Verlag who did The Hungry Caterpillar. They are the oldest German children's book publisher in Germany. They read an interview in a newspaper when I first started working in Germany. The writer had mentioned that I'd written a children's book, which I had entitled Leaving Home. That's why he put it in the article and they contacted me and asked to read the manuscript. I sent it to them in English. They loved it, they loved the illustrations that are done by Carim Nahaboo, who's an amazing entomological illustrator living in London.

They bought the rights so that I had to translate it. My manuscript Leaving Home, in German it's called the Big Swarm, [German language], is going to be out in stores as of February. It's creative non-fiction. It's told in the style of fiction, but it's all scientifically accurate. The main character is Henrietta. She's about to head out for the first time from the hive to go out foraging on flowers. The whole colony atmosphere has changed and everybody's super excited and she gets pushed out of the hive in this swarm.

Now, the swarm is hanging out on a tree limb and they have to find a new home. The story is about how she is functioning as a scout bee, searching for the perfect place to go. I sent this manuscript while it was a work in progress to Tom Sealy. He loved it. He gave me some really nice feedback on it. Yes, Henrietta will be taking off of bookshelves in February in Germany.

Jeff: It sounds spookily parallel to someone who moved from Arizona to Germany. Did they happen at the same time?

Kim: It does a little, Jeff, good point there. Tom Sealy is high praise, certainly.

Kirsten: I've been getting really positive feedback on the illustrations, too. As a child, I always loved the brother Grimm fairy tales and they were illustrated with these lithographic block prints and I wanted a similar style, so they're done. I asked Carim to recreate these magical children's book style of drawings. They're mainly black with a little bit of touches of color, but kept very simple in their color spectrum so that the child's imagination can run wild.

Jeff: It sounds like a wonderful book. I look forward to seeing it. I'll have to submit it to Google translator something or look forward to an English translation.

Kirsten: That may be in the works. I'll have to see if I can find a publisher who wants to take it on. As I said, the manuscript is available in English and I had originally translated into Germany, so hopefully it will at some point also appear in English.

Jeff: If you're a book publisher and you're looking for a ready to go children's book, complete with artwork, contact Kirsten.

Kirsten: That would be ideal.

Jeff: Would be ideal. It's wonderful to get caught up with you. Is there anything that you're doing that we haven't asked you about? You've been so busy.

Kirsten: I have been pretty busy. Actually we have some really cool experimental work going on at the institute. Two of our students, one's a PhD student, one's a master student, Manuel Treder and Michael Glück, they've been doing some fascinating work looking at this question of competition between honeybees and native bees. They set up a really, really smart experiment not too far away from our institute on four meadow rich fields where they would artificially increase the density of honeybee colonies and then looked at the foraging behavior of native pollinators on those same fields.

We found some really interesting results where when you have honeybees in the area, you do find that wild pollinators will visit the flowers about 15% less. However, that reduction only happens on flowers that honeybees are visiting. It actually allows us to make different decisions. If we want to promote native pollinators, we basically need to focus on the plants that are truly attractive to native pollinators that honeybees tend to ignore. If honeybees tend to visit that type of flower, their activity when you increase the density may be having a negative impact on the foraging of wild pollinators. However, we didn't see, we also looked at Osmia reproduction and we didn't see any impact on reproduction. It may just be changing their foraging behavior and not their reproductive possibilities.

Kim: Listen to what you just said, "monumental common sense", but it's nice to have proof of that if you're working with, in an area where people are-- in some cases here, it gets dangerously nasty when people are arguing about native bees and honeybees brought in. If beekeepers have more information than they have now about how the interactions work, that would be good. I'm interested in seeing how this turns out.

Kirsten: Yes, we're looking forward to publishing it. It's still preliminary. I mean the work has been done and we hope to be bringing it out. I mean, they looked at thousands and thousands of flowers, so the amount of data they collected is just mind-blowing.

Kim: That'll be good to have for the folks that are trying to increase pollinators in general, but specifically, native pollinators.

Jeff: As Kim was saying, it becomes a heated conversation between beekeepers.

Kirsten: Well, it's much more heated in the states because honeybees aren't native to the USA. At least in Europe, they're native to Europe, and so they've always been in the landscape. Obviously, the issue for the most part is we just don't know have enough flowers. The real argument is that we need more food for everyone, but if we're trying to support specific pollinators, we need to look specifically at what we're planting.

Jeff: That's a good point to bring it back home to. It's not a matter of native versus non-native. It's a matter of habitat and increasing habitat. That's the message that really needs to get out.

Kirsten: It is disturbing how much open habitat we pave over and plow under on a regular basis in the USA. We are losing an incredible amount of open landscape. Then, changes in the conservation reserve program are also leading to-- and then spiking wheat and corn prices are leading to changes in how farmers work their field. All of that, of course, has an impact on available food for the pollinators that feed us.

Kim: Then, throw in a little bit of climate change just to keep it interesting.

Kirsten: Oh, of course.

Kim: [laughs].

Jeff: Well, Kirsten, it's been wonderful getting caught up with everything you're involved in, everything you're doing and having you back on this show. Look forward to hearing more updates from you, both on this podcast and also on the 2 Million Blossoms podcast.

Kirsten: I look forward to it, too. Stay tuned for some exciting 2 Million Blossoms episodes. I'm part of a European-wide program and so I will have to hit up some of my colleagues to learn more about beekeeping in Italy and Denmark and some of the other collaborating partners.

Kim: It sounds busy.

Kirsten: As usual. You know I only run at 120%.

Kim: [laughs] Well, it's fun to watch. I'm glad I don't have to keep up.

Jeff: Kirsten, it's been wonderful having you on the show. Look forward to the podcast, look forward to the new book. Best of luck in your new job and continued research.

Kirsten: Thank you so much. It's been a blast talking with you guys.

Kim: Thank you.

Kirsten: Bye-bye.

Jeff: Kirsten is definitely involved in a lot of great work, both personally and professionally. It's fun to get caught up.

Kim: Yes, it was. I've missed the random chats that we had when she was less busy, let's put it, but it sounds like she's having a lot of fun.

Jeff: Yes. The research that she's doing with her team on the Varroa research and also the native pollinators versus honeybees, that will be really good to have as a beekeeper.

Kim: Like a lot of things, that just give beekeepers, I don't want to say more ammunition, but that's what it is. More ammunition. If there's less harm with having honeybees in an area than some people seem to think there is.

Jeff: Well, that about wraps it up for this episode. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple Podcast, wherever you download and stream the show. Your vote helps other beekeepers find us quicker. Even better, write a review and let other beekeepers looking for a new podcast know what you like. You can get there directly from our website by clicking on 'Reviews' along the top of any webpage. As always, we thank Bee Culture, the magazine for American Beekeeping for their continued support of Beekeeping Today podcast.

We want to thank our regular episode sponsor, Global Patties. Check them out at Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of this podcast. Check out their probiotic line at We want to thank Better Bee for their longtime support. Check out all their great beekeeping supplies at Thanks to Northern Bee Books for their support of Bee Books Old and New with Kim Flottum. Check out all of their books at

Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today podcast listener for joining us on this show. Feel free to leave us comments and questions at 'Leave a comment' section under each episode on the website. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks a lot, everybody.

[00:35:29] [END OF AUDIO]

Dr. Kirsten TraynorProfile Photo

Dr. Kirsten Traynor


Dr. Kirsten S. Traynor is a honey bee biologist, who investigates how pesticides and varroa impact social behavior in honey bees. In January 2020 she launched a new quarterly magazine 2 Million Blossoms: protect our pollinators. The 100+ page print magazine is designed to inspire, inform and entertain. How did she end up so wild about pollinators? In 2006-2007, Kirsten received a German Chancellor Fellowship. During that time she drove over 50,000 miles throughout Western Europe to study the differences between European & American beekeeping. Fascinated with the social complexity of a honey bee hive, she returned to school and earned her PhD in biology with Dr. Robert Page. While a grad student, she spent almost a year in Avignon, France in the lab of Dr. Yves Le Conte as a Fulbright Fellow.

She’s the former editor of Bee World and American Bee Journal, the author of Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey and Simple, Smart Beekeeping. She previously managed a small apiary producing top quality nucs and Maryland reared queens, but has taken a break from running her own bees to focus on her new magazine.