Banking on the Honeybee
This is not a time of year that you generally think of honeybees. And granted most honeybees are snug in their hives like we are snuggled up at home. But research continues on making sure they honeybee will be around for a long, long time as a leading pollinator. Steve Sheppard with Washington State University describes how they are doing that.
SHEPPARD: More recently in the last couple of years we've developed cryo-preservation techniques which allow us to freeze the semen, much like we do with cattle and sheep and other agricultural animals where we can actually freeze the semen - basically store it more or less indefinitely for a very long time and the bring it out of liquid nitrogen and use it for the insemination.
The semen bank will allow scientists to strengthen the resilience and diversity of the honeybee populations.
SHEPPARD: The real motivation behind it is to ensure that we have adequate genetic variation within our U.S. populations to do these breeding programs.
Without a strong bee population most of the crops here in the northwest and across the world would not have a chance to be pollinated and crops would fail.
SHEPPARD: The real proof is sort of in the pudding of making this material available for queen producers and queen breeders to use and so hand-in-hand with this is actually collaborators within the beekeeping industry, within the queen production industry to incorporate this material
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.