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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PWA AREAWIDE PROGRAM FOR IMPROVING HONEY BEE HEALTH
2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. To increase colony strength for pollination of almonds and subsequent crops; 2. To demonstrate that resistant stocks reduce costs and increase survivorship; 3. To demonstrate improved parasitic mite control with proper timing of management applications; 4. To improve the content and delivery methods for carbohydrate and protein diets to improve nutrition; 5. To improve the integrated use of controls for pests and pathogens, including non-chemical beekeeping techniques; 6. To decrease the level of pesticide contamination within bee hives; 7. To determine the economics of areawide IPM techniques utilized in the Program; 8. To communicate findings of the program to stakeholders in a timely fashion; 9. To protect the purity of honey; and 10. To increase beekeeping profitability.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
An Areawide Oversight (CORE) Team comprised of representatives from the National Program Staff, the Center/Location management staff, ARS key scientists, Federal and State agencies, and when appropriate, commodity group, beekeepers and university representatives. The program is comprised of four key components within a framework of the temperal-spatial scale and three phased implementation. The four key components are operations, assessment, research and education.


3.Progress Report
The MegaBee diet developed in our Laboratory under a CRADA with S.A.F.E. Research and Development was compared with other commercially available pollen substitute diets, pollen cake and a pollen-free diet of high fructose corn syrup for consumption and colony growth (brood and adult populations). Colonies fed MegaBee patty produced significantly more brood than those fed pollen cake or any other diet. There was a significant relationship between the amount of diet consumed and the change in brood area and adult population size. Laboratory studies are being conducted to compare the hypopharyngeal gland development and protein levels in worker bees fed MegaBee with those fed pollen and other commercially available diets. Studies also are under way to determine the effects of diet and supplemental feeding with MegaBee in colonies used for pollination of cranberries. This research is conducted within National Program 305 (Crop Production) Component 3 Section B (Bee Management and Pollination). Specifically, the project addresses the goals to:.
1)identify nutritional deficiencies that contribute to colony decline during pollination and develop/improve supplemental feeds.


4.Accomplishments
1. Evaluating Pollen Substitutes for Reducing Nutritional Stress on Honey Bees

A major challenge to U.S. beekeepers is maintaining healthy colonies for pollination. There is severe nutritional stress on colonies transported long distances and then introduced into monocultures that lack pollen diversity. ARS scientists in the Honey Bee Research Unit in Tucson, AZ evaluated population growth and survival of colonies fed the pollen substitute diet (MegaBee) developed at our Laboratory. When used as a sole protein source, colonies fed MegaBee produced significantly more brood and had larger adult populations than those fed pollen cake or any other commercial diet. Bees converted MegaBee into brood at a higher rate than other diets. The MegaBee diet is in commercial production and can alleviate nutritional stress and help maintain colony health. This research is conducted within National Program 305 (Crop Production) Component 3 Section B (Bee Management and Pollination). Specifically, the project addresses the goals to:.
1)identify nutritional deficiencies that contribute to colony decline during pollination and develop/improve supplemental feeds.


6.Technology Transfer

None

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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