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  • Kara Maddox

Pollinator Week and the Pandemic

This original article was published by the Honey Bee Health Coalition on June 22, 2020. Click here for more!

It's Pollinator Week, an annual celebration of pollinators and a time to learn and spread the word about ways we can help protect them. Due to the pandemic, we encourage you to recognize pollinators this year in socially distant ways, such as planting pollinator habitat and spending time with the bees and butterflies that can inspire hope in challenging times. The Honey Bee Health Coalition is continuing to leverage the power of collaboration toward our goal of healthy populations of honey bees and other native and managed pollinators in and around agricultural land. Read on for more Coalition updates including an overview of the pandemic impacts our members are experiencing, an announcement about a new resource for beekeepers, and a brief tribute to an advocate for bees. Don't forget to visit our website for resources to manage varroa mites, protect pollinators from incidental pesticide exposure, plant forage, and partner with other agricultural stakeholders to implement an integrated approach to pollinator health.  You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook this week as we post about pollinators and share resources we've developed to help them.

Pandemic Impacts Across Beekeeping and Agriculture These certainly are different and difficult times for many beekeepers, farmers, researchers, advocates, businesses, and government agencies within the Coalition. Members gathered virtually in May and shared how the pandemic is impacting them and how they are adapting to continue to support bee health. Across North America, beekeepers have faced labor shortages, delays of critical supplies, and increased trucking costs. Disruptions in the supply of queens from the U.S. have impacted Canadian beekeepers. Production delays and increased costs, combined with the continued low price of honey, could impact beekeepers' businesses and the industry. Growers of most bee-pollinated crops have also been affected by the pandemic impacts facing beekeepers. Nearly all farmers have been challenged by supply chain disruptions, and fresh produce farmers were hit particularly hard by sudden closures of schools, restaurants, and other markets. Commodity growers have been affected by decreased international exports and processing plant issues. Research and regulatory efforts have continued as much as possible despite remote working and lab closures. Agribusinesses have similarly faced supply chain disruptions, reduced demand, and lab closures. Some companies reworked their labs to support COVID-19 testing. The Coalition continues to move forward with initiatives in bee nutrition and forage, crop pest management, and hive management while we evaluate new challenges and opportunities to support bee health and the resilience of our agricultural systems.

Coming Soon: Factsheet on Beekeeping Medications

Beekeepers will soon be able to refer to a one-page factsheet developed by the Coalition that lists all approved and effective medications and treatments for the most common honey bee parasites and diseases. These include American and European foulbrood, nosema, small hive beetles, tracheal mites, varroa mites, and wax moths. Stay tuned!

In Memoriam: Christi Heintz
We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Christi Heinz last month. Christi was an important advocate for beekeeping, and she offered essential leadership in the early years of the Honey Bee Health Coalition. She is greatly missed. Read more about Christi from Project Apis m. and the Almond Board of California.

Help Us Help Bees

Everyone has a role to play in protecting bees. The Coalition is proud to provide tools that help beekeepers, growers, and others across agriculture improve honey bee health. Thank you for sharing these resources within your networks and supporting our work.

The Honey Bee Health Coalition was formed in 2014 and uses the power of multi-stakeholder collaboration to work toward healthy populations of honey bees and other native and managed pollinators in and around agricultural land.


The Coalition is facilitated by the Keystone Policy Center, a nationally recognized nonprofit. Founded in 1975, Keystone maintains an unwavering commitment to independence by not advocating for any single position but rather by helping all participants work together to address shared goals and reach mutually agreeable solutions.

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