Apiculture at Virginia Tech
The first beekeeping course at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute at the time) was taught during the 1920-21 school year by Professor William J. Schoene. The course was listed in the Biology Department and was taught until the early 1940's. Entomology courses were not taught during the war years, but were resumed afterward. John Amos was hired in 1949 as an extension fruit specialist. Mr. Amos was also a beekeeper and provided extension programs in beekeeping, as well as fruit pest management. He also taught a beekeeping course. Entomology became a separate department in 1959 and during the next decade John Amos continued to offer beekeeping programs in extension and teaching. Mr. Amos retired in 1970 and the beekeeping course was removed from the catalog in 1972. In 1979 Dr. Richard Fell was hired as an apiculture specialist. He reinitiated the beekeeping program, and today apiculture at Virginia Tech involves an active program in teaching, extension and research.
Teaching: Two beekeeping courses are taught at Virginia Tech, an Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping, and a Bees and Beekeeping Laboratory. Both courses are taught in spring semester. Students may also independent studies courses involving honey bee research.
Extension: The extension program is designed to provide educational information and programs to Virginia beekeepers, as well as to industry groups n the mid-Atlantic region. Programs are offered on a statewide basis and involve a variety of local programs, workshops and short-courses. Educational programs and workshops include topics such as introductory beekeeping, seasonal management, queen rearing, and hive IPM.
Research: The apiculture research program at Virginia Tech is directed toward biological and behavioral studies of honey bees, pollination biology, and colony management. The past several years this program has focused on several major areas, including the effects of miticides on the reproductive physiology of honey bees, the potential for miticide residues in honey, a survey on pathogenic bacteria in honey, the spatial distribution of varroa mites within colonies, and the incidence of Nosema in the state.
Nosema in Virginia
Nosema disease of honey bees has been associated with colony collapse disorder (CCD) and other colony health problems…read more