Your Source For Beekeeping News, Information and Entertainment
Jan. 2, 2023

Bee Weaver Queens with Danny Weaver (S5, E29)

Bee Weaver Queens with Danny Weaver (S5, E29)

Today, I welcome Danny Weaver to the show. Danny comes from a long line of queen breeders and beekeepers in the Navasota, Texas area. Danny’s father, Binford, was instrumental working with Congress to establish the National Honey Board in 1987....


Today, I welcome Danny Weaver to the show. Danny comes from a long line of queen breeders and beekeepers in the Navasota, Texas area. Danny’s father, Binford, was instrumental working with Congress to establish the National Honey Board in 1987. The Weaver name  is long established and trusted in beekeeping. Today, Danny talks with me about his current queen breeding operation producing varroa resistant bees, as well as the Bee Weaver Farm in Navasota. 

The Farm offers a bee experience to non-beekeepers through tours and screened-enclosed demonstrations. The Farm also includes a market, a meadery and a campground. 

Danny’s operation could be a model for many beekeepers. So stand by, I am confident there is something here for all beekeepers

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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This episode is brought to you by Global PattiesGlobal PattiesGlobal offers a variety of standard and custom patties. Visit them today at http://globalpatties.com and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. Betterbee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer BetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, Betterbee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong Microbials Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

Thanks for Northern Bee Books for their support. Northern Bee Books is the publisher of bee books available worldwide from their website or from Amazon and bookstores everywhere. They are also the publishers of The Beekeepers Quarterly and Natural Bee Husbandry.

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We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments in the show notes of this episode or: questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at www.beeculture.com

Bee Culture Magazine

Thank you for listening! 

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

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

Growing Planet Media, LLC

Transcript

S5, E29 – Bee Weaver Queens with Danny Weaver

[background music]

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're 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 www.globalpatties.com.

Jeff: Thanks, Sherry. Thank you, Global Patties. Each week we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor support and we know you'd rather we get right to talking 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, the recorders, they enable each episode. With that, thanks to Bee Culture Magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship of this podcast. Bee Culture has been the magazine for American Beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today.

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Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening. Before I forget, happy New Year. Today, I welcome Danny Weaver to the show. Danny comes from a long line of queen breeders and beekeepers in the Navasota, Texas area. Danny's father, Benford, was instrumental in working with Congress to establish the National Honey Board in 1987. The Weaver name is long established and trusted in beekeeping. Today, Danny talks with me about his current queen breeding operation producing Varroa-resistant bees, as well as the bee weaver farm in Navasota.

The farm offers a bee experience for non-beekeepers through tours and screen and closed demonstrations. The farm also includes a market, a meatery, and a campground. Danny's operation could be a model for many beekeepers, so stand by. I'm confident there is something here for everybody. What are you looking forward to in your bee operation in 2023? Are you expanding, holding the same, or downsizing? Now is the time to start ordering your packages and nukes in order to lock them in for early pricing. Also, ordering new equipment now will prevent last-minute scrambling to knock together your purchased wooden wear.

We happen to know a great supplier of ready-assembled hive kits and pre-built hives. If you're wondering where to order your equipment this year, thumbing through and earmarking pages of a bee supply catalog is a fun way to pass along a winter's evening. Maybe you're focusing on getting certified with your local or state organization as an apprentice, journeyman, or even a master beekeeper. Maybe you'll sign up for a university certification this year, such as from the University of Montana or Cornell or many others. Formal education is a good thing to keep your skills and knowledge sharp, up to date, plus, provide the ability to spot good advice from bad advice.

Speaking of education, even if you've been keeping bees for several years, having a mentor is valuable. Everyone's experience with bees is different. A mentor's observation about your colonies or management techniques may save you time, money, and bees. Even if you have a mentor, become a mentor to another beekeeper. Pass along what you know. Not everything can be learned on YouTube or a podcast for that matter. Starting a new year and a new season brings much hope and anticipation. It is an exciting time. From Kim and me, here's to your success in 2023. May your year be rewarding and rich in honeybees.

StrongMicrobials: Hey, beekeepers. Many times during the year, honeybees encounter scarcity of floral sources. As good beekeepers, we feed our bees artificial diets, like protein and carbohydrates, to keep them going during those stressful times. What is missing though are key components, the good microbes necessary for a bee to digest the food and convert it into metabolic energy. Only SuperDFM-HoneyBee by Strong Microbials, can provide the necessary microbes to optimally convert the artificial diet into energy, necessary for improving longevity, reproduction, immunity, and much more.

SuperDFM-HoneyBee is an all-natural probiotic supplement for your honeybees. Find it at strongmicrobials.com or at fine bee supply stores everywhere.

Jeff: While you're at the Strong Microbial 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 to the show. Sitting across the virtual zoom table right now. I've known Danny for a long time. I think I met you back in 1993 at the Kansas City American Beekeeping Federation meeting. Danny Weaver, welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Danny Weaver: Hey, good to be here, Jeff. Thanks for having me.

Jeff: Well, it's been a long time. I should have invited you sooner. The Weaver name has a long history in the beekeeping industry. For our listeners who may not know of the Weaver name and can you give us a little bit of history of the longstanding Weaver name? Then we'll talk about what you're doing there at the Weaver Farms.

Danny: When my great-grandparents, Zach Weaver and Florence Summerford got married, they got a wedding gift of 10 hives of honeybees from my great-grandmother's brother, Frank, who'd been keeping bees in Texas for about 10 years prior to that. Beekeeping's been in the Weaver family since 1888. I got involved when I was a kid and my dad thought that I had spent enough time watching cartoons on Saturday morning and got me out in the Queen Yard catching queens when I was about nine or 10 years old. It's in my blood at this point I think. I think I've been envenomated by enough stings that I'm addicted.

I find beekeeping fascinating. Weaver Apiaries was the old family operations name until my dad and I reorganized it and renamed it BeeWeaver Apiaries in 1995. We're operating in-- headquartered in Navasota, Texas, and our office is in Austin, Texas.

Jeff: Your father, for those who've been around in the beekeeping business, was Benford Weaver. If anybody's been in the business that long, he was your dad and your mother was Benny.

Danny: That's right. Benny Lou Weaver. Yes, Benford and Benny Lou.

Jeff: They were a fortune to the beekeeping industry for a long time.

Danny: Yes. My dad was deeply involved in many, many different aspects of beekeeping, including the national organizations. He went to Washington and I'll say he obviously had help from Congress people and lobbyists that were hired by interested beekeepers, but he gets the lion's share, the credit, for the National Honey Board being established for such an Act of Congress. He was good friends with Kika de la Garza, the longtime Democratic congressman with a lot of clout in the Rio Grande Valley. He and Kika partnered and got it done.

He was the president of the American Beekeeping Federation. He was one of the founding directors of the foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. It just goes on and on. He had a very storied career, I'll have to say.

Jeff: I was very honored to have met him and talked to him on multiple occasions. Quite a guy in the beekeeping industry. What are you doing today in the beekeeping world? You're still active, you're still busy?

Danny: Oh yes, very much so. I don't really have a yearning to retire yet because I still find beekeeping fascinating and particularly the process of rearing queens, breeding queens. I have a background in biology and genetics and genomics. I'm very much into that side of things. I'm most consumed by my ongoing efforts with a population of honey bees that I've developed here at Bee Weaver that are resistant to Varroa mites and honeybee viruses. I continue to make that one of the focal points of our efforts as a company and my efforts as a honey bee research scientist.

Jeff: You have a longstanding history with queens and package bees and also with the Buckfast bee as well. Can you talk a little bit about the Buckfast bee in Weaver Farms?

Danny: Sure, sure. My uncle, Roy Stanley Weaver Jr, made contact with Brother Adam at Apimondia conferences in the early 1960s. By 1967, we had struck a deal with Brother Adam to produce Buckfast queens here in the United States for the North American market, and then subsequently worldwide because Brother Adam just couldn't produce enough queens to handle all the demand he had in terms of requests for breeder queens and so forth.

Actually, in Buckfast bees in case, people are not familiar with them, were noted for their resistance to Akron disease or the parasitic mite Acarapis woodi, which lives in the trachea of honeybees, and it caused a devastating colony collapse in Europe and England back in the early part of the 20th century. Brother Adam had found some colonies that had survived the devastation of Acarine disease, and it was called the Isle of Wight disease because it seemed to have originated there, at least, in Great Britain.

He took the surviving colonies on the Isle of Wright and used those to establish a breeding program, which he grew over the years. He incorporated other stocks and other lines of honeybees from around the world. Buckfast were known for their hardiness and their winter survival abilities. They were very, very good at coping with harsh climatic conditions, and those queens knew when to stop lane in order to conserve colony resources, and they didn't start laying too early and burn through all their honey before more pollen and nectar sources became available in the springtime.

Jeff: The beekeepers today may recognize that mite as the tracheal mite.

Danny: Yes, that's right. The Buckfast are definitely blended in to the super mongrelized population of honeybees that I've got now. They've got all major subspecies of honeybees in their lineage, Apis mellifera mellifera, bee of Northern Europe. Some people call it the black bee. Apis mellifera ligustica, Apis mellifera carnica, and Apis mellifera caucasica, and Apis mellifera scutellata.

There is also a signal from the New World African Bees in our stock as well because it was unavoidable back in the 1990s when Africanized bees swept across the Rio Grande and then moved through Texas like a wildfire to have some genetic progression. In any event, we're not worried about that because our bees, I believe are very, very gentle at this point, and there's no issue with respect to stinging behavior and what has been associated with Africanized honey bees.

When I say that, some people get alarmed, "Oh, you've got Africanized honey bees." "Well, no, I've got a genetic signal from Africanized honey bees, not the behavioral trait people find so objectionable." Again, all four major subspecies, Apis mellifera mellifera, Apis mellifera ligustica, Apis mellifera caucasica, and Apis mellifera scutellata are present in our population.

Jeff: You're raising a bee that you said the queens that are Varroa resistant and the Varroa disease resistant. I understood that correctly?

Danny: Yes. Varroa resistant, so they don't succumb to Varroa mites. That doesn't mean that they don't have Varroa mites in the colony, but those Varroa mite populations don't increase to the point where they cause colony mortality or loss of colony productivity. They're just plain different than most commercial stocks of honey bees and they're really good about detecting infested brood and then removing the pupi that are heavily infested, hauling them out of the hive.

They're also really good at grooming and chewing their sisters and they have a slightly shorter developmental time than most Western honey bees. That's probably a legacy of the Africanized honey bee influence.

Jeff: I was just getting ready to say that sounds strangely like the Africanized bee. While we're on that topic, are they a little bit smaller like the Africanized Bee?

Danny: They are, yes. If you put the average queen that we produce in a colony and look at the size of her bees compared to the size of honey bees that are produced by, say, an Italian stock from Florida or California, you'll note that our bees are a little bit smaller. Probably also observe that the populations are a little larger, so the number of bees that are actually in a colony will be more too.

One of the other attributes that we've recently elucidated with some research is our honey bees are immunologically and physiologically different in terms of the genes that they turn on or upregulate in response to Varroa mite parasitism and honey bee virus infection. That's one of the things that helps deliver the viral resistance traits that they have.

Jeff: How does that happen?

Danny: The story is really short and sweet if you think about it. It's the James Bond theory of bee breeding, live and let die. I started selecting from colonies that did not succumb to Varroa mites even though I wasn't treating them with acaricides or the poisons that kill Varroa mites, but also usually have deleterious effects on honey bees in the colony as well.

By selecting from those bees and over a number of generations, it took about 10 years to get to the point where we were really satisfied that we had a genuine Varroa mite-resistant honey bee.

Along the way, I also observed that if there were lots of deformed wing bees in the colony, I didn't have to wait for the colony to show signs of parasitic mite syndrome or collapse from Varroa mite. I knew that that was a sign that that colony was not going to make it. I began to select against colonies and queens that had significant numbers of deformed wing bees. Again, these are all in colonies that are not being treated or managed for Varroa control whatsoever. The only thing that I was doing was re-queening. That's the only means of amelioration of Varroa mite infestation that I would employ. If I found a colony heavily infested with Varroa mites, I'd requeen it.

Jeff: Now, was that re-queening to get a new bloodline in that hive?

Danny: Yes, just because I believe that with every subsequent generation, I was likely to have increased Varroa resistance, and that's proven to be the case. That's what I've relied on now for some-- Well, we got it rolling in 1992, that's when I started that program. That's been 30 years now.

Jeff: That's really good. How many queens do you produce a season or in a year?

Danny: We don't really like to talk about that, that's a trade secret, but it's--

Jeff: Lots?

Danny: It's lots.

Jeff: Was it a capital L?

[laughter]

Danny: We don't produce as many as we once did though. We're smaller than we once were. I decided to focus less on the bulk commercial production and just make sure that the queens we were producing were all to the maximal extent possible very Varroa and virus resistant, and remain very, very productive too. That's the other thing that I'm very proud of. I think our bees will produce as much honey, collect as much pollen as anything else you can find out there.

Jeff: You also produce packages.

Danny: Also colony nuclei. We produce lots and lots of colony nuclei every spring.

Jeff: Do you ship those up north then for outlets or people picking them up, or how do people get ahold of your bees?

Danny: Yes, that's a good question. That's another way that the business has evolved. Back in the early O's, 2005 timeframe, let's say, it became clear that we could no longer rely on common carriers in the US Postal Service to get package bees to people alive. They were losing lots and lots of packages. I made a brief foray into running a logistics business where we were actually transporting bees ourself around the country and decided I didn't want to be in the trucking business.

For the last several years, if people want to get our colonies, they've got to come down and get them. They got to come down and pick them up. We no longer put them in the mail. It makes sense if you're going to order packages for your bee club maybe, or your state bee association, send a truck down, and we can load you up and take care of you that way. We no longer ship packages to people like we once did.

I know that's an inconvenience but we try to stand behind our product and take care of any problems that may occur in transit, but we just couldn't absorb the losses that we were experiencing because of the US Postal Service got really, really good at killing honeybees. UPS wasn't much better.

Jeff: The nukes, of course, are pick up on-site as well.

Danny: They are, yes.

Jeff: Your work on the genetics, are you working by yourself or you work along with a university? How are you exploring that?

Danny: I've had a number of collaborators over the years. Right now, I've got a small business innovation research grant from USDA to continue and extend the work that I've done selecting for virus and mite-resistant honey bees. That's being done in collaboration with the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge and the USDA Bee Lab in Beltsville, Maryland. Michael Simone-Finstrom, Jay Evans, Judy Chen, and that crew. We're taking a new approach.

The small business innovative research grant was awarded in order to provide proof of concept for a new way to achieve what I did, only instead of it taking 10 years, we believe using this new technology will be able to reduce the time that it would take people to develop Varroa resistance in their own stocks to two to three, four years. That remains to be seen because we just embarked on this research effort. I'm really excited about it, and it's cool too. Jay Evans and his colleagues at the USDA Bee Lab in Beltsville, Maryland developed a deformed wing virus clone has a florescent recorder gene tagged to the end of the viral genome.

You can inject that construct into a drone for instance. Then 48 hours later, if the viruses replicated, that drone will glow in the dark under ultraviolet illumination. Now, you don't want the glow-in-the-dark drones because they're the ones that have lots of virus. On the other hand, if you can inject drones and they don't glow in the dark, those are the ones you want. Then we're going to collect semen from those. Use that to artificially inseminate queens for the subsequent generation.

We believe doing that way, we're going to be able to make a lot more progress a lot faster than the old-fashioned way, the James Bond method that I used. We'll see how that works out, but that might be a way for other beekeepers who want to acquire or develop viral resistance in their own stocks to do so. We haven't decided whether we're going to license the technology and the methodology, or whether we're going to instead offer this as a service for other queen breeders. If they want to put Varroa virus resistance traits into their own stock, then we could work with them to do that.

I look forward to getting feedback from beekeepers and queen breeders around the country about which of those two paths they might find most intriguing.

Jeff: When do you foresee that being available for other queen breeders?

Danny: As I said, I just got the award. By the time the money was made available to me, the queen breeding season for this year was almost over. We probably won't have any results, any good firm final results from the Phase I award until the end of next year or the first part of spring of 2024.

Jeff: About a year from now.

Danny: We already had some encouraging indicators that yes, we're on the right track and this will work. I believe Jay Evans or Michael Simone-Finstrom or both of them are going to be saying a little bit about this at the Jacksonville meeting, The American Beekeeping Federation meeting, Jacksonville, Florida.

Jeff: That's exciting research, and that'll be really a very useful tool for queen breeders, and for those who are trying to develop a better defense against the Varroa which is just devastating for everybody involved.

Hey, Danny. This sounds like a great time to take a quick break to hear from one of our sponsors. When we come back, we'll hear about the rest of your businesses.

[background music]

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 at the hives such as beeswax, you can visit betterbee.com for tips, tricks, and products made by love by you and your honeybees. From all of us at Betterbee, we wish you wonderful winter holidays and terrific celebrations.

Jeff: We've heard about the queen business and the package business, which is the historical part of the BeeWeaver Farms, but you've expanded your businesses in the last, I don't know, a bunch of years. I don't know exactly how many years to other aspects of the bee business. Let's talk about that a little bit because I think that's really fascinating. That's an area where other beekeepers are exploring potentials.

Danny: I'll try to describe the various aspects of the business that we are now engaged in, and the new areas that we've moved into. I'll try to deliver it in an accurate temporal fashion about what we got into first, and how that changed and involved into where we went next. It may get a little chaotic, okay. We'll just begin by saying that back in the early 1990s, it became clear that a lot of our customers who would come and pick up packages or come and buy colonies from us or coming get queens from us, probably didn't know as much as they should about beekeeping in order to be successful in the enterprise.

We began hosting field days where people could come out, and we would spend the day working through colonies of honeybees, showing them how to hive packages, find queens, evaluate colonies, identify disease, manage problems, and prepare colonies for honey flow, harvest honey. That became a business. Before you know it, we had so much demand that now we offer private lessons, beekeeping experiences even for just the general public who want to come out and learn more about honeybees. We have a venue here attached to the headquarters of operation that is a honeybee observation area where people can come in, and we'll put them in a little screen enclosure.

We have colonies outside the screen enclosure, and then we can show them about the inside of a honeybee without risking them getting stung, or them putting on appropriate personal protected gear. On the other hand, we also do the private lesson thing where we really get down and dirty. Then we offer a variety of courses. For instance, we're concluding one this month that has provided a new educational experience once a month for the entire year. That's our stewardship program.

We feel like the people who've been through that and graduated from that are probably have been exposed to many different aspects of the beekeeping business from establishing a colony to pairing a colony to be productive, identifying honey plants in the area, supering colonies, taking off honey, extracting honey, bottling honey, harvesting wax, melting wax, and cooking with honey, making honey infusions. That program is really good, and then we have a queen-rearing course that we teach as well for those beekeepers who think they want to become more deeply involved in producing their own queens.

That's been one successful aspect. From there we realize that we had a lot of these people that we were now educating, but they didn't really know. They wanted to have a local source for beekeeping equipment, so we opened a retail store and we started selling beekeeping equipment to beekeepers. That grew to the point where we then decided, "Okay, we can expand beyond just basic beekeeping equipment." Our retail store now has all things bees. From knick-knacks to food prepared with honey. Honey varieties from all over the world, including all the different varieties that we produce. I'm quite frankly amazed at how well it's done.

We also have a commercial kitchen associated with BeeWeaver Apiaries and we have a lovely, if I do say so myself, facility where people can come out and hang out, enjoy the great outdoors, and play games, have a picnic, enjoy food. We have collocated on the premises WildFlyer Mead Company. We're making mead at WildFlyer. If people want to try a craft honey wine beverage, we offer that as well.

Jeff: I will tell for our listeners that you are sitting in the-- I don't know what to call it, the workshop, but the warehouse?

Danny: It's the production area, WildFlyer Mead.

Jeff: Production area.

Danny: You can see the fermentation tanks behind me. I think you can anyway. I don't know.

Jeff: Let's see if I can take a quick screenshot of Danny and I sitting here. If you can go to our show notes, and you can see all the bottles of mead behind Danny. We'll just capture that right now. Smile. [chuckles]

Danny: Let's see. I know I've forgotten things. We also discover that people were having so much fun hanging out at our place that they wanted to spend the night. We've now expanded into-

Jeff: Wait. Did they want to spend the night, or they just fell asleep after drinking so much mead that you had to put them up somewhere? [laughs]

Danny: I'd like to think it was the former.

[laughter]

Danny: For those who can't leave, there are accommodation options available, including the one that I'm proudest of, I think, is the old school house down the road that was donated by my grandmother's family. We call it Binford Corner because the schoolhouse was on the corner. Anyway. The Binford Corner ended up selling that to BeeWeaver not long ago, and we've turned that into a fairly large space where we can host a significant number of people. I think we can squeeze 15 or so people in there if need to be.

Jeff: That looks really nice. I encourage our listeners to go out to the website and take a look at the facility on your website. It really looks really nice.

Danny: Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff: How did you decide to get into the meadery and is that successful?

Danny: Yes, it's been very successful. We were very lucky. I have been tempted to do this for a long, long time, but I decided pretty early on that I was so busy that I really didn't have time to devote to making mead on top of everything else that I had going on. I really was searching for a partner, and lo and behold, there were a couple of people who wanted to make mead. They were searching for a partner, a honey source as well. We met Jeff and Chelsea Murray, and Laura and I fell in love with Jeff's mead. It was clear that Chelsea was a pretty savvy marketer.

We have partnered up with them and formed a new LLC, and went into business as WildFlyer Mead Company.

Jeff: That's WildFlyers.

Danny: Yes. W-I-L-D and then capital F-l-y-e-r, WildFlyer. You can think of it as if a Texan's saying Wildflour.

[laughter]

Danny: It cuts both ways.

Jeff: Yes.

Danny: Anyway, it's been quite successful. I was amazed. I was scared to death right after we opened and the pandemic shut us down and we couldn't sell mead except through a walkup window. It was popular enough that we actually made money with just a walkup business. Of course, we had the outside space where people could get a bottle of mead and then go hang out. During the pandemic, when people were largely shut out of other opportunities to go socialize, this outdoor setting where they could have some mead proved, very attractive. Since then, we've now outgrown this space. We're about to expand operations in a larger facility.

Jeff: Wow. Just for mead production. Where's WildFlyer Mead available?

Danny: You can order it online, through the website, and we have the ability to ship it. Unless you want to visit us in Navasota or go to one of the locations in the Houston or Austin area that carry it, that's probably the easiest thing for people to do.

Jeff: That's really amazing. This is really fun because you've taken a beekeeping operation, the family's be-raising operation, and now you've expanded off into multiple different businesses based from bees. I think that's a dream of many beekeepers.

Danny: We were very fortunate. I didn't really know whether any of those little, what were, in the beginning, very small side ventures and experiments were going to succeed. I think every one of them has.

Jeff: You have a campground, and you have raised tents. Is there a season for that that comes around?

Danny: In Texas, it's actually probably most challenging for us during the heat of summer. Unless you've got the shade of a tree or the shade of a tent, you can get to be pretty oppressive. I would say that our busiest times for the people coming and hanging out are probably spring and fall. Texas has got a mild enough climate in the winter that, even now, there are people hanging out outside today, and it's 62 degrees in blue skies, so can't beat that.

Jeff: That's summer in the Seattle area, so-- [laughs] It's all relative. Danny, instead of being quiet in Navo, Texas, you really developed quite a business that you've got carrying the Weaver name to greater places. That's fun to see. Is there anything that we haven't discussed that you'd like to talk about?

Danny: Jeff, I think we've covered it in a nutshell. We can expand on some of that if you want to, but I've tried to give you an overview of where we are and what we do. We're still a beekeeping business at heart, and that will always be the soul of a company, I think. We've expanded and we've now gotten more and more people involved in the appreciation of honeybees. We do educational programs for kids. Schools will come out and visit.

We do educational programs for adults, who drive up in organized tours out of Houston or over from Austin or down from Brian College Station

I'm proud of that because I think there's a hunger out there people have, they want to learn more about pollinators and honeybees and the environment. I'm pleased to be able to contribute to that. We get a surprising amount of return business in that area too.

Jeff: I would like to have you back and talk to you more in-depth about your queen-rearing business, in regards to the selection for the rural resistance. I think that in and of itself would be a fascinating topic. If you'd be willing to come back, we'll have you back at a later date for that discussion.

Danny: Be happy to do that, Jeff. Thanks.

Jeff: I'd be real good. Danny, Weaver Bee Farms in Navasota of Texas. We appreciate you being on the Beekeeping Today Podcast today and look forward to having you back in a not too far future.

[background music]

Danny: Talk to you soon. Bye-Bye.

Jeff: 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 the Beekeeping Today podcast.

We want to thank our regular episode sponsor, Global Patties. Check them out at globalpatties.com. Thanks to Strong Microbial for their support of this podcast. Check out their probiotic line at strongmicrobials.com. We want to thank Better Bee for their longtime support. Check out all their great beekeeping supplies at betterbee.com. Thanks to Northern Bee Books for their support of Bee Books: Old & New with Kim Flottum. Check out all of their books at northernbeebooks.co.uk.

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

[00:35:30] [END OF AUDIO]

 

Daniel Weaver Profile Photo

Daniel Weaver

owner, chairman of the board, officer

Daniel Weaver

Curriculum Vitae

Education
Rice University, BA 1981
University of California, Berkeley, PhD program in Molecular Biology, 1982-1984 University of Texas, JD 1985

Professional Experience
Bee Weaver Apiaries, Inc. – President, Vice-President, Secretary, Chairman of the Board (1995 – present)
www.beeweaver.com
Bee Power, llc, dba WildFlyer Mead Co., Member and Manager (2019-present)
www.wildflyermead.com
Genformatic, llc, CEO, Member (2012 – present)
www.genformatic.com
Bee Power, LP, Member and Manager, (2002 – 2015)
Beartooth Apiaries, LLC., Member and Manager (2003 – 2010)
Rubinstein and Perry, LLC., Of Counsel (1989-1991); Associate (1986-1989)

Consultant for Government, Non-Profit and For-Profit Organizations, including:
Department of Defense,
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Southwest Research Institute
Signature Science
Ag Force USA
United States Department of Agriculture
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
Various Attorneys and Parties in litigation
Small Business Innovative Research Grant Award from USDA, 6/01/2022 Selecting and Producing Virus Resistant Honey Bees; Phase I award $180,000

Volunteer Leadership Positions

Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium, Co-coordinator
Honey Bee Genome Advisory Committee, Founding member
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, Steering Committee, 2009-2012 Pollinator Partnership, Honey Bee Health Task Force, Co-Chair, 2008-2012
American Beekeeping Federation, Inc., President, Vice-President and Executive Committee, 1995-2010
The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Past Director and Chairman Various USDA Advisory Boards
Task Force on Colony Collapse Disorder, original member
Texas Beekeepers Association, past-President, Vice-President and Executive Committee National Honey Board Nominations Committee, Chairman
Texas Africanized Honey Bee Advisory Council, Member
President, Courtney Lynn Grove Community Association, Inc.

Other Positions, Professional Associations and Affiliations

Member, State Bar of Texas
Member, Bar of the United States Supreme Court
Member, Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Member, Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas

Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Multi-tiered analyses of honey bees that resist or succumb to parasitic mites and viruses.
Weaver DB, Cantarel BL, Elsik CG, Boncristiani DL, Evans JD.BMC Genomics. 2021 Oct 6;22(1):720. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-08032-z.PMID: 34610790

Dynamic evolution in the key honey bee pathogen deformed wing virus: Novel insights into virulence and competition using reverse genetics.
Ryabov EV, Childers AK, Lopez D, Grubbs K, Posada-Florez F, Weaver D, Girten W, vanEngelsdorp D, Chen Y, Evans JD.PLoS Biol. 2019 Oct 10;17(10):e3000502. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000502. eCollection 2019 Oct.PMID: 31600204

Transcriptomic and functional resources for the small hive beetle Aethina tumida, a
worldwide parasite of honey bees. Tarver MR, Huang Q, de Guzman L, Rinderer T, Holloway B, Reese J, Weaver D, Evans JD. Genome Data. 2016 Jul 2;9:97-9 doi: 10.1016/j.gdata.2016.06.003 eCollection 2016 Sep. PMID: 27453819

Analysis of archived residual newborn screening blood spots after whole genome amplification. Cantarel BL, Lei Y, Weaver D, Zhu H, Farrell A, Benstead-Hume G, Reese J, Finnell RH. BMC Genomics. 2015 Aug 13;16:602. doi: 10.1186/s12864-015-1747-2.
PMID: 26268606

BAYSIC: a Bayesian method for combining sets of genome variants with improved specificity and sensitivity. Cantarel BL, Weaver D, McNeill N, Zhang J, Mackey AJ, Reese J. BMC Bioinformatics. 2014 Apr 12;15:104. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-15-104. PMID: 24725768

Characterization of the Asian Citrus Psyllid Transcriptome.
Reese J, Christenson MK, Leng N, Saha S, Cantarel B, Lindeberg M, Tamborindeguy C, Maccarthy J, Weaver D, Trease AJ, Steven V R, Davis VM, McCormick C, Haudenschild C, Han S, Johnson SL, Shelby KS, Huang H, Bextine BR, Shatters RG, Hall DG, Davis PH, Hunter WB.
J Genomics. 2014 Jan 1;2:54-58. PMID: 24511328

Finding the missing honey bee genes: lessons learned from a genome upgrade.
Elsik CG, Worley KC, Bennett AK, Beye M, Camara F, Childers CP, de Graaf DC, Debyser G, Deng J, Devreese B, Elhaik E, Evans JD, Foster LJ, Graur D, Guigo R; HGSC production teams, Hoff KJ, Holder ME, Hudson ME, Hunt GJ, Jiang H, Joshi V, Khetani RS, Kosarev P, Kovar CL, Ma J, Maleszka R, Moritz RF, Munoz-Torres MC, Murphy TD, Muzny DM, Newsham IF, Reese JT, Robertson HM, Robinson GE, Rueppell O,
Solovyev V, Stanke M, Stolle E, Tsuruda JM, Vaerenbergh MV, Waterhouse RM, Weaver DB, Whitfield CW, Wu Y, Zdobnov EM, Zhang L, Zhu D, Gibbs RA; Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium.
BMC Genomics. 2014 Jan 30;15:86. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-86.
PMID: 24479613

Population-genomic variation within RNA viruses of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, inferred from deep sequencing.
Cornman RS, Boncristiani H, Dainat B, Chen Y, vanEngelsdorp D, Weaver D, Evans JD. BMC Genomics. 2013 Mar 7;14:154. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-154.
PMID: 23497218

Computational and transcriptional evidence for microRNAs in the honey bee genome.
Weaver DB, Anzola JM, Evans JD, Reid JG, Reese JT, Childs KL, Zdobnov EM, Samanta MP, Miller J, Elsik CG.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(6):R97.
PMID: 17543122

Thrice out of Africa: ancient and recent expansions of the honey bee, Apis mellifera.
Whitfield CW, Behura SK, Berlocher SH, Clark AG, Johnston JS, Sheppard WS, Smith DR, Suarez AV, Weaver D, Tsutsui ND.
Science. 2006 Oct 27;314(5799):642-5. Erratum in: Science. 2007 Oct
19;318(5849):393.
PMID: 17068261

Insights into social insects from the genome of the honeybee Apis mellifera.
Honeybee Genome Sequencing Consortium.
Nature. 2006 Oct 26;443(7114):931-49. Erratum in: Nature. 2006 Nov
23;444(7118):512. PMID: 17073008

Gene expression patterns associated with queen honey bee longevity.
Corona M, Hughes KA, Weaver DB, Robinson GE. Mech Ageing Dev. 2005 Nov;126(11):1230-8. PMID: 16139867

Beenome soon: honey bees as a model 'non-model' system for comparative genomics.
Evans JD, Weaver DB.
Comp Funct Genomics. 2003;4(3):351-2. doi: 10.1002/cfg.288.
PMID: 18629288

Effects of fluvalinate and coumaphos on queen honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in two commercial queen rearing operations.
Haarmann T, Spivak M, Weaver D, Weaver B, Glenn T.
J Econ Entomol. 2002 Feb;95(1):28-35.
PMID: 11942761

Named Inventor on Issued Patents:

US 9,449,191; issued September 20, 2016; DEVICE, SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SECURING AND COMPARING GENOMIC DATA

US 10,223,499; issued March 5, 2019
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR IDENTIFICATION OF BIOMOLECULES
Additional Patents Pending