Day 6: A breakfast at the local McDonalds. It has breakfast food, including the ubiquitous Weetbix and also some berry cereal with milk, which are different. I also have thick toast advertised as from Australian wheat. The plastic spoons have a specific shape apparently so they can be used in flurries. We can’t understand the waitress, who we find is from New Zealand. The sitting place in the restaurant is almost outdoors, surrounded by glass panes that are not connected to each other. There are also outdoor heaters, which radiate heat down on customers.
I attend two symposia this day. One on bee health is chaired by Dr. Wolfgang Ritter, who began by speaking about the Organization of International Epizoites OIE (name changed to World Animal Health Organization) which has taken on a larger role in recent times due to the activities of the World Trade Organization. I discuss with Dr. Ritter the administration of OIE in Paris. He has little information, but gives me an e-mail address. I am left wondering how this fits with U.S. regulatory efforts and administration. Dr. Ritter assures me the U.S. is a member, but I am left wondering who really pays the bill and why.
The symposia features talks on a new media for Paenbacillus l. spores, which can be used perhaps to develop better screening techniques (Steve Pernel, Canada. Page 179) and three presentations by personnel at the Australian National University (Page.209). These discussed characterizing the microorganisms in the gut of the honey bee and how they coorelated with chalkbrood incidence. Especially interesting was the inhibition (and actual mechanism found) for inhibition of the chalkbrood fugus by the Pseudomonas bacterium strain AN5 (genetically marked by a jelly fish green florescence protein). This leads to the conclusion that the more bacteria in a bee gut, the less chance of the chalkbrood fungus growing; in addition, gluconic acid (also produced by the Pseudomonas bacterium strain AN5) inhibits chalkbrood and since it is used in many other animal applications, there should be no problem using it on bees from a regulatory standpoint. Also reported were herbal remedies for the Thai sacbrood virus found in Apis cerana (a real problem in India, killing up to 95 percent of colonies), Portuguese studies showing amitraz resistance by Varroa, and a Chinese investigation showing that high larval hemolymph levels of micro elements (Zn and Hg) and free amino acids might be responsible for why Varroa destructor cannot reproduce on worker brood in Apis cerana.
In the afternoon a symposium chaired by Susan Cobey at the University of California, Davis brought together discussions of the utility of instrumental insemination, cryopreservation of sperm and breeding programs in Turkey, Slovenia, Argentina, USA and France. This was capped off by remarks from Martin Braunstein on the current situation surrounding bee regulations and the proposal by my self and Martin of The Global Bee Breeders Initiative.
Later we attended the French night, billed as food, music and by invitation only. We find out it really is almost an advertisement for the 2009 Apimondia to meet in Montpellier, France. Obviously, a way to drum up business for the next congress, which one wag said would change Apimondia to Hapimondia.