CCD Topic of Concern at Annual Meeting
Nearly 50 members of the Delaware Beekeepers Association attended the March annual meeting, electing officers and listening to experts from USDA and Penn State University speak about the most recent CCD studies and diseases affecting honey bees.
"CCD is likely an interaction — we can‘t keep looking for a singular cause it‘s a combination of factors," Dr. Jeff Pettis, chief researcher at the USDA‘s lab in Beltsville, Md., told the crowd.
According to Pettis, a combination of mite loads, stress related diseases and honey bee viruses along with pesticide use in foraging areas can combine to weaken colonies, lowering their natural resistance.
"Keep your colonies strong," Pettis advised.
Penn State researcher Sara Ashcraft presented a detailed analysis of pesticide levels found in new wax foundation indicating high levels of coumaphos and fluvalinate. "These were direct from the manufacturer," she said, indicating traces of "hard" chemical treatment for mite control tend to stay in the beeswax. These traces, in turn, she said, can be passed on to brood, both weakening their immune systems as well as enable mites to build a resistance to the treatments.