The Honey Bee Diagnostic Network aims to improve the sustainability and scientific understanding of beekeeping in the state by providing NH Beekeepers with resources so they can make the best management decisions for their apiaries. The network was first established in 2017, through a grant from SARE to establish the a mail-in Nosema detection service for NH beekeepers. In 2019, the network has been expanded to include citizen science projects for collecting data on deadout observations and on monthly varroa mite testing in order to gain a better understanding of our hive loss issues in the state.
Honey bees are in serious decline across the globe, while at the same time, interest in beekeeping as a profession and hobby have skyrocketed. Reasons for honey bee decline is complex and may vary by region. In the absence of trained honey bee diagnosticians at NH State agencies, we've created the NH Honey Bee Diagnostic Network. The Network consists of volunteer beekeepers who are trained diagnosticians in honey bee disease. The diagnostic volunteers are scattered around the state and are equipped with a microscope to aid in the detection of Nosema.
Nosema is a microsporidian parasites that lives in the digestive tract of honey bees. There are two forms of Nosema: Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae. Nosema is a widespread disease that can result in reduced lifespan of individual bees and weakening of a colony, and may be linked to CCD. We do not yet know the extent of Nosema infestation in New Hampshire. Part of this project is to better understand to what extent Nosema is present in New Hampshire, and to study the trends of this disease through the seasons.