|Posted by Hannah Safford on March 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM|
by Ben Denzer
This past month the BEE team hosted a panel discussion on current topics in bee research with Dennis vanEngelsdorp (University of Maryland) Elina Lastro Niño (Penn State) & Michael Smith '10 (Cornell, BEE Team Founder).
The panel was a great success!
We had a good crowd of grad students, profesors, community members, a few undergrads, and three beekeepers.
The speakers themselves were great!
Michael was really engaging and exciting to listen to. He presented on "drift," the phenomena where bees in a bee yard (with hives lined up in a row) mistake which hive is their own and end up going to a hive next to their "home" hive. The numbers on how mixed the hive populations are in situations like this are pretty crazy and have a lot of implications for disease spreading. It is also facinating that the hives function at this level of mixing (how the bee yard is like a organism one step above the hives).
Elina presented on pheromone production in queen bees, specifically the signals that show that she has mated. Her presentation got into the techinical aspects and was very interesting.
Dennis gave a really great talk. First he explained what CCD was and dispelled some of the rumors about it. (There has not been a confirmed case of CCD as defined by the team that looked into it in the US in 2 years). Dennis' current project is http://beeinformed.org. A huge undertaking with a large grand from the government, the aim is to acquire and distribute information from beekeepers about beekeeping to improve colony health and mortality rates. It is a huge effort and really fascinating how they are organizing all the data and trying to make it available and used by beekeepers who normally keep to themselves and their small circles.
After the presentations there was a Q & A. The audience was engaged and asked some good questions.