Celebrating National Honey Month with Next Gen Beekeepers

Our three 2018 Young Beekeeper Award winners – Leo Schirokauer, Daniel McSween and JD Murphy – presented their hard work to an audience of more than 100 seasoned beekeepers and researchers. Bayer partnered with Bee Culture’s “Kim and Jim Show,” a popular webinar series in the beekeeping industry, to showcase their efforts, and each student impressed the audience with their knowledge of and experience with honey bees.

Find out more about each presentation below!

Leo Schirokauer: "A Paratransgenic Approach to Treating American Foulbrood"

Leo Schirokauer, Next Generation BeekeeperOur first-place winner, Leo, gave an overview of the American Foulbrood pathogen and how it affects hives. Currently, beekeepers can’t treat it and instead have to burn infected hives to eliminate the disease, often meaning they must restart their efforts from scratch. Leo wants to change that by working in the lab to develop a bacterium that naturally occurs in honey bees’ guts and that will produce an enzyme to kill off the pathogen.

Leo is using several experimental methods to test his work, and he hopes to soon be able to hold field assessments with beekeepers. If this treatment works, it will provide long-term protection against the fatal American Foulbrood disease and will not lead to a resistant strain of the pathogen.

Daniel McSween: "For the Love of Science and Beekeeping"

Daniel McSween, Next Generation of BeekeepersBayer’s second-place Young Beekeeper Award winner, Daniel, is also focusing his efforts on research. Daniel has spent the past few years testing the best ways to assess and control for Varroa mites, the honey bee’s No. 1 enemy.

Daniel has primarily used the sugar shake method and has presented his findings at various science fairs throughout Texas. Through his multiple studies, he’s learned that beekeepers did a better job at spotting Varroa infestation in 2018 than they did the prior year, and that the best strategy to control this parasite is to use Integrated Pest Management and continue to monitor hives on a regular basis.

JD Murphy: "Bees on an Elevator"

JD Murphy, Next Generation of BeekeepersJonathan, or JD, our third-place winner, used his presentation to highlight his outreach efforts, as he works tirelessly in his community and beyond to educate others on the importance of honey bees to our agriculture and food systems.

JD gives speeches and presentations about honey bees to audiences both young and old. He’s spoken with classes at elementary schools, to students in 4-H clubs and even at state fairs, often using an observation hive to demonstrate the dynamics of a honey bee colony in action. He’s currently setting up a scholarship program within his beekeeping club, the Grayson County Beekeepers Club.

Want to learn more? You can check out the recorded webinar episode by heading to the Bayer Bee Care Program webinar page.