Bee Health @ eXtension.org
The national eXtension initiatve, (prounced e-extension) is an online, public service that provides objective, research-based, credible information and tools you can use every day to improve your life. Subject matter is organized by Communities of Practice, whom are "multi-institutional, multi-state, and multi-disciplinary bringing the best of the best educational resources to you, the public.
Visit the eXtension.org Bee Health website
Here at UT, we are leading the effort to organize a nationwide Community of Practice, or CoP, for Bee Health. This work is funded by the USDA-ARS Areawide Program for Improving Honey Bee Health, led by Jeff Pettis, and the CSREES, NRI Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) for Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Health of Managed Bees, led by the University of Georgia and Keith Delaplaine. This CoP will distribute sustainable, best management practices for bees and the latest information on: Colony Collapse Disorder, Nosema, viruses, Varroa mites, pesticides that effect bee health, managment of native pollinators through landscape conservation, managed bumble bees, the economics of Integrated Pest Management, Africanized honey bees, and much more. Our goal is to facilitate knowledge transfer of sustainable strategies for managed bee health in order to secure continued pollination of our natural and agricultural plant communities. This knowledge will come from the above mentioned USDA-ARS Areawide Program, the CSREES NRI-CAP, and many other bee experts that have experienced, tested strategies and new research to share with the public.
How did we get here?
In response to high death rates of bee colonies in the winters of 2006-2008 and the emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), researchers and extension specialists pooled their resources to engage this new challenge. The phenomenon of CCD coincided with the 2006 release of the National Research Council report, "Status of Pollinators in North America " which outlined declines in all pollinators. These two events created wide awareness of the need for sustainable pollinator management strategies to ensure diverse populations of bees for natural and agricultural plant communities. Academic, private, and Federal scientists pooled their creative energies to address the issue through the formation of a CCD Working Team and Steering Committee. This effort was led by the USDA and the CCD Action Plan was thereby developed. The action plan identifies the formation of a USDA-ARS Areawide Program for Improving Honey Bee Health and the use of eXtension for web-based knowledge transfer with CSREES playing a key role. Simultaneously, lead bee researchers formed the NC508: Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Honey Bee Health. This group developed a comprehensive plan to address problems with managed bees which was then funded by the CSREES, NRI Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) grant award for Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Health of Managed Bees. The CoP leadership team includes persons from all the above groups in addition to selected experts.