His name is Jon Zawislak; it rhymes with “Zah-FISH-Lock,” but everyone knows him simply as “Jon Z.” Jon’s known by beekeepers across the state of Arkansas and beyond for his engaging beekeeping training regularly accentuated with humor. Jon is an Eastern Apicultural Society Master Beekeeper and Arkansas’ State Extension Apiculturist. In this position, Jon trains beekeepers and conducts research on honey bee health issues. I have encountered numerous beekeeper students of Jon’s classes. They are enthusiastic, and they always feel like they are well-prepared by Jon’s instruction to start their beekeeping adventure. I have participated in some of his research. In one study, Jon searched for parasites that might be preying upon the invasive Small Hive Beetle. Sampling bees, combs, and soil surrounding the bee hives, Jon found on my farm and several other Arkansas sites a parasite attacking these pest beetles. The parasite has the potential of being a biological control of Small Hive Beetles,. Jon also participated in a study of the effect of neonicotinoid insecticides on honey bees, . While many wanted to blame the widely-used class of insecticides for causing excessive bee colony losses, Jon made measurements to get an accurate assessment of the effect of the insecticides. It now appears that the neonicotinoids are not the sole cause of the losses, but instead one of several contributing factors. Jon is always available to answer a technical question. When a reader of this blog questioned the mechanism for honey bees’ passing along genetic information, I asked Jon to explain for me, . I am particularly grateful for Jon’s participation with the Arkansas Beekeepers Association as an active member of our leadership, .
Jon Zawislak received the prestigious 2018 Roger A. Morse Outstanding Teaching/Extension Service/Regulatory Award at the Eastern Apicultural Society’s conference at Hampton, Virginia. Dr. Morse developed the EAS Master Beekeeper program at Cornell University. Jon provided me the encouragement to complete my EAS Master Beekeeper certification. He is truly an inspiration. Congratulations, Jon Z.