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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: IMPROVING HONEY BEE HEALTH, SURVIVORSHIP, AND POLLINATION AVAILABLITY

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2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The Areawide Program will bring together recent improvements in mite-resistant bee stocks, nutrition, and pest and disease management techniques into a comprehensive management strategy to improve honey bee health in the U.S. The objective of this program is to increase colony survival and availability for pollination and thus increase the profitability of beekeeping in the U.S.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The program will focus on bringing together ARS research from Beltsville, MD; Tucson, AZ; Baton Rouge, LA and Weslaco, TX. Specific objecives include: HFCS research results (Weslaco);.
3)parasitic mite management techniques including new chemical controls 2-heptanone (Tucson), Hivastan (Weslaco) and non-chemical controls plastic drone comb (Beltsville) and screen bottom boards (Beltsville);.
4)Nosema controls (Weslaco and Beltsville). A year-round management scheme will be tested in large migratory and smaller non-migratory beekeeping operations with an emphasis on the larger migratory beekeepers that supply bees to almonds (almost half of all managed bees in the U.S.). The country will be divided into geographic regions as follows: East, Mid-West & West. It is imperative to test in many geographic regions as bees, bee pests and diseases grow at different rates in different parts of the country.


3.Progress Report
A large field trial with 400 colonies was started October 2009 in Louisiana. Treatment groups included all the possible combinations of three stressors: nutrition, varroa, and nosema. We are currently running the trial and are observing large impacts on colonies' survival and strength by the three stressors and the interactions between them. This was strikingly evident in our recent measuring of the honey production. Viral loads are being assessed by BVS, Inc. A series of fumigants were tested for controlling Nosema ceranae on stored honeycombs. Currently, one has shown good control while another may be of some use. Ozone is currently being examined in cooperation with the ARS lab in Logan, UT. The flight range of nosema-infected almond pollen foragers was examined using eight observation hive colonies near Shafter, CA. Data is currently being analyzed. Two field trials tested the efficacy of several experimental products for controlling Nosema ceranae. One product showed some benefit, but the control level was not equal to fumagillin. We are testing two new materials from Europe that have reputed efficacy. During a recent experiment, one product showed efficacy for controlling nosema. We have permission from this company to test this product specifically for nosema. We continue to screen new products for controlling varroa. A product formulated by Mann Lake, Ltd. and Pfizer has repeatedly shown good control with minor impact on colony health. Mann Lake, Ltd. is on course to request registration. We are currently conducting a field trial testing a new delivery device that self-destructs.


Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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