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Horticultural Researchers Recognized for Collaborative Water Quality and Conservation Work
A USDA Multi-state Working Group with research focused on water conservation and improved water quality within the ornamental crops industry is the national recipient of the 2017 Experiment Station Section Award for Excellence in Multistate Research. The collaboration includes 31 researchers and 22 institutions across the nation. Nineteen members have served as principal investigators on 41 grants totaling more than $21.6 million from USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and other sources.  Many of these efforts started with seed grants from the Horticulture Research Institute. The award, given by the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy, recognizes researchers who are conducting sustained, exemplary multistate activities and enhance the visibility of the multistate program. The working group is made up of researchers and extension agents from leading land grant universities and USDA-ARS units throughout the United States.

Pollinator Partnership Announces 2017 Mite-A-Thon to Test Honey Bee Hives
Pollinator Partnership announced that an opportunity to gather data on Varroa mite infestations will take place from September 9 to 16, 2017.  The first annual Mite-A-Thon will test honey bee hives for levels of Varroa mites all across North America just before overwintering begins and commercial, sideliner, and hobbyist beekeepers are all encouraged to participate in order to create a rich distribution of sampling sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  A common measurement protocol will be used, and data will be uploaded to MiteCheck. The Varroa mite was introduced into North America 30 years ago from Asia, and is one of the leading stressors to the health of honey bees in North America.  The presence of mites in hives is a leading indicator of the health of the hive and the percentage of bees with mites provides a way to measure the cumulative impact of other stressors such as pesticides, poor nutrition, and disease.  There are significant data showing that low rates of Varroa mite infestation make overwintering success more probable.