March 2015


National Honey Board Announces New Chief Executive Officer

Firestone, Colo., January 15, 2015 – The National Honey Board (NHB), an industry-funded agriculture promotion group, announced that the Board has unanimously selected Margaret Lombard as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective December 29, 2014. Lombard succeeds the NHB’s past CEO Bruce Boynton who announced his desire to retire in early 2014 after almost 26 years of service to the honey industry.

“After a thorough selection process, the Board is delighted to announce Margaret will lead the NHB as we navigate through the evolving and expanding landscape of the honey industry,” said Brent Barkman, chairman of the National Honey Board. “Margaret has extensive experience in food marketing and a comprehensive understanding of the food industry. I have no doubt that she is the right person to take the helm at the NHB.”
In her nearly 25 years in the food industry, Margaret has held a variety of leadership positions, including Vice President of Marketing for Raley’s Supermarkets and Vice President of Shopper Marketing for a national advertising agency. She has a proven track record for successfully driving innovation and growth. Her past clients include Mission Foods, Blue Diamond Almonds and Avocados from Mexico. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Design from the University of California Davis, and a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University Sacramento. Her background in food and her commodity board experience make her ideally suited to lead the next phase of the NHB’s growth and success.

“I am honored to have been chosen by the Board to lead the NHB into the next exciting era,” said Margaret Lombard. “The NHB is doing some amazing work and is perfectly poised for growth as the trend towards natural ingredients continues to explode. I look forward to working with our Board and our staff in driving growth for the entire industry.”
The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs.

Getting Up Close and Personal on Nosema ceranae in Honey Bees

As one of the possible causes of honey bee losses, the gut pathogen Nosema ceranae has proved controversial. It seems accountable for colony losses in Spain, yet elsewhere it seems not to cause obvious problems despite being widespread. Two papers published recently in the Journal of Apicultural Research help to shed some light on the problem, with close studies of this organism and its relationship with its host.

Nosema ceranae, a microsporidian fungus, is a relatively new pathogen of honey bees, having only been discovered in 1994 on the Asian honey bee Apis cerana. It was found on the western honey bee Apis mellifera in 2005. It seems to have spread rapidly around the world and apparently displaced the similar species Nosema apis. This second parasite is a minor chronic infection of the western honey bee, known for more than one hundred years. However, no-one is absolutely certain of the history of these two species because their spores are indistinguishable under an ordinary light microscope. So far, few laboratories throughout the world are able to perform the costly molecular techniques necessary to reliably determine between the two Nosema species.

In a new paper, Dr Aneta Ptaszyńska and colleagues from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, and the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland have demonstrated that Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) provides a solution. Close examination of the cell walls of Nosema spores revealed that they differ between the two species, with Nosema ceranae having a characteristic sculpted cell wall. The authors also studied the damage caused by the parasite to the intestines of infected bees. They found that the midgut of affected bees is completely covered with Nosema. This spore-made layer may be the cause of bee malnutrition and higher mortality of foragers.

In the second paper, Dr Predrag Simeunovic and colleagues from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, carried out a three-year study on the laying capacity of queen bees as affected by age and infestation by Nosema ceranae. The results clearly demonstrated not only that as queen bees age so colony productivity declines, but that interactions with Nosema ceranae infestation also occur. Curiously, although queen bees decline in all other respects during their third year, their egg-laying capacity was found to increase. This may be an influence of Nosema infection which was greatest in the oldest queens. The authors suggest that the infected queens may significantly increase their rate of egg-laying to compensate for the losses of heavily infected workers due to Nosema.

IBRA Science Director Norman Carreck says: “These two new papers add to our knowledge of this problematic pathogen and how it adversely affects honey bees.” (IBRA News Release)


 The 2012 American Bee Research Conference was held February 7-8 at APHIS Headquarters in Greenbelt, MD in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Apiary Inspectors of America.  The twenty-sixth American Bee Research Conference will be held in Hershey, PA in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Honey Producers Association in January 2013.  To access these abstracts now, click on the link below. These abstracts represent some of the latest bee research being conducted in the United States.  Enjoy!

icon 2012_Proceedings_ABJ.pdf (565 KB)