ARS scientist seeks honey bee disease controls

by Kim Kaplan, Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Steven Cook will be leading a $1 million funded international consortium of scientists to seek new controls for Varroa mites, honey bees’ number one problem.

Cook, with the Bee Research Laboratory, a part of ARS’s Beltsville (Maryland) Agricultural Research Center, will be the principal investigator of a group that will include scientists from the United States, Canada and Spain. ARS is the in-house research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Continue reading

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

USDA pollinator study examines forage quality

In Delta Farm Press

USDA’s Economic Research Service conducted a literature review of the effects of land use on pollinator health and examined the trends in pollinator forage quality over the last 30 years. Continue reading

Honey bee pests and diseases workshop in Florida

The University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab is offering a one day honey bee pests and diseases workshop. This full day session emphasizes hands-on learning of various hive inflictions, how to identify and monitor them, and how to treat your hives. Topics covered include pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi) found in honey bee colonies, mites (traccheal and varroa), and other invaders.

Throughout the day you will get a chance to practice each technique in monitoring and treating hives with instruction and assistance by members of HBREL and the Ft. Lauderdale Research & Education Center. This workshop is great for any beekeeper who wants to learn more about how to properly manage their hives in the face of a multitude of pests and diseases.

This is a great opportunity to fulfill credits in the Master Beekeeper Program! There is a charge of $70 to take the course. Register here.

Additional Notes:

  • Check-in will be 7:30-8:00am inside the main doors at the UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research & Education Center.
  • Drink refreshments will be provided throughout the day, but please bring your own lunch.
  • Veils and bee suits will be available, but feel free to bring our own if you have one.
  • A maximum of 30 attendees will be permitted in this workshop to allow for hands-on practice of techniques.
  • A minimum of 10 attendees is required for this event. If minimum attendence is not met, those registered will be refunded in full.


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EPA Posts List of Pesticides Registered to Combat Varroa Mites in Bee Hives

This announcement is particularly for beekeepers.

The Environmental Protection Agency has posted a list of pesticides registered for use against Varroa mites to help beekeepers identify products that can help fight this invasive species of bee pest. As part of EPA’s role in the National Pollinator Health Strategy, the Agency has expedited its review of registration applications for new products targeting pests harmful to pollinators. Continue reading

EPA Registers New Biochemical Miticide to Combat Varroa Mites in Beehives

The Environmental Protection Agency has registered a new biochemical miticide, Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to provide another option for beekeepers to combat the devastating effects of the Varroa mite on honey bee colonies and to avoid the development of resistance toward other products. Rotating products to combat Varroa mites is an important tactic to prevent resistance development and to maintain the usefulness of individual pesticides.

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Bees Exposed to Fungicide More Vulnerable to Nosema Parasite

By Kim Kaplan

In ARS News

Honey bees that consume pollen that contains amounts of commonly used fungicides at levels too low to cause the bee’s death still may leave them more susceptible to infection by a gut parasite, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and University of Maryland research published today in PLOS ONE.

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