A Multistate Hive Mind of Research
Bees provide essential pollination for many of the nut, berry, fruit, vegetable, and seed crops grown in the U.S. To supplement wild bee pollination, farmers often rent managed honey bee colonies. Demand is skyrocketing, but catastrophic die-offs are threatening the supply of healthy honey bee colonies.
Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. With NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding, the researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.
What Wild Bees Need
A new national assessment estimates that wild bees declined in 23 percent of the contiguous United States between 2008 and 2013. The team of Project ICP researchers, led by Insu Koh at the University of Vermont, found that the decline was generally associated with conversion of natural habitats to row crops. Areas of intense agriculture (e.g., the Midwest Corn Belt and the Central Valley of California) have among the lowest levels of predicted wild bee abundance.
60,000 Have Been Impacted by Beginning Farmer Programs
A new report, "Cultivating the Next Generation," examines the impact of USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), the only federal program explicitly dedicated to training the next generation of farmers.
Time for Safer Home Tips
Time magazine cited researchers at Drexel University who published two studies on food safety hazards. As part of the research, they checked 100 Philadelphia homes and found that most homes had evidence of pest infestations and these residents did not store raw meat correctly.
Like It or Not: Broccoli May Be Good for the Gut
Researchers at Penn State University found that when mice ate broccoli with their regular diet, they were better able to tolerate digestive issues similar to symptoms of leaky gut and colitis than mice that were not placed on a broccoli-supplemented diet.
Crab Shells Could Greatly Reduce Pollution
An inexpensive biomaterial that may be used to sustainably replace plastic barrier coatings in packaging has been developed by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) researchers, who predict its adoption would greatly reduce pollution. NIFA supports the research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and the Hatch Act funding.
Breakthrough in Bed Bug Research
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and North Carolina State University have developed a fungal biopesticide that has the potential to control bed bugs that are insecticide resistant.
Improving Fine Wine Grapes
Grapes are the highest-value fruit crop grown in the United States.
Ornamental Fish Food
Ornamental aquarium fish like the clownfish Nemo and his pal the royal blue tang Dory one day may be dining on high-quality yet inexpensive white worms grown in New England.