Honey bee expert Eric Mussen, an Extension apiculturist and member of the University of California, Davis Department of Entomology faculty, is the winner of the statewide 2010 Pedro Ilic Outstanding Agricultural Educator Award.

Mussen earned the award for educating the agricultural community, the beekeeping industry, and the general public about honey bees.

Mussen will receive the award March 1 at the California Small Farm Conference in San Diego. It is one of two annual awards memorializing Ilic, a Fresno County small-scale farm advisor who died in 1994.

The other award for outstanding grower goes to Jay Ruskey of Calimoya Exotic Fruits of Goleta, Santa Barbara County. The company, which Ruskey founded in 1991, grows and markets California cherimoyas and other exotic fruits.

Mussen and Ilic worked together as members of the Small Farm Work Group in serving the statewide, broad-based agricultural community, said nominators Larry Godfrey, Extension specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department.

Mussen educates the beekeeping industry and general public with his bimonthly newsletter, “from the UC Apiaries,” which he launched in 1976. He has also written “Bee Briefs,” addressing diseases, pesticides, and swarms. The publications are on the UC Davis Department of Entomology Web site.

“Eric is a worldwide authority on honey bees, but no problem is too small and no question too involved for him to answer,” Godfrey said. “He devotes his research and extension activities to the improvement of honey bee health and honey bee colony management practices.”

Mussen served as president of the Western Apicultural Society last year, an organization he helped found in 1977.