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Goals & Objective: Goal 4
Objective 4.1

Obj 4.1: Establish a Managed Pollinator Community of Practice with eXtension and populate website with new literatures on Best Management Practices for Beekeepers, for queen producers, and for Bee Conservation

(Skinner, Delaplane)

Rationale and significance
The eXtension university network is an internet-based educational partnership of 1862 and 1890 institutions of the Land-Grant University System. It has been created to serve as a clearinghouse for objective, research-based information and to provide a platform for communities of experts to produce refereed, media-based deliverables and track penetration metrics such as web hits and downloads. eXtension is the perfect clearinghouse for deliverables flowing from this CAP. Moreover, J. Pettis (ARS Areawide Coordinator) has offered to pool resources with us in that group’s plans to develop a Community of Practice (see Documentation of Collaboration). 

Expected outcomes


  1. create a widely-used and high-impact educational tool for effective knowledge delivery on bee health management,
  2. ensure that the Managed Pollinator CoP will continue indefinitely beyond the life of this CAP and constitute one of its most enduring legacies,
  3. quantify that beekeepers in significant numbers adopt BMP for Apis and non-Apis pollinators,
  4. improve beekeeping profitability, and
  5. promote the widespread adoption of non-Apis conservation practices. 

Summary Statement for Goal 4
The knowledge-delivery component of our CAP has been one of the most visible and tangible successes of our project. A monthly CAP column series is published in the two beekeeping magazines, keeping CAP and its work visible to the beekeeping industry. The Bee Health eXtension website is quite simply one of the best research-based web resources for honey bee health and management anywhere. With monthly page views exceeding 31,000 it is patently proving an effective medium for delivering knowledge with the latest technology and most potent media. The BMP Guide for California almond pollinators is another tangible benchmark – a new standard for bee management with strong buy-in by scientists as well as practicing beekeepers. These kinds of lateral linkages, rather than top-down, will be invaluable in integrating science-based bee health management practices into the American beekeeping industry. This CAP goal also constitutes the most human element of our project. Here are represented numerous extension-style workshops, shortcourses, and lectures on bee genetics and breeding. None of these tops what CAP cooperator Marla Spivak has accomplished in her “Bee Team” – a tech transfer initiative with full-time on-the-ground staff in California dedicated to helping commercial queen producers learn techniques for genetically improving their bee stocks. The Bee Team model was instrumental in synergizing another successful honey bee CAP – the Bee Informed Platform recently begun in early 2011.


Photo by Zachary Huang, Michigan State University

Photo by Zachary Huang,
Michigan State University


An Community of Practice (CoP) was initiated in 2008 with the purpose of disseminated accurate web-based information about bees. As of April 28th, 2011 The Bee Health CoP now has 38 leaders and 65 members with relevant experience in bee research and extension. The CoP utilizes various web tools to engage the public, with the primary center of the effort at There are 376 pages that make up the Bee Health website
on We also have a YouTube Bee Health channel which is used as a convenient place to upload videos and reach a wider audience. There are 31 videos currently uploaded. An evaluation of the public usage of this effort follows utilizing data from Google Analytics and YouTube.

Monthly website page views: 31,778+
During the 12 week period ending April. 25th 2011, page-views for only Bee Health related content at averaged 14,207 views per month. To better appreciate the monthly audience through web efforts, we should also consider the page-views from the Bee Health YouTube channel (15,345) for the same period. That’s 31,778 page-views for and the YouTube channel alone. This does not include web related outreach through email campaigns, articles in beekeeping journals with an online presence (example: Bee Culture and American Bee Journal), the Managed Pollinator CAP website, a new blog page and other co-operators' websites.

Increase use of eXtension website: 23.5%
For the 12 week period ending April. 25th 2011, page views were up 23.5% from the same 12 week period in 2010. The audience we are reaching is growing.

Audience Interactions

  • The CoP newsletter: contains new content added since the previous newsletter. This is a record of all Bee Health activities centered around and is open to the public to sign-up and receive the updates.
  • Ask an Expert is a web-based tool where the public asks questions with the ability to upload pictures related to their question. 496 questions about bees have been answered.
  • Other email lists: We use a mass marketing email system to communicate with a growing list of nearly 4000 interested parties whom have indicated a desire to be contacted on various subjects such as the CoP newsletter and survey participation.
  • Social Network Strategy: Co-ordinating use of mainstream social networking tools to disseminate outputs of the CoP is underway. YouTube and Facebook is currently being used. Adding additional sites like are being pursued.
    • YouTube: provides another venue for the public to ask questions and leave comments. We have 390 subscribers to the channel.
    • Facebook: The CoP has a fanpage called “Bee Health @” which facebook users can use to receive updates about new content on and

Growing the CoP
A newly developing team of 27 bee research and extension specialists have organized around the CoP to develop and continue surveys (such as the winter loss survey) and sampling efforts (such as the California Bee Breeders stock improvement effort). A website was developed to solicit survey participation and provide information about the effort and engage the public with a blog page about current events from project co-operator's Having the delivery system for bee information already in place by the CAP group helped this new group quickly organize outreach materials related to the 2011 winter loss survey, including mass email, webpages on, and the expertise to quickly deploy the wordpress blog.


Best Management Practices
In March 2011, CAP in cooperation with Christi Heintz and Meg Ribotto of Project Apis
mellifera (PAm) published “Best Management Practices (BMPs) For Beekeepers
Pollinating California’s Agricultural Crops”
. It was published in both beekeeping trade journals, the CAP website, and Bee Health.This document is of a kind unprecedented in U.S. beekeeping history in that it is a product of intense input by commercial beekeepers as well as CAP scientists. Ms. Heintz developed early drafts following interviews of west-coast commercial beekeepers. Drs. Marion Ellis and Keith Delaplane of CAP then vetted and edited the drafts for science content. The result is not only a published standard for “what good management should look like” in the U.S., but a document with strong buy-in by both practicing beekeepers and scientists. These kinds of lateral linkages will be invaluable in integrating science-based bee health management recommendations into the American beekeeping industry.


Publications of objective 4.1 principal investigators (Skinner and Delaplane) to date during the CAP

Afik, O., W. Hunter, and K.S. Delaplane. 2010. Effects of varroa mites and bee diseases on pollination efficacy of honey bees. Proceedings of the American Bee Research Conference, Orlando, Florida. American Bee Journal 150(5): 497

Berry, J.A., W.B. Owens, & K.S. Delaplane. 2010. Small-cell comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies. Apidologie 41: 41-44 doi 10.1051/apido/2009049

Delaplane, K.S. & J.A. Berry. 2009. A test for sub-lethal effects of some commonly used hive chemicals. Proceedings of American Bee Research Conference, Gainesville, Florida. American Bee Journal 149(6): 586

Delaplane, K.S. and J.A. Berry. 2010. A test for sub-lethal effects of some commonly used hive chemicals, year two. Proceedings of American Bee Research Conference, Orlando, Florida. American Bee Journal 150(5): 498-499

Delaplane, K.S., J.D. Ellis, and W.M. Hood. 2010. A test for interactions between Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) and Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) in colonies of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America

Ellis, J.D., S. Spiewok, K.S. Delaplane, S. Bucholz, P. Neumann, & L. Tedders. 2010. Susceptibility of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) larvae and pupae to entomopathogenic nematodes. Journal of Economic Entomology 103(1): 1-9 doi 10.1603/EC08384

Heintz, C, M. Ribotto, M. Ellis, K.S. Delaplane. 2011. Best Management Practices (BMPs) For Beekeepers Pollinating California’s Agricultural Crops. American Bee Journal, 151(3):265-268

Pettis, J.S. and K. S. Delaplane. 2010. Coordinated responses to honey bee decline in the USA. Apidologie

Wilson, M. and J. Skinner. 2009. European foulbrood: A bacterial disease affecting
honey bee brood. website:

Williams, G.R., D.R. Tarpy, D. vanEngelsdorp, M.P. Chauzat, D.L. Cox-Foster, K.S. Delaplane, P. Neumann, J.S. Pettis, R.E.L. Rogers, D. Shutler. 2010. Colony Collapse Disorder in context. BioEssays doi: 10.1002/bies.201000075

Wilson, M., J. Skinner, K. Delaplane, and J. Pettis. 2010. Bee Health @ a
web platform for the creation and dissemination of science-based recommendations. Proceedings of the American Bee Research Conference 2010. American Bee Journal, 150 (4):497- 511

Updated July 22, 2011.