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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #441778

Research Project: An Epidemiological Approach to the Understanding and Control of Disease Infections in Honey Bees

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-291-059-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 6, 2022
End Date: Jun 5, 2023

Among factors that contribute to declines in honeybee populations, diseases due to pathogenic microbes pose significant threats to bee health. ARS Bee Research Laboratory (BRL) is interested in studying how and why infectious diseases emerge and spread among bee populations and then developing strategies that can prevent or control the spread of disease that weakens and kills honey bee colonies. Our Project Plan has two objectives that directly relate to this agreement: 1) Develop diagnostic tools for use in mitigating the effects of current and emerging honey bee diseases and pests, and 2) Develop novel tools that monitor the incidence and prevalence of bee diseases and disorders to help beekeepers maximize pollination services and honey production. The COOPERATOR is also interested in developing disease diagnostic tools and control strategies to protect and maintain the health of honeybees. The proposed research is directly relevant to the BRL OSQR plan 8042-21000-291-00D “Managing honey bees against diseases and colony stress”, especially to Objective 1: Develop diagnostic and data management tools for use in mitigating the effects of current and emerging honey bee diseases and pests.

ARS will use genetic and molecular approaches to investigate the distribution, transmission, and determinants of diseases in bee populations that can lead to the development of novel control strategies for preventing and controlling diseases in honeybees. The broad objective will be accomplished by fulfilling the following specific research objectives: 1) to advance our understanding of disease mechanisms of pathogenic microorganisms in honeybees and identify known and novel pathogens and patterns that are indicative of potentially fatal diseases, and 2) to develop diagnostic tools for high-throughput detection and monitoring of honey bee diseases.