Virginia-funded honey bee study cut short by budget problems

February 27, 2017

From: Work It, Lynchburg

By Tonia Moxley

A budget shortfall has brought a premature end to a five-year, $1.4 million Virginia Tech study on honeybee health that officials had hoped would find the roots of the state’s high colony death rates.


Since Virginia began tracking colony losses in 2001, the death rate has increased dramatically. Historically, 10 percent or less of hives died annually, Keith Tignor, state apiarist for the commonwealth, has said. Yearly losses swelled to about 30 percent following the invasion of two parasitic mites — tracheal mites in the 1980s and Varroa destructor mites in the ’90s. Some years, rates are higher.

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