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Dec. 12, 2022

Dr. Jeff Pettis - Apimondia 2022 In Review & More (S5, E26)

Dr. Jeff Pettis - Apimondia 2022 In Review & More (S5, E26)

Dr. Jeff Pettis returns to Beekeeping Today Podcast with an update of this past September’s Apimondia Congress, in Turkey. Jeff was selected President of Apimondia when they last met in Canada three years ago. His goal was to hit the road running by...


Dr. Jeff Pettis returns to Beekeeping Today Podcast with an update of this past September’s Apimondia Congress, in Turkey. Jeff was selected President of Apimondia when they last met in Canada three years ago. His goal was to hit the road running by planning a spectacular event in Russia for 2021.

Between Covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, lots of things got in the way of that plan and the 2021 meeting was moved to Istanbul, Turkey in 2022. The location was chosen because Istanbul was a familiar location for the group, and travel to there from almost anywhere was one of the least troublesome due to covid issues and other legal restrictions.

Dr. Pettis, a former USDA Research Leader at the Beltsville Bee Lab brings not only over 20 years of experience in honey bee research, but also a unique perspective of what beekeepers need, and want to get from an international meeting such as Apimondia.

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

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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

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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

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Transcript

S5, E26 – Dr. Jeff Pettis - Apimondia 2022 In Review & More

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: 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.

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Jeff Ott: Thanks Sherry and 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, so with that, thanks to Bee Culture Magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship of this podcast Be 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 ours or 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." 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, and finally, share the podcast with your beekeeping friends. Email them links, or mention it at your next beekeeper meeting. Hey everybody, thanks again for joining. We know your time is the most valuable thing you have and we appreciate you spending the next 45 minutes or so with us today, so let's get going.

Joining us as a return guest is Dr. Jeff Pettis. Jeff is a former research leader of the USDA-ARSB research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland and now is just a beekeeper. Oh, and he's also the current president of Apimondia. Apimondia is the International Association of Beekeepers Associations working on behalf of the world's beekeepers since 1895. Their objective is to facilitate the exchange of information between beekeepers, scientists and others involved in all aspects of apiculture, pollination, trade and development.

Every two years, Apimondia holds a large meeting or Congress where the latest information on beekeeping can be shared. The 2021 Congress was supposed to be in Russia, and because of the challenges of travel during COVID it was pushed to 2022. Then because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine early in 2022, the Congress was moved at the last minute to Turkey. Even with the challenges brought on by the date change in a geopolitical turmoil, the Congress in Istanbul was a success and no doubt because of the work of Dr. Jeff Pettis and his team of volunteers.

Today, Dr. Pettis discusses this year's Congress, the upcoming 2023 Congress in Santiago, Chile, and his beekeeping operation, which he runs with his family, so stay tuned. I have to admit I watch more TV during the winter than any other time of the year, though these days it's not so much TV, is it? It's more like a streaming service. Anyways one of the new eight part series is a takeoff of the old Adams Family TV show in subsequent movies called Wednesday. While we are not a pop culture review podcast, this is a delightful show. It follows the adventures of the young character Wednesday and her first semester at a school for Outcast.

The actors in the acting are all top notch, and it is directed by Tim Burton. Okay, Jeff, no review. All right, so the reason I bring up the show is because one of the young characters in the show keeps bees and he is the sole member of the school's Bee Club. That's funny, and something we can all relate to in one way or the other, being beekeepers, but what I appreciated is that even though the school is one for Outcast, the student beekeeper is not portrayed as a crazy person in a veil holding a smoker. The honeybees actually have a pivotal moment in the series, so kudos to Hollywood for extending diversity to beekeepers.

Speaking of winter, it is a difficult time of year for our bees and just as often for beekeepers, it's dark, it's cold. There are few activities and less time spent outside. Many beekeepers essentially become shut-ins during the winter, and this is where bee clubs can conserve its older members by just reaching out to other members and even offering to do winter checks when it's harder to get out into the bee yards, or even helping older members with feeding of the colonies. Clubs can help their members get therapies through the winter months.

Come to think of it, you can reach out to any of your fellow beekeepers, young or old, with an offer to help and lend a hand this time of year. Sometimes just the act of reaching out is all it takes to help fellow beekeepers through these winter months, especially if they're older or have health issues this time of year. Let's get to our talk with Dr. Jeff Pettis. But first, a quick word from our friends at Strong Microbials.

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Jeff Ott: 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. Sitting across a virtual Zoom table right now I want to welcome back Dr. Jeff Pettis. Jeff, welcome back to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Dr. Jeff: Hey Jeff, glad to be back with you. I'm Jeff Pettis, I'm scientist that worked with USDA for a number of years, over 20 years in Beltsville, Maryland. I continue to do a little bit of science, but nowadays I'm more of a beekeeper and I'm also President of Apimondiaa, the International Federation of Beekeepers Association, so that keeps me pretty busy.

Kim: I can believe that it does. Jeff, it's good to see you again. I like your casual approach to being president of Apimondia. That's got to be a three person job I think that you're probably hanging on to, right?

Dr.Jeff: People are amazed when I tell them that it's actually-- We're almost an entirely volunteer organization. We have 15 or 20 people who help run it and we have 1.5 paid staff and I'm not one of them, so we're all [crosstalk]. I did a little thing for the National Honey Show in the UK and they wanted a blurb about who I was and I said, "I did this and this and this." I said, "In my spare time I'm President of Apimondia. [laughs] A little joke there. It keeps me busy.

Kim: I can believe that. Jeff, one of the things we didn't want to talk about today, last time we talked about you had just fallen into this role and you were getting ready for the next Apimondia meeting, which was supposed to be in Russia, and at the last minute, I can't imagine jumping into that, and they say, "Okay, here we go. Oh, by the way, we have to change venues tomorrow by noon." That must have been a long day for you.

Dr. Jeff: [ laughs] Let just step back just a little bit before that, so I was elected president in Montreal. We had a good meeting in Montreal. The Canadians put on a great show and we left that and went into COVID, so all of a sudden, so there was maybe not immediately. Anyway we were moving towards Ufa Russia and then we had COVID, so we pushed Ufa back one year from 2021 to 2022, and then as you probably know, there was certain tanks and stuff moved towards the border and we're sitting there going, "There's no way we're going to carry this out." Then as soon as they invaded we had to scramble and think, "Are we going to have a meeting?"

We only had six months left before the meeting time and we're not going to have it in Ufa Russia. Are we going to have a meeting? Do we have a hybrid meeting? Do we try to meet somewhere in-person? What we came around to was that we could do it in Istanbul, Turkey, because we'd been there before. We had a conference organizing place. We knew the conference place, and anyway, a lot of things came together and we were able to pull it off in Istanbul, Turkey this past fall. Now having said that, we got offers from Germany, from Canada, from Italy, from a number of people. "Hey we can do it on short notice." Not knowing the venues and stuff, we didn't think that was possible. Anyway, Putin made my life not till fun.

[laughter]

Forget that, that's tales in comparison to what's happening to Ukraine.

Kim: Given all of that drama leading up to the meeting this summer, how did the meeting this summer go? What was good? What do you think you're going to change? How did the summer go?

Dr. Jeff: We scrambled and we got everything lined up and we had what was a good but smaller than average meeting. We had about 4,000 participants and usually for an Apmondia we get 6 to 10,000. I don't even remember what Montreal was, but I know it was some probably the 8 to 10,000 range. We only had 4,000 participants, but we had really good participation from the Middle East, from North Africa and from parts of Europe.

We had very little participation from some of the other places and we had some big omissions like China could not travel, no one could come out of China because they couldn't get back. There's zero COVID. We had some big holes, but all in all it was a good meeting and we were very glad we had it. Now we're looking forward to in just one year now we'll have Santiago, Chile, so we have to keep moving fast to get ready for Santiago, Chile.

Kim: One thing I wanted to bring up, you mentioned the Montreal meeting, and I say this carefully, but there's a global attention towards issues with honey that's been adulterated. I know in Montreal that rose to the surface and really made some noise. How did that work out for you this past year?

Dr. Jeff: Let me go back to Montreal first, just because some people may or may not be aware for the first time we decided we needed to test the honey coming in to the honey contest, because we thought what if somebody won the best honey in the world and it was adulterated or whatever? We initiated a testing protocol. The problem was that part of the testing if the honey that you're submitting, let's say it's from Tanzania, is not in the system, not in the German system of NMR and stuff, then it'll be thrown out as potentially fraud.

We had over 45% rejection and about half of that was probably not was good honey, but that was the system we had at the time. We rejected some because those particular honeys were not in the database and thus they're seen as suspect. That was in Montreal. Now we moved to Turkey and we decide, well, we're still going to keep the testing. We asked people to submit their samples in advance. They went into Europe as a group. We had a test panel across like at five different locations. They did taste testing and all lift up, but they also did the best ones that rose to the top, then got further testing for adulteration.

The system worked much better, but it's still not perfect. Because the testing is very expensive we don't want to test everything. We did some screening for like HMF and some like it had the honey been heated and stuff. We did taste testing and then the ones that were looked like they might be award winners, we put them for further residue testing and fraud looking for adulteration. It worked better. It's still not perfect and the reality is I'm not 100% sure what we're going to do with the honey contest.

It's good in that it raises the bar and says honey adulteration is a problem. The downside is you've got mom and pop beekeeper in Slovenia and their honey gets rejected and they know good and well that they produced it and stuff. It's a two-edged sword.

Kim: I can see that. It would be a shame if you had to cancel that because it's the only global scale contest that exists like that.

Dr. Jeff: Without doubt we would keep the wax and the plaques and the publications, all those other things, but the honey it's causing a lot of angst. I also thought why don't we just being my optimistic self that people wouldn't submit bad honeys for the honey contest. [chuckles] I thought why don't we do some limited testing on site, have people bring their honey, be tested on site for certain characteristics and taste tests, but like we did in the old days, but we'll see. I'm not sure.

Kim: One thing maybe to consider is like they do in some other types of contests is you just tell the people who are enter 10% is going to get tested for everything under the sun and one of them might be yours.

Dr. Jeff: That's true. That's a good idea. The system of shipping in advance, we ship it to a central point in Europe and then it got taste tested and then it got tested. The only problem with that is it kind of rewards the more affluent beekeepers and that's a little bit of a problem. Somebody, because you had to pay for this, you had to pay in advance for the shipping and everything. That part I don't like. I'm wanting people to bring the honey when they show up at Apimondia and we do something with it, but we'll see.

Kim: I'm interested in how you're going to begin to solve that problem.

Jeff Ott: That's why they pay you the big bucks then, didn't it?

[Laughter]

Dr. Jeff: Yes. Well, I can tell you that cause we have a very good board. We have some very good people who are honey experts in different things and honey quality and we all have slightly different opinions and we're going to have to come to some agreement about how to handle it. I said, I mentioned, I was at the UK National Honey Show in London and they do a beautiful show and it's all in-person on site, but they don't look for antibiotic residues. They don't look for adulteration because it's local and so we'll see.

Kim: I'll be watching. [laughs]

Dr. Jeff: Okay. I'm sure you will, Kim.

Kim: One of the other things that comes to what else went on this year that you're looking to have more of, have less of, do differently, that will make your meetings smoother, better, faster, easier, cheaper. All of the above?

[laughter]

Dr. Jeff: We're going to have all of it. We're incorporating all those good ideas though. One was we have an opening ceremony and then we need a reception right after the opening ceremony. The proposal is in Chile. We have opening ceremony in late afternoon and then have a nice opening reception for everyone, so everyone gets to meet and mingle for-- Even though if it's 6,000 people, we get to meet and mingle at the beginning of the meeting. That was one thing that was suggested. The other thing we tried going to digital posters. We have a lot of students, a lot of postdocs, a lot of other scientists that can't get a speaking slot because we only have so many speaking slots.

They put a lot of time in their posters and the posters get put in a back room somewhere. I'm going to insist that we have the posters out where people are mingling and then also have hopefully two dedicated times when people are supposed to be at their posters and then we mingle with the people. That'll help the younger scientists that are going. I used to go to the Entomological Society of America and we did that all the time. It was the posters got attention and we've tended to push them back. I know that's a minor thing, but for students and others visiting it's a big thing so that we get some attention to the posters.

One of the things that we're known for is our Api Expo because we have vendors from all over the world that come and show their new gadgets and their things. That's again, going to be very big this year. It'll be-- We already have a ton of interest from all over the world. People wanting to come and show their honey, show their equipment, things like that. Our Api Expo again will we'll be a big part of Apimondia.

Kim: I'll be honest I was taking a look at the specs that you're doing for the next meeting and we'll get to that in a minute, but I was having run quite a few large meetings, large by US standards meetings over the years, how you make your area Api Expo facilities available, everything from 90 square feet to the whole back of the room and you pay for the more you want, the more you're going to pay. I was impressed with how you defined that and made it work.

Dr. Jeff: The Api Expo is critical to the success of Apimondia because, well first of all, the vendors usually want to be there because they've got this. It's a chance-- We have this company and you'll know them I think. I'm not advertising for anybody, Lyson in Poland and they sell products all over the world, but for them they're travelling all the way to Latin America because again, it's the chance to showcase their products and maybe increase their market share kind of thing.

We have that from different people, from Seoul, Korea. You'll have somebody that's making bees in them and they'll show up and they'll buy a booth and we have different sized booths and there's a lot of traffic in that in the Api Expo. People spend a lot of time in the Api Expo.

Jeff Ott: This is a great opportunity talking about Lyson. That is a product sold by our sponsor Better Bee.

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Kim: Well, Jeff, you mention of Lyson was good. Betterbee of course, being one of our sponsors and being a big seller of their products over here, I'm thinking that there's probably more people in the world like them than we are aware of here. If you are a potential beekeeping business and want to be selling kinds of equipment that you can't buy here or you can't buy easily here, or you want to see how it works, this would be a good opportunity for people in the beekeeping business to expand, to find out what's out there.

Dr. Jeff: [chuckles] It's a really good opportunity to look at the competition, to see what different people are doing. Well, I grew up in the US keeping bees and there was Mann Lake, Brushy Mountain no longer and Better bee and Dadant and stuff, but there was only limited ones. Then I knew about across the border there was Thomas I think, or either maybe that's French.

Anyway, there was a few, but when you come to Api Expo you'll see all the major producers from all over the globe and some really minor startups, which I think is really cool. They'll have some niche product that they're trying to get on the market, and that's also a good thing. You see some new mic control thing that's kind of, but with some help or some development, maybe it would take off. You see all kinds of things at Api Expo.

Kim: I got to believe in the back of the room, there's going to be a spot for all of the people that have new electronics, internal measurements and all of those things. I would love to be able to be there and see all of that. That part of beekeeping has really caught my attention.

Jeff Ott: That's where I'd be standing.

[laughter]

Dr: I don't know how many, maybe thinking of I'm mixing up the London Honey show. There was quite a few there. Then at Api Expo, yes, there's a number of people with scales with different monitors, monitoring flight in and out and then they sniff the hive there. It is going on and on. It's growing that monitoring of different things within and outside and around the hive is growing very fast.

Jeff Ott: One of the things that really fascinates me with all that monitoring is what do you do with all that data? You can collect data galore, but making it useful data is a different issue. That'll be the interesting development in the next couple years.

Dr Jeff: Yes, what I had some of these people ask me different things about do you think there's a market there? For me, it starts with just the weight, a hive scale that I can access. If I had them in three locations around here, I would know what's going on. That first bit of information probably to me is critical. Beyond that, we'll see, I'm not sure, but remote high scale monitoring, especially with the price of diesel and the price of gas as high as it is, it'll save you that trip to the yard or get you to the yard faster with a load of supers that you might need to get out there.

Jeff Ott: For what it's worth, I really enjoy the ability to sit here at the desk and look at the computer and monitor hive weights. Even in the brood chamber temperatures, it's really helpful, but not to make a big commercial for sensors, but it's really helpful as a beekeeper.

Kim: I think Jeff, one of the things that, as I'm sitting here right now, would be interested in as Apimondia, and I don't recall from the two that I went to. Do you publish abstracts or something from all of the speakers that you have that would give me access to the information that came out there?

Dr. Jeff: We do. We actually used to, we actually started out as a publishing house in Romania. As a publishing house, and we published Api, but we also then published the proceedings from Apimondia. We no longer do hard copy, but we do make the abstracts available online. They are available online and we used to produce an abstract book for the meeting. Again, paper is costly, so we no longer produce an abstract book for the congress itself. We produce it just after the congress. People can go and look at the talks and read and they're available.

Dr. Jeff: I'm going to guess then in this digital version that you're going to have, you will not only have the abstracts, but will you have copies of the posters?

Kim: Yes. There's a wealth of stuff there on the posters. I might have to check that. I know for the abstracts, but the people who did posters also did abstracts. We might only have the abstract from the poster, but we got digital. I don't know if I said this, but we tried these digital posters and they didn't work. They had these digital boards and you could bring up the poster and view it and do stuff, but it wasn't the same as having the actual poster there.

You could only view one at a time. There was like 30 boards, but unless you brought something up, there was nothing there. It was not a-- It just didn't work. Digital posters don't work the way we see it. We want the actual poster and we want the person there sometimes to explain it.

Jeff Ott: Yes, it'd be really effective at a social hour type arrangement.

Dr. Jeff: Yes, add some wine and beer.

[laughter]

Jeff Ott: The discussions would go on and on, wouldn't they?

Kim: Ontario, yes.

Dr. Jeff: Yes. Well, no, because if you can search in advance and you can-- So now you walk down these aisles and you go to the group on stingless bees. You go and there's 10 posters on stingless bees. The other person goes and there's 10 posters or 20 posters on rural control. You can go and find the people that you want to talk to. It's very helpful.

Jeff Ott: That'd be really fascinating, especially as a young researcher or just as a general beekeeper to be able to go and talk to people actually doing the research.

Kim: Well, before I forget to mention to Jeff, one of the things I know people are going to be interested in, what's the link to that page with all of those abstracts? I'm guessing that you're going to make it available so we can put it on our webpage.

Dr. Jeff: I think it's just through our web website. I think just search Apimondia, and then our webpage comes on and I think through there you can link to the abstracts.

Jeff Ott: I'll put the link to the abstracts in the show notes.

Kim: Good. Well, that makes it a lot easier. You've identified several issues that are going to bear more attention for the next meeting than perhaps you did this one or in the past. What am I missing in terms of things you'd like to see happen in the next meeting?

Dr. Jeff: There are certain things that people always enjoy. They always enjoy the Api Epo. They enjoy meeting each other. They enjoy being there. They also enjoy the competition between two to three countries to bid for the next thing. There's al usually two or three countries bidding. Last time at Istanbul we had Poland and Denmark. Sweden and Norway got together and bid together for a meeting in Copenhagen in Budapest. The whole meeting, there's these people running around trying to win votes and tell you why you should come to one city or the other.

Then on the closing ceremony, our full members have a vote, and that's a very important vote. Where are we going next? In Istanbul, the vote was fairly close, but Copenhagen, Denmark won a reason by 20 or 30% more. It was clear that the members wanted to go to Copenhagen. We'll be in Copenhagen in 2025. We need to make sure that Apimondia remains fun for the beekeepers, and also that we have sessions that the average beekeeper can sit in on and gain something from this, not our scientific level is not too high. Sometimes we can get a little too high with the science and not speak enough to the beekeepers. That's our fear.

Jeff Ott: I believe we talked about it in the last time you were on the show, but can you quickly explain why Apimondia has never comes to the United States?

Dr. Jeff: 1965, my first mentor at University of Georgia, Al Beatz was in Maryland at the time. He and I, a bunch of others, they brought it to Maryland. It came to Maryland in 1965. It hadn't been back since. It's been in Canada in 99, it was in Vancouver, and then it was just in Montreal. We did make a bid and I was trying to help that bid in, I've forgotten eight years ago or so and we failed.

We came up against Canada and we lost to Canada. I talked to the Eastern Agricultural Society because my idea was all the Eastern Agricultural Society has to do is get behind it and have their summer meeting, which is usually near that same time in a good city, a gateway city. It would be a super successful meeting because Eastern Agricultural Society is already so big and there was interest, but so far they haven't come forth.

Guess what? There's still time, so we go, "What? No, wait a minute." We're in Europe for one meeting in the bigger Europe, and that's in 2025, in 2027, right now we have one bid, and I won't say what it is because that's be unfair, but we have one bid, one country that's going to bid, and we usually like to have two or three. If the US is listening and they want to scramble, they're due by April or May of this coming year to bid.

I tried to help the group last time, and this is no disrespect to Minnesota, but they chose Minneapolis, St. Paul. I think you need a bigger gateway city. I think you need a gateway city on the West Coast or the East Coast to draw the international audience. Yes, I would say there's an opening there. If us wanted to bid, and I would go, I know New York is expensive, but there's a lot of good beekeepers in New York. New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando and San Francisco, LA or Seattle, those gateway cities.

Jeff Ott: You probably get a lot of people going to Las Vegas too. [laughs]

Dr. Jeff: Yes, Las Vegas. The Northern California queen breeders are quite impressive. San Francisco, you've got Sonoma, Napa.

Jeff Ott: Oh, there you go.

Dr. Jeff: You should be-- You've got-- Even with New York City, it's expensive, but there's some really good beekeeping around that area. The same, Washington DC has free museums. Anyway, a long story short, the US could bid, it just needs to put in a strong bid. We lost last time.

Jeff Ott: The requirements for bidding are on the Apimondia site?

Dr. Jeff: Yes. You have to have attended and participated for the previous two congresses. I'm sure the US has done that. We have the ABF as members. I think Eastern Agricultural Society is not a member currently, but they could work through ABF or something. That's not a big deal. It's just I always thought because the Eastern Agricultural Society is so strong and has so many members that if they got behind it and wanted to bring in Apimondia to the East Coast, they could do it.

Kim: I think you're right. It'd take some work and some money, but I think EAS could pull it off. If I was still chairman, I'd talk to you seriously about doing that, but--

Dr. Jeff: I know, Kim, believe me, I went to a lot of EAS as I knew you were heavily involved. Even with that handicap of not, I knew some riff and you didn't want to be part of Apimondia for a while, that's fine, but American Beekeping Federation and the Honey Producers both are right now, so you could use one of them as a vehicle to get in.

Jeff Ott: I think you should be done. [laughs]

Kim: Just to clear up something, we've been floating some dates around here and you were scheduled to be in Russia in?

Dr. Jeff: September of 2021.

Kim: Okay. Then the next one should have been 2023.

Dr. Jeff: 2023, which it is going to be. It's still going to be 2023 in Santiago, Chile.

Kim: You're going back to every other odd year?

Dr. Jeff: Yes, 2019 was Canada, and 2021 was supposed to be Russia, and we pushed it one year, and then when they invaded we still held it in 2022 and we're just doing back-to-back meetings. Then we won't have one in 2024 and then in 2025 we'll be in Copenhagen. They're odd years, but the bid for 2027 has to be done in Santiago, Chile. You have to bid that far in advance.

Kim: I think I'll watch.

[laughter]

Dr. Jeff: Well, at the moment we have one bidder. We have one confirmed bidder that will bid to host it in 2027. There's a good opportunity there if somebody from US, or they wanted to get active. Dave Mendez started it. He and I were in Argentina and some others and he came back from that meeting, I don't remember the year, and he got the ABF excited, and they put together a good bid, but anyway, the Canadians won, so c'est la vie.

Kim: What have you got in store for the next meeting in Santiago, Chile? What's going to get me to go to Chile?

Dr. Jeff: We're going to dance and sing and ...

[laughter]

No, it has the potential because I was just at the Latin American Beekeepers Organization meeting in Lima or no in Cusco, Peru. There was 15 countries there from all over Latin America in the Caribbean and almost all of them were like, "We're going to be in Santiago." Because they're excited about an in-person big international meeting. I just think it's going to go back up and have a huge attendance. It'll have a great Api Expo, Santiago's a good vibrant city. Now I can tell you the real reason I would go, I would go to do the post-tour, and I always do my own post-tour, but I would go, we have a one-day tour after the meeting on a Sunday where we'd go to a winery in a bead place and stuff.

You can see a little bit, but then I'd just rent a car and I would drive south to Patagonia or I'd go to the Atacama Desert in the north. I would take a vacation in Chile. Easter Island is also part of Chile. You can fly to Easter Island from there. I would go for the meeting, and then I'd go to take a vacation. If you're a beekeeper, you can write it off as a business expense.

[laughter]

Because you're going to get education, right?

Jeff Ott: It's true.

Dr. Jeff: That's right. It should be a very fun meeting. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll have a lot of Latin American feel to it. We're excited about it.

Jeff Ott: Well, that sounds really good. Kim, I think that we should work to try to get media passes for Apimondia in Santiago, what do you think?

Kim: Words right out of my mouth, Jeff, I was just going to ask you if we could probably get a tax right off if we went down there and interviewed Jeff and two other people over the course of three weeks and then drove around for another three.

Dr. Jeff: Another three weeks. During that three weeks, if you went and visited two beekeepers, then it's okay. You'll cover yourself. I think as long as you have real press credentials, you get free registration too.

Kim: Oh, this is getting better all the time.

Jeff Ott: It sure is. The gears are spinning already.

Dr. Jeff: No, yes we had an issue there because a lot of people find that out and then they go, "Well, I'm press," but you have to be a legitimate press. You have to have some good reason to be there as a press person.

Jeff Ott: Five plus years of podcasting gives us creds, I think. [laughs]

Dr. Jeff: Yes.

Kim: We've had Jeff Petties at least twice.

Dr. Jeff: That's right. Hey, I can tell you we appreciate the exposure. You'll know Humberto Boncristiani on InsideTheHive.TV. He asked 10 of his members something about Apimondia, and he said 50% of them or something, didn't know what Apimondia was. It's all about getting the word out, so we appreciate. A lot of people do know what Apimondia is. It's just a large gathering of beekeepers and scientists every two years all around the globe to talk bees and enjoy each other's company. That's what we're about.

Jeff Ott: Being the president of Apimondia, and you're full of details in every show. Everything from the sinks not working and overflowing to somebody can't get in on the loading dock. As a beekeeper, what made you just stop and say, "Wow." When you're going through the Trade X Floor or walking through the symposiums, what just made you stop and really appreciate Apimondia?

Dr. Jeff: I started going a long time ago when I was just a scientist anyway. I liked some of the round tables. I like when I go and some of the round tables you sit in them, there's some good discussion about pesticides, honey, honey fraud, whatever, brood control should be controlled or we should not control brood, but the Api Expo, walking through there and seeing the diversity of types of beekeeping and also just the honey. They'll be people, there're selling their honey and honey products like from Korea and they'll have these anti-aging creams with bee venom and stuff. Then there's a woman from Tanzania and she has this raw organic honey and it's just the diversity of types of beekeeping, and people are keeping almost the same bee all over the world. To me it's fascinating. It's just fun to interact with those people. It's fun to interact with the different beekeepers.

Kim: The most pleasant memory I have of the Apimondia, I've been to three over the years, and it was the same all three times I was there as you would go walking through the vendor area and it's not so much looking at the equipment, it's standing next to a booth and looking at the four other groups of people that are looking at the same thing you are, and they're talking four or five different languages and they're all saying the same thing, and you don't understand a word, but they're pointing and you know what's going through their minds.

Dr. Jeff: We had such a huge Arabic and other contingent there. Yes, there was so many different languages being spoken, and you're right. You get to one booth and they're showing some gadget and there're four different languages going on. Sometimes they have an interpreter, sometimes they don't. Yet we all speak the same language. It's pretty cool. It's very cool.

Kim: Very quickly, I want to go back to Jeff Pettis. We have Jeff Otten and Jeff Pettis here today. I want to go back to Jeff Pettis. The last time we talked to you, you were gearing up to be a beekeeper. How is that part of your life going?

Dr. Jeff: I always kept two to five hives as I was doing research and stuff in my own backyard, but never really did it very seriously. I have between 80 and 125 hives here in Maryland and my wife and my youngest son Kevin and I keep them. We sell at two local markets. We sell all the honey we can produce and I do a little pollination. I keep my bees on trailers so I don't have to lift things and I can move them around. Some are in stationary positions, but I was going to say I'd air my dirty laundry.

Let's see, the first year 18% winter loss, and I was like, I was feeling really good, and then last winter I had 40% loss. So I am like, okay. 18, 40 and this year my bees look almost twice as strong as they've ever looked, so going into winter. Now, I'm even-- You always have optimism. I'm really optimistic that I'm going to have swarming issues this coming year. I'm excited. I made nuc out a bunch out of some of them, sell nucs or something, but I'm enjoying it. It's actually my form of relaxation just to get out and keep bees and enjoy it. So it's good.

Jeff Ott: What do you attribute that to?

Dr. Jeff: I'm not sure because this year was dry and different things. I'm not sure why they looked so strong. We had a long slow fall. We had golden rot and everything blooming and we had a long, long slow fall. I thought I wouldn't have to do any feeding. I actually did have to do a little bit of spot-feeding here and there, just a few hives that didn't fatten up on their own.

I only extracted spring honey. I usually extract summer honey and I didn't, they didn't make any, but I don't know, it's just every year is different, but obviously like most bee keepers, I'm optimistic that I'm going to have really great spring, a winter survival and I'll come out in the spring and be really scrambling. So let's see.

Jeff Ott: Dr. Jeff Pettis, we appreciate you taking time this afternoon to join us on Beekeeping Today podcast. Excited to hear about Apimondia and what's going on. I was glad to hear that it was a success and a sudden change to Turkey this year and looking forward to Santiago, Chile.

Dr. Jeff: [foreign language] Santiago in [foreign language].

Jeff Ott: [foreign language].

[laughter]

I'm sorry.

Dr. Jeff: No, It's okay.

Jeff Ott: Well, thank you really again, thanks a lot for being here.

Dr. Jeff: Thanks Jeff and Kim, glad to be on again.

Jeff Ott: It was good to talk again, Jeff. Good luck on Santiago and honey crop in between.

Dr. Jeff: All right. Thank you much.

Jeff Ott: I'm already packing my bags for Santiago, Chile. I am thinking about that and thinking I like Apimondia when I was able to get up there in Vancouver, but I think I'd get a lot more out of it right now and that'd be fun there. Sant Diego.

Kim: He tempted us a little bit with that tax deduction travel costs there and maybe because we're legitimate press, we could even get in free so I may have to explore this a little bit. It was good to hear that he came in, in the middle of a disaster, made it work, and is looking forward to the future. He didn't throw in the towel and say, "This isn't for me." I really respect that kind of performance and look forward to what he's going to do in Chile.

Jeff Ott: You can appreciate from your years chairman of EAS and just multiply that what times a 100 to be Apimondia president and coordinating around the globe and we've talked to him and he's been on phone calls spanning multiple time zones so it's a wild world he's dealing in right now.

Kim: He still sounds excited, so after what he went through the last two years, getting ready for the next one and anticipating it is if the guy in charge is excited about it, boy, you can pretty much put your money on the fact that it's going to be a good meeting.

Jeff Ott: I don't want to speak for Dr. Jeff, but I would have to think that he's looking forward thinking, "If I made it through the last two years, the next one's not going to be any problem at all." [laughs]

Kim: [laughs] I think you got it exactly right. It's good to chat with him again. I wish him luck with his honey crop and hopefully we can talk to him again before Chile comes due.

Jeff Ott: I hope so. And, just one last closing thought for you, Kim, is that in order to get a tax break, you have to make money. Don't look forward to any tax break. I'm just saying .

Kim: [laughs] I'll leave that right there.

[laughter]

Jeff Ott: 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 sponsored Global patties. Check them out at globalpatties.com. Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of this podcast. Check out their probiotic line at strongmicrobials.com. We want to thank Betterbee 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. And 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 that leave a comment section under each episode on the website. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks a lot everybody.

[00:43:32] [END OF AUDIO]

 

Dr. Jeff Pettis Profile Photo

Dr. Jeff Pettis

President of Apimondia

Dr. Jeff Pettis, Research Scientist and Consultant, Pettis and Associates LLC

As former research leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, MD and now an independent consultant, Dr. Pettis has focused on improving colony health by limiting the impact of pests, diseases and pesticides on honey bees. His research areas include: IPM techniques to reduce the impacts of parasitic mites and disease, effects of pesticides, pathogens, and temperature on queen health and longevity, host-parasite relationships and bee behavior.

Dr. Pettis is the current President of Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeeper’s Associations and serves on several international committees including the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and with more than 35 years of research experience conducted in more than 15 countries; he is frequently interviewed by the media for his opinions on worldwide pollinator declines and honey bee health. Dr. Pettis received undergraduate and MS degrees in Entomology from the University of Georgia and his doctoral degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.