Honors College | Session 5

Title

Use of the “Honey Bee Super Highway” as an Internal Hive Modification to Increase Winter Survival Rates of the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Presenter Information

Bailey SpillmanFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Agriculture - Pre-Vet/Vet Tech

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Michael Flinn; Mr. Jeffrey Osborne

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

The value of insect pollination to agricultural production in the United States is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which nearly three-fourths is attributed to honey bees alone. Over the past 50 years, the population of domesticated honey bees in the United States has been declining at an unsustainable rate. The US Department of Agriculture estimates of yearly losses over recent year’s attribute almost two-thirds of this decline to overwinter hive deaths. Many attempts have been made to help support honey bees during overwintering months, but several of these tactics are flawed or labor intensive. Given the limitations of current overwintering hive modification methods, the goal of my research is to implement and test an affordable and low-labor internal hive modification method termed the “Honey Bee Super Highway” (HBSH). This method is a variation of the passage hole system designed by Corwin Bell. For my study I utilized three different media: wooden dowels, bees wax covered wooden dowels, and simple drilled holes. These media were implemented in two separate hives at two different comb depths over 2017-2018 winter months. The bees interacted with the HBSH, making repairs and modifications to the passage holes, but there was no significant change in winter survival rates when compared to hives without passage holes.

Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

Honors College Senior Thesis Presentation

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Use of the “Honey Bee Super Highway” as an Internal Hive Modification to Increase Winter Survival Rates of the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

The value of insect pollination to agricultural production in the United States is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which nearly three-fourths is attributed to honey bees alone. Over the past 50 years, the population of domesticated honey bees in the United States has been declining at an unsustainable rate. The US Department of Agriculture estimates of yearly losses over recent year’s attribute almost two-thirds of this decline to overwinter hive deaths. Many attempts have been made to help support honey bees during overwintering months, but several of these tactics are flawed or labor intensive. Given the limitations of current overwintering hive modification methods, the goal of my research is to implement and test an affordable and low-labor internal hive modification method termed the “Honey Bee Super Highway” (HBSH). This method is a variation of the passage hole system designed by Corwin Bell. For my study I utilized three different media: wooden dowels, bees wax covered wooden dowels, and simple drilled holes. These media were implemented in two separate hives at two different comb depths over 2017-2018 winter months. The bees interacted with the HBSH, making repairs and modifications to the passage holes, but there was no significant change in winter survival rates when compared to hives without passage holes.