Research in Progress

2014 Current Research and Activities

Les Eccles, Melanie Kempers, Devan Rawn & Brian Lacey

Funding sources are provided in brackets

TTP = OBA Tech-Transfer Program

CAAP = Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program

OMAFRA = special funding from OMAFRA

KTT = OMAFRA/U of G Knowledge, Translation and Transfer Program


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. A total of 238 colonies were tested for 11 breeders in 2012.

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. As of late November, samples from 238 potential breeder colonies from eleven bee breeders have been submitted for nosema and tracheal mite testing and 40 samples have been submitted from two bee breeders for varroa mite testing. Additional sample delivery is expected.

B. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program to Control Honey Bee Pests & Diseases:

1. Resistance Testing (TTP)

The Pettis test was used to determine the presence of varroa mites resistant to conventional miticides such as Apivar® (amitraz), Apistan® (fluvalinate) and Bayvarol® (flumethrin). In September, resistance testing was conducted in one bee yard in Halton County. Average fluvalinate, amitraz and flumethrin efficacy was 96.89%, 96.74% and 96.84% respectively.

C. Management Practices to Improve Honey Bee Colony Health:

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)