Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees Scholars
Since 2005, the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Inc., has awarded scholarships to allow graduate students in apiculture to attend the annual North American Beekeeping Conference. Attendance at this national gathering provides the recipients an opportunity to meet other researchers and beekeepers and to present their research at the meeting. The intent of the scholarships is to foster professional development for young apicultural scientists. Scholarships are available to all graduate students. Graduate students at universities outside the U.S. are invited to apply.
The annual request for applications is made in August. To ensure that you receive the announcement, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to our 2014 Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees Scholars!
An Up-and-Coming, Integrated IPM Approach to Small-Scale Beekeeping
By Katy Evans
Beekeeping continues to gain popularity across the country despite the numerous pests and pathogens present in honey bee populations in the United States. The effects of these pests and viruses hit the mainstream public in 2006 when a wave of colony deaths plagued the nation and since then, the beekeeping community has continually suffered a 20-33% annual loss of overwintering colonies. Colony decline has not been directly linked to one factor, but evidence shows that the varroa mite, Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic brood mite, is one of the primary causes behind the decline. Many treatments are available for varroa control, although few have yielded long term success.
Therefore, there is a need to explore alternative beekeeping management strategies. The goal of my project is to develop and test the efficacy of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to manage varroa mites and varroa vectored viruses. Specifically, it will test the efficacy of splitting and swarming of colonies in conjunction with drone brood removal on reducing mite populations. Historically, beekeepers have tried to prevent their bees from swarming. They thought the process was detrimental to honey production and pollination, but existing research shows that colonies allowed to swarm show lower mite numbers and decreased bee mortality. My research focuses on non-chemical ways to manage varroa mites in small apiaries and aims to provide good management tools for small-scale beekeepers.
If effective, this strategy will be developed into an IPM practice for hobbyist beekeepers that will reduce the amount of time and money spent on varroa control treatments and alleviate the need for additional control tactics. I still have one more field season, but the results to-date are promising and the data collected will be valuable for long term management of bees. Results from this work will lead to a greater understanding of the relationship between varroa mites and honey bees and provide a basis for sustainable honey bee management techniques.