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Honeybee health, production focus of new Web site | Agriculture | Lafayette Online
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News | Agriculture

Honeybee health, production focus of new Web site

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University and other land-grant universities have developed a Web site that focuses on honeybee production and health.

Purdue research is focusing on breeding bees that are more resistant to Varroa mites.

Purdue research is focusing on breeding bees that are more resistant to Varroa mites.

The site was developed for beekeepers and other producers to help them stay current on industry issues and trends. It is located at http://www.extension.org/bee%20health.

“Purdue is one of many land-grant universities helping bee producers better understand the impact of bee health in the industry,” said Greg Hunt, Purdue Extension bee specialist.

One serious issue affecting the industry since 2006 is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD occurs when large numbers of bees in a colony go missing. The majority of the adult bees die away from the hive, leaving a few younger bees behind.

“We do not know what is causing CCD. What we do know is that parasitic mites may have an impact on the syndrome,” Hunt said.

Purdue research is focusing on breeding bees that are more resistant to Varroa mites, he said.

“Bee decline can be traced back to negative factors, including immunology, nutrition, toxicology, pathology, genetics and bee husbandry,” Hunt said.

However, the greatest decline in numbers of bee colonies for Indiana and the nation as a whole correspond to the period just before and after the discovery of parasitic bee mites in the United States. The bee population has not recovered since that time, and the mites may be making other problems related to bee health even worse.

Farmers, fruit and vegetable producers and home growers who rely on bees to pollinate their crops have been negatively impacted by the decline in bee population.

For more information on bee health, contact Hunt at 765-494-4605, ghunt@purdue.edu

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