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Saving the Honeybee with Genetics and Beekeeping

The disappearance of honeybees continues to make headlines in the news and science journals, but are their numbers still dwindling, and if so, what are the causes?

Bishop with beehives

Dr. Jack Bishop, a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a hobby beekeeper, and treasurer of Sigma Xi's Research Triangle Park Chapter, discusses the external influences that are linked to bee population decline, as well as ways to help honeybees thrive. From his experience as a bee geneticist for many years, he explains why such research is important to saving honeybees and should receive more attention. One area of focus is genetic selection to make honeybees more resistant to a devastating parasite, the Varroa destructor mite.

In addition, Dr. Bishop discusses the ways people can help to keep honeybees healthy, such as planting a variety of flowering plants and vegetables, and avoiding the use of pesticides at certain times. He gives a behind-the-scene view of his own honeybee hives and explains why hobby beekeepers are important to saving the honeybee.

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