Honey Bee Nutrition Might Be Key To Healthy Colonies


A Texas A&M AgriLife Research and USDA project looks to honey bee diets to strengthen immunity to disease pathogens and reduce population losses.

A newly funded Texas A&M AgriLife Research project seeks to slow population losses among more than 2.6 million managed honey bee colonies in the U.S.

Honey bees provide pollination services that uphold $16 billion in U.S. agricultural crops. However, managed colonies have seen annual declines. Those include a 40% decline as recently as 2018-2019, said Juliana Rangel, AgriLife Research honey bee scientist in the Department of Entomology, Bryan-College Station.

The declines are attributed to several general issues, including poor nutrition and susceptibility to pathogens and diseases, said Pierre Lau, AgriLife Research graduate assistant and a Texas A&M University doctoral candidate in Rangel’s laboratory.

Lau is also the project leader. To prevent future managed colony losses, his team will look for ways to strengthen bee colony immunity to disease pathogens by feeding them more nutritious diets.

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