POSITION: Extension Associate

STARTING DATE: January 1, 2015

LOCATION: Dyce Laboratory for Honey Bee Studies, Cornell University, 209
Freese Road, Ithaca, NY 14850

SUMMARY: Continuing severe die-offs of colonies of honey bees, our principal
agricultural pollinators and honey producers, demand focused study to
establish the nature and intensity of threats from pesticides, parasites and
pathogens in NYS.  This need is essential for the development of appropriate
bee management practices to maximize honey bee health.  

BASIC FUNCTION AND RESPONSIBILITY: The successful candidate will develop a
program for monitoring the impacts of pesticides, parasites and pathogens on
honeybees.  Initial focus will be on the needs of NYS commercial beekeepers,
who have suffered the most severe economic losses.  In addition, the
candidate will be expected to contribute to general education for commercial
and smaller scale beekeepers, such as hobbyists.
PROGRAM JUSTIFICATION:  Over the past several years, NYS-based commercial
beekeepers have lost 70% of their bees to unknown causes.  These losses
occurred before colonies were moved to their winter quarters in southern
states, suggesting that factors other than prolonged cold temperatures were
responsible for the losses (e.g., exposure to pesticides, pathogens,
parasites and other abiotic stressors).  The economic impact of these losses
are significant not only to beekeepers, but also for NYS’s fruit and
vegetable growers, and ultimately to NYS’s food consumers.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:  Address honey bee health and management issues
in the context of related past and on-going research in New York State, the
US, and abroad.  Apply for additional funds to support applied
research/extension efforts.  The candidate will be expected to work closely
with other pollination biology faculty in the department of Entomology and
other groups in CALS.

Develop a monitoring program for evaluating the impacts of pesticides on
commercial beekeeping operations.  (20%)
•	Develop a state-wide bee monitoring program (de novo or in collaboration
with existing monitoring programs) for New York’s commercial beekeepers

Gather data in order to identify the causes, timing, and severity of colony
losses and estimate their impact on the State’s agricultural economy.  (40%)
•	Measure the presence and potential effects of man-made chemical toxins of
honey bees, in live adult bees, their brood, collected pollen, and in
colonies that have died en masse.   
•	Examine weak and dying colonies for evidence of disease, esp. workers
heavily infected with the deformed wing virus, which is transmitted by the
ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor, and is the main source of colony
mortality due to high mite loads.   
•	Review honey bee management practices in order to identify practices that
may contribute to poor colony health and survival. 

Network and build relationships with the Departments of Entomology, Natural
Resources, Horticulture and Cooperative Extension.  (15%) 
•	Present an annual report of findings to the NYS Department of Agriculture
and Markets, the Chairpersons of the NYS Senate and Assembly, and the
Department of Entomology, Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.   
•	Collaborate with Cornell faculty in the areas of pathogen detection and
pesticide screening in order to develop novel methods for evaluating colony
•	Contribute to writing, and editing of manuscripts, reports and outreach

Develop new outreach and extension materials for educating beekeepers about
the potential impacts of pathogens, parasites, and pesticides on colony
health (15%)
•	Provide online extension materials to help improve bee management and
colony health.
•	Develop educational program to support commercial beekeepers,
smaller-scale beekeepers, and hobbyists.
•	Develop, disseminate and apply sound scientific, technical and related
research knowledge in order to improve the resiliency of bee populations.
•	Provide presentations to beekeeper stakeholders, as time and effort allow.

Apply for additional funds to support applied research and extension
efforts.  (10%)
•	Identify and secure external funding through grant writing, foundation
requests, corporate sponsorships, and other sources of support.

This is a two-year term position, renewable depending on funding, available
work, and performance.

QUALIFICATIONS: MS degree in Entomology, Biology, or related field.  At
least 3-5 years of experience in beekeeping. Outstanding interpersonal and
organizational skills.  Excellent written and oral communication skills.

SALARY: commensurate with experience

SUPERVISION: Dr. Bryan Danforth and Dr. Thomas Seeley

APPLICATIONS: Applications should be sent by email to Cheryl Gombas
([log in to unmask]).
Please include a CV and cover letter sent by email in one PDF file. Review
of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position
is filled.


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Academic Specialist
Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Michigan State University
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