Working With Bees

Working With Bees

Working with Bees. I'm Greg Martin with today's Fruit Grower Report.

WSU Entomologist Sue Cobey has been working with bees for a long time and is

doing artificial insemination of bees in an effort to improve the viability of America's honeybee stock. While there is only one queen per hive Cobey says she can create more queens.

COBEY: Basically what you do is create a swarm condition and hold it there which is just a colony with lots of young bees and very crowded and good food resources. You take away the mother queen and they have a real strong propensity to raise a new self. And you can transfer the larvae. The worker larvae and the queen larvae when that egg hatches it has the choice of being either one. So it's basically the food that they're supplied that turns that queen into a queen.

The work Cobey does with bees is very time consuming.

COBEY: It's also extremely rewarding and it's just kind of a specialized niche. I'm not exactly why I fell into it but maybe just out of curiosity. It's been a really fun one for me.

She has earned the name of the bee whisperer and loves to share her knowledge.

COBEY: We do a bunch of classes up here and one of the things we select for is gentle temperament so a lot of times I don't wear the gear and when I'm doing a class like that just to try to get the students to take their gloves off because you are going to be way more sensitive to the bees. If you haven't been in a beehive before people are just kind of amazed that you can put your hand in there but it's the feels and the smells and they tell you your limit.

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

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