1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To support the Areawide project on honey bees with logistical support including, sample collection and colony assessments in the field, sample analysis and data handling and conducting beekeeper colony loss surveys.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The Areawide program to improve honey bee survival includes extensive field components that require labor and sample preparation in addition to colony manipulations on the East coast and West coast of the U.S. and subsequent sample analysis and data handling. The USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory (BRL) has worked closely with Pennsylvania State University (PSU) over the past two years and has a very good working relationship in carrying out joint field projects. We are proposing to utilize PSU staff to help with the logistics of colony assessments in the field and some of the sample analysis and data handling as BRL does not have sufficient staff on hand to meet these labor needs.
In FY09 a survey of colony health and productivity was conducted on 12 commercial beekeeping operations in California along with a colony loss survey conducted nationwide via phone calls and the internet. This combination of field data collection and a wider survey served to document the ongoing colony losses that are occurring and identified major factors accounting for colony losses such as queen failure, varroa mites, and Colony Collapse Disorder. Progress on this agreement is monitored with quarterly face-to-face meetings, ongoing discussion during joint field experiments, and constant e-mail communication.