Our goal is to facilitate knowledge transfer of sustainable, bee health management practices to secure continued pollination of our natural and agricultural plant communities.
This knowledge comes from experts involved in the USDA-ARS Areawide Program for Improving Honey Bee Health, the USDA-NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) for Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Health of Managed Bees, the USDA-NIFA CAP, Bee Informed Partnership and many other individual bee experts and programs that have experienced, tested strategies and new research to share with the public.
In response to high death rates of bee colonies in the winters of 2006-2008 and the emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), researchers and extension specialists pooled their resources to engage this new challenge. The phenomenon of CCD coincided with the 2006 release of the National Research Council report, "Status of Pollinators in North America" which outlined declines in all pollinators. These two events created wide awareness of the need for sustainable pollinator management strategies to ensure diverse populations of bees for natural and agricultural plant communities. Academic, private, and Federal scientists pooled their creative energies to address the issue through the formation of a CCD Working Team and Steering Committee. This effort was led by the USDA and the CCD Action Plan was thereby developed. The action plan identifies the formation of a USDA-ARS Areawide Program for Improving Honey Bee Health and the use of eXtension for web-based knowledge transfer with CSREES playing a key role. Simultaneously, lead bee researchers formed the NC508: Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Honey Bee Health. This group developed a comprehensive plan to address problems with managed bees which was then funded by the CSREES, NRI Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) grant award for Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Health of Managed Bees. The CoP leadership team includes persons from all the above groups in addition to selected experts.
This image of a honey bee on an almond blossom is chosen as the logo image for the Bee Health CoP. The image is from Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis Department of Entomoogy. It was chosen because the co-dependence between almond pollination and honey bees is probably greater, economically, then any other U.S. crop that requires insect pollination. Eric Mussen (UC Davis) reports that in 1999 over 900,000 colonies of honey bees were moved into California almond orchards for pollination. The almond industry, and the need for pollination, has only grown since then.