Healthy Hives 2020

A Research Initiative Identifying Measurable, Tangible Bee Health Solutions for Beekeepers

About the Initiative

Healthy Hives 2020 is a multi-year, $1.3 million research initiative well on its way to finding measurable and tangible solutions for improving U.S. honey bee colony health by the end of 2020. Every day, bees and their keepers face significant threats—from deadly Varroa mites that can wipe out colonies, to accessing adequate nutrition, to environmental challenges. That’s why Bayer, together with nonprofit pollinator research organization Project Apis. m, set out in 2015 to do something different in the fight for bee health.

Leveraging Bayer-funded research grants, the initiative convenes bee health stakeholders from multiple sectors, including academia, government, agriculture, business and the beekeeping community to accomplish four research objectives:

  • Conduct an economic assessment of the “true” cost of commercial beekeeping operations to help beekeepers maximize efficiency and production;
  • Create a set of Best Management Practices for commercial beekeeping based on definitive colony health performance data;
  • Evaluate the use of “smart hive” technology to monitor honey bee colony health during commercial migratory operations; and
  • Assess 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.

Out Now: Healthy Hives 2020 Pollinator Stewardship Digital Flipbook

Interested in what our research partners are up to? Download our free e-flipbook, Research for Tangible Bee-Health Solutions, below to learn more about the scientists and research currently underway.

Click here to download the booklet

Healthy Hives 2020 Research for Tangible Bee-Health Solutions

To kick off 2019, Bayer and Project Apis m. are proud to share this digital booklet, which chronicles the initiative’s impact since 2015 through its funding of ten distinct bee health research projects.

In tandem with the launch of the digital flipbook, Bayer pledged an additional $325,000 in grant funding for the continued success of these cutting-edge projects. Amounting to a total of $1.3 million in funding to date, Healthy Hives 2020 powers the hard work of research partners who are making a practical impact, such as the development of digital hive management tools for beekeepers.

Current Projects

  • Establishing the Diversity of the Deformed Wing VirusStephen J. Martin, Ph.D., University of Salford, Manchester, England; Randy Oliver, commercial beekeeper, Grass Valley, Calif.
  • Phytochemicals as a Management Tool for Sustainable Honey Bee Colony HealthArathi Seshadri, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo.
  • Electronic Data Collection and Sensor Integration for Data Aggregation, Best Management Practices, Data Mining and Smart Hive DevelopmentJoseph Cazier, Ph.D., Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.; James Wilkes, Ph.D., Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.; Ed Hassler, Ph.D., Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.
  • Comparison of U.S. Honey Bee Genetic Lines for Queen Production and Pollination Efficiency Under Field ConditionsSteve Sheppard, Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.
  • Evaluation and Comparison of Management Strategies and Economics of Agricultural Practices in Commercial Beekeeping OperationsBrandon Hopkins, Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.
  • Determining How Nosema Ceranae Infection Alters the Honey Bee Midgut MicrobiomeQuinn McFrederick, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, Calif.
  • Pesticide Toxicity Analysis of Varroa MitesJody Johnson, Ph.D., Cullaborate LLC, Baltimore, Md.
  • Optimization and Scale-Up of Timed-Release Organic Acides for Varroa ControlEdmund Stark, Ph.D., Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich.
  • Comparative Characterization of Virus Content and Resistance in Genetic Lines of U.S. Honey BeesOlav Rueppell, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Bee Integrated Demonstration – Pragmatic Beekeeping, Forage and Farming PracticesJulie Shapiro, Keystone Policy Institute, Keystone, Colo.; Mike Smith, Conversation Technology Information Center, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Understanding Varroa resistance in US bee populations - Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
  • Development of a practical guide to indoor storage of honey bees - Brandon Hopkins, Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.

Meet the Steering Committee

In 2015, Bayer rallied a steering committee that developed four main research objectives and the resulting action plan, based on prioritization of critical bee health challenges. The Healthy Hives 2020 Steering Committee reviews research grant proposals and works with Project Apis. m. to administer Bayer-funded grants.

"All the grant proposals were viewed with that overarching guideline – practical impact for beekeepers."

Steering Committee Chairman Steve Sheppard, Ph.D.


  • Dave Westervelt, former assistant chief, Bureau of Plant & Apiary Inspection, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Dick Rogers, principal scientist / entomologist, Bayer Bee Health & Integrated Apiculture Research
  • Don Parker, Ph.D., manager, integrated pest management, National Cotton Council
  • Gloria Degrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader, Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, U. S. Department of Agriculture
  • Randy Verhoek, commercial beekeeper, Harvest Honey Inc., Honey Bee Health Coalition, The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund
  • Steve Sheppard, Ph.D., professor of entomology, Washington State University in Pullman

Healthy Hives 2020 Webinars with Bee Culture

In addition to providing research grants, Healthy Hives 2020 is also dedicated to serving as a resource to the beekeeping community by sharing practical findings.

Replays of our educational webinars created in partnership with Bee Culture are available for viewing below.

2018 National Pollinator Week Webinar Series:

2017 National Pollinator Week Webinar Series: