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Studying Honey Bee Health and CCD

It’s that time of year again, when beekeepers across the country are gearing up for winter. Every measure will be taken to ensure each hive has enough surplus food to keep their colony buzzing until next spring. For some that means leaving a super or two of fall honey, Cooking up fondant, feeding pollen or grease patties, giving any needed treatments, and so on. Just the same fall routine we beekeepers go through every year. Then, after the work is done and temperatures are too low to get in a hive, it seems that the most we can do is keep our fingers crossed.

Especially with the reports of last years colony losses at 29% and the cause of CCD still unknown, many of us wonder if there isn’t anything more that we could do? Something to prevent CCD and strengthen our bees general health? Well, researchers and scientists are working hard to help us answer those questions.

Since the major colony losses in 2006-2008 many efforts have been made to discover the cause of CCD and determine a form of treatment. In 2007 The CCD steering committee formulated a colony collapse disorder action plan. They arranged 4 topics of research to be studied and several goals for each topic, with many objectives for each goal. Kim Flottum summarized their list of goals nicely when he wrote, “Specifically, they (the scientists) set these goals:

  • to increase colony strength for pollination of almonds and subsequent crops;
  • to demonstrate that resistant bee stocks reduce operating costs and increase survivability;
  • to demonstrate improved parasitic mite control with proper timing of application;
  • to improve the content and delivery methods for carbohydrate and protein diets;
  • to improve the integrated use of controls for pests and diseases including non-chemical beekeeping methodology.”

The Disappearing Honey Bees: Beekeepers on What’s Happening


Fortunately for us, in 2008 congress mandated a farm bill [Section 7204 (h) (4)] and began to fund CCD research. According to the colony collapse disorder progress report, there are now 8 federal agencies, 2 state departments of agriculture, 22 universities, and several private research efforts dedicated to studying this matter.

Some progress has been made, however, it appears to be a combination of many stressful factors causing the hives to collapse. A new virus was discovered, but more research has to be done before we will know the extent of it’s relation to colony collapse disorder.

Hopefully, we will learn more soon and be able to manage our bee hives better. Nevertheless, we need to prepare our hive(s), as usual, for the oncoming winter. As regular ol’ beekeepers, the most we can do at this point is promote the general health of our hives. There are many ways to do this and I encourage you to study about it. We should keep in touch with the ongoing research by reading the news page at the Agricultural Research Center’s website and other reliable sources such as Kim Flottum’s beekeeping blog on The Daily Green web page. Staying in touch will not only keep you informed, but will give you a slightly longer portion of the stick as you care for your bees.

Links from this article:

Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan     Agricultural Research Center     The Daily Green

Comments

  1. Matabaro Damascene says:

    how can I pay for books of beekeeping?
    I live in Rwanda in Africa countinent,I poor in technology I don’t know how to use morden cards for payment.Beekeeping in our country is not developed then I need your help.Thank you.

  2. sue hendricks says:

    Hey, Thanks for forwarding the info via email on our club list. Isn’t this fun,

    Buzz Buzz for now

    • Your Welcome Sue!

      Jeremy, that is a very generous offer. Thank you for that!

      Matabaro click Jeremy’s name to get to his website. You can contact him there or if you have trouble, email me here: newsletter [at] discoverbeekeeping dot com and I’ll lend a hand.

  3. I’m not certain if this will go directly to Matabaro or not. Our association has a small library that has duplicates of journals like Bee Culture and American Bee Culture, as well as a few books. We would very much like to mail them to Matabaro in Rwanda at not cost to him – far better that they be used than sit on a library shelf here.

    I hope that they will be at a level that will be of value in Rwanda, especially as Matabaro and his colleagues have to deal with Africanized bees.

    If this works for Matabaro we will need a mailing address. It will take us a little time to put this together, but hopefully it’s an idea worth pursuing.

  4. Charles : please feel free to send Matabaro my e-mail address if necessary – sometimes that direct contact can be more easy and more successful from somewhere like Rwanda if my experience in Zimbabwe is anything to go by.

  5. I never heard back from Matabaro. Did I miss something?

  6. Hi Jeremy, I emailed him directly with your offer and never heard from him either. Let me know if you hear anything from him, thanks for trying.

  7. Tom Patierno says:

    RE: CCD, it is believed that the large aribusinesses have genetically modified crops to have high pesticide levels develop in their plants. this keeps pests frm devastating their products (such as trees, corn, etc) but as pesticides can’t distinguish between the pest or the beneficial insects, all die. It is why I have gotten involved in bee keein. Anoth reason is that store bout honey can have as much as 70% corn syrup in it.
    Hope this helps explain CCD.

    Tommy p

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