Our overarching goal is to improve the health of honey bees and other pollinators. Our research cluster uses interdisciplinary, integrated, and novel approaches to address the causes and consequences of recent declines in wild and managed bee colonies.
While many researchers have focused solely on pesticides, bee declines are likely due to the cumulative impact of many subtle stressors. These include diminishing flower resources, habitat loss, climate change, poor hive management and hive stress (e.g., due to transportation from crop to crop), and diseases (e.g., Varroa mites, nosemosis, foulbrood), in addition to exposure to toxic chemicals (e.g., neonicotinoid pesticides).
The BeeHIVE cluster tackles this "grand challenge" by exploring the honey bee’s important roles as a pollinator, biomonitor, and producer. We will also investigate the contributions of native pollinators (e.g., bumblebees, butterblies, hummingbirds, beetles), and the overall value our society places on honey bees in particular. Elements of the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social) are interwoven into each research theme.