Honey bees keep Oregon agriculture humming
OSU research zeroes in on critical factors of honey bee health
Honey bees are crucial pollinators for many of Oregon's crops, including blueberries, pears, cherries, apples and vegetable seeds. So OSU researchers are making sure that these hardworking insects are healthy and thriving. That's important because a beekeeper with 1,000 hives can easily spend $3,000 a year on antibiotics.
At a diagnostic lab on campus, technicians examine thousands of bees that commercial hive owners send them to check for mites, nosema spores and protein levels. As soon as the analysis is done, they post the results online so beekeepers can easily access them. The lab is estimated to save Oregon's beekeepers, who manage 56,000 hives, $1.4 million a year in reduced costs for medications.
But health isn't the only aspect OSU's researchers are working on. Using pheromones to increase pollination, they've been able to boost yields in carrot seed crops by 15 percent. They expect similar results in other crops they're studying such as blueberries, blackberries and clover.
Source: Ramesh Sagili, Oregon State University.