College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
|Bees fascinate and inspire. Bee research fosters creative thought and practical solutions.
|The goal of our bee research at the University of Minnesota is to promote the health of bee pollinators. Our primary research focus is on honey bees, ranging from basic studies on mechanisms of social behaviors to applied studies on bee breeding and management. We also study the abundance and diversity of native bee pollinators. We work as a team to provide the richest learning environment for students at all levels and from all backgrounds.
||Dr. Marla Spivak, MacArthur Fellow and Distinguished McKnight Professor in Entomology, currently runs the Bee Lab, with excellent technical support of Mr. Gary Reuter and graduate students. (Meet Us)
Our research includes:
- Breeding Better Bees: The "Minnesota Hygenic Bees" have been bred in Minnesota. Hygienic bees detect and remove damaging diseases and parasites from the hive, helping bees defend themselves naturally.
- Discovering bees natural defenses: propolis is a complex resin that honey bees collect from some trees and use to seal cracks in the hive. In addition to helping bees’ immune systems, propolis benefits human health. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has collaborated with the University of Minnesota Medical School to investigate the antimicrobial and antiviral properties of propolis. U of M studies suggest that propolis is highly active against HIV-1 in human cell culture. The results of these collaborative studies will help us understand the potential health-promoting effects of this important product of the bee hive.
- Improving conservation and management of other pollinators. Better stewardship of all pollinators reduces the stress placed on honey bees in support of modern agriculture.
- Reducing pesticide use. The pesticides used in modern farming and apiculture are weakening honey bees, so alternatives must be found.
- Delivering research discoveries to beekeepers. Beekeepers are depending on the latest scientific discoveries to ensure the survival of their honey bee colonies. Breakthroughs will help commercial beekeepers provide major pollination services to agriculture, and will also support the current rise in hobby beekeeping, a growing factor in honey bee survival.
The Important Life of Bees
"The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee; a clover, any time, to [her] is aristocracy." - Emily Dickinson