Navigation Links
Building a better bee

DAVIS, CALIF. A UC Davis researcher known for her honey bee line "New World Carniolans" has crossed her bees with their Old World counterparts to enhance their positive characteristics.

"The bees are very gentle, very hygienic and very productive, and hopefully will confer increased resistance to pests and disease," said UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey.

The Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) is a subspecies of the Western honey bee. The subspecies, which originated in Slovenia, is the second most popular among California beekeepers, after another Western honey bee subspecies, the Italian honey bee.

UC Cooperative Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of UC Davis said genetic research of honey bees is critical for the bee industry.

"Although we spend a considerable amount of time trying to find short-term fixes to our honey bee disease and pest control problems, in the long run, the genetic solution of resistant stocks will be a better solution," Mussen said.

Cobey said her research program focuses on identifying, selecting and enhancing honey bee traits that show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases. She developed her line of Carniolans, a dark race of honey bees, in the early 1980s by back-crossing bees collected from throughout the United States to create a more pure strain.

"Over time, it has proven very productive, winter hardy, well-tempered and more resistant to pests and disease," she said. "For many years I have wanted to work with pure Carnica. Now I can."

Cobey imported semen from Germany in 2006 and again this year to make additional crosses. She said genetic diversity is critical in maintaining colony fitness and resisting pests and diseases.

The bee species now known as the Western honey bee was initially brought from Europe to America in 1622 and to California in 1853. Mussen and Cobey attribute the bees' decline to multiple factors: diseases, pesticides, parasites, malnutrition, stress, climate change, and colony collapse disorder, in which bees mysteriously abandon their hives.

Cobey collaborates with a team of scientists from Canada, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington states on the bee breeding program. They include viral researcher Michelle Flenniken, the newly selected Hagen-Dazs post-doctoral researcher at UC Davis; reproductive specialists John Pollard and Claire Plante of GeneSafe Technologies, Ltd., Guelph, Canada; apiculturists Steve Sheppard of Washington State University, Pullman, and Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul; and USDA scientists Jeff Pettis and Judy Chenn of Beltsville, Md.

The scientists obtained permits from the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to import semen for a three-year period, 2008 to 2010, from three honey bee subspecies, one from Italy, one from Germany and one from Turkey. To assure that the imported semen carries no diseases, the scientists established a quarantine area in an ecological preserve at WSU. The queens were recently released from the WSU quarantine and are now at UC Davis for evaluation and propagation.

The UC Davis scientist will report on her work at the California State Beekeepers' Association's 119th annual convention, Nov. 11 to 13 in Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, and at the Almond Board Convention in Modesto in early December.

The next step? Cobey and her team will develop protocol for the safe importation of honey bee gametes, eggs and semen. "At present, there is no standard for honey bees, as is common for mammals," she said.


Contact: Kathy Keatley Garvey
University of California - Davis

Related biology news :

1. Building a stronger roof over your head: 3 little pigs project begins first tests
2. Green roofs differ in building cooling, water handling capabilities
3. Building bridges between the clinic and the laboratory
4. 1/3 of reef-building corals face extinction
5. NJIT architect professor advocates best-building practices for high wind regions
6. Manchester clears first hurdle in €170 million biobank building boom
7. Building on pyramids of trash
8. UCI awarded $27.2 million for new stem cell building
9. Scientists make chemical cousin of DNA for use as new nanotechnology building block
10. In Todays Economy, You Can Strengthen Your Company by Building Your Brand
11. International workshop to address capacity building for rainforest leaders
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Building a better bee
(Date:11/19/2015)... 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively involved ... few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, ... market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, ... for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... controlled by one company and only a handful of ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Vigilant,s Board after recently retiring from the partnership at ... owning 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  ... performance improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 11, 2015   Growing need for ... tools has been paving the way for use ... of discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food ... predominantly used in medical applications, however, their adoption ... due to continuous emphasis on improving product quality ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds ... organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to ... margins but higher volume share for the region ... scale, however, margins in the CRO industry will ... Market ( ), finds that the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ... Poulton , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray ... City , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: