Facebook Premiere on Beekeeping
August 27, 2020
Questions & Answers
Q: What do you think bee research will be like in 10, 20 or even 40 years?
A: Honey Bee Research is a marvelously dynamic field! Things change quickly. If I were to guess, I'd say I'm expecting that genetics will continue to grow in importance in the field. With the discovery of genetic tools like Crispr/CAS9 and related advances, we're much better equipped to delicately interact with an organism's genetic code. It is a discovery we could use to promote healthier, more diverse genes in the bees themselves or target the little parasites and pests that the bees deal with to make them less fit at mischief-making. Of course, it's just a guess, so you should take all of that with a grain of pollen ;).
To learn more about the fascinating field of bee genetics: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320189553_Honey_bee_genetics
Q: How does the USDA collect data for its two bee population surveys (Honey Bee Colonies and Honey)? How many beekeepers are surveyed?
A: All registered beekeepers receive a mailed survey form and are asked to answer questions related to colony loss rates, colonies at a set time of the year, and honey yields per colony. The longest running survey targets beekeepers with 5 or more colonies.
Q: In the NASS Honey Bee Colonies survey, colony losses every quarter are reported as a percentage - but the overall population trend appears to be increasing because of splitting. Is the absolute change in the number of colonies also reported as a percentage increase/decrease?
A: The net number of colonies has indeed been stable for 20 years. Beekeepers are able to split surviving colonies to make up for losses or buy colonies from others, but the losses have an impact on the economics and productivity of beekeeping.
Q: Is there a time of year there is no honey being produced?
A: In our area, not much honey is saved between August and the following April, the best months are May and June. Beekeepers usually remove honey in the summer or early fall.
Q: Does the USDA have a Grant to help to save the Bees from the cities and put it in to a reserve away from the city and avoid to kill it with the insecticide used for the Pest Control companies?
A: Not that I know of. From the many beekeepers now in cities and from the survivorship surveys bee in urban areas are actually doing well. There are USDA programs (The Conservation Reserve Program) to improve habitat in the environment for bees.
Here are some useful resources:
- Beltsville, Maryland Bee Lab focuses on a wide range of bee pests and diseases, and offers a free Bee Disease Diagnosis Service of pests and diseases for beekeepers across the United States.
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana Bee Lab focuses on honey bee breeding, genetics, and physiology research.
- Logan, Utah Bee Lab studies the biology, management, and systematics of pollinating insects.
- Tucson, Arizona Bee Lab focuses on improved nutrition and Varroa control.