NC State Researcher Awarded Grant to Improve Honeybee Health

by Dee Shore, NC State University

With a grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s Pollinator Health Fund, NC State University scientist David Tarpy is researching the impact of pesticide exposure on honeybee colony disease prevalence and reproductive potential.

Tarpy, a professor of entomology and plant pathology and the NC State Extension apiculturist, recently received a $217,000 grant from FFAR, a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill. The FFAR grant is being matched by a graduate fellowship from the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc., supporting a Ph.D. student in the NC State Apiculture Program, Joe Milone. Continue reading

Access to food eases stress on traveling honey bees

by Mick Kulikowski

In the first large-scale and comprehensive study on the impacts of transporting honey bees to pollinate various crops, research from North Carolina State University shows that travel can adversely affect bee health and lifespan. Some of these negative impacts may be reduced by moving bee colonies into patches with readily available food or by providing supplemental nutrition when there are few flowers for honey bees to visit, the researchers say.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are among the country’s most important agricultural pollinators. They are frequently trucked around the United States – in short and long distances – to pollinate crops like apples, almonds and berries. But the impact of that travel remains unclear and ripe for study, says Hongmei Li-Byarlay, a National Research Council senior research associate in NC State’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and co-first author of a paper describing the research, which aimed to be the first to directly measure stress in these types of colonies. Continue reading

Attracting pollinators to your yard

In North Carolina Field and Family

by Carol Cowan

If you ate today, you might want to thank a pollinator. From bees to butterflies to birds, pollinators are directly responsible for one out of every three bites of food we consume. They also facilitate the reproduction of roughly 80 percent of all flowering plants, including trees. In fact, pollinators contribute an estimated $217 billion to the global economy, supporting food and fiber production, clean air, and stable soil. These tiny creatures play a huge and vital role in sustaining the ecosystems on which life on earth depends.

But native pollinator habitat has been disappearing, and as a result, their populations are on the decline. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is working with N.C. State University to remedy the situation by establishing dedicated pollinator plots at all 18 agricultural research stations throughout the state. Project leaders hope homeowners and farmers will follow suit and aspire to grow pollinator habitat on their own property. Continue reading

NCSU CALS Sustainability Office Pollinator event educates community about pollinator health

The CALS Office of Sustainability Programs held a Pollinator Health Meet & Greet on Friday, June 21st at E.S. King Village to help raise awareness about pollinator health issues.  Attendees also had the opportunity to see a live demonstration hive and see the workings of a honeybee hive, identify the queen, drones and workers, and talk to Dr. David Tarpy, Associate Professor and Extension Apiculturist from NC State and graduate students from the NC State Apiculture Program. This was part of a national effort that many other states participated in during National Pollinator Week (, an annual awareness campaign to educate our community about honeybees, beekeeping, and the importance of bee pollinators.  The event was attended by residents of E.S. King Village, industry partners and faculty and staff from the College of Ag & Life Sciences, among others.

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NC State Bee Specialist Presents Ideas on Colony Collapse Disorder

A “mysterious” disorder is wiping out honeybee colonies worldwide, and one professor is hoping an interdisciplinary presentation will lead to new insight into the origins of the disorder.

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