Students from 12-18 years old could enter for the award, showcasing their unique projects to support honey bees, either individually or with their school or community organization. This year’s winners were Leo Schirokauer (1st place) from Ohio, and from Texas, Daniel McSween (2nd place) and Jonathan “JD” Murphy (3rd place). These inspirational youngsters have won their awards for the work they are doing in American Foulbrood research, Varroa mite control and educational and scholarship activities.
In general, a variety of factors may have a negative impact on honey bee health, including pests and diseases, insufficient nutrition, inappropriate beekeeping and agronomic practices, unfavourable weather conditions and loss of genetic diversity. It is often a combination of multiple stressors which influence honey bee health, which differ from region to region. This may contribute to increased overwintering colony losses, meaning that fewer colonies than normal survive to the following spring.
Fluctuations in overwintering colony losses are seen, depending on the different factors which are more prevalent, year to year and region to region. On average, last year (2017/2018) seems to have been more challenging than the year before for both the USA and the EU. Striking in the USA are the differences in loss rates between backyard beekeepers and commercial beekeepers, which may reflect differences in experience and in-depth knowledge between the two groups. All the more reason to invest in educational activities. With overwintering losses still higher than beekeepers would like to see, it is clear that, like these young beekeepers with their work on honey bee diseases and educational activities, we can all make a valuable contribution by working together to improve bee health, globally.