Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection

Gainesville, FL, United States

Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection

Gainesville, FL, United States

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VanEngelsdorp D.,Bureau of Plant Industry Apiculture | VanEngelsdorp D.,Pennsylvania State University | Hayes Jr. J.,Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection | Underwood R.M.,Pennsylvania State University | Pettis J.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2010

This study records the third consecutive year of high winter losses in managed honey bee colonies in the USA. Over the winter of 2008-9 an estimated 29% of all US colonies died. Operations which pollinated Californian almond orchards over the survey period had lower average losses than those which did not. Beekeepers consider normal losses to be 17.6%, and 57.9% of all responding beekeepers suffered losses greater than that which they considered to be acceptable. The proportion of operations with the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) symptom of "no dead bees in the colony or apiary" decreased in this period as compared to the previous years. The proportion of colonies dying from apparently manageable conditions, however, such as starvation or a weak condition in the fall increased as compared to previous surveys. © IBRA 2010.


Nino E.L.,Pennsylvania State University | Malka O.,Tel Aviv University | Hefetz A.,Tel Aviv University | Teal P.,Chemistry Research Unit | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Insect Physiology | Year: 2012

Honey bee colonies consist of tens of thousands of workers and a single reproductive queen that produces a pheromone blend which maintains colony organization. Previous studies indicated that the insemination quantity and volume alter queen mandibular pheromone profiles. In our 11-month long field study we show that workers are more attracted to high-volume versus low-volume inseminated queens, however, there were no significant differences between treatments in the number of queen cells built by workers in preparation for supersedure. Workers exposed to low-volume inseminated queens initiated production of queen-like esters in their Dufour's glands, but there were no significant difference in the amount of methyl farnesoate and juvenile hormone in worker hemolymph. Lastly, queen overwintering survival was unexpectedly lower in high-volume inseminated queens. Our results suggest that the queen insemination volume could ultimately affect colony health and productivity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Hunter W.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Ellis J.,University of Florida | Vanengelsdorp D.,Pennsylvania State University | Hayes J.,Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2010

The importance of honey bees to the world economy far surpasses their contribution in terms of honey production; they are responsible for up to 30% of the world's food production through pollination of crops. Since fall 2006, honey bees in the U.S. have faced a serious population decline, due in part to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is a disease syndrome that is likely caused by several factors. Data from an initial study in which investigators compared pathogens in honey bees affected by CCD suggested a putative role for Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, IAPV. This is a single stranded RNA virus with no DNA stage placed taxonomically within the family Dicistroviridae. Although subsequent studies have failed to find IAPV in all CCD diagnosed colonies, IAPV has been shown to cause honey bee mortality. RNA interference technology (RNAi) has been used successfully to silence endogenous insect (including honey bee) genes both by injection and feeding. Moreover, RNAi was shown to prevent bees from succumbing to infection from IAPV under laboratory conditions. In the current study IAPV specific homologous dsRNA was used in the field, under natural beekeeping conditions in order to prevent mortality and improve the overall health of bees infected with IAPV. This controlled study included a total of 160 honey bee hives in two discrete climates, seasons and geographical locations (Florida and Pennsylvania). To our knowledge, this is the first successful large-scale real world use of RNAi for disease control.


Vanengelsdorp D.,Pennsylvania State University | Hayes Jr. J.,Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection | Underwood R.M.,Pennsylvania State University | Underwood R.M.,Kutztown University of Pennsylvania | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2011

This study records the fourth consecutive year of high winter losses in managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in the USA. Over the winter of 2009-2010, US beekeepers responding to this survey lost an average of 42.2% of their colonies, for a total loss of 34.4%. Commercial beekeepers (those operating more than 500 colonies) experienced lower total losses as compared to sideline and backyard beekeepers. Similarly, operations that maintained colonies in more than one state and operations that pollinated almond orchards over the survey period had lower total losses than operations either managing colonies in one state exclusively or those not pollinating almonds. On average beekeepers consider acceptable losses to be 14.5%, and 65% of all responding beekeepers suffered losses in excess of what they considered acceptable. The proportion of operations that experienced losses and reported having no dead bees in their colonies or apiaries was comparable to that reported in the winter of 2008-2009. Manageable conditions, such as starvation and a weak condition in the fall were the leading self-identified causes of mortality as reported by all beekeepers. Commercial beekeepers were, however, less likely to list such manageable causes, instead listing poor queens, mites, and pesticides most frequently as the self-identified causes of mortality in their operations. © IBRA 2011.


Vanengelsdorp D.,University of Maryland University College | Caron D.,Oregon State University | Hayes J.,Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection | Underwood R.,University of Maryland University College | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2012

This study records the fifth consecutive year that winter losses of managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in the USA have been around 30%. In April 2011, a total of 5,441 US beekeepers (an estimated 11% of total US beekeepers) responded to a survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership. Survey respondents reported that they had lost an average of 38.4% of their colonies, for a total US colony loss of 29.9% over the winter of 2010-11. One-third of respondents (all classified as backyard beekeepers, i.e. keeping fewer than 50 colonies) reported no winter loss. There was considerable variation in both the average and total loss by state. On average, beekeepers consider acceptable losses to be 13.2%, but 68% of all responding beekeepers suffered actual losses in excess of what they considered acceptable. Of beekeepers who reported losing at least one colony, manageable conditions, such as starvation and a weak condition in the fall, were the leading self-identified causes of mortality. Respondents who indicated that varroa mites (Varroa destructor), small hive beetles (Aethina tumida), poor wintering conditions, and / or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) conditions were a leading cause of mortality in their operations suffered a higher average loss than beekeepers who did not list any of these as potential causes. In a separate question, beekeepers who reported the symptom "no dead bees in hive or apiary" had significantly higher losses than those who did not report this symptom. In addition, commercial beekeepers were significantly more likely to indicate that colonies died with this symptom than either backyard or sideliner beekeepers. © IBRA 2012.

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