Student Summer Scholars
 

Keywords

honey, bee, Apis mellifera, nutrition, pollen, pollen diversity, agricultural landscape

Disciplines

Animal Sciences

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Abstract

Managed honeybee colonies are in significant decline worldwide. The interaction between poor nutrition, pests and diseases, and pesticide use are most cited as potential culprits for the precarious state of the beekeeping industry. By evaluating food coming into the hive, conclusions can be drawn about the quality of hive location and forage availability. Pollen from an apiary with historically low honey production and poor colony health was compared to pollen from an apiary with high honey production and good colony health. Pollen was collected weekly in a 24-hour period, hive weight was monitored, and colonies were assessed for overall growth and health. There was no significant difference in pollen diversity or crude protein content between the study sites; however, there was a significant difference in the quantity of pollen collected. Colony production was also comparable. A mobile application was developed as a tool for beekeepers to replicate this research using similar protocol and to participate in pollen data gathering as citizen scientists. This will allow for the collection of broad geographic data on a larger scale.