Presenter: Danielle Downey, Project Apis m.
From the Laboratory to the Landscape: How Project Apis m. is Helping the Beekeeping Industry
Founded 12 years ago during the crisis of CCD, Project Apis m. has grown into the largest non profit whose mission is to fund and direct honey bee health research. Working closely with beekeepers, growers and researchers, PAm has funded and directed over 150 projects, investing nearly $7Million into research with applied value to ensure honey bee health and crop pollination. Learn more about PAm’s practical approach to help the beekeeping industry, and hear about some of our most promising projects—from the Laboratory, with 44 active research projects, to the Landscape, planting acres of pollinator habitat alongside agriculture in 13 states.
Breeding Varroa-Resistant Bees: A Promising Project You Haven’t Heard About
We have known for decades that there are bees with naturally occurring behavioral traits to resist Varroa mites. So why are Varroa-resistant bees not flooding the markets? The answer is complicated, but one factor is that we haven’t had mite-resistant bees that are as productive as currently available commercial bees. Recognizing that breeding bees is a challenging, long-term commitment, Project Apis m. is supporting a public/private partnership to select a stock of bees with both Varroa-resistance and also the other traits beekeepers require, like gentleness, honey production, spring buildup and overwintering ability. Great progress has been made, with the ultimate aims of both breeding the bees and then fostering scaled-up queen production to meet commercial needs.
Danielle Downey is the Executive Director of Project Apis m., the largest non-profit 501 (c) (5) organization funding and directing honey bee research and projects aimed at practical solutions for healthier bees and crop production in the United States and Canada. More than 25 years ago, Danielle began working with honey bees and the parasites that plague them. Her background includes training and research from bee labs in Minnesota, Canada and France; beekeeper education, work with commercial beekeepers and queen breeders, regulatory work as a State Apiarist in Utah and Hawaii, and wrangling bees for TV and film. She has worked closely with the Apiary Inspectors of America; Bee Informed Project; and the USDA, in a public/private bee breeding project with collaborators in Hawaii, Louisiana and Europe, selecting and refining Varroa-resistant bees. She holds a BSc from University of Minnesota and an MSc from Simon Fraser University.