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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research » Research » Research Project #437250

Research Project: Strategies to Reduce Risk of Bees to Various Stressors in the Mid-South

Location: Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research

Project Number: 6066-21000-001-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 2, 2019
End Date: Dec 31, 2023

To investigate, conduct research, and solve problems related to improving both native and honey bee health. Particular focus will be placed on stressors like pesticides, bee parasites/pests, and poor habitat, and mitigating their potential effects in such a way that is beneficial to both beekeepers and agricultural producers located in the Mid-South.

The Mid-South region in the southern United States has traditionally been an area of high row crop agriculture that routinely needs synthetic pesticides to keep pest populations below economic injury levels. There is a need to determine ways to increase the health of both managed honey bees and native bees that are often needed for pollination services for farmers, as well as for producing honey for beekeepers. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge concerning how farming practices, such as pesticide use, management of non-crop forage like native vegetation and weeds, and soil conservation, affects bee health, especially in the presence of additional stressors like bee parasites/pests. Identifying agricultural management strategies that increase bee health, while being feasible and economical both to the farmer and beekeeper, is of the highest priority. Reducing pollinator losses by improving bee health is essential for consistently providing adequate bee populations for crop pollination and ensuring the productivity of U.S. crops that require bee pollination.