Sigma: 2021-04-06

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Why are Honey Bees Dying?

Dennis vanEngelsdorp

April 6, 2021 at 7:30 P.M. via


Honey bee colonies in the US have been dying at high rates for the last 14 years. There is growing consensus that the causes of these losses are multifactorial, including varroa mites, pesticides, loss of habitat, and poor nutrition. Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp conducts research in pollinator health, and specifically honey bee health. In his talk, Dr. vanEngelsdorp will discuss an epidemiological approach to examining the drivers of honey bee colony death, revealing a sticky mess of interacting factors, chief among them a parasitic mite – varroa. He will present an overarching picture of bee health, drawing on data from multiple surveillance efforts, as well as examining beekeeper management practices that correlate with increased bee survivorship. Dr. vanEngelsdorp is a founder and past president of the Bee Informed Partnership ( – a coalition of researchers, advisors, and stakeholders who work to improve bee colony health and increase colony survivorship by providing a platform to collect “big data” on the state of health of managed honey bee colonies. Analysis of these data is providing important insights into the effects of beekeeper management practices and environmental factors (such as landscape, pesticides, and climate) on bee health.


Dennis vanEngelsdorp earned a B.S. degree in Agriculture and an M.S degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He earned his Ph.D. from Penn State in 2011, while also serving as the chief apiarist for Pennsylvania. In 2014, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he is an Associate Professor of Entomology. The focus of his current work involves the application of epidemiological approaches to understanding and (importantly) improving honey bee health.

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