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About Beekeeper Tools and BMPs
Best Management Practices are the best methods or techniques found to be the most effective and practical means to achieve an objective while making the optimum use of resources. Otherwise defined, a best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives. BMPs produce results that are superior to those achieved by other means, or are a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements. Best Management Practices as they relate to Project Apis m. include those developed in the areas of 1) Nutrition, 2) Varroa, 3) Nosema, 4) Equipment Management and Maintenance, 5) Colony Management, and 6) for Almond Growers.
Current Beekeeper Tools and BMPs Research
Please click on titles for more information about research projects
Assessing the Effect of Sperm Viability on Queen Performance and Colony Productivity Principal Investigator: Marta Guarna, Agri-Food Canada, 2016
Evaluation and Comparison of Management Strategies and Economics of Apicultural Practices in Commercial Beekeeping Operations Principal Investigator: Brandon Hopkins, Advanced Beekeeping Solutions, 2016
Bee Integrated Demonstration Project. Pragmatic Beekeeping, Forage and Farming Practices Principal Investigator: Honey Bee health Coalition, 2017
Honey bees support approximately one-third of the food we eat – and more than $15 billion annual in American agriculture. Yet winter honey bee colony losses average one-third each year in the U.S., creating a significant challenge for pollination and honey production. A broad consensus has emerged in the scientific research and beekeeping communities that there are multiple interacting stressors that impact honey bee health. Primary risk factors associated with the current high rates of colony loss are: honey bee pests and diseases including the Varroa mite, poor nutrition due to losses in quality forage, and pesticide exposure. Multi-factor problems require multi-factor solutions. The Honey Bee Health Coalition’s Bee Integrated Demonstration Project is a one-of-a-kind effort that will leverage and integrate existing, effective programs and best practices into a common project and agricultural landscape to improve bee health. Bee Integrated will bring together beekeepers, farmers, and diverse private and public sector partners in the upper Midwest to demonstrate how a portfolio of best practices can be used together to address bee health risk factors including pests, poor forage, and pesticide exposure. Bee Integrated provides a bridge between research and implementation by demonstrating and validating best management practices and widely promoting solutions for sustainable beekeeping. Bee offers an innovative, collaborative, pragmatic and important approach.
The overarching goal of the Bee Integrated Demonstration Project is to demonstrate how honey bee health can be improved by using a portfolio of tools together in the same agricultural landscape to address the primary risk factors affecting bee health. This project will:
Demonstrate and evaluate the capacity of Honey Bee Health Coalition projects, tools and recommendations to enhance beekeeping in the agricultural environment by improving health outcomes for honey bees.
Specifically, demonstrate how existing best practices for forage and nutrition, crop pest control, varroa management, and farmer/beekeeper cooperation can be effectively combined and implemented into an integrated program.
Electronic Data Collection and Sensor Integration for Data Aggregation, Best Management Practices Data Mining and Smart Hive Development Principal Investigator: Joseph Cazier, Appalacian State University, 2017
Evaluation and Comparison of Management Strategies and Economics of Apicultural Practices in Commercial Beekeeping Operations Principal Investigator: Brandon Hopkins, Advanced Beekeeping Solutions, 2017
Protecting Queens for Improved Colony Productivity Principal Investigator: Jeffery S. Pettis, University of Bern, 2017
Queen quality and availability are major concerns of beekeepers today. Problems arising from queen rearing, mating, shipping, or exposure to pathogens and pesticides may result in lower queen health. One poorly studied factor that can affect queen’s performance and longevity is the viability of the sperm in the queen’s spermatheca. In an ongoing project supported by PAm, we are assessing the effect of exposing queens to temperatures encountered during shipment, and the effect of temperature-induced low sperm viability on queen and colony performance and productivity. Results to date show that queens can be exposed to temperature extremes during shipment and this in turn can reduce the viability of the sperm they stored in the spermatheca. Further, a colony level field experiment (Guarna) showed that queens exposed to high and low temperature demonstrate lower performance and their colonies are less productive both in terms of bee population and honey productivity. Finally, recent reports have shown that chemical exposure can have an effect on queen sperm viability and affect queen performance. We hereby propose to develop and evaluate strategies to reduce exposing queens to temperature extremes and to chemicals while increasing our understanding of the effect of these risk factors on queen health and colony productivity. Our findings will guide recommendations to queen producers, improve conditions for queen shipments and provide new management options for beekeepers prior to, and after, queen introduction in their colonies. The main aim of our proposal is to increase queen health and performance by improving shipping conditions and education of shippers and beekeepers about the sensitivity of live queen shipments to temperature extremes. We propose to define strategies to: a) Improve queen shipment and management conditions to reduce exposure to temperature extremes. b) Initiate an employee education program within USPS and UPS to improve the handling of live queen bee shipments. Currently, queens are commonly shipped long distance, particularly to northern US and to Canada, where local queens are generally not available early enough in the year to respond to the spring demand for queens. Our previous research has demonstrated that both hot and cold temperature extremes can be experienced by queens during shipping. Even cold temperatures in August which can only be explained by temperatures in the cargo hold of planes. Thus, an employee education program of the safe handling of live queens by the two shippers, USPS and UPS could go a long way to solving this problem. Additional education programs for beekeepers and even queen breeders may be possible at the beginning and end of the shipping process.
Completed Beekeeper Tools and BMPs Research
Please click on titles for more information about research projects
Cost-Sharing Fees for Pesticide Analysis of Honey Bee Colony Matrices Principal Investigator: Dr. Maryann Frazier, Penn State University, 2009, 2011, 2013
In the spring of 2008 PSU received grants to fund a pesticide analysis cost-sharing program for beekeepers. From Spring 2008 through mid-Summer 2009, a total of 134 samples of pollen, wax, adult bees, brood and honey have been analyzed through the pesticide cost-sharing program. In addition, a few of these samples were crop or weed flower samples. The team worked with commercial beekeepers to try to document incidents where the death or reduced health of colonies was likely due to pesticide exposure. In several cases they were able to confirm the role of a particular pesticide where colonies were killed and the beekeeper suspected pesticides as the cause. In February 2010, the team received an additional grant from PAm to continue the cost-sharing program. An additional 36 samples were analyzed. In early 2011 the cost-sharing program received another grant from PAm. From 2011 to mid-2012, a total of 67 samples from beekeepers around the country were analyzed for pesticides under this program. In most situations, the pesticide analysis revealed that a pesticide, considered toxic to honey bees, was identified however typically at low levels. The toxic pesticides identified most often were esfenvalurate, chlorphrifos, and bifentrhin. Other toxic residues included fipronil, lindane, thiamethoxam, carbofuran penpropathrin clothianidan and imidacloprid and carbaryl. Levels of fluvalinate and coumaphos varied greatly in these samples.
Honey Bees and Colony Evaluation - An Online Learning Program Principal Investigator: Dr. Shannon Mueller, UC Cooperative Extension, 2011
Dr. Shannon Mueller, University of CA Cooperative Extension, has created a new Online learning program for honey bee colony evaluation. The information includes basic honey bee biology, recommended colony strength evaluation practices, and recognition of important diseases, pests, and parasites that impact honey bee health. This large amount of information, organized by specific topics, can be accessed at any time with the click of a web link! View the resulting Online Learning Program.
Cooperative Extension Support Principal Investigator: Eric Mussen, University of California, Davis, 2011
Effects of "Bee-Safe" Insecticides and Common Insecticide-Fungicide Combinations on Queen and Worker Larval Development Principal Investigator: Reed Johnson, Ohio State University, 2013
Reed Johnson, The Ohio State University, will continue his research to further the information gleaned by his previous study on the effects of insecticides applied to almonds during bloom to developing honey bees. As insecticide use continues to grow, more research is needed to assess the effects of insecticides on colony health. The research study will focus a majority of the effort on diflubenzuron (Dimilin 2L), as this insecticide is the most widely used during almond bloom and has documented potential to harm bee development. The team will also research the effects of high concentrations of methoxyfenozide (Intrepid 2F) and chlorantraniliprole (Altacor), to determine their potential to affect the development of bees. Tests will be conducted on these insecticides and combinations on queen larval rearing and worker larval rearing success.
Watch related video: Chemtura discusses BMPs for Dimilin Use
Implementation of a Remote Monitoring Network of Hive Scales to Predict Hive Health and Productivity Principal Investigator: Jonathan Engelsman, Grand Valley State University, 2014
Evaluation of Accuracy and Cost-Benefits of Using Infra-Red Imaging of Honey Bee Colonies as an Augmentation to Visual Grading to Determine Colony Population Size Principal Investigator: Robert A. Seccomb, Bee Alert Technology, Inc., 2014
Steel Wire and Brood Removal Principal Investigator: Kaira Wagoner, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, 2014
Abstract: Honey and honey bees are often contaminated with trace metals, some of which are associated with food resources. However, in some cases metal contamination may be coming from within the hive. Based on preliminary observations, we hypothesized that steel foundation wire negatively affects honey bee brood health. To test our hypothesis we quantified the elemental content and measured the removal rates of honey bee brood developing in cells overlapping foundation wires and in control cells adjacent to cells that overlapped foundation wires. We found evidence that brood positioned in cells overlapping the wires contained significantly more iron and was removed at a significantly higher rate compared to control brood. Our study identifies the harmfulness of the common modern beekeeping practice of placing steel wire in beeswax foundation, which if avoided may increase colony population size and improve the health of managed honey bee colonies.
Support for Commercial Beekeeper Development Principal Investigator: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, 2016