New Utah Pests Fact Sheets:
Alfalfa Stem Nematode
Black Grass Bugs
Russian Wheat Aphid
Utah Home Orchard Pest Management Guide (Revised)
Wheat Stripe Rust
UTAH PESTS Staff
Kent Evans (No longer at USU)
Plant Pathology Specialist
Erin Frank (No longer at USU)
Plant Disease Diagnostician
Erin Hodgson (No longer at USU)
IPM Project Leader
Editor, Utah Pests News
Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
BNR Room 203
Utah State University
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322
Utah Pests News is published quarterly by the UTAH PESTS staff.
Bee Health In Utah
|Honeybee drinking nectar
|A normal honeybee hive has capped, brood, and many adult workers
Bee health is a hot topic in the entomology world, and for anyone depending on pollinating insects. Most likely many of you have heard about widespread honeybee colony death in the United States. The collective term for this poorly understood phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Originally described in North America in late 2006, CCD is also being observed in Europe and possibly in Taiwan. To date, there is no single cause to blame for CCD. But there are a number of developing theories attempting to explain why honeybees are suddenly dying, including malnutrition, pathogens, parasites, pesticides and genetically modified crops. CCD could likely be a combination of several factors contributing to the rapid decline of bee colony health. When a honeybee hive crashes, several simultaneous symptoms associated with CCD are often evident, such as a lack of adult bees in the hive, capped brood (bees do not normally abandon a hive until the brood emerges), and available food stores. In some cases, the hives appear relatively healthy and include an active queen, but there just aren’t enough adults present in the hive to take care of the immature brood.
Domesticated honeybees in the United States were introduced from Europe in the 19th Century. Since 1971, the United States has seen a gradual decline in domesticated honeybees and a striking decline in native, wild honeybees. Although the number of beehive colonies are decreasing each year, there is still a huge demand for pollinating insects in agriculture and horticulture. Honeybees are responsible for about one-third of pollinated crops in the United States, with total production values exceeding $15 billion each year. Almonds, for example, are worth over $1.5 billion and depend on honeybees for pollination. Honeybees also pollinate apples, blackberries, cherries, cucumbers, peaches, raspberries and watermelons. In Utah, the honey industry is worth more than $1 million each year.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) monitors for bee health every year. Bee inspectors not only survey for the number of active hives within the state, but also assess the health of each colony by sampling for pathogens and parasites. Two of the most important problems affecting bee health in Utah include the varroa mite and a bacterial disease called American foulbrood. In 2007, over 3,400 colonies were inspected by members of UDAF. Overall, varroa mites were prevalent, but disease incidence was low (2.6%). Beekeepers actively try to control mites and harmful bacteria so that the hives are in optimal health.
The exact reason for CCD is still unknown. Fortunately, CCD has not been detected in Utah beehives. The Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group, primarily based at Penn State University, is leading the research to stop CCD and improve bee health. To learn more about CCD, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_Collapse_Disorder. Local beekeeping clubs can also provide specific information for colony health, pest control, and marketing bee byproducts.
-Erin Hodgson, Extension Entomologist (No longer at USU)
Picture of the Quarter
A small-operation greenhouse grower of poinsettias in Utah contacted Extension Plant Pathologist, Kent Evans, last fall with an unusual case of pesticide damage on his plants. Workers had sprayed his lawn for weed control including the outer edges of his greenhouse. Fumes from the herbicide seeped into the greenhouse. Because of the cooler day, the fans weren’t running, and the volatile compounds settled onto the plants and destroyed the grower’s seasonal crop of poinsettias.
-Kent Evans, Extension Plant Pathologist (No longer at USU)