[NAFEX] Improving Honey Bee Health

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Fri Feb 1 17:55:52 EST 2008

Begin forwarded message:

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: February 1, 2008 7:55:48 AM PST
Subject: Improving Honey Bee Health
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>

Coordinated Research Aims To Improve Honey Bee Health	

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Alfredo Flores, (301) 504-1627, alfredo.flores at ars.usda.gov
February 1, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at 

In response to a fast-spreading syndrome called colony collapse 
disorder (CCD) that's striking honey bees nationwide, scientists at 
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) bee laboratories across the country 
are pooling their expertise. They want to learn what’s causing the 
disappearance of the honey bees that add about $15 billion a year to 
the value of U.S. crops by pollinating fruit, vegetable, tree nut and 
berry crops. Some beekeepers have already lost one-half to two-thirds 
of their colonies to CCD.

Jeff Pettis, research leader at the ARS Bee Research Laboratory in 
Beltsville, Md., is a coordinator of the newly established five-year 
Areawide Program to Improve Honey Bee Health, Survivorship and 
Pollination Availability. Entomologist John Adamczyk at the ARS 
Beneficial Insects Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas, helps Pettis 
coordinate the program, along with Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman at Tucson, 
Ariz., and Tom Rinderer at Baton Rouge, La. This is the first such 
initiative to bring various components of all of the federal bee 
laboratories together to solve a single problem.

Researchers at Beltsville are attempting to improve the longevity of 
honey bee queens, find effective controls for Nosema protozoa and 
varroa mites, and reduce migratory colony stress. In Weslaco, work also 
focuses on controlling varroa mites and Nosema, reducing migratory 
stress and developing disease-control measures.

At the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research 
Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Rinderer and colleagues are looking into bee 
stock evaluation and improvement, with a view toward using genetic 
selection and colony size to improve early spring buildup.

In Tucson, Degrandi-Hoffman is leading scientists at the ARS Carl 
Hayden Bee Research Center in studying carbohydrate and protein 
supplements, Africanized bee stock improvements and varroa mite 

The new bee-focused areawide program will also incorporate university 
partners, apiculturists and many others. By the end of this coordinated 
five-year effort, researchers hope to have specific recommendations 
ready for beekeepers to use to manage their bees more efficiently and 
improve colony survival, especially during long-range transport.

Read more about this research in the February 2008 issue of 
Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research 

This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to 
subscribers on weekdays. Send feedback and questions to the ARS News 
Service at NewsService at ars.usda.gov.
ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD 20705-5128
NewsService at ars.usda.gov | www.ars.usda.gov/news
Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486

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