Healthy Hives 2020 hosts symposium at annual beekeeping conference

Bayer Bee Health initiative shares results of its continuing positive impact on the beekeeping industry
Healthy Hives Presentation

Bayer’s Dan Schmehl delivered opening remarks at the Healthy Hives 2020 Symposium.


Bayer’s outreach program serving the beekeeping industry, Healthy Hives 2020, and the non-profit organization committed to bee health, Project Apis m., conducted a symposium at the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference in Chicago.

The three-hour symposium in January 2020 featured presentations on HH2020 research projects, a panel discussion exploring ways to help solve problems facing commercial beekeepers and interactive project demonstrations for hundreds of ABF attendees.

“We were so proud to showcase the work we’re doing with Healthy Hives 2020 during the annual ABF conference,” said Dan Schmehl, Bayer Environmental Risk Assessor and Pollinator Specialist, who co-manages the HH2020 program. “Being included in such a significant way on the agenda demonstrates how important this research is to the beekeeping industry and the progress we have made over the past four years toward improving bee health.”

Since 2016, HH2020 has awarded more than $1.3 million to 12 research projects on everything from new software that brings more efficiency to beekeeping to new insights into the genetics of major diseases. All proposals are reviewed by a steering committee comprised of representatives from across the academic, government and commercial sectors of the beekeeping industry.


Tangible results for beekeepers

Healthy Hives Table Tent

Dan delivered opening remarks at the symposium, and the remaining sessions, including a panel discussion exploring ways to help solve problems facing commercial beekeepers, were moderated by well-known pollinator researcher and HH2020 steering committee chairman Dr. Steve Sheppard of Washington State University.




The symposium featured the work and results of current HH2020 projects, including the following:

  • Screening for Novel Miticides - Jody Johnson, Ph.D., with Steven Cook, Ph.D., Cullaborate, Inc./ USDA Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, Md.
  • Developing and Testing a Formic/Oxalic Polymer for Varroa Control - Edmund Stark, Ph.D., Michigan State University St. Andrews, Midland, Mich.
  • A Practical Guide for Indoor Storage of Honey Bees - Brandon Hopkins, Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.
  • Mites: Does Size Matter? – Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

Healthy Hives Panel

HH2020 Steering Committee Chairman Dr. Steve Sheppard moderates a panel discussion among (left to right): Mike Simone-Finstrom, USDA-ARS; Tim Tucker, Tuckerbee’s Honey; Zac Browning, Browning’s Honey Co., Inc.; Julie Shapiro, Keystone Policy Center; James Wilkes, Appalachian State University; and Joseph Cazier, Appalachian State University.


After the presentations and panel, ABF participants were able to view and discuss additional HH2020 projects through researcher-led interactive demonstrations focusing on hive management practices, potential Varroa treatments, Smart Hive technology and more.

In addition to the presentations and interactive demonstrations, the team also introduced a new video featuring several researchers and other prominent members of the beekeeping community discussing their work, and the positive impact that the program has had on the industry.



Supporting the beekeeping industry

Bayer’s sponsorship of the ABF conference included a booth at the event tradeshow. Additionally, Dick Rogers, Bayer Principal Scientist/Entomologist, gave a speech during the general session about how the honey bee industry must work together to reach a “new normal” after years of dealing with parasitic mites and diseases.

“This was a great year for Bayer at the ABF Conference,” said Anna Bickel, Bayer Regulatory Scientific Affairs Science Engagement Manager. “The HH2020 Symposium, as well as our participation in key areas throughout the conference, shows how Bayer has become an important stakeholder in the beekeeping industry. Bayer was the only industry partner present at the conference; therefore, it was a valuable opportunity to share our science and counter misinformation.”


Healthy Hives Booth

(Left to right): Bayer’s Ana Cabrera, Lee Redding, Britt Lebbing, Anna Bickel and Kristen Ellis gather at the Bayer tradeshow booth at the ABF Conference.