National Pollinator Week Webinar Series: New Research on Key Bee Health Issues

Bayer, in partnership with Bee Culture and Project Apis m., celebrated National Pollinator Week in June by hosting three live webinars that showcased innovative research aimed at making an immediate impact on honey bee colony health.

Researchers working on projects funded through the Healthy Hives 2020 initiative, a $1 million research effort to improve the health of honey bee colonies in the U.S. by the end of 2020, presented their findings on a number of critical bee health issues during the webinar series.

This National Pollinator Week webinar series is an extension of Bayer’s commitment to research, education, partnerships and stewardship to address the needs of honey bees. View the replays below and share your thoughts with us on Twitter @Bayer4CropsUS and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BayerBeeCareCenter.

The webinars included:

Stephen MartinTracking the Changing Deformed Wing Virus

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In the first webinar of the series, Stephen Martin, Ph.D., Professor, School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester, UK, discussed how the viral landscape is changing, how these changes are affecting U.S. honey bees and, specifically, how the Varroa mite is providing a new viral transmission route for a previously rare and largely benign virus called Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). The mite’s main role in causing the death of honey bee colonies is by acting as a transmitter of this virus. DWV is now one of the most widespread insect viruses in the world infecting most colonies in the U.S. and healthy-looking bees are also potentially infected, not just the deformed ones, as people often think. DWV is made up of several distinct viral strains, and each viral strain may have a different effect on the honey bees. The project is seeking to determine if nonvirulent strains can be linked to increased colony survival to develop a long-term solution to the problem of Varroa-transmitted viruses.

Mike SmithJulie Shapiro

Keys to Colony Success

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The second webinar featured Julie Shapiro, Coalition Facilitator, Keystone Policy Center, Keystone, CO, and Mike Smith, Project Director, Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), West Lafayette, Indiana,, who discussed the Honey Bee Health Coalition (HBHC) Bee Integrated Demonstration Project showcasing the best management practices (BMPs) that help to reduce honey bee colony loss through a coordinated and collaborative effort. The project will utilize a suite of tools, guides and techniques developed by diverse beekeeping and crop production partners that can effectively address the primary risk factors influencing bee health, including honey bee forage and nutrition, hive management, crop pest management and education/cooperation. The demonstration project measures colony losses throughout the season and uses the data to inform beekeeping BMPs with the goal of minimizing colony losses.

Smarter Hives, Healthier Bees

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The last series of National Pollinator Week, presented by Joseph Cazier, Ph.D. and Ed Hassler, Ph.D. of the Center for Analytics Research and Education, Appalachian State University, and James Wilkes, Ph.D., Computer Science Department, Appalachian State University, and Founder, HiveTracks.com, highlighted advancements in the use of technology-assisted data collection at the honey bee colony level to assist beekeepers in making wise hive management decisions. This “Smart Hive” project is aimed at building a data platform that identifies and improves best management practices (BMPs) through the tailoring of BMPs to specific apiary or hive locations. Additionally, the improved monitoring of hive conditions aims to reduce costs, increase efficiency in honey bee colony management and provide a measurable reduction in annual colony losses within both commercial and hobbyist operations.

Joseph Cazier
Ed Hassler
James Wilkes