Research in Progress

2014 Current Research and Activities

Les Eccles, Melanie Kempers, Devan Rawn, Brian Lacey & Daniel Thurston

Funding sources are provided in brackets

TTP = OBA Tech-Transfer Program

OFIP = Ontario Farm Innovation Program

OMAFRA = Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 

GF2 = Growing Forward 2


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 209 colonies were tested for 10 breeders in 2014.

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.

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

1. Resistance Testing (TTP)

The Pettis test is used to determine the presence of varroa mites resistant to conventional miticides such as Apivar® (amitraz), Apistan® (fluvalinate) and Bayvarol® (flumethrin). 

C. Management Practices to Improve Honey Bee Colony Health:

1. Decontamination of Bee Hive Equipment with Ozone Fumigation (OFIP)

Similar to a project run by Rosalind James, a decontamination chamber is used to test the efficacy of applying ozone to dead out colonies and used equipment to reduce or remove wax contaminants from brood chamber and honey super frames.

2. 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)

In 2014, 5 Introductory Beekeeping workshops were conducted in Ontario. A total of 142 people participated.

2. IPM and Beekeeping Workshops (TTP)

In 2014, 4 IPM workshops were conducted in Ontario. A total of 67 people participated.

3. Introductory Queen Rearing Workshop (TTP)

In 2014, 2 Queen Rearing workshops were conducted in Ontario. A total of 38 people participated.

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.