Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVE NUTRITION FOR HONEY BEE COLONIES TO STIMULATE POPULATION GROWTH, INCREASE QUEEN QUALITY, AND REDUCE THE IMPACT OF VARROA MITES Title: Introduction

Author
item Degrandi-Hoffman, Gloria

Submitted to: CRC Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2011
Publication Date: January 2, 2012
Citation: Hoffman, G.D. 2012. Introduction. In: Sammataro, D. and Yoder, J., editors. Honey Bee Colony Health: Challenges and Sustainable Solutions. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press. p. xv-xviii.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees play an important role in both natural and managed ecosystems. Through their pollinating activities, honey bees insure the diversity and maintenance of wild plant communities. Honey bee pollination is essential for more than one-third of all agricultural production in the U.S. The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is arguably the single most valuable insect pollinator to agriculture because their hives can be easily maintained and transported to pollinator-dependent crops. Though there is a great need for managed honey bee colonies, there has been an almost 50% decrease in world honey bee stocks over the last century. Simultaneously there has been a greater than 300% increase in pollinator-dependent crops. Colonies fail for many reasons including starvation, queen failure, diseases, parasites and pests. Pesticides also can cause colony losses. Most recently, colony collapse disorder (CCD) has caused massive colony losses especially to commercial beekeeping operations. The following Chapters provide the latest information on factors that undermine the health and survival of colonies. The role of beneficial microbes and bee breeding in maintaining the health and vigor of colonies are also included as these areas have potential to create sustainable solutions to problems of colony health.

Technical Abstract: Honey bees play an important role in terrestrial ecosystems. Through their pollinating activities, honey bees provide a service that is vital to the diversity and maintenance of wild plant communities and to agricultural production. The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is arguably the single most valuable insect pollinator to agriculture because their hives can be easily maintained and transported to pollinator-dependent crops. Though there is a great need for managed honey bee colonies, there has been an almost 50% decrease in world honey bee stocks over the last century. Simultaneously there has been a greater than 300% increase in pollinator-dependent crops. Colonies fail for many reasons including starvation, queen failure, diseases, parasites and pests. Pesticides can also cause colony losses. Most recently, a syndrome of unknown etiology called colony collapse disorder (CCD) has caused massive colony losses, especially to commercial beekeeping operations. The following Chapters provide the latest information on factors that undermine the health and survival of colonies. The role of beneficial microbes and bee breeding in maintaining the health and vigor of colonies also are included as these areas have potential to create sustainable solutions to problems of colony health.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page