Reducing Hive Losses from Varroa Mites Honey Bee Program

Randall Weiseman Georgia, Industry News Release

Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda, PhD Clemson University Apiculture Specialist, will be our guest speaker Wednesday, August 16 at the Carroll County Ag Center located at 900 Newnan Road in Carrollton, Georgia 30117 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  She will be speaking with us on her experience and research working with Varroa mites and her honey bee program at Clemson.  Dr. Tsuruda is a very energetic and gifted speaker who understands our concern and frustration raising honey bees.  You will not want to miss this program.

If you have been raising honey bees for a few years now, you have or probably know someone that has lost their bees and cannot really explain why.  The problem you are experiencing is not unique to  just you.  There is a growing concern over how many bees are being lost by beginning beekeepers with just a few hives to those more experienced and having many hives.  Hives losses have been steadily climbing over the years with approximately 40% or more lost annually primarily due to diseases transmitted by Varroa mites.

The main reason for hive losses is integrated pest management (IPM) programs which are not sufficient to manage the mites and their ability to become more resistant to our limited options for control.  Many beekeepers do nothing at all managing their hives for Varroa mites which leads to a population increase for that area.  Other beekeepers in the same area that have a good IPM program are handicapped by their neighbor down the road who does not treat for mites.  Also where you keep bees on a regular basis, there will be an increase in mite populations due to their specific host (honey bee) being so plentiful.  A wellmanaged IPM program is necessary to control the losses.

We have gotten many calls from area beekeepers who are very concerned about their honey bee hive losses.  We recognized this as being a major issue for our area so we got in touch with Dr. Tsuruda about having a program for us.  With help from the Carroll County Farm Bureau as our sponsor, we were able to reserve her for this program on August 16.

Originally from California, Dr. Tsuruda has been studying honey bees for over 15 years. She received her PhD at the University of California at Davis, was a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University and has studied honey bee foraging behavior, reproductive physiology, behavioral resistance to mites and genomic imprinting.

Since joining Clemson University as South Carolina’s Apiculture Specialist in 2014, she has been working on research projects related to honey bee genetics and pesticide exposure in ornamental landscapes.  Dr Tsuruda has also been organizing and speaking at scientific meetings, guest lecturing, participating in field days, holding training programs and outreach events.,

There is a $10 charge to attend the program.  Please contact Richard Littleton by email at rlittle@uga.edu or calling the Carroll County Extension Office at 770-836-8546 to register.

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