Anyone who thinks their work is too small to make a difference, has never met the honey bee.” I love that quote, adapted from the Dalai Lama.1 Determined and durable like our namesake, Project Apis m. is celebrating a milestone so impressive that our founders would have never dreamed: PAm celebrates funding $10M in honey bee research!
$10M is impressive, and those dollars started with beekeepers and grower’s own donations — which were — and still are — a critical vote of confidence. When PAm approaches sponsors, our support from commercial beekeepers and beekeeping clubs shows our connection to the industry. Focus and solution-oriented work continues to attract funds from partners and corporations who want sustainable supply chains and resource management, and brands who know consumers care about giving back to bees. It’s you, our supporters, who made such successful fundraising possible.
This funding creates opportunities for researchers too, as they carve out the best applied value of their work, and request funding from PAm. These are projects that a university or government lab might not have the resources to pursue — and we want ALL researchers to consider us a partner in their work, offering potential for taking that research to its next level: the end user.
In this way, ‘seed money’ from PAm steers and sustains inquiry. In the early years, PAm funded research to analyze sperm viability for the UNC Queen Clinic, and pesticide analysis for beekeepers sending their samples to Penn State. When varroa treatments were failing, and we could see Amitraz was effective in other countries, PAm funded studies by Jeff Pettis at the USDA bee lab that paved the way for its use in the USA. More recently, a small investment returned a groundbreaking discovery that varroa feed on fat bodies, and when pesticide runoff from treated seeds in Nebraska was killing bees, PAm rapidly funded Judy Wu-Smart’s earliest investigations — which are ongoing today.
As we celebrate $10M in projects funded, our legacy includes bigger, more complex projects including:
- building a cryo-preservation facility for honey bee genetic material
- breeding a commercially productive varroa resistant bee
- studying honey bee nutrition and success of supplements
- measuring the costs and benefits of keeping vs. replacing year old queens
- growing programs to restore forage where bees desperately need it, and
- investing in graduate scholarships to ensure the next generation of bee researchers
PAm’s reason for being is to bring the best science to beekeeping, and making sure the knowledge reaches you. When beekeepers marked important successes using Indoor Bee Storage, or improving Queen Bee shipping, we published free guides with actionable information that we routinely update with new findings!
PAm has funded over 150 projects — and we’re proud of our flexible, efficient, science-driven work. We have not solved the bee crisis, but in trying, we’ve built a uniquely focused research organization! One that can step into sensational conversations and explain that what’s killing bees is not a mystery — bees need clean healthy food, and beekeepers need tools to address honey bee diseases and pests. Importantly, our call to action in those conversations is that supporting PAm will make more of this applied research possible.
There is still so much to do, and PAm’s next $10M has begun! We remain responsive to the current challenges beekeepers face — like varroa and the effects of climate change.2 We are excited about several new projects:
- developing a new varroa control compound (Pernal)
- bringing together bee scientists and plant breeders who have successfully designed drought tolerant forage to rehabilitate western landscapes (Cox-Foster and Jensen) and
- seeing a product delivered to market that could help beekeepers identify their most varroa resistant bees (Wagoner)
If you’re at industry meetings, attending webinars, or reading journals — or however you keep up with industry news, help us celebrate PAm’s hard work and progress! Share this post, take a look at our website, donate if you can, and thank a PAm board member or Science Advisor-tell them your ideas for how PAm can help. We know how hard you work, and we understand what’s at stake. At PAm, we channel your support into more solutions, more tools and resources to help bees and beekeepers.
1 Actual quote: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Dalai Lama XIV
2 All research funded through PAm can be found in our searchable, online, database, at: https://www.projectapism.org/honey-bee-research.html