Keep Bees Alive

It is a hard time to be a honey bee! Honey bee colonies have been dying at high rates every year for over 10 years. This year, beekeepers experienced almost a 40% loss. This is hard on bees and beekeepers. The Keep Bees Alive project has been designed to help beekeepers with some of the most common causes of colony death. 

Most beekeepers who are losing bees are losing them to Varroa and Varroa associated diseases. Often, beekeepers lose bees in their first few years of beekeeping. After losing bees year after year, some discouraged beekeepers quit and others find a way to keep their bees alive. We want healthy bees and happier beekeepers. Here are some resources that will help you keep your bees alive and healthy.

Understanding honey bee colony death from varroa:

Why Did My Bees Die? webinar video
Why Did My Honey Bees Die? handout

Monitoring your honey bees for varroa:

Understanding Varroa Risk webinar video
Varroa Mite Monitoring handout
MiteCheck free mobile app from Google Play: tutorials, shake trainer, and resources to monitor, report, and manage varroa
MiteCheck free mobile app from the Apple Store: tutorials, shake trainer, and resources to monitor, report, and manage varroa
Varroa Mite Monitoring Using a sugar roll to identify populations of Varroa destructor in honey bee colonies
Varroa Mite Testing Kit powdered sugar roll kit for sale from MSU Extension Bookstore
University of Minnesota Bee Squad Videos include instructional videos on the powdered sugar roll to monitor Varroa
MiteCheck participate in a citizen-science program to monitor and report Varroa
Keep Bees Alive: Keep Bees Alive: Information and resources for keeping your bees healthy in the era of varroa: Information and resources for keeping your bees healthy in the era of varroa MiteCheck PowerPoint presentation
Mite Check with Becky Masterman webinar from the Ohio State University with Dr. Rebecca Masterman from the University of Minnesota Bee Squad
Varroa mites: a step-by-step guide to monitoring in New York from Cornell University
Mite and Virus Management Plan worksheet to plan your mite management plan from Cornell University
Varroa Monitoring and Treatment worksheet to record varroa monitoring from Cornell University
Varroa Integrated Pest Management - Sampling & Control Tracking Worksheet from the Honey Bee Health Coalition

Keeping varroa under control:

Making a Plan for the Varroa Mite webinar video
Keeping Your Bees Safe from the Varroa Mite handout
Managing the Varroa mite instructions and resources
Tools for Varroa Management: A Guide to Varroa Sampling & Control from the Honey Bee Health Coalition
Varroa Management Decision Tool from the Honey Bee Health Coalition
Tools for Varroa Mite Management Videos from the Honey Bee Health Coalition - instructions on how to properly apply varroa treatments
Varroa Bee Club Program - download a video and/or PowerPoint presentation to learn about varroa or share with your beekeeping club - from the Honey Bee Health Coalition
Protect Your Bees from Varroa Mites PowerPoint video on YouTube from the Honey Bee Health Coalition
Varroa mites: A guide to control methods in New York from Cornell University
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Varroa Mite Control from Cornell University
Varroa Resistant Queen Breeders in the USA from Cornell University
Managing Varroa Mites in Honey Bee Colonies by Mississippi State University
A Beekeepers Guide to Using Oxalic Acid from Perfect Bee

Our philosophy

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Honey bees are animals, and they deserve to be well fed, healthy, and free to live their life as a bee.  When we keep honey bees in the United States, not only are we keeping them outside of their native range, but we are often asking them to live in places with a lot of environmental stress - not enough nutritious flowers, too much chemical exposures, and pressure from disease that are new to them.  As beekeepers, our job is to make sure that our bees are not to stressed, so our colonies can live healthy lives, and go about their business of being bees!

Our Goal

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Our goal is to reduce the number of honey bee colonies that die each year.  Our objective is to provide support and guidance to beekeepers who have lost colonies so they can determine the cause of death, and take actions to prevent the same stresses from affecting future colonies.

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If you have a specific topic that you would like addressed, or have questions, you can email mpi@msu.edu.

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This work is supported by a NIFA CARE grant "Mite Check:  A national strategy to reduce honey bee colony loss from the varroa mite“ [grant no. 2017-08680] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.