Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 19, 1999

Honeybee shortage focus of conference

A honeybee recovery program developed by a University of Guelph researcher that involves breeding bees that are resistant to mites will be discussed at a Crops and Honeybee Pollination Symposium in Guelph March 25.

The conference will address the impact on crop production of recent declines in honeybee populations and a general chronic shortage of wild native pollinators on crop production. The event will be at the Holiday Inn in Guelph from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $30.

Medhat Nasr, a research entomologist in the University's Applied Ecology Anthecology Laboratory in the Department of Environmental Biology, is breeding bees that are resistant to tracheal mites, one of the two kinds that have been killing honeybees. Honeybees pollinate about $93- million worth of crops in Ontario annually. Nasr, who is working with the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, will speak at 2 p.m.

Research projects headed by two U of G professors also will be discussed at the symposium. Professors Brian Husband, Department of Botany, and Peter Kevan, Department of Environmental Biology, will talk about their work pollination in on apple orchards at 10:50 a.m. Kevan and PhD student Svenja Belaoussoff will discuss their research on summer crop pollination at 2:30 p.m.

The symposium's keynote speaker is Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of the University of California at Davis, who has extensive experience in pollination ecology, honeybee foraging behaviour and advanced management of honeybee colonies. He will speak at 9 a.m.

The conference will discuss management of honeybee colonies for effective crop pollination, management techniques for disease and mites in honeybee colonies, pollination issues and other areas of concern to growers. It is sponsored by the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, Ontario Honeybee Pollination Association, Agriculture Adaptation Council, and Ontario Research Enhancement Program--Sustainable Pollination for Ontario Crops.

For information, contact the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, (519) 565-2622, or Nasr at (519) 824-4120 Ext. 6243.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120 Ext. 3338

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