In 2013 Costco and PAm launched the first Costco/PAm scholarship awards. Costco has an admirable commitment to sustainability, and is a champion supporter of honey bee research, recognizing it as an investment to ensure an ethical and sustainable food supply.
Investing in research that has real and practical impacts on the sustainability of both honey production and crop production is the foundation of the Costco/PAm partnership. We often think of sustainability in terms of resource management, but another component of sustainability is developing intellectual expertise by supporting those who will help in the future: tomorrow's bee scientists. The students who receive this PhD scholarship bring new energy, ideas, and expertise to the fold of scientists pushing the fronts of bee health research across the globe. They will become the leaders who innovate and support the next generation of beekeepers and pollinators.
Morgan Carr-Markell's research is giving us a better understanding of honey bee behavior and forage activity which will help us improve the way we manage bee nutrition, conservation, and forage plantings.
Photos: Nosema Spores and Fumagilin-B, which is no longer available as a treatment for Nosema
Beekeepers in the USA and Canada were surprised this month with a letter from Medivet, the single provider of a treatment for the honey bee gut parasite, Nosema. The letter to customers said the treatment, Fumagilin-B, is no longer available and, as a result, they anticipate closing their operation by June 2018. Many beekeepers use this treatment as part of their honey bee health management and with no alternative antibiotic for the treatment of Nosema, there is great concern about losing this tool.
In July 2017, Project Apis m. funded a project to study and innovate another avenue to drug development as treatments for Nosema, recognizing the value of supporting practical research. And now we have something under way! The project is led by Dr. Jonathan Snow, at Barnard College, who is approaching Nosema disease from a biomedical background, targeting the molecular pathways unique to microsporidian parasites, and there are already promising results. Using cage trials, one compound is as effective at killing Nosema as Fumagilin-B, without increased toxicity to bees.
When PAm funded this project, in partnership with the National Honey Board Production Research funds, we recognized the urgent need to add it to the honey bee health tool kit. Dr. Snow will be consulting with the USDA to determine what could ‘fast track’ this treatment to market, if trials are successful. This situation is a great example of why choosing practical honey bee research is important. PAm is at the forefront of directing work that will support the beekeeping industry, and with trusted partners like the National Honey Board, we work to stay ahead of new risks to honeybee health. Stay tuned for progress on this project!
Click here to Learn More about Dr. Jonathan Snow's Lab