Rinderer, Thomas E
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The Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The mission of USDA-ARS is to develop means to solve agricultural problems of broad scope and of high national priority. Through fundamental and applied research, ARS tries to ensure continuity of an adequate supply of high quality food and fiber products to meet the needs of the American people and to provide products for worldwide export. Honey bees fill a unique position in contemporary U.S. agriculture. They pollinate more than 90 food, fiber and seed crops valued at $9 billion annually. In addition, the small but vigorous beekeeping industry produces honey, beeswax and other products for direct consumer use. Beekeeping also is a hobby for more than 100,000 people in the United States.
The mission of the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research Unit is directly related to improving honey bee stock and honey bee management. This broad mission includes components related to problems caused by varroa mites, tracheal mites, nosema and small hive beetles. The devastating problems caused by varroa mites and the serious problems caused by tracheal mites are targeted as the most critical. Scientists are engaged in breeding and testing honey bees for resistance to mites, evaluating mite-bee interactions to better describe breeding criteria, and evaluate stock production processes to explore and solve stock problems caused by mites.