The pollination services of wild and managed bees are critical for the production of our food crops. However, managed and wild bees are in decline, due to a multitude of interacting stressors including pests and pathogens, habitat loss through land use change, and exposure to pesticides. Bee losses threaten biodiversity, food security, and the agricultural economy. Vermont has an active community of beekeepers that manage numerous county beekeeping clubs and provide honey and other value-added products to stores throughout the state. Vermont is also home to several world-famous beekeepers and queen breeders. However, for the past decade, Vermont beekeepers have lost one-third of their colonies each winter. To ensure adequate pollination of our food crops and the protection of Vermont’s honey and beekeeping industry, Vermont needs an integrated support system that mitigates current threats to wild and managed bees and provides education to consumers.
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