Hobby Farms Editors
February 18, 2009

USDA grants $4 million for bee research

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To help bees in their struggle to survive Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other bee diseases, researchers have received a boost of more than $4 million.

The money–awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–goes to the University of Georgia to study the causes of diseases affecting bee population.

The 4-year grant is funded through USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).

How much are bees worth? According to USDA, their pollination activity is valued at $15 billion annually to U.S. agriculture. The pollinating that bees do is a key to supporting the nation’s food supply.

The U of G project, “Protection of Managed Bees Coordinated Agricultural Project,” aims to improve the health of managed bee populations in agricultural systems.

The research will address genomics, breeding, pathology, immunology and applied ecology to explain the causes behind dwindling bee populations.

Researchers will work closely with the extension community and other stakeholders to develop and implement mitigation strategies for CCD and other significant problems.

CCD became a matter of concern in the winter of 2006-2007 when an estimated 25 percent of the beekeepers in the United States reported major losses of adult bees from their hives.

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