- Animals: bees
- Animal Production: genetics
- Pest Management: genetic resistance
Varroa mites are the single greatest threat to sustainable beekeeping in the Northeastern US, and across the world. This project will measure a recently identified novel grooming behavior, Mite-Biting Behavior (MBB), and its relationship to overall mite counts. If MBB can reduce mite counts, it will increase the sustainability of beekeeping by reducing the use of miticides to control varroa populations and the associated labor inputs. This project will involve queen breeders, bee clubs and beekeepers in several states, as well as two universities and the extension service. Several recent SARE grants in the Northeast and North Central regions measured varroa sensitive hygienic behavior (VSH) and proved it value for mite resistance. This project will build on that existing work, and incorporate the new grooming behavior MBB, and measure its effects.
Project objectives from proposal:
METHOD AND MEASUREMENTS
The project will begin March 2015 and end one year later. The time table, responsibilities and durations are listed: March 1-30 Contract finalized and supplies ordered, participants notified of award and duties.-J Berta April 1-30 Start preparing/feeding bee colonies for queen rearing, purchase additional nucleus colonies to make up for shortfalls from winter kill. J Berta, HHBBC, May 1-June 5 Begin queen rearing of virgins and mated queens for project. J Berta, HHBBC, and all participants June 10-12 Bring virgins to Purdue University for Artificial Insemination with MBB semen. J Berta, HHBBC, June 13-25 Nurture AI queens which will be the MBB test group, and additionally, start grafting eggs as soon queens start to lay for the subsequent workshop. Start preparing “48 hour” old queen cells for queen exchange workshop. J Berta, M Gingrich, D Wells, HHBBC, and local bee clubs from Pa State Beekeepers Assoc (PSBA) , June 25-July 31 Produce and mate queens from the HHBBC local survivor stock , MBB stock for project hives, and start project hives. J Berta, HHBBC, and all participants August 1-21 Balance all project colonies so all study groups are adequately represented. J Berta, HHBBC, and all project participants August 24-October15 Collect samples of mites from project colonies, and measure MBB percentages. Mite samples will be collected at at least three time points. J Berta, HHBBC, and all beeyard participants. October 1- November 12 Finish any final data collection as needed and prepare colonies for winter. Best performing breeding stock is moved into special protective styrofoam hive boxes to assure Winter survival for future breeding. J Berta, HHBBC, and all beeyards participants. November 15-December 31 Write annual report, and feed colonies as required. J Berta report writing, HHBBC, and all project participants feed of colonies. January 1- March 1 2016 Feed colonies as need, record Winter kill percentages, write final report. J. Berta & Tech advisor C. Grozinger.