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Federal and State Research, Teaching, and Extension

By E. C. MARTIN
Staff scientist, Science and Education Administration, retired.

BEEKEEPING IN THE UNITED STATES
AGRICULTURE HANDBOOK NUMBER 335
Revised October 1980
Pages 168 – 169

Federal Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program of research on various aspects of bee management, crop pollination, diseases and pests, protection of bees from pesticides, biology of honey bees and wild bees, honey bee breeding and genetics, and honey chemistry quality, uses, and handling. Cooperative projects also are conducted with State apiculturists. SEA research is carried on at seven laboratories. Overall guidance, coordination, and evaluation at the national level is the responsibility of the National Program Staff scientist for Crop Pollination, Bees and Honey Research.

A description of major responsibilities of each laboratory follows:

Arizona.-2000 East Allen Road, Tucson, Ariz. 85719. Pollination of agricultural crops particularly cotton, citrus, cucurbits and onions; bee nutrition and physiology, with emphasis on pollen substitutes; bee behavior and the influence on behavior of nectar quality, flower aromas, and chemical and physical stimuli; and identification and role of micro-organisms of the honey bee.

Louisiana.-Rural Route No. 3, Box 82-B, Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, La. 70808. Genetics and bee breeding research. Develop a selection index indicating heritability of important characteristics of bees and the combinability of characteristics between different stocks. Test new insemination methods and equipment; techniques for long-term storage of drone sperm. Study the components of aggressive behavior in honey bees; killing or early supersedure of introduced queens; liaison with Africanized bee projects in South America; control of wax moths by nonchemical means.

Maryland.-Building 476, BARC-East, Beltsville, Md. 20705. Study bee nutrition and develop fully suitable pollen substitutes that may be made commercially available. Test drugs, antibiotics, and chemicals useful in controlling brood and adult bee diseases, wax moth, and other pests. Develop resmethrin or other suitable material for killing bees to control disease or for other purposes.

Pennsylvania.-Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19118. This laboratory does not have a permanent responsibility for honey research, but has made important contributions to our knowledge of honey chemistry, quality control, and industrial uses.

Utah.-UMC 53, Room 261, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84321. Study the systematics, biology, behavior, distribution and usefulness of selected species of wild bees. Attempt to manage species useful in crop pollination. Test the usefulness of wild bees where pollination problems exist with specific crops.

Wisconsin.- Room 436, Russell Laboratories, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. 53706. Pollination of agricultural crops, particularly soybeans, carrots, onions, and cranberries; nectar secretion in soybeans; bee behavior related to production of hybrid crops; effect of environmental electricity on bees in the hive and the field; and management of colonies for most effective pollination. Systems of management and testing bee stocks for honey production; efficient methods of wintering bees; using pollen supplements; and handling package bees.

Wyoming.-P.O. Box 3168, University Station, Laramie, Wyo. 82071. Effects of pesticides on bees and finding how to reduce serious losses caused by specific pesticide-use programs; effects of low-level (sublethal) exposure to pesticides on performance of honey bee colonies; methods of residue analysis for the presence of pesticides in bees, honey, and pollen; basic studies of toxicology and mode of action of pesticides on bees. Distribution, methods of spread, and control of chalkbrood.

State Research, Teaching, and Extension

An important aspect of the educational system of the United States is the coordination of teaching, research, and extension in the college of agriculture of the land-grant university of each State. Under this system, the State agricultural experiment station and the cooperative extension service are integral parts of each college of agriculture. Specialists attached to subject-matter departments transmit research information from the university through the county agents of the extension service or directly to people engaged in agricultural pursuits. Much credit for America’s resourcefulness in agricultural production is due to involvement of the land-grant university system with agricultural industries. In small industries like apiculture, the system does not function in States where there is no qualified apiculturist at the State university.

Of the 50 States, 14 of them have a reasonably comprehensive apiculture program at the land-grant university. In addition to this, personnel from four Federal laboratories located on university campuses teach a university course and some participate in training graduate students. In a few States, university faculty with other major responsibilities teach a university course or assume some responsibility for apicultural extension work, or both. A comprehensive apicultural program may not be warranted in every State, but several important beekeeping States have little or no apicultural work at the State university and some States with highly qualified apiculturists provide little financial support for research. Fortunately, beekeepers are well organized into national, State, and regional associations and well served by newsletters and trade journals, so that useful information is widely disseminated nationwide to those who support their associations and read the journals. A comprehensive listing of apicultural workers appears in Gleanings in Bee Culture each year under the caption “Who’s Who in Apiculture” (Root 1977).

In addition to teaching formal courses, apiculturists at some universities accept graduate students as assistants. From these graduate students come the next generation of research and extension specialists, and some of them enter the industry in various capacities. Training in research methods and responsibilities is an important aspect of graduate work. Much of the apicultural research accomplished in the universities is done by graduate students under the guidance of their major professors. This method is capable of great productivity, providing the major professor has money to provide assistantships for graduate students. Funding of apicultural programs in most States has been consistently low. Survival of the system is important to the future of beekeeping and crop pollination and worthy of industry support.

References

ROOT, JOHN.
1977. WHO’S WHO IN APICULTURE. Gleanings in Bee Culture 105 (4) :156-158, 177.