Three new research proposals have received grants from Healthy Hives 2020, a $1 million research effort to improve the health of honey bee colonies in the U.S. by the end of 2020.
Bayer and Project Apis m. have announced the grant recipients include:
- Dr. Olav Rueppell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who will investigate virus content and resistance in several currently available honey bees.
- Dr. Edmund Stark, Michigan State University, who will aim to develop a commercially viable, cost-effective product to control the Varroa mite, considered by many to be the major cause of honey bee colony decline.
- Julie Shapiro, Keystone Policy Center, who submitted a proposal on behalf of the Honey Bee Health Coalition and will conduct the Bee Integrated Demonstration Project to showcase best management practices that help to reduce honey bee colony loss.
“This year’s Healthy Hives 2020 grant recipients are undertaking innovative research efforts that have the potential to make an immediate impact on honey bee colony health,” said Danielle Downey, executive director of Project Apis m. and Healthy Hives 2020 program manager. “With these projects, Healthy Hives 2020 has funded 10 honey bee research efforts.”
The Healthy Hives 2020 initiative was launched in 2015 with a two-day workshop that brought together some of the nation’s leading bee health experts and stakeholders at the Bayer North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle, North Carolina. The 17 summit workshop attendees identified a wide range of bee health concerns which were later reviewed by the Healthy Hives 2020 Steering Committee and prioritized into the most promising areas of research.
The program is focused on four major research objectives:
- Conducting an economic assessment of the “true” cost of commercial beekeeping operations to help beekeepers maximize efficiency and production.
- Creating a set of “Best Management Practices” for commercial beekeeping based on definitive colony health performance data.
- Evaluating the use of “smart hive” technology to monitor honey bee colony health during commercial migratory operations.
- Assessing honey bee genetics for traits that are relevant to colony resistance to pests and diseases, as well as pollination efficiency and honey production in the U.S.
Healthy Hives 2020 is one of several activities of Bayer’s North American Bee Care Program. Other Bayer bee health programs include: establishing the North American Bee Care Center three years ago as a focal point for education, research, and collaboration, and hosting more than 10,000 visitors; launching Feed a Bee, a major honey bee forage initiative that engaged more than 250,000 consumers last year to distribute seed to plant more than 65 million flowers; and distributing $500,000 over the next two years to fund Feed a Bee planting projects in all 50 states.