Saturday, November 5, 2011

Linking Local Beekeepers with Honeybee Researchers

In October, the Center for Honey Bee Research hosted the conference, “What Turns Bees On?” in conjunction with international honeybee researchers. Lecturers included: Cristofer Bang, PhD, Arizona State University; Adam Dolezal, Arizona State University; Tom Seeley, PhD, Cornell University; David Tarpy, PhD, NCSU; Stan Schneider, PhD, UNCC; Olav Ruepell, PhD, UNCG; Humberto Boncristiani, PhD, UNCG; Juliana Rangel, PhD, NCSU.

Dr. Tom Seeley was the keynote speaker and presented his findings regarding the processes swarms use to choose a new site. Through his research, Seeley has been able to determine that scout bees promote future potential colony sites through waggle dances. The scout bees then garner consensus for a final destination through a quorum via waggle dances. Once the scouts have a quorum, they rally the swarm to relocate to its new home.

In his latest book, Honey Bee Democracy, Seeley provides detailed explanations of the swarm’s behavior and discusses implications for human organizations. His book is available locally at Malaprops.

The other presenters rounded out the conference with reports from their research on: the affect of urban environments on pollinator diversity; the lives of social insects; and how colonies decide when to swarm and who leaves with the swarm. Dr David Tarpy provided the final presentation on his latest research regarding colony survival related to queen bee phenotypes.

During the daylong conference, the Center for Honeybee Research also announced the winners of the Black Jar Honey Contest. Contest winners were: Janet Peterson won 3rd place, Virginia Webb 2nd, and Carl Caudle was named the grand winner.

Congratulations to the Center for Honey Bee Research for their excellent conference. Their linking of researchers to beekeepers has given local beekeepers opportunities for continuing education never available before. To become involved in the Center for Honeybee Research visit their website at:

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