Honey bee authority Eric Carnes Mussen, an internationally known California Cooperative Extension apiculturist and member of the University of California, Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, died June 3 from liver cancer, according to a news release from UC Davis. He was 78.

Eric Mussen
Eric Mussen

“Eric was a giant in the field of apiculture,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis department of entomology and nematology. “The impact of his work stretched far beyond California.”

Mussen joined the UC Davis entomology department in 1976. Although he retired in 2014, he continued his many activities until a few weeks prior to his death.

“Eric’s passing is a huge loss,” said longtime colleague Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. “He was always the go-to person for all things honey bee. He worked happily with hobbyists, commercial beekeepers and anyone just generally interested.”

Norman Gary, a UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology who served as a faculty member from 1962 to 1994, noted Mussen’s many awards and contributions to the industry, including his help in creating the Western Apicultural Society, for which Mussen later served six terms as president, the last term in 2017.

“Eric’s career was so productive and exciting that a book would be required to do justice for his many contributions to his profession as extension entomologist specializing in apiculture, better known as beekeeping,” Gary said. “And his tribute would not be complete without mentioning that he was one of my favorite fishing buddies.”

To read more about Mussen’s career, go to: ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=52399.

by Jonelle Mejica