*WINNER* Increasing the Population of Varroa Mite Resistant Honey Bees in the Upper Cumberland
This one best undergraduate poster in Agriculture.
Infestation of honey bee colonies with varroa mites has been shown to be the major cause of the catastrophic loss of honey bees in the United States. This project was initiated to increase the population of varroa mite resistant honey bees in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee and create a teaching resource documentary to raise awareness of the importance of honey bees. Numerous commercial pesticide and management methods for control of varroa mites have been investigated with variable results. A more desirable goal would be to locate, select for, and propagate honey bees that are locally adapted to the environment and genetically resistant to varroa mite infestation. This study focused on selecting resistant genetics from a successful hive that had survived for three years. Queens with potential to produce genetic resistance to varroa mite infestation were propagated. New colonies with this genetic potential were established at Tennessee Tech University. The number of colonies was increased from three to seven colonies by the end of the summer. To increase the level of understanding of honey bees among elementary and high school students in the middle Tennessee region, a documentary describing some of the biology, social behavior, and management of honey bee colonies was produced. This documentary focused on information regarding the value of honey bees as pollinators and the potential losses that could result from continued decline of honey bees in the Upper Cumberland region and in the United States.