The mysterious disappearance of bees, called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is a growing threat to Honey Bees, the mainstay of pollination services in agriculture. The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), a tri-national coalition dedicated to promoting the health of all pollinators partners with different organizations to perform research for improving the health of honey bees and reversing the threats they face. The Honey Bee Health Improvement Project focuses on ways to help Honey Bees and beekeepers. In the absence of Colony Collapse Disorder, this task force will seek out and secure funding for innovative and important work to understand and promote genetic stock improvements, understand and promote best management practices for commercial beekeeping, and promote forage opportunities for colonies on public and private land. Click here to read the latest compendium from the OPERA Research Center on the latest bee health in Europe.
2015 Honey Bee Health Projects
Do bees self-medicate? An examination of the impacts of xenobiotics on anti-viral defenses in honeybees Diana Cox-Foster, Ph.D., Professor, The Pennsylvania State University
Do viruses manipulate honey bee behavior in ways that increase their transmission? Adam Dolezal, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate, Iowa State University
Assessing the impact of pesticides on honey bee health using a network of controlled, experimental hives Scott McArt, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Cornell University
Investigating the effects of fumagillin and other common in-hive xenobiotics on immune function in honey bees Rodney T. Richardson, Ph.D. Candidate, The Ohio State University
Sublethal effects of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid) on embryogenesis, hygienic behavior and grooming of worker honey bees Elemir Simko, DVM, Professor, University of Saskatchewan
Elucidating the effects of real world pesticide load and diet variety on honey bee health Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
2014 Honey Bee Health Projects
Honey bee hemocyte profiles associated with winter hardiness James B. Burritt, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Exposure of honey bees to neonicotinoids in corn guttation fluid Jonathan Lundgren, PhD, Adjunct Professor, South Dakota State University & Kristine Nemec, PhD, USDA-ARS
The effect of nutritional stress on the foraging and recruitment activity of honey bee workers Heather Mattila, PhD, Knafel Assistant Professor, Wellesley College
How Do Drought Stress Related Alterations to Floral Traits and Reward Profiles in Canola Influence Honeybee Foraging and Colony Health? Arathi Seshadri, PhD, Assistant professor, Colorado State University
Assessing the role of environmental conditions on efficacy rates of entomopathogenic nematodes for controlling small hive beetles in honey bee hives – a citizen science approach Elizabeth Hill, President, Center for Urban Bee Research & Ashleigh Smythe, PhD, Assistant Professor, Virginia Military Institute
The effects of pollen diversity on bumble bee health in an agricultural environment Anthony Vaudo, PhD Candidate, The Pennsylvania State University
2013 Honey Bee Health Research Projects
Impacts of nectar compounds on honey bee gut microbes and disease Dr. Jay Evans; USDA-ARS Bee Research Lab, Dr. Lynn Adler; Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, and Dr. Rebecca Irwin; Biology Department, Dartmouth College Identification of IAPV targets in honey bee (Apis mellifera) Drs. Olav Rueppell (P.I.) and Humberto Boncristiani; Department of Biology, University of North Carolina Crop pollinator diversity and abundance in relation to floral resources and forest cover in the landscape Drs. Martha Lopezaraiza Mikel (P.I.) and Mauricio Quesada Avendaño; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Activating honey bee immunity against Nosema disease: a pilot experiment Dr. James C. Nieh (P.I.) and Matthew Endler; Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego Sustainable approaches to improving honey bee disease: a pilot experiment Maryann Frazier (P.I.) and Dr. Christina Grozinger; Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University Behavioral responses of honey bees, Apis mellifera, to neonicotinoid insecticides Catherine Dana (P.I.) and Dr. May Berenbaum; Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plant-pollinator interactions across a disturbance gradient Karlie Carman; Biology Department, University of Central Florida
2012 Honey Bee Health Research Projects
Stimulating propolis collection to benefit honey bee health and immunity Renata Borba (P.I.) and Dr. Marla Spivak; Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota The goals of this research are to explore ways for beekeepers to encourage honey bee colonies to deposit a propolis envelope within standard beekeeping equipment, and to quantify the benefit of this natural propolis envelope to colony health and immune system functioning, particularly in early spring in northern climates. If a heavy propolis envelope is a vital component to a healthy bee colony, we can modify the equipment currently used for beekeepers and beekeeping practices nationwide. Such modifications will encourage the bees’ natural construction of a necessary antimicrobial protective envelope in the nest cavity. A long-term outcome of this research is to promote honey bee health, which will directly support local, regional and national beekeepers by having stronger colonies to produce more honey.
Honey hydrogen peroxide: diet effects and use as a colony stress indicator Dr. Berry Brosi (P.I.) and Lydia McCormick; Emory University and Dr. Keith Delaplane; University of Georgia It has been known for a half—century that honey bees add hydrogen peroxide (H202) to honey and that H202 has a strong antibacterial effect arising from the oxygen free radicals that it produces. While this mechanism in its role as a preservative food stores is well understood, it is also known that all organisms are to some degree susceptible to oxygen free radical damage. In this project we built from previously collected pilot data to explore the potential that honey H202 production may comprise a generalized colony defense mechanism, beyond its role as a honey preservative. Our project had two specific aims: 1) Investigate the effects of supplemental sugar feeding on honey H202, with a particular emphasis on supporting H202 production 2) Investigate the potential for using honey H202 as an early—warning indicator of colony stress.
Comparative analysis of honey bee survival and immune response to co- infections of IAPV and N. ceranae using quantitative mass spectrometry based proteomics Dr. Leonard J. Foster, Amanda Van Haga, and Sarah Natrasany; University of British Columbia Using proteomic tools, our research was aimed at understanding honey bee immune responses to both fungal and viral pathogens in an effort to develop novel integrated pest management based tools including RNAi based gene silencing treatment systems as an alternative to antibiotics for the control of honey bee pathogens. Specifically, we aimed to evaluate survival and host immune response in honey bees infected with Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) and Nosema ceranae, both singly and in combination. Our overall goals of the project are to:
1.) Test the effect of Israeli acute paralysis virus and Nosema ceranae infections both singly and in combination on larval, pupal, and adult honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) survival using adult cage and in vitro larval rearing assays.
2.) Compare changes in host immune responses using mass spectromety based quantitative proteomics in larval, pupal and adult honey bees artificially innoculated with IAPV and N. ceranae, both singly and in combination.