Research in Progress

2015 Current Research and Activities

Les Eccles, Melanie Kempers, Daniel Thurston & Dan Borges

A. Breeding and Maintaining Parasitic Mite Resistant Honey Bee Stocks:

1. Maintenance of the Hygienic Trait in Ontario Bee Stocks (TTP)

Hygienic behaviour is important for mite and disease resistance within a colony. Colonies which ranked in Group 1 (>80% of killed brood cells removed) and Group 2 (60-80% of killed brood cells removed) were recommended for use as breeders for the subsequent generation. 

2. Health Status of Colonies Tested in the Breeding Program (TTP)

Honey bee samples were collected from potential breeder colonies. At the time of hygienic behaviour testing, forager bees were collected. Bees were also collected from the brood chamber before treatments were applied in the fall. Varroa and tracheal mite infestation levels were determined and nosema spore levels analyzed as an indication of the health of the colonies. Monitoring the health of breeder colonies will ensure the quality of the bee stock produced in Ontario. 

3. Queen Fertility Testing (TTP)

Honey bee queens raised within established breeding programs were analyzed for mating success by determining sperm counts and sperm viability within the spermatheca. Queens were also analyzed for the presence of nosema and any noticeable damage.

Management Practices to Improve Honey Bee Colony Health:

Effect of sublethal doses of Neonicitinoids on Honey Bee Colonies in Ontario (OMAFRA)

This project was developed to assess the effects of oral and contact exposure of neonicitinoids on honey bees and their lifespan, as well as queen and drone viability.

D. Progressive Training and Information Program for Beekeepers:

1. Introductory Beekeeping Workshops (TTP)

2. IPM and Beekeeping Workshops (TTP)

3. Introductory Queen Rearing Workshop (TTP)

4. BeeCareful Traceability and Labour Productivity Software (GF2)

A beekeeping management program that uses TTP assets as support for day to day managing of beekeeping operations.