This post is contributed by Tony Shaw, a Master Gardener who is a member of the Pennsylvania Bee Monitoring Project.   Early in Summer 2021, the Master Gardener Leadership Team invited Master Gardeners across the Commonwealth to participate in a new partnership with PSU professor Dr. Margarita López-Uribe. Her lab spearheads pollinator and bee research at Penn State University.    Quoting the MG Leadership Team’s invitation, partnering with the Master Gardener program “ . . […]
Varroa mites are, without a doubt, one of the most difficult challenges for beekeeping management. Treating for mites is tricky: if you don’t treat for mites the probability of colony survival decreases by ≥55%, but if you overtreat mites may evolve resistance to treatments or there can be negative side effects for the bees. Thus, our general recommendation for beekeepers is to treat mites only when colonies are above threshold while using the least toxic, […]
Pathogen transmission from honey bees to wild bees has been attributed as one of the major negative impacts that managed honey bees have on wild bee populations. Among the many pests and pathogens that attack honey bees, the varroa mite and its associated virus, deformed wing virus (DWV), are most abundant and detrimental to honey bee health. The synergistic interactions between this virus and varroa mites have increased the amount of DWV in honey bees […]
I visit pumpkin farms across Pennsylvania to investigate host-pathogen dynamics in bee communities. In pumpkin fields, we typically see three bee species foraging – honey bees, wild bumble bees and wild squash bees. Haven’t heard of squash bees before? These are incredibly important, solitary bees that specialize on the pollen of pumpkin and squash. In fact, they are some of the best pollinators for pumpkin crops in Pennsylvania! Unlike social honey bees and bumble bees […]
Honey bee colonies have been in decline in recent years due to many factors, including lack of high-quality nutrition, exposure to pesticides, and pressure from pests and pathogens. Infestations of the parasitic mite Varroa destructor play a large role in these staggering colony losses. These mites feed on the fat body and hemolymph of bees, and in the process, they transmit a cocktail of viruses that weakens the individuals and eventually the whole colony. For […]