Healthy Hives 2020 Request for Proposals

Seeking Solutions for Sustainable Beekeeping
The funding sponsor for these proposals is the Healthy Hives 2020 initiative (HH2020), with Project Apis m. (PAm) administering the proposal, accountability and funding process. HH2020 is an initiative of the Bayer Crop Science Bee Care Program with the goal of improving the health of honey bee colonies in the United States by the year 2020. In June 2015, BCS kicked-off HH2020 with a two-day multi-stakeholder workshop to discuss current status of bee health and identify key areas for research. This RPF marks the second round of solicitation for HH2020 funding. Projects funded in year 1 are summarized here.

Please see the PAm 2017 HH2020 Request For Proposals for priority areas for funding and more information.

View the press release here: HH2020 2017 RFP Announcement

Proposals should be submitted via email to both and by 5 pm PST, Friday, December 9nd, 2016.

Post Doc Position at Penn State

Postdoctoral Position on Plant-Pollinator Interactions at Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research

Penn State’s Department of Entomology and Center for Pollinator Research seeks a Postdoctoral Research Associate to lead a USDA-SCRI funded project examining pollinator interactions with ornamental plant species.  The candidate should have extensive experience in (1) working with honey bees (2) evaluating foraging behavior of bees (3) palynology and (4) use of molecular tools to identify plant species from pollen samples.  The candidate should have excellent written and oral communication skills, the ability to collaborate with and coordinate the efforts of a large team of researchers from different universities, and a track record of publishing his/her work in scientific journals and presenting to broad audiences.  Preference will be given to candidates with a PhD in Entomology, Biology, or related field.  This is a one-year appointment, with possibility of extension.

For more information, please contact Christina Grozinger, Professor, Department of Entomology, Penn State University,

Apply at


PhD Scholarship Available – Apply Now!

Are you enrolled in a PhD program studying honey bee health?  If so, how does a 3-year, $50,000/year scholarship sound?  If you are pursuing a career desiring to solve honey bee health challenges, we welcome your application.   Apply through Project Apis m here.

January 15, 2016, 5 pm PST is the application deadline.  Should you have any questions, email


Annual Bee Loss Survey – Down and Up!

Preliminary results from the ninth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses are in and good luck interpreting results!  It will be interesting to keep up with the articles and explanations.  Over-wintering losses are down a bit to 23.1% from last year’s 23.7%.  Summer colony losses, however, increased to 27.4% from the previous year’s 19.8%.  Commercial beekeepers lost more colonies over the summer, compared to winter.  The survey was fairly robust, representing nearly 15% of the nation’s 2.74 million colonies.  The bottom line?  Combined summer and winter losses are over 42%.  There’s no other way to say it – that’s just terrible. 

Bee Research Receives Major Contribution

PAm received a $100,000  contribution from CoBank and American AgCredit to continue bee research in the fight against pests and viruses, specifically the Varroa mite.   “For this project, we’re not only going to solicit scientists within our normal honey bee research institutions, but we’re going to approach entomologists who might be working on other pests, particularly mites in other agricultural or livestock areas,” says Christi Heintz, executive director of Project Apis m.

Click here to view the article.

PAm Attends 2-Day BIP Meeting

Christi Heintz, PAm Executive Director, and Tara McCall, PAm Research Manager, attended the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) Meeting held at the Disneyland Hotel just prior to the North American Beekeepers Conference in Anaheim, CA.

“BIP is the most energetic, most innovative program available to beekeepers and a huge asset to our beekeeping community” exclaimed Heintz.  Nearly 50 participants attended the 2-day BIP conference hearing all about the various aspects of BIP from Tech Transfer Teams to their intensive collection of bee health data to Sentinel Hive programs.

BIP, Inc, a non-profit 501 (c)(5) organization, has now been formed with Karen Rennich appointed as Executive Director.

The BIP Conference’s objectives were to review the current activities of BIP and help steer the organization into a financially sustainable future.  BIP has been partially funded by a 5 year USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant.  Project Apis m. has assisted in funding the Northern California, Midwest, Florida/Georgia, and Oregon Tech Transfer Teams and is assisting in the start-up of a new team in Texas.

“We’d like to see all of our commercial beekeepers involved with BIP teams.  This could be the most significant improvement we could make to our industry and the health of colonies,” stated Heintz.

Beekeepers enrolled in BIP decreased their over-wintering losses by at least 6%.  A 2,500 colony operation can save 150 colonies if visited by Tech Transfer Team members collecting samples for bee health evaluations.



New Research on Expanded Pollen Sources

Project Apis m is funding Fresno State to conduct a bee forage study.  Research seeks to determine if expanded pollen sources will help enhance bee nutrition, reduce devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Click Here to read the full article.

New Virus Linked to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

A rapidly mutating virus has leaped from plants to honeybees, where it is reproducing and contributing to the collapse of colonies vital to the multibillion-dollar agricultural industry, according to a new study.

Read More

Cotton Industry Perspective on Pollinator Protection

The US Cotton Industry is actively involved in pollinator protection.  Click Here to read about cotton industry efforts in pollinator protection and for an excellent summary of ongoing pollinator protection activities in the US.

To watch a related video Click Here.

Oversight Hearing on the Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Oversight Hearing on the Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
California State Assembly

On 16 Oct 2013, Luis Alejo, Chairman of Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials & Agriculture, led a California assembly hearing on the current state of bees and overall strategy for improving bee health and sustainable practices.  Below is a summary of the 3-hour hearing.  To view the entire hearing, Click Here and scroll to 16 Oct 2013.

Several national experts on bee health, research, the environment and pesticides gave testimony to help the assemblymembers understand the many issues concerning bee health and pollination and to allow the assemblymembers to work towards implementing best management practices (BMPs) and other solutions.

Research Experts:
(00:09:00) Dr. Dennis vanEnglesdorp, University of Maryland, was called to testify as a leading national expert on bee health.  He opened by reporting research on commercial beekeepers loss of 50% of colonies over the year, but interestingly, they had 25% losses during summer months, when traditionally bee hives are supposed to thrive.  He calls the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) multifactoral, in that there are many culprits, including; Varroa mites and other parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition, and drought.

(00:18:00) Dr. Brian Johnson, UC Davis, spoke about current research being conducted, the difficulty of conducting the research (with so many variables), and what new research is going to look at in the future.  He also mentioned the same factors as Dr. vanEnglesdorp regarding culprits to CCD, and how it has evolved over the past several years.   His focus for improvements include forage in the form of flower mixes that allow honey bees to eat more diverse food thus boosting their immune system and nutritional value.  He also spoke about pesticide regulation as well as funding effective research through the American Beekeeping Federation and Project Apis m. (00:32:00).

Regulations and State Experts:
(00:50:00) Brian R. Leahy, Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), and (00:57:00) Mary-Lou Verdes, Assistant and Scientific Advisor, DPR, both testified about their mission to protect human health and the environment.  They mentioned the Apiary Protection Act of 1987 requiring the registration of beekeepers, the restrictions on transportation of bees in and out of state, hive inspections, notification of pesticides within 48 hours of use, and proper and safe use of pesticides during almond bloom.  They emphasized one best practice to help protect bees would be an increase in communication between beekeepers and pesticide users/producers.

(01:14:00) Dr. Gabriele Ludwig, Associate Director, Environmental Affairs, Almond Board of California, mentioned several problems impacting the health of the bees.  First, there has been a fundamental shift in beekeeper businesses as they used to be primarily in honey production, but now pollination services keep beekeepers solvent.  As beekeeping has changed, there has not been the same evolution in BMPs.  Secondly, 9 million acres of pollination land have been lost in conservation land in the Midwest.  Thirdly, it is getting more difficult for beekeepers to access public lands for honey bee foraging.  She suggests CA land managers and beekeepers get together to discuss where/when honey bees can forage.   She recommends finding ways to help growers plant additional forage for honeybees around their crops, spatially separated so that pesticides are not an issue. Finally, she believes current research still has a long way to go to be incorporated in the regulatory process.  There is more potential for research to occur in CA as that’s where almond orchards are located and most commercial colonies come.

(01:30:00) Dr. Gordon Wardell, Senior Bee Biologist, Paramount Farms, gave a ‘grower’s perspective’ on bee health issues.  He said the bottom line is that adult bees are dying too young.   We need to figure out how to get adult bees to live longer, so the nurse bees can attend to the brood longer, and not be sent out to do the adult’s job.  Growers should try to make almond orchards the safest and healthiest place for a bee.  He spoke about the monoculture of crops, and how feeding off of a monoculture is not generally the healthiest for bees, but almonds are unique in that they provide a well-balanced diet.  Still, Paramount Farms plants forage and does forage studies for drought tolerant plants that make use of the winter rains because water is tight for almond orchards.  He would like to see increased bee forage along power lines, state lands, etc, and research on carrying capacity of state lands (for example, how many colonies/acre so as not to displace native bees).

(01:46:00) Bret Adee, National Pollinator Defense Fund and the American Honey Producers Association, spoke of problems affecting his bees.  He said while almond orchards are expanding in acres, the production of bees is not multiplying.  He believe that bees should multiply when in the almond orchards, not be dying.  One major problem for him is the notification of spraying for pesticides does occur, but he has nowhere to move his bees.  He believes the solution is no daytime spraying within 1 mile of almond orchards during bloom.

(02:03:00) Jackie Park-Burris, Chair, CA Apiary Board, and Chair, Legislative Committee, CA State Beekeepers Association, is a queen breeder. She believes that beekeepers and growers are working well together and that communication is getting better.  One of her concerns is regarding the regulation of chemicals.  She believes testing needs to be done on larvae and young bees, not just on adult bees.  She also said she has witnessed almond growers using insect growth regulators, and has seen them being sprayed while bees are foraging.  She advocated for a California USDA lab.  She requested funding for Agriculture Commissioners.  She also stated that CSBA has partnered with the Almond Board to create a working group to encourage beekeeper access to public lands.  She believes this would benefit honey bees as well as native pollinators.

Environmental Experts:
(02:19:00) Dr. Susan Kegley, CEO of the Pesticide Research Institute, has been studying the effects of pesticides for over 20 years.  She said the effects of pesticides amplifies all the other problems.  Her special concern is neonicitinoids, which are systemic (taken up at the roots of the plant), stay in the tree for long periods of time, contaminate the nectar and pollen, and contaminate the water.  She recommends following existing laws, and added that states should not be authorized to change/alter the law.  Also, she recommends restricting the use of neonicitinoids in many cases, and adding labels to neonicitinoids that say “This is a bee hazard” on the label.  Finally, she recommends a comprehensive toxicity research at all life stages of the honey bee.

(02:32:00) Cindy Baker Smith, Senior Vice President, AMVAC, stated that all research on pesticides is regulated and tested for several years and reviewed for impact on bees.  She said that though there are ways to improve on what is currently being done, the reality is that both bees and pesticides are needed, so having discussion and communication is the best solution.  Local solutions seem to be good answers and works well in situations specific to the crop, beekeepers, pesticide control, etc., as one size does not always fit all.  She said that label language and label clarity are being updated and recommends more BMPs as solutions for crop protection and bee management.  She recommends continued research on habitat, mites, forage, etc., to improve on all angles of honey bee health.  Improved education is necessary for growers and beekeepers.  Finally, she insists that all stakeholders must be involved to work through the issues together.

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