Making a Difference

Over the past seven years working with BIP, I have witnessed, first hand, improvements on the quality of the hygienic behavior in honey bee stock coming out of the Northern California Queen Breeders. Of all the variety of samples we perform as BIP Tech Teams, hygienic testing is my favorite because it means I get to look at the best performing colonies in each of the operations we work with. Over the years, I have noticed a decrease in the severity of European foulbrood, Chalkbrood and Sacbrood virus due to our collaborative efforts with the beekeepers in the program who select for hygienic behavior traits. I noticed new participating beekeepers, who have not yet been selecting for the traits, do not have as much uniformity throughout their selected colonies and those do not test as high overall. But after a few years, these beekeepers are able to increase the amount of high performing colonies and have more uniform test results across the board. This leads me to believe that our sampling and testing efforts are paying off, resulting in stronger US stock and convinced that more beekeepers would benefits from this valued service. Please donate to the Bee Informed Partnership and help us continue to make a difference!

Elevated score (100%) on the hygienic test. Notice the bees have removed all of the frozen pupae in the course of a 24 hour period

Here is a low performing colony score to compare with, where the bees have not removed as many pupae during the same given time period.

Written By: Rob Snyder

Rob Snyder has written 67 post in this blog.

I currently work out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. I received my B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There I attained a majority of my entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, I was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In my third year there, I still inspected some colonies but I mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where I pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus species. Leo Donavall assisted me in learning the basics on positive Identifications of the native bees. Around the same time I began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. I was also fortunate to conduct many of these surveys with fellow co-worker Mike Andree and Nathan Rice of USDA/ARS throughout California. All of these experiences have led me to where I am today, working to assist beekeepers in maintaining genetic diverse colonies resistant to parasites while reducing the use of chemical treatments in colonies. The BIP Diagnostic Lab at the University of MD is in an integral part of this process by generating reports in which we can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.