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Pennsylvania State
Beekeepers Association

Research

Pennsylvania Queen Bee Improvement

The goal of the Pennsylvania Queen Bee Improvement Program is to develop/breed honeybees that are: resistant to varroa mites and brood disease requiring little or no treatment, hardy with at least an 80% overwintering survival rate, gentle, and produce honey. Over the past several years PSBA members with help of PSU and USDA Sustainable Agriculture grants, have been evaluating different genetic stocks for their ability to survive Pennsylvania winters and other environmental stressors. Both beekeepers and queen-producers worked together on this project. Preliminary results are positive and PSBA wants to expand the field trials by seeking new participants.

The spirit of willingness to share their quality stock with others in order to move the breeding effort forward is a must. New participants should desire to improve Pennsylvania stock by evaluating either their current stock, and/or stock they receive from the program and by sharing of quality genetic stock with others. There are a variety of ways to share genetic stock either by distributing queens, virgin queens, queen cells, eggs/larvae frames for grafting or drone semen for artificial insemination.

“PA Queen Improvement Projects” 2016, Outreach / Field Day – East, was held on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at Meadow View Beekeeping, LLC in Bethel, PA.

In all, there were in excess of 40 people that attended. It was a beautiful day that saw a high temperature in the low 80’s and featured bright sunshine with low humidity. There were (9) county clubs represented, many by their club’s presidents. (60) 48 hour Purdue cells and countless grafts taken from (3) overwintered Purdue daughters that Mark Gingrich brought the day of the event. In addition, a colony that has overwintered (2) consecutive years in PA and an overwintered VP were available to graft from. The facility and refreshments were provided by Steve Finke. Mark Gingrich was the organizer of the event.

Charlie Vorisek held a similar event the same day in Linesville, PA in the north western corner of the state. The PA Queen Improvement Project co-chairs are Jeff Berta and Mark Gingrich.

Project Details (pdf)
Queen Evaluation Sheet (xlsx)
Queen Evaluation Sheet (pdf)
Example Field Day Overview (pdf)
Example Field Day Timeline (pdf)

Pesticides

List of chemicals, where they are commonly used, and the type of chemical (insecticide, fungicide, herbicide):
Pesticide List (Spreadsheet Format)
Pesticide List (HTML Format)

Informative Articles

"1-year Olds and Honey"
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"Pollination Problems in Suburbia"
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"Corn Dust Research Consortium Report"
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"Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive"
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"Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae"
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"Nosema ceranae Escapes Fumagillin Control"
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"Idiopathic brood disease syndrome and queen events as precursors of colony mortality..."
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"Increased Resin Collection after Parasite Challenge: A Case of Self-Medication in Honey Bees?"
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"A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly"
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"Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline"
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