Romberg Center Broodless Bee Project
To study the mechanisms by which untreated colonies might
be controlling varroa mite levels, particularly to attempt to document
unusual broodless periods observed in bees in Marin and to determine
if there is any correlation between varroa mites and Broodless periods
such as those created when colonies in colder climates shut
down brood production during winter months or created by some colonies
during times of dearth assist in reducing mite populations.
The relatively mild winters and nearly year round nectar and pollen
availability in Marin (particularly southern Marin) mean that bees
tend to produce brood throughout the year. The observation by local
treatment free beekeepers that some of their colonies (again, particularly
in southern Marin, though elsewhere as well) appear to be creating
broodless periods when one would not expect such as during
nectar flows begs the question of whether or not these periods
are an adaptation of the bees that helps to deal with varroa mites.
Survivor Stock Queen Project
The Survivor Stock Queen Rearing Project was
to cooperatively select, breed and disseminate queens with resistant
and locally suited genetics. Because open mating contributes half
of the genes, a component of the project was the inclusion of local
beekeepers through education on the value of these characteristics.