Banking On Bees

Banking On Bees

Banking for Bees. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

WSU researchers are studying genetic cross-breeding methods and have been creating a frozen bee semen bank. Steve Sheppard, professor and chair of WSU Department of Entomology.

SHEPPARD: We’re interested in breeding honeybees here and interested in genetics and we have the ability to do instrumental insemination with bees and with the addition of the cryo-preservation it really opens up a lot of avenues for breeding that we have with pigs and sheep and cows but never had with bees.

Entomologists have been frantically studying honey bees to try and find solutions to the colony collapse disorder that has decimated bee numbers.

SHEPPARD: One of our goals here at WSU has been to breed honeybees that are more tolerant of the mites and resistant to diseases. It kind of gives us additional tools to be able to do that. Our approach in addition to doing research on sub-lethal effects of pesticides and other things related to colony health has been that the answer isn’t to develop new and better mite control chemicals to put in the hive but instead to select bees that can kind of tolerate a certain amount of parasitism or they themselves can be resistant to diseases.

Tomorrow Sheppard and Apiary Manager, Brandon Hopkins discuss the process and bee species they are working with.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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