We are expanding our work to develop mite-tolerant bees and strategies for other beekeepers to follow suit, and you can be part of it! We’ll be creating a bee yard with 60 hives, and each one costs about $150 to build. We’re looking for businesses, organizations, and individuals or groups who are interested in adopting their own hive through a sponsorship!
Varroa mites are the leading contributor to colony collapse disorder. These small mites parasitize bee larvae, resulting in weaker bees. They spread disease, and they are hard to kill. They have covered the US in the last three decades. Most beekeepers use mild or fairly toxic chemicals to treat their bees and keep mite levels low, but this is a band-aid, not a cure.
Our method (described in detail here) mimics genetic selection that has produced mite-tolerant bees in Africa, Wales, Gotlund, and Asia that need no chemical treatment. It requires us to let bee colonies without natural defenses against mites die out each winter, leaving only the survivors to repopulate the hives. Because we’ll experience greater die-off in the first few years, this isn’t a self-supporting apiary, that is, we can’t produce enough honey or bees to sell to pay for the bees’ upkeep. That’s why we’re looking for support from you (as well as grant money) for this project. We’ll be sharing our methods and results for free with beekeepers everywhere.
Hive sponsors will be partners in this endeavor. With your help, this project is more likely to succeed as every adopted hive takes pressure off of our tight budget and leaves more space for better bee care and monitoring.
If you adopt a hive, you’ll get three or four updates throughout the year on how your hive is doing. We’ll post these updates through our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts and tag you, too. We’ll pass on a little bee knowledge to your and our followers as well as specific information about your hive: how big the colony is, its health, how it’s queen is doing, etc. Send us a sticker or something with your logo and we’ll pop it on the outside of the hive. It will show up when we take pictures and/or video of the hive for your posts.
We can make this interactive, too. Have a competition among your followers and customers to name the hive and the queen. Tie a promotion to your hive’s winter success, for example, if the hive survives, social media followers get 10 percent off or something. And bees lend themselves to themed events or promotions. We’re happy to work with you to make your support of bee research an interest-generating endeavor.
You’ll also be listed among our sponsors when we discuss our bee research on our website and in presentations to public and professional audiences.
If you’re interested in supporting bee research by adopting a hive (or any other sort of sponsorship), drop us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch with details. We’re asking $150 per adopted hive, but we’re happy to discuss other options with your organization, too.
A big thank you to Double Dave’s Pizzaworks in Buda, Texas (and K. McKay), for inspiring this idea by asking to sponsor a hive after reading about our bee research! Show your support by stopping by for a slice, or, if you’re not in the south Austin area, give them some bee love on Instagram and Facebook!