Honey bee populations begin to improve

by Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg

The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday.

The number of commercial U.S. honeybee colonies rose 3% to 2.89 million as of April 1, 2017, compared with a year earlier, the Agriculture Department reported. The number of hives lost to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon of disappearing bees that has raised concerns among farmers and scientists for a decade, was 84,430 in this year’s first quarter, down 27% from a year earlier. Year-over-year losses declined by the same percentage in April through June, the most recent data in the survey. Continue reading

Management of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa populations, study shows

Close proximity of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa population growth and virus transmission, according to an article recently published in Environmental Entomology. Varroa just detach from their current host and hitch a ride to another colony on a visiting foraging bee.

Varroa mites don’t reproduce very fast. A female mite will produce one to three offspring; infestations take several years to reach levels that would threaten the hive. However, in managed honey bee colonies, varroa populations increase rapidly, causing beekeepers to apply up to seven miticide applications per year. Continue reading

How can we save the pollinators?

Original article with photos at http://oxford.ly/2tsBiw1

Also in The Connection.

by Louise I. Lynch and Doug Golick, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

An often-cited estimate is that one-third of the food you eat comes from insect pollinators. Many of the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy develop their fruit and seed primarily through insect pollination services. Other sometimes overlooked benefits of pollinators are the ecological services that they provide. For example, insects pollinate many plants that provide erosion control, keeping our waterways clean. Ground-nesting bees, meanwhile, can help aerate and mix soil. And yet another benefit is simply the aesthetic beauty that many pollinators have. Striking swallowtail butterflies, bustling orange-tailed bumble bees, rubicund milkweed beetles, and metallic green sweat bees beautify our landscape. Can you imagine a world without these creatures? Continue reading

Honey bee losses seem to be declining

in Delta Farm Press

Good news for bees—and those who keep them.

The number of honey bee colonies lost last year is down from the previous year and shows an improvement over the ten-year average, according to a survey just released by the Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org), in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA). Continue reading

Lab and Apiary Research Associate at EPA

The EPA Environmental Research and Business Support Program has an immediate opening for a Lab and Apiary Research Associate with the Office of Research and Development at the EPA’s Research Triangle facility in Raleigh-Durham, NC.

The Cardiopulmonary and Immunotoxicology Branch (CIB) of the Environmental Public Health Division (EPHD) provides expertise in the conduct of toxicology studies that assess the impact of environmental exposures on the cardiopulmonary and immune systems of healthy animals and animal models of susceptibility.  Continue reading

How to protect and enhance pollinators – new e-manual available

Extension specialists at Michigan State University and the Ohio State University have developed an online manual on how to protect and increase pollinators in the landscape. The book focuses on the North Central region, as is clear in the title, Protecting and enhancing pollinators in urban landscapes for the US North Central Region, but it contains recommendations that pertain to any region. Continue reading

Research finding new ways to protect pollinator health

A USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Impact Spotlight

September is National Honey Month and you can’t have honey without honey bees. There are direct links between the health of American agriculture and the health of bees and other pollinators.

Pollination is critical to the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which are important parts of a healthy diet. Pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture annually through increased yields and superior-quality harvests. Continue reading