Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases
Honey bee health decline has been documented for years. The known negative honey bee health challenges are attributable to parasites, diseases and environmental toxins. There have been no national honey bee health surveys conducted to ascertain the scope of additional unidentified parasites, diseases and pests that may have a negative impact on honey bee populations in the United States. Therefore, many pests, particularly pathogens in the U.S. have not been identified. Conducting a national survey will allow us to identify honey bee pests in the U.S. The benefit to the U.S. apiculture industry would be significant to inform and guide the direction of honey bee parasite, disease, and pest research and help provide mitigation recommendations. APHIS and ARS have developed sampling tools to survey honey bee pests such as Tropilaelaps spp. In addition, molecular characterization tools are being developed to survey for viruses, other pathogens and exotic pest and bee species. Many honey bee pathogens, particularly viruses, have not yet been identified or described in the U.S. and several exotic bee species would become pest if introduced into the U.S. The benefit to the U.S. apiculture industry would be significant to inform and guide the direction of honey bee parasite, disease, and pest research and help provide mitigation recommendations.