Managed honey bee populations are declining every year, honey production in the U.S. is at the lowest ever since USDA started keeping records in 1939, and some native bees are being considered for listing as endangered species. For beekeepers, it is becoming ever more expensive and difficult to keep bees and beekeeping businesses alive and healthy.
Several factors are implicated as primary causes of bee declines, most notably pesticides (insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) and pathogens (mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi). The Pollinator Stewardship Council (PSC) is working with the Pesticide Research Institute, Inc. (PRI) together to better understand how these different stressors compromise the health of bees. As the end-of-year giving season approaches, we encourage you to consider a donation to PSC to support this important work.
Quick summary of the research project:
Commercial beekeepers from the Pollinator Stewardship Council and scientists from Pesticide Research Institute are working together to follow 60 beehives, making measurements of:
-Pesticide residues in pollen, wax, and honey (180 different pesticides)
-Pathogen levels (in collaboration with Montana State University scientists)
-Varroa mite loads
-Hive strength, queen performance, disease, bee mortality, and any abnormal bee behavior
We started the work in January 2014, and 4 out of 5 sample sets have been collected. We have made hive strength measurements and observations at regular intervals over the course of the year. The preliminary results are tantalizing. We now must finish analyzing the samples for pesticide residues and pathogen levels and then do the statistical analysis. Visit the project page to find out more and see how you can support the work.