Bee research on display at FSR

LONDON, Ohio — Two separate research projects involving honey bee colonies will be highlighted at the 2013 Farm Science Review, giving attendees insight into the effects that agriculture production has on bees as well as new practices in colony building.

Reed Johnson, assistant professor of entomology at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, began a research project in April, prior to corn planting, by establishing six honey bee colonies on site at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home of the Farm Science Review, to determine where in the landscape the bees may have been exposed to seed-treatment dust emanating from the planters.

The results

Preliminary results have concluded that the honey bees foraged on dandelions in late April, collected tree pollen in early May and then switched to trees in the rose family in mid-May.

“The honey bees at FSR seemed to do really well this spring,” said Johnson. “We are still in the process of determining whether and how the bees were exposed to insecticides in corn seed-treatment dust on these flowers.”

In an unrelated project, the West Central Ohio Beekeepers Association, in conjunction with the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative, have embarked on a project that entails replacing honey bee colonies that die out during the winter with nucleus colonies, or small, starter colonies, according to Dwight Wells, WCOBA president and founding member of the HHBBC.

“WCOBA queen producers will have access to the co-op’s breeder queens during the project,” said Wells. “The co-op, which was formed last June at Purdue University, involves the cooperative sharing of information, techniques and disease-resistant genetics between queen producers in numerous northern states, such as Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia.”

During this year’s Farm Science Review, WCOBA will be holding demonstrations at the Gwynne Conservation Area highlighting several of the hives and queen bees that originated from the co-op.

“While the Farm Science Review is largely known for our focus on farming, we also want to highlight other topics related to environmental science,” said Matt Sullivan, assistant manager. “The bee research that is being conducted on site is a first for us, and we’re glad to partner with WCOBA once again this year to enhance the educational aspect of the show.”

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