NCSBA Apiculture Science Initiative – President’s Message

From the President of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association:

With the continued annual losses of honey bee colonies in our state and elsewhere, honey bee research has become more important and relevant than ever. The Apiculture program at NC State University, under the guidance of Dr. David Tarpy, currently conducts meaningful research but in recent seasons financial restraints that have affected the program have not been productive. The support for apiculture research is more substantial in other states where institutions and beekeeper associations contribute significant sums of money to their respective university level apiculture science programs. In North Carolina, many people believe that the state of North Carolina supports the Apiculture program at NC State. It does but the money continues to be reduced or reallocated each year. At the NC State Apiculture program, funds are provided for one technician, only one. Since 2014, the apiculture program has had to earn its keep through a system of matching grants: the University will match qualifying grants received from outside sources. Sounds simple enough but the reality is that the Apiculture department must spend time and energy searching for sources of money; no grant money, no operating money. Not to say that the light bill doesn’t get paid but outside sources of funding must be found to further the important research.

The NCSBA is the largest association of hobbyist beekeepers in the USA. We have the potential to support honey bee research like no other group of beekeepers; we could lead the way, set a standard that would make the difference. We know that any single bee in a colony makes a relatively small amount of honey but look at the efforts of all the workers. Beekeepers are the same in a sense. If a substantial number of our members were to make a small but regular contribution to the honey bee lab at NC State University, we could make North Carolina the leader in honey bee research.

Donations made to the Apiculture program at NCSU are received by the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc. earmarked for the Apiculture Science Fund. The North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit which can receive tax deductible contributions for different programs at NCSU. Most of the beekeepers of the NCSBA have never heard of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc.; just ask for a show of hands at an NCSBA chartered chapter meeting of who has. This is in part because in the past, the leadership of the Association has advocated that donations were to be made to the NCSBA first and then the NCSBA would make a donation to the Apiculture program. This system over time has proven itself to generate only a modest means of support for honey bee research. But just as things have changed for the bee lab, the NCSBA must also change in order to be considered to be relevant for the future of honey bee research in North Carolina.

As President of our association, I am asking that we change the course of honey bee research in North Carolina; support the lab with not just words but with money. Please join me with financial support for the Apiculture program at NCSU. It does not have to be a large contribution and can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The funds would be donated directly to the apiculture science program through the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc. Just as the contribution a single bee makes to the stores of honey in a hive, our small contributions would add up to be a large amount of money. If only ten percent of our membership were to contribute ten dollars each person each month, that would total over $50,000 per year for the bee lab; enough money to fund a lab technician position for the bee lab.

The information presented on this website will enable individual beekeepers to make contributions to the Apiculture program at NCSU and further research for North Carolina’s official insect, the honey bee. I hope that you will help!

Thanks for reading,
Rick Coor, NCSBA President