Project Apis m. has funded over $10 million dollars of honey bee research! This is a very notable feat for a grassroots, beekeeper supported, beekeeper directed non-profit organization that primarily supports applied research aimed at mitigating honey bee colony losses and improving honey bee health.
In recognition of this major milestone, Danielle Downey, Executive Director of Project Apis m., asked me to write about PAm from my perspective as a scientist and member of the scientific advisory board. This task proved more difficult that I thought since I began interacting with PAm after meeting Christi Heintz during my postdoc at UCSF almost 15 years ago! Those of you who knew Christi know that she was a passionate and highly motivated person. She helped fuel my desire to learn more about honey bees, encouraged me to always learn from expert commercial beekeepers, and helped ensure that my research directions are aimed at benefiting bees and beekeepers.
As a honey bee researcher and member of the scientific advisory team, I think major strengths of PAm include: (1) most of the funds are used to address questions and/or problems facing the beekeeping industry (i.e., practical/applied research), (2) some funding supports basic science, aimed at understanding the fundamentals of bee biology, (3) funding decisions are made by the PAm Board, which is primarily made up of commercial beekeepers, and (4) while the grant submission, review, and reporting processes are rigorous they are also streamlined to ensure funds can quickly be used to support bee research. I am a strong supporter and advocate for bee research and PAm.
Project Apis m. recently called for proposals (RFP) for the Healthy Hives research initiative. Healthy Hives was created in 2015 to identify tangible solutions to improve honey bee colony health in the U.S. and find ways that commercial beekeeping operations can improve production and efficiency while reducing costs. Working with a combined $1.5 Million investment from Bayer, previously funded projects include a comprehensive assessment of pollen substitutes, the development of the Indoor Storage Guide and the Bee Integrated Demonstration project.