Research – OLD

PAm is proud to support and sponsor research aimed at enhancing the health of honey bees. The table below shows a list of completed research projects. Click on any ‘Research Title’ in the table to link to the summary where you’ll also find other information, such as links to the published research articles, videos, pictures, and more.

 Research TitleResearcher(s)
1Propolis benefits touted in UMN researchRenata Borba
2The effects of varying landscapes on honey bee colony health, nutritional physiology, and immune functionMarla Spivak
3Development of a high-throughput method for quantifying sperm viability in honey bee queensDavid Tarpy
4Effects of “Bee-Safe” insecticides and common insecticide-fungicide combinations on queen and worker larval developmentReed Johnson
5Non-Specific dsRNA-Mediated Antiviral Response in the Honey BeeMichelle Flenniken
6PAm Funds Midwest Tech Transfer TeamDennis vanEngelsdorp, Marla Spivak, Katie Lee
7Amitraz Residue Transfer into Honey from Apis mellifera Hives Treated with ApivarJeff Pettis
8Do the Honeybee Pathogens Nosema ceranae and Deformed Wing Virus Act Synergistically?Stephen Martin
9Effect of a Fungide and Spray Adjuvant on Queen Rearing Success in Honey BeesReed Johnson, Eric Percel
10Honey Bee Colony Density and Almond Nut SetFrank Eischen
11High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee HealthMaryann Frazier, Dennis vanEngelsdorp
12Honey Bees and Colony Evaluation: An Online Learning ProgramShannon Mueller
13Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) Control Using Contemporary RNAi TechnologyJames Ellis
14Honeybee Sampling for Pesticide ResiduesMaryann Frazier, Dennis vanEngelsdorp
15 Characterizing Colony Level Interactions between the Microsporidian Nosema ceranae and an Iridovirus (IIV-6) with Respect to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Jerry Bromenshenk
16Temporal Analysis of the Honey Bee Microbiome Reveals Four Novel Viruses and Seasonal Prevalence of Known Viruses, Nosema, and CrithidiaJoseph DeRisi, Michelle Flenniken, Charles Runckel
17Movement of Soil-Applied Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam into Nectar and Pollen of Squash (Cucurbita pepo)Kimberly Stoner
18Determining the Presence of Nosema Ceranae and Nosema Apis in Migratory Beekeeping OperationsWalter Sheppard
19Quantifying the Exposure and Effect of Farmer Applied Pesticides on East Coast Migratory Operations Destined for Almond PollinationMaryann Frazier, Dennis vanEngelsdorp
20The Effect of a Synthetic Brood Pheromone (Superboost, Pherotech) on Almond Pollen Collection by Honey BeesFrank Eischen
21Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony DeclineJerry Bromenshenk
22The Effect of Colony Size and Composition on Almond Pollen CollectionFrank Eischen
23Testing HFCS Bee Feed for Contaminants and Determining Adverse Effects on Honey Bee Health and LongevityDiana Sammataro

Propolis Benefits Touted in UMN Research.

Renata Borba, PhD student under Dr. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota, recently published her research on propolis in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Results suggest that using the bees own natural defense mechanism, in the form of a propolis envelope within the hive, builds colony strength and increases colony survival.
PAm was proud to assist in providing financial support for this study. Click here to read the full article.

The effects of varying landscapes on honey bee colony health, nutritional physiology, and
immune function.

Dr. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota, is currently conducting research to correlate land use with honey bee colony health and survival in North Dakota. Project Apis m. provided funds towards the characterization of the health of commercial honey bees in response to agricultural land use patterns.

Primary findings of the project related to PAm funding:
– Nurse bees from colonies positioned in the best quality landscape (composed of less than 25% corn, soybeans, and wheat within a 2-mile radius) exhibited significantly higher levels of abdominal vitellogenin stores than nurse bees in colonies from the least bee-friendly landscape (~75% of the land in corn, soybeans, and wheat within 2-mile radius).
– The same nurse bees with higher vitellogenin showed significantly lower levels of immune gene transcripts in at least one of the years, 2010-12.

These preliminary results indicate that the broad scale management of agricultural lands has a significant impact on the nutritional status and immune responses of honey bees, and ultimately, on overwinter survival and the number of colonies available for almond pollination. The physiological differences found due to land use are most likely due to differences in forage availability (abundance and/or quality) between landscapes. Current work is under way to explain plant species significantly contributing to different outcomes of colonies positioned in the landscapes involved in the study.

Development of a high-throughput method for quantifying sperm viability in honey bee queens
Through the request of David Tarpy, NCSU, PAm funded a Nexcelom Vision system machine for high-throughput process of sperm samples.  It is able to rapidly process samples at a rate of approximately 5 minutes per queen or drone,  previously taking upwards of 2 hours per bee.  This technology will also expedite much needed research and provide a service to beekeepers, especially queen producers.  NCSU plans to provide this service at cost as part of the BIP sustainability model.

Click Here for related publications.

Effects of “Bee-Safe” insecticides and common insecticide-fungicide combinations on queen and worker larval development

Reed Johnson, The Ohio State University, will continue his research to further the information gleaned by his previous study on the effects of insecticides applied to almonds during bloom to developing honey bees. As insecticide use continues to grow, more research is needed to assess the effects of insecticides on colony health. The research study will focus a majority of the effort on diflubenzuron (Dimilin 2L), as this insecticide is the most widely used during almond bloom and has documented potential to harm bee development. The team will also research the effects of high concentrations of methoxyfenozide (Intrepid 2F) and chlorantraniliprole (Altacor), to determine their potential to affect the development of bees. Tests will be conducted on these insecticides and combinations on queen larval rearing and worker larval rearing success.

See 8. Effects of a Fungicide and Spray Adjuvant on Queen Rearing Success in Honey Bees.

Watch related video: Chemtura discusses BMPs for Dimilin Use


Non-Specific dsRNA-Mediated Antiviral Response in the Honey Bee
Honey bees live in colonies of genetically related individuals that work in concert to gather and store nutrients. Their social organization provides numerous benefits, but also facilitates pathogen transmission between individuals. To investigate honey bee antiviral defense mechanisms, researchers developed an RNA virus infection model and discovered that administration of dsRNA, reduced virus infection. Results showed that dsRNA, a viral pathogen associated molecular pattern (PAMP), triggers an antiviral response that controls virus infection in honey bees.

Click here for related publications.


PAm Funds Midwest Tech Transfer Team
With PAm’s funding assistance, the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) is establishing a 2nd tech-transfer team to help migratory beekeepers in the upper Midwest to monitor colony health, concentrating its efforts in North Dakota & Minnesota. The objective of BIP is to reduce colony losses by facilitating communication between beekeepers and researchers, provide consistent pest monitoring and to reduce the spread of disease.
As health problems face honeybees and the increasing demand for pollination services, it is critical to provide beekeepers assistance to help them maintain healthy colonies. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland, Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota and Katie Lee, UC-Cooperative Extension are the principal leaders on the project.
The hands-on work is accomplished with services performed by a Tech-Transfer Team, which consists of a few independent and experienced professional consultants. In California, a team was created to assist queen producers. This second team will focus its efforts on migratory beekeepers in North Dakota and Minnesota, mainly because this midwest region is one of the highest honey producing regions in the country. Many commercial and migratory beekeepers summer colonies in the midwest and then travel to California for almond pollination.
Together, PAm and BIP are expanding support for beekeepers to reduce honeybee losses.


Amitraz Residue Transfer into Honey from Apis mellifera Hives Treated with Apivar
Jeff Pettis, USDA-ARS, received a grant from Project Apis m. to study Amitraz residues in honey. The research objective was to determine the extent to which amitraz and its metabolites move into surplus honey when hives are treated at 1x, 2x, and 10x the label rate (2 strips) in the brood rearing areas of bees hives Apis mellifera.
Amitraz had been used previously in the U.S. as an acaricide to control Varroa destructor in honey bee hives. Other miticides are available to beekeepers but there are problems with efficacy, temperature requirements, labor intensive treatment regimes and mites becoming resistance to active ingredients. Beekeepers need a miticide such as amitraz that is proven to be effective and non-toxic. Results of the study indicate that given the proper treatment, “compared to control colonies, Apivar reduced mite load significantly.”

Click here for the full report.


Do Honeybee Pathogens Nosema ceranae and Deformed Wing Virus Act Synergistically?
The honeybee pathogens Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus (DWV) both contribute in causing the collapse of honeybee colonies. Researcher Stephen J. Martin, University of Salford, UK, and his team of researchers studied the plausibility of these two pathogens acting synergistically to increase colony losses. Their research was reported in Environmental Microbiology Reports, 2013. To test this hypothesis, they exploited 322 Hawaiian honeybee colonies for which DWV prevalence and load was known. They determined that N. ceranae was present in 89–95% of these colonies, with no Nosema apis being detected. No significant difference was found in spore counts in colonies infected with DWV and those in which DWV was not detected, either on any of the four islands or across the entire honeybee population. Furthermore, no significant correlation between DWV loads and N. ceranae spore counts was found, so these two pathogens are not acting synergistically. Although the Hawaiian honeybees have the highest known prevalence of N. ceranae in the world, no acute Nosema related problems i.e. large-scale colony deaths, have been reported by Hawaiian beekeepers.

Click here for the full report.


Effects of a Fungicide and Spray Adjuvant on Queen Rearing Success in Honey Bees
Reed Johnson and Eric Percel, The Ohio State University, studied the effects of queen bee health when exposed to applications of the fungicide Pristine (boscalid and pyraclostrobin) and spray adjuvants (used to increase the efficacy of the active ingredients).  Their research was of particular interest as it analyzed compounds that are not regarded as highly toxic to adult honey bees but have less know effects on immature bees.  The study conclusions have been published in the Journal of Economic Entomology Research in Dec, 2012.  To test the effect of these compounds on queen development a new test was developed in which queens were reared in closed swarm boxes for four days, until capping, with nurse bees fed exclusively on artificially contaminated pollen.  Pollen was treated with several concentrations of Pristine, a spray adjuvant (Break-Thru), the combination of Pristine and spray adjuvant, and the insect growth regulator insecticide diflubenzuron (known for having a toxic effect on immature bees).   Analysis confirmed that diflubenzuron, in conjunction with Pristine or a spray adjuvant, led to substantial reduction in survival of immature queens.  The potential for diflubenzuron toxicity to change in the presence of fungicides and pesticide adjuvants needs further research.

Click here for related publications.


Honey Bee Colony Density and Almond Nut Set
Dr. Frank Eischen, Honey Bee Research Unit, USDA-ARS, and a team of researchers, examined the impact of honey bee colony density on almond pollination on ranches near Bakersfield, CA. Both early and late varieties were tested on each of the four ranches. Flower counts and video recordings of bee activity aided in interpreting pollination rates.

Early varieties:  With the exception of Sonora, all early varieties in orchards with higher colony densities had significantly higher pollination rates.   Differences in percent pollination between low and high bee densities ranged from 1.5 to 18.4% for varieties Nonpareil, Fritz, Monterey, Sonora, and Aldrich. Significant increases in pollination occurred in 92% of the paired early variety blocks.

Late varieties:  With the exception of one, all orchards stocked with the higher colony density had significantly higher levels of pollination.  Differences in percent pollination between low and high bee densities ranged from 5.7 to 18.4% for varieties Butte, Padre, and Mission.

Video recordings of bee activity on flowers found that foragers in high bee density blocks remained on a flowering branch longer than foragers in low density blocks. This increased time spent on a branch helps to explain why a doubling of honey bee colonies generally did not result in a doubling of the pollination rate for pairs of orchards. That is, pollination is more likely to occur when pollinators move from branch to branch.


High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bees
In the spring of 2008 PSU received grants to fund a pesticide analysis cost-sharing program for beekeepers. From Spring 2008 through mid-Summer 2009, a total of 134 samples of pollen, wax, adult bees, brood and honey have been analyzed through the pesticide cost-sharing program. In addition, a few of these samples were crop or weed flower samples. The team worked with commercial beekeepers to try to document incidents where the death or reduced health of colonies was likely due to pesticide exposure. In several cases they were able to confirm the role of a particular pesticide where colonies were killed and the beekeeper suspected pesticides as the cause.
In February 2010, the team received an additional grant from PAm to continue the cost-sharing program. An additional 36 samples were analyzed. In early 2011 the cost-sharing program received another grant from PAm. From 2011 to mid-2012, a total of 67 samples from beekeepers around the country were analyzed for pesticides under this program.

In most situations, the pesticide analysis revealed that a pesticide, considered toxic to honey bees, was identified however typically at low levels. The toxic pesticides identified most often were esfenvalurate, chlorphrifos, and bifentrhin. Other toxic residues included fipronil, lindane, thiamethoxam, carbofuran penpropathrin clothianidan and imidacloprid and carbaryl. Levels of fluvalinate and coumaphos varied greatly in these samples.

Click here for the full report.


Online Learning Module: Honey Bees and Colony Evaluation
Dr. Shannon Mueller, University of CA Cooperative Extension, has created a new Online learning program for honey bee colony evaluation.  The information includes basic honey bee biology, recommended colony strength evaluation practices, and recognition of important diseases, pests, and parasites that impact honey bee health. This large amount of information, organized by specific topics, can be accessed at any time with the click of a web link!

Check out the Online Learning Program by Clicking Here.


Varroa Mite Control Using RNAi Technology
Varroa mites remain the world’s most prolific killers of honey bees, yet current control measures are not completely successful for several reasons. In order to reduce the use of chemicals and to avoid accumulation of pesticide residues in bee products, there is a need to develop alternative control methods for Varroa. One promising new effective and safe alternative of mite control is the use of RNA interference (RNAi) technology.
RNAi is a natural process that allows cells use to turn down, or ‘silence,’ the activity of specific genes. This mechanism is considered a “natural” anti-agent defense system in host organisms. Dr. James Ellis, Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of Florida, and a team of researchers plan to expand the use of RNAi to specifically interfere with important Varroa mite biochemical pathways.
The researchers were able to transfer this technology into the honeybees by feeding it to adults in a solution of sugar water and adding it to royal jelly fed to bee larvae in vitro. Next, the researchers will turn their attention to identifying, developing and testing RNAi specific to Varroa that will ultimately reduce Varroa populations in colonies. Should the researchers be able to do that, beekeepers will be given another tool to use against Varroa, a tool that hopefully is successful, long lasting, and not toxic to bees.

To view a clever video explaining RNAi  Click Here.

To view the full report, Click Here.


Honeybee Sampling for Pesticide Residues
Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Dr. Maryann Frazier, and their team of researchers sampled beebread, trapped pollen, brood nest wax, beeswax foundation, and adult bees and brood for pesticide residues in 2007-2008. Samples were drawn mostly from commercial beekeepers from several states, and included samples from healthy colonies as well as from some diagnosed as having CCD.
Researchers found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples. Almost 60% of the 259 wax and 350 pollen samples contained at least one pesticide. Almost all – 98% – comb and foundation wax samples were contaminated.
The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in bee pollen alone represents a high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator. It represents over half of the maximum individual pesticide incidences ever reported for apiaries. While exposure to many of these pesticides reduces honey bee fitness, the exact effects their direct association with CCD remains to be determined.  More pesticide analysis was conducted in other funded research studies:
See 10. High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bees.


Characterizing Colony Level Interactions between the Microsporidian Nosema ceranae and an Iridovirus (IIV-6) with Respect to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) 
Jerry Bromenshenk, Missoula, MT, expounded on his research on Colony Collapse Disorder from 2010, when his team of researchers discovered that collapsed colonies demonstrated a statistically strong correlation between Nosema spp. and an iridescent virus (IIV). In this research study, the team speculated that Nosema and iridescent viruses might act much like mites and Viruses, where the presence of one alters the lethality of the other. Tests were conducted on four groups: Control, Nosema, Nosema/Virus, and Virus.
From the onset of Virus (IIV-6) introduction into the colony, until the conclusion of the experiment, the Nosema/Virus group lost the most bees; leading to the conclusion that Nosema combined with the IIV had a detrimental effect on the colonies. Losses were so dramatic that researchers believed two of the Nosema/Virus colonies had perished.  However, these colonies persisted, in their much diminished state, throughout the remainder of the experiment, similar to what has been observed in CCD-affected colonies throughout the United States.  Furthermore, all Nosema/Virus colonies had resources still available to them as well as areas of uncared-for brood at experiment’s end.  These colonies still contained plenty of resource within the hive, and showed an abandoned-brood pattern which mirrors colonies suffering from CCD.
Finally, Nosema levels are documented to be generally highest in the early spring. These levels are further increased during wet and cold springs. The experiment conditions also had cool temperatures, high ambient humidity, and a confined space, which exacerbated the Nosema across all groups.

Click Here for more Bromenshenk Lab research.

For more info email


Analysis of Honey Bee Viruses and Seasonal Changes 
The DiRisi Lab, UCFS, famous for their cutting edge technology that discovered the human SARS virus and the Avian Bonavirus (responsible for mysteriously killing parrots around the world), is now working full steam ahead on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees.
To gain a better understanding of the spectrum of pathogens and viruses found in commercially managed migratory honey bee colonies, Dr. Joseph DiRisi, and his team of researchers, conducted a 10-month field study using molecular detection methods that rapidly detected the presence (or absence) of all previously identified honey bee pathogens as well as new pathogens.
The researchers identified significant seasonal changes of several known viruses. Peak infection of most common honey bee viruses and Nosema occurred in the summer, whereas levels of Crithidia mellificae peaked in January. The researchers further identified four novel viruses, two of which were the most widely observed components of the honey bee colony, which detected approximately 1011 viruses per honey bee, though healthy colonies undergo constant cycles of viral infection.

Click here for the full report.


Studying Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Pollen and Nectar
PAm sponsored researcher Dr. Kimberly Stoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, to measure the levels of neonicotinoid pesticides bees are exposed to when contacting flowers and collecting nectar and pollen in the field. The goal of the research project was to quantify movement of neonicotinoid insecticides into the pollen and nectar of plants when applied directly to the soil, either by direct spray to the soil just before seeding or through drip irrigation.
These insecticides are some of the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. and are thought to move from the seeds and root system into other areas of the plant. The U.S. EPA has not yet analyzed sublethal effects of neonicotinoids on honey bees.
Residues of the insecticides were found in the whole plants, pollen and nectar. The concentrations found in nectar are higher than previously documented concentrations of neonicotinoids in nectar of plants grown from treated seed (corn, canola, sunflowers). The concentrations in pollen are at the high end of the previously documented range. These concentrations fall into the range being investigated for sublethal effects on honey bees and other beneficial insects.

Click here for the full report.


Determining Presence of Nosema Ceranae and Nosema Apis in Migratory Beekeeping Operations
The Washington State University Apiculture program received funds from Project Apis m in 2008 to support DNA-assisted species identification of Nosema. The work funded by PAm was part of a larger WSU project to examine mite and pathogen loads in managed and commercial migratory beekeeping operations in the western US. As a result, the WSU Honey Bee Diagnostic Laboratory was set up to conduct this work and has continued to serve western beekeepers since 2008.
The researchers found that Nosema ceranae was found to be widespread in the Pacific Northwest and a pathogen that beekeepers have to live with constantly in their operations. The information returned to the beekeepers from the diagnostic center allows them to make management decisions based on actual infestation or prevalence data, rather than using a scheduled treatment system. Reliable treatment and control for Nosema remains elusive, however, the center is involved in a breeding effort to develop honey bees that are more tolerant and resistant to Nosema infection.
Beekeepers can continue to submit colony samples to the WSU Honey Bee Diagnostic Laboratory for examination and this service currently remains available without charge. Collection methods and details of shipment are posted on the WSU Entomology Website. Diagnostic results are usually returned to the beekeeper within 2 weeks.


Analysis of Pesticide Exposure in East Coast Migratory Operations
Along with PAm, the USDA/CSREES, the National Honey Board and the Florida Department of Agriculture contributed to funding this project performed in cooperation with USDA-ARS Beltsville. The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to analyze pesticide exposure in bees and pesticide residues in pollen of samples taken in the initial national CCD study, and 2) to establish a centralized cost-sharing pesticide screening program at Penn State as a service to beekeepers. One aspect of this project focused on the importance of East Coast migratory operations servicing Western pollinated crops. Of colony samples analyzed during this time period, coumaphos and fluvalinate, two compounds used by beekeepers themselves, were highly prevalent. More pesticide analysis was conducted in other funded research studies:
See 13. Honeybee Sampling for Pesticide Residues.
Also see 10. High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bees.


Superboost and Pollen Collection
Dr. Frank Eischen, USDA-ARS, Weslaco, TX monitored almond pollen collection by colonies treated with Superboost, a synthetic brood pheromone.
Small overwintered colonies (US 4-frame) that were pollen trapped and treated with Superboost collected about 35% more pollen than untreated and trapped colonies. Larger colonies (US 8-frame) showed no increase in pollen collection when treated and trapped. Newly established Australian package colonies, which were pollen trapped, did not respond to treatment with Superboost. In a parallel series of treatments, free-flying colonies matched for origin and size with the trapped groups exhibited no increase in pollen foraging when treated with Superboost.
Crops with scant pollen flows, (eg. blueberries and cucurbits) may be appropriate crops for treating colonies with Superboost as bees are unlikely to harvest enough pollen from the crops alone.

Click here for the full report.


Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline
Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk (Bee Alert, Inc. and the University of Montana) and Dave Wick (BVS, Inc.) identified viruses in bee samples using the IVDS (Integrated Virus Detection System). The IVDS was used at BVS, Inc., in Missoula, Montana and the staff identified and quantified thousands of proteins from healthy and collapsing bee colonies. The research revealed two unreported RNA viruses in North American honey bees, Varroa destructor-1 virus and Kakugo virus, and identified an invertebrate iridescent virus (IIV) (Iridoviridae) associated with CCD colonies. Prevalence of IIV specifically targeted failing, and collapsed colonies. In addition, bees in failing colonies contained not only IIV, but also Nosema. Having both of these microbes consistently marked CCD.
These findings implicate co-infection by IIV and Nosema with honey bee colony decline, giving credence to older research pointing to IIV, interacting with Nosema and mites, as probable cause of bee losses in the USA, Europe, and Asia. The next step is to characterize the IIV and Nosema that was detected and develop management practices to reduce honey bee losses.
Bee Alert, Inc., is becoming a full service diagnostics center capable of a wide array of analytical services, including virus screening, Nosema screening and identification, HMF contamination in HFCS and identification of aflatoxins, most pesticides and pollutants. For more information, visit their website at bee

Click here for the full report.

Click Here for more Bromenshenk Lab research.

For more info email


Honey Bee Colony Size and Composition
Dr. Frank Eischen and colleagues from the Honey Bee Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Weslaco, TX, monitored US and Australian honey bee pollen collection of various colony sizes on a large almond orchard near Shafter, CA. After 20 days of continuous pollen collection, 11 colonies were evaluated for strength, broodnest size and stored pollen.
The list of treatments in ascending order of pollen collected was: US 4-frame; US 6-frame; AUS colony established Dec 06 from 4-lb pkg; US 4-frame + 4 lb AUS pkg; US 8-frame; US 4-frame + US 4-frame (2 united 4-frames); US 10-frame; and US 14-frame.

Dr. Eischen’s conclusions are as follows:
-Colonies should have been fed protein supplement prior to bloom.
-Colonies increased pollen collection as their size increased to about 12 frames.
-The addition of an Australian package improved pollen collection by 4-fame colonies.
-The addition of the AUS package greatly improved brood rearing.
-When two US 4-frame colonies were united they collected more pollen than two separate 4-frame colonies.
-Large colonies begin foraging earlier than small colonies.
-Colonies facing east begin foraging earlier than those face west.
-The addition of brood decreased pollen collection.
-Australian colonies collected more pollen than their size would indicate, but the researchers suspect this was due to their behavior in handling pollen traps differently.

Click here to view Dr. Eischen’s 2006 WAS PowerPoint Presentation.
Click here to view Dr. Eischen’s 2007 CSBA PowerPoint Presentation.


Supplemental Carbohydrate Effects on Honey Bee Health
Dr. Sammataro and colleagues from the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, AZ took part in the first ever PAm-sponsored research grant. The team researched contamination and adverse affects on honey bee health and longevity in the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) bee feed. The research provided beekeepers with guidelines for the use of HFCS as a supplemental feed for honey bees.
Supplemental carbohydrates are commonly fed to managed honey bee colonies in times of inadequate food storage.  Longevity, productivity and physiology were compared between individual worker honey bees and between honey bee colonies fed HFCS or sucrose syrup.  Worker honey bees tended to live longer when maintained on sucrose syrup in laboratory analysis.  Productivity comparisons between colonies maintained in a closed foraging arena were inconclusive in terms of brood production; however, trends towards increased wax production and food storage were observed in colonies supplied with sucrose syrup.  Free-foraging colonies supplemented with sucrose trended towards significantly greater brood production when compared to those supplemented with HFCS.  Though sucrose syrup appears to sustain a slight increase in productivity over HFCS in apiculture, the mechanism and economic impact for this effect remain unresolved.

The researchers also surveyed hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) contamination of HFCS supplied by manufacturers and HFCS stored by beekeepers.  HMF is a problematic contaminant for beekeepers, and though the mechanism of its toxicity is unknown, it has been shown to cause dysentery in honey bees.  This is particularly an issue in beekeeping because HMF is known to form in both honey and HFCS.  HFCS supplied directly from manufacturers did not have substantial HMF contamination, and on average was found to be well below the international standard for allowable amounts of HMF contamination in honey.  On the other hand, HMF contamination of HFCS stored by beekeepers was found to be, on average, above the acceptable level according to international standards.  It seems highly likely that variable successes and failures that beekeepers are experiencing when using HFCS as a supplemental feed are attributable to this variable rate of contamination.  Most likely during the steps of procurement and storage of HFCS there are opportunities for high heat exposure which is rendering the syrup unsuitable as a feed for bees.  Beekeepers should reflect on their manner of procurement and storage of HFCS.

Click here 
for more information on HFCS Storage Guidelines for Beekeepers.
Click here for the full report.

Continuous Support Towards Solving the Mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
PAm is committed to a multi-dimensional strategy to resolve the current CCD crisis. PAm’s research efforts include funding studies on bee nutrition, virus detection, pesticide exposure, Nosema and practical beekeeping management. These efforts are leading scientists closer to determining the factors that have led to the decline of honey bee hives. PAm and/or its Board members support and serve in an advisory capacity for the CCD Working Group and USDA’s Area-Wide Study on Nutrition, as well as other national collaborative studies.
Please consider donating now to help us continue this exciting and important research.

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