The honey bee extension program 2016

Date: 

2016

Summary: 

My mission is to work with beekeepers in New York State to understand the factors affecting honey bee health, with a focus on pathogens, pesticides, and management practices. I provide extension and education through the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team, the Cornell Master Beekeeper Program, the Pollinator Network Website, and a variety of workshops. The overall goal of beekeeping extension is to improve honey bee colony health and the profitability of the beekeeping industry.

Issue: 

Honey bee colony losses continue to occur at unsustainable levels. In 2015, NYS lost 54% of their colonies. Research into the factors associated with these losses is critical. Just as critical is educating beekeepers and other stakeholders on this research and what they can do to help honey bees. Beekeeping operations of all sizes, from hobbyists to large scale commercial, benefit from a variety of apiculture extension avenues. Bees are needed for the production of many important agricultural crops in New York, and pollination services alone are valued at $500 million a year. It is therefore critical to food production that we have sufficient populations of healthy bees.

Response: 

We have created a variety of extension avenues to target the entire beekeeping industry. The NYS Beekeeper Tech Team works directly with hobbyist, sideliner, and commercial beekeepers to understand what factors are influencing their honey bees' health, provide recommendations to improve bee health, and work with them to achieve their business goals. The Cornell Master Beekeeper Program is launching in March 2017 and will educate beekeepers with at least 3 years of experience on all aspects of honey bee health, management, and beekeeping business. Workshops and club talks are tailored toward new beekeepers and those interested in refresher training. The Pollinator Network website provides research results, information sheets, and video clips on a variety of bee topics.

I helped advise the development of the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan to create the Tech Team and pollinator research projects to make this work possible.

Impact: 

To date, my work has helped educate many people (beekeepers, the public, pesticide applicators, gardeners, legislators, etc.) on the importance of honey bees and other pollinators for agriculture and floral biodiversity. People are becoming more aware of the factors affecting bees, and ways that we can change our behaviors to reduce risks. My advisory role to the Pollinator Task Force helped shape research and extension priorities for the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan. 30 beekeepers have enrolled in the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team that we are working one-on-one with to improve their beekeeping operations. The Master Beekeeper Program has room to enroll 50 students each year to train in best management practices.

Submitted by: 

  • Mullen, Emma K

Researchers involved: 

  • Mullen, Emma K

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York