Protecting Bee Health is a Long-Term Commitment

September 12, 2014


U.S. Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture for Valdosta Today:

For those in agriculture, harvest season is a busy time. Farmers nurture their fields all year, which leads to feeding our families and much of the world. Most growers involved in horticulture production know that their long hours are matched by the non-stop effort of bees, which remain a critical component of our nation’s food supply. The harvest of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamentals, and greenhouse crops are dependent upon the bee colonies in the United States.


Although there are many factors affecting bee populations, perhaps none is as important as the varroa mite, an invasive parasite that has decimated bee colonies since its introduction to the United States in the late 1980s. Beekeepers have had an increasingly difficult time managing these destructive pests and ensuring that sufficient bees are available to pollinate some of our most important crops. These difficulties have been directly tied to higher over-wintering losses and poor colony health. It is for these reasons that new products, more effective at protecting the bee from pests, must be developed.

Our examination of this problem during the spring hearing resulted in a renewed drive to intensify and coordinate efforts among many stakeholders to combat this pest. As a result, I introduced a varroa-focused bill this week to help expedite the registration of new bee health technologies, while requiring regular progress reports from the government agencies involved in bee health research and regulation. This is a critically important step in ensuring we protect these vital pollinators, but there is more work yet to do.

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