Research

beesThe Honey Bee Research and Extension program at Oregon State University focuses on honey bee health, nutrition, and pollination with a goal of servicing commercial beekeepers, backyard beekeepers, producers, and all citizens that are interested in bees.

Honey bees are currently faced with numerous maladies, such as pests, diseases, viruses, poor nutrition, and chemicals, just to name a few. Healthy and properly nourished honey bees may be better equipped to deflect the destructive effects of these maladies. By monitoring colonies during crop pollination, studying the honey bee diet, investigating honey bee diseases, and conducting other experiments, we hope to contribute to the body of knowledge necessary for maintaining healthy honey bee colonies.

Ongoing research and extension projects:

  • Comprehensive analysis of honey bee health in Oregon by statewide sampling and monitoring of honey bee colonies for honey bee pests and diseases.
  • Investigating colony-level prevalence and intensity of the gut parasite, Nosema ceranae, and examining the role of optimal nutrition in concurrence with N. ceranae.
  • Evaluating effects of nutrition (pollen diversity) on honey bee health, physiology, and immunocompetence.
  • Enhancing pollination efficiency of honey bee colonies in hard-to-pollinate crops using brood pheromone technology.
  • Oregon Master Beekeeper Program: the goal of this extension program is to improve honey bee colony health throughout Oregon via education and service.

Graduate Student Research

Cameron Jack

Cameron is interested in the prevalence and intensity of Nosema ceranae at the colony level. Other explorations in his Nosema ceranae experiments include determining nutritional value of different pollen types for disease resistance, relationship of the disease to hypopharyngeal gland protein content in nurse bees, and differences in stomach pH levels in infected bees. These experiments will give researchers and beekeepers a better understanding of hive infection levels and has future applications to more effective treatments.

Stephanie Parreira at a microscope

Stephanie Parreira

Stephanie is interested in the long-term sub-lethal effects of pesticide exposure in honey bees through contamination of the pollen diet. She is investigating the effects of a fungicide and a neonicotinoid, both separately and together, on different indicators of colony health and immunity under field conditions. In addition, she plans to follow up her current field experiment with a cage experiment using these same chemicals. Through her research, she aims not only to address possible impacts of pesticide interactions on bee health, but also to address the uncertainties behind laboratory results by analyzing any differences between her lab and field experiments. This will help to answer some key questions raised about current pesticide concerns.