“He is just as open to answering a question about Nosema to a beginning beekeeper or responding to a child’s question about queen bees as he is to helping a commercial beekeeper with 15,000 hives, or engaging in intricate scientific research,” Godfrey said.

Mussen, who is the UC Davis representative to the California State Apiary Board, offers input to the Department of Pesticide Regulation, particularly with the pesticide registration group. Lately he assisted U.S. beekeepers in writing letters to receive compensation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their CCD (colony collapse disorder) bee losses.

Mussen works closely with Cooperation Extension, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Farm Bureau Federation, researchers in the UC system, researchers at the USDA/ARS honey bee laboratories at Beltsville, Md; Baton Rouge, La.; Tucson, Ariz., Weslaco, Texas, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

Mussen serves on various committees and task forces of state and national organizations, reviews numerous manuscripts for journals; reviews annual research proposals to the California State Beekeepers’ Association, the Almond Board of California, and the National Honey Board; reviews Small Business Innovation Research applications at the federal level; and is requested to comment on promotion evaluations for university and USDA researchers.

For the last 10 years, Mussen has been in charge of the California State 4-H Bee Essay Contest, disseminating guidelines, collecting entries and chairing the judging. The state winner advances to national competition. This year's California winner, Rachel Ricchiuto, 14, of Gold River, won the national award.

A popular bee spokesperson, Mussen has been interviewed by the BBC, Lehrer Hour, Associated Press, National Public Radio, Good Morning America, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, KGO Radio, Boston Globe and scores of other media. Two of his videos on bee health appear on the UC Davis Department of Entomology Web site and the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. An hour-long video on colony collapse disorder is on the national eXtension Web site.

(Editor’s Note: For links to the ABJ (used with permission) see:  http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/news/ericmusseninabj.html