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Responding to an S.O.S. from the Commercial Beekeeping Industry

Presented by: Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota
Given the chronic health problems facing honey bees and the increasing demand for pollination services from almond, blueberry, cranberry, apple, vine crops and many other growers, commercial beekeepers and breeders have requested assistance in maintaining healthy colonies. To this end, we began a novel “Bee Tech Transfer Team” program through the Bee Informed Partnership, a 5-year grant funded by USDA-NIFA. These teams consist of independent beekeepers that provide on-the-ground services to commercial beekeepers to assess and record colony health information; survey beekeepers about management; test for bee diseases and parasites; and assist in breeding bees that are more resistant to diseases and parasites. There is demand for this program nationwide and we are exploring ways to ensure that the Tech Team services are economically sustainable after the funding ends in 2016. As bees are directly or indirectly responsible for 35% of our diet through their pollination services, it is critical to increase effort to keep bees healthy and to provide hands-on assistance to the beleaguered beekeeping industry throughout the U.S.


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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit extension.org. You can view the terms of useat extension.org/terms.

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