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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #428487

Research Project: Longitudinal Studies to Determine the Causes of Honey Bee Loss

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

2015 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Pollinators, such as honey bees and other insects, are critical components of both natural ecosystems and agroecosystems, ensuring the production of many agronomic crops. Objective 1: Employing long-term, longitudinal studies of honey bee survivorship under current management conditions for honey bees used as pollinators and honey producers, elucidate honey bee forage needs and causes of mortality to serve as the basis for best management practices for pollination of specialty crops such as almond. [NP305, Component 2, Problem Statements 2A, 2B, 2C]


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Honey bees are the main pollinators of crops in the United States and worldwide.Losses of honey bees due to a variety of factors are unsustainable at the current levels of over 30 percent. To mitigate these losses, it is necessary to determine their causal factors; however, long-term baseline data for colony survivorship is not available that can be used to parse the relative importance of suspected factors. It is therefore crucial to develop such a methodology, particularly as part of long-term longitudinal studies of spatial and temporal changes in bee populations exposed to a number of abiotic and biotic stresses and management practices. These longitudinal studies may incorporate research on pesticide, pathogen/pest, and nutrition/forage or other bee health effects, using hives that are stationary as well as those that follow pollination service migratory routes. The proposed longitudinal studies support ARS National Program on Production (NP305) Action Plan research objectives; Component 2: Bee Health; Problem Statements 2A: Bee Management—Improving Bee Nutrition and Performance, 2B: Bee Health—Mitigating the Impacts of Pathogens, Pests, and Pesticides, and 2C: Maximizing Bee Pollination and Quantifying Bee Forage Requirements of the Action Plan.


3. Progress Report:
Efforts for year one of this project were focused on the development of facilities and infrastructural support for the new scientific staff. Two offices for the new scientists were identified within the University of California at Davis Entomology and Nematology Department. An agreement was also developed through the department to position mobile office and laboratory facilities adjacent to the University’s Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Purchases were completed, in part, during the year but delivery is expected in year 2 of the project. Acquisition of the planning and coordination of a workshop, which will be held in early fiscal year 2016, was organized as part of the development of a long-term action plan for longitudinal research activities.


4. Accomplishments