Terra Vera

May 21, 2024
Honeybee health expert joins Terra Vera

Crop management tech specialist Terra Vera has added Jeff Pettis, a renowned entomologist to its staff.

Jeff Pettis specializes in apiculture and honey bee health, has joined the company as a technical advisor and industry consultant.

Jeff Pettis
Jeff Pettis

“Terra Vera is abuzz for Dr. Pettis one of the biggest names in the bee world to come on board to assist with developing and expanding the company’s suite of products to optimize bee health and protect against common threats to bees and other pollinators,” company officials said in a news release.

In his new role, Pettis will assist with the development and expansion of the company’s suite of products to optimize bee health and protect against common threats to bees and other pollinators, such as parasites, pesticide poisoning, poor nutrition and disease.

Pettis’ appointment coincides with Terra Vera’s expanding research and initiatives to preserve bee colonies, which are often threatened by the pesticides used during commercial agriculture. The company recently published two field studies on the efficacy of its amino acid-based solutions in promoting bee health and reducing colony collapse.

Terra Vera is developing an amino acid-based solution that has shown positive capabilities against the Varroa destructor mite, the number one threat to honeybees worldwide, according to the release.

Honey bee colonies have experienced severe declines in recent years, with nearly half of managed colonies lost in the U.S. in 2023, the second-highest death rate on record. However, testing of Terra Vera’s solution has demonstrated the solution’s efficacy and has not resulted in mortality or negative effects on the health of the bees. Terra Vera is seeking EPA approval for use.

“I’ve dedicated my entire career to studying honeybees and identifying viable solutions to address the various threats to their health and survival,” Pettis said in the release. “Until Terra Vera, I had yet to come across a transformative technology that can dramatically improve colony health and survival rates both safely and sustainably – something that is not only crucially important to beekeepers, but also invaluable to the wellbeing of our ecosystems and global food security. I am impressed with the organic nature of the Terra Vera product, as we need more organic options to use in beekeeping.”

Terra Vera

As a research scientist and consultant at Pettis and Associates, Pettis has focused on improving colony health by limiting the impact of pests, diseases and pesticides on honeybees. Pettis has worked with both the EPA and FDA to bring new products through the registration process for bees and beekeepers.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Pettis served as the research leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. His research areas include IPM techniques to reduce the impacts of parasitic mites and disease, effects of pesticides, pathogens, and temperature on queen health and longevity, host-parasite relationships, and bee behavior.

Pettis has consulted with several international committees or organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health. With more than 40 years of research experience in more than 15 countries, he is frequently tapped by the media for his opinions on the worldwide decline of pollinator populations and honeybee health. Pettis received his doctoral degree in entomology from Texas A&M University and holds undergraduate and MS degrees from the University of Georgia.

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