Honey Bees in Maryland: The Pollinator Health Bill

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Colony Collapse Disorder is an issue among bees in the U.S.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been a serious problem for nearly a decade now (first recognized in October 2006). Unfortunately, no specific cause has been identified. Similar incidents have occurred in the 1880s, 1920, and 1960s, but none of these events has provided a clear understanding as to why honey bee colonies suddenly collapse.

What is clear about CCD disorder is that it threatens agriculture the world over. Beekeepers in the U.S. have reported losses in the range of 30-90% per year, losses that have prompted legislators in several states to consider laws that can help honeybees. Maryland is the latest state to consider a “pollinator health bill” and while these laws cannot prevent CCD, they can help to protect honeybees against known threats and give them a fighting chance.

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The Colony Collapse Disorder Puzzle: An Update on What We Know

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Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been a thorn in the side of U.S. beekeepers for nearly a decade now. Unfortunately, research has been unable to pin down the exact cause of this devastating illness. While we understand more than we did a decade ago, the picture is still quite incomplete. As Jeff Pettis, research leader of the Bee Research Laboratory in Maryland, has put it, if CCD is a jigsaw puzzle, then we have the blue-sky pieces in place, but “no center picture.” Continue reading

The Asian Citrus Psyllid Leads to Quarantine

Asian Citrus PsyllidFor nearly sixty years the United States has dodged infestation by the Asian citrus psyllid, one of two known vectors of the bacterium responsible for citrus greening disease. Though the psyllid has infected trees in Asia for centuries, it only made its move the Americas, specifically Brazil, in 1942. It took another fifty-six years before the psyllid made its way to North America, but once the infestation began, it spread rapidly. The Asian citrus psyllid is now found in fourteen U.S. states and five U.S. territories. It is also present in Mexico. Continue reading

Understanding How Diseases Spread in Nurseries

commercial tree farmFrom age-old pests to new and emerging diseases, the threats to nurseries and tree farms come from every angle. Every manager knows that the key to healthy plants is the prevention of disease outbreaks, but prevention requires constant vigilance. Rather than keeping track of individual diseases, a better solution may involve keeping track of common sources of infection to reduce and eliminate pathogens of all types. Continue reading

Boxwood Blight Returns to U.S. Nurseries

boxwoodThe boxwood is often referred to as “man’s oldest garden ornamental.” The boxwood, which has been planted in European and North American gardens since the mid-1600s, is popular because it can be used in hedges and groupings or as an individual specimen. Until recently, it was also easy to maintain and relatively disease free[1]. Unfortunately, boxwoods are now under threat. Continue reading

Sudden Oak Death Could Infect Eastern Nurseries and Forests

tree nursery equipmentSudden Oak Death (SOD) is becoming a major threat to a number of plants. First identified in 1995 in California, Sudden Oak Death has spread to several commercial nurseries across the U.S. The presence of this emerging tree disease in cold-weather climates suggests it has the potential to spread far and wide and cause serious economic damage. If you’ve not yet removed those infected trees, you may need to be prepared for devastating results. Continue reading