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Bees and Pollination

Honey Bees and Colony Strength Evaluation – An Online Learning Program

Honey bees are essential for pollination of many fruit, nut, vegetable, and seed crops. Concerns about the quality and availability of honey bee colonies for pollination have increased in recent years because of the impact of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) as well as greater pressure and difficulty managing honey bee pests, parasites, and diseases. The result has been a significant increase in pollination fees, particularly for almond pollination which requires tremendous numbers of bees from throughout the US to meet the demand.

The objective in developing this course was to provide easily accessible information to improve the understanding of recommended colony strength evaluation practices. The course consists of individual modules that provide background information on honey bees as well as clear, consistent recommendations for apiary inspection. Individuals can take advantage of the training at their convenience. The modular approach requires short blocks of time for each section and the viewer can proceed at their own pace viewing modules in any order they wish. The existing information will be updated when appropriate and additional topics may be added in the future. Within each module, there are short quizzes to test for understanding. A series of skills practice sets is also included in this online training to improve your understanding of brood, frame, and cluster count evaluation. Nothing can replace actual hands-on experience, so this course should be considered as an overview of the colony strength evaluation process with the aim to improve consistency of inspections.