Location: Southern Horticultural Research
Project Number: 6062-21430-004-027-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 30, 2017
End Date: Sep 30, 2022
Our objective is to examine various soybean cultivars and different planting dates that may provide additional forage for honey bees and native bees especially during the late summer dearth in the southern US.
Various soybean cultivars that are adapted to the southern US and Mexico will be planted in experimental plots at various planting dates at the University of Tennessee-Jackson and USDA, ARS-Poplarville. Selected cultivars will be evaluated to determine if they provide late season floral-nectar resources that are unavailable from the surrounding landscape. In addition, 8-16 honey bee hives will be established within 1/4 mile from the soybean plots. Foraging bees will be collected using various techniques to determine relative species abundance throughout the growing season. In addition, honey bee pollen samples will also be collected (trapped) from returning foragers and from bee bread stored in the hive from each apiary to evaluate primary food sources in storage. • For each apiary, colony health/strength will be assessed at a minimum of two times in late summer and fall. These assessments will include: o Bee coverage of frames (adult population). o Brood counts (capped and uncapped). o Food stores (amounts of pollen, nectar and honey). o Varroa mite infestation levels and incidence of bee disease pathogens Pollen samples will be collected and abundance of soybean pollen will be calculated.