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Bee Aware: NIFA Celebrates National Honey Bee Day

Nifa Authors
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)
Andy Thigpen, Public Affairs Specialist (Web)

Bees and other pollinators are crucial to agricultural production across the globe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 35 percent of crop production worldwide is directly affected by these bumbling and buzzing friends.

And in the United States, more than 100 U.S. grown crops rely on pollinators. In addition to managed honey bees, the US is home to 4,000 native bee species.

National Honey Bee Day brings awareness to the importance of honey bees and beekeepers and how essential they are to our food systems. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has been proud to invest in research that ensures honeybees and beekeepers continue to help farmers in the United States keep our country fed. Since 2016, NIFA has awarded approximately $21.5 million in grants for honey bee health related projects.

Here are some highlighted projects from our land-grant university partners.

Beemunity: New Technology Protects Bees from Insecticides
A third of beekeepers’ hives are lost to insecticide use every year. Researchers at Cornell University are testing a new product that will act as an antidote for these deadly chemicals. “Beemunity” is a new company that is currently running trials on new products such as microparticle sponges that can be added to pollen patties or sugar water.

Read the full announcement here.

Stormy Weather: Resolving the Climate Emergency Means Saving Bees
As the effects of climate change are more keenly felt by humans, animals such as pollinators have been dealing with them for some time. Researchers at Penn State University have conducted studies that show wild bees are more affected by climate change than by disturbances to their habitats. Their findings suggest that extreme weather events such as high temperatures and irregular rain patterns are crucial to bee community health­ ꟷ and may be even more important than suitable flora or nesting resources.

Read the full announcement here.
 
Crop Pollinators: Improving Pollination Can Increase Specialty Crop Yields
Specialty crop such as apples, blueberries, and cherries rely heavily on bees to pollinate crop flowers. A study conducted by Michigan State University found that honey bees and wild bees provide similar amounts of pollination and that providing these beneficial insects additional habitat would boost pollination levels and lead to an increase of crop production. In the U.S., the production of crops that depend on pollinators generates more than $50 billion a year.

Read the full announcement here.
 
Learn more about NIFA’s research into honey bees and pollinators! Examples of past projects addressing pollinator health include: 
 
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