Every beekeeper understands that the health of a strong colony begins with the queen laying an abundance of eggs that have been fertilized from a number of healthy drones. Because queens only mate several times early in life, they must maintain their sperm in a specialized storage organ until they die. If a queen gets too hot or too cold, the stored sperm start to die. So how is too hot or too cold and what can beekeepers do about it?
Dr. Alison McAfee (see her bio below) studies honeybee reproductive health, focusing on factors affecting sperm viability. Information in her presentation will help beekeepers better understand the biological processes underlying sperm viability and contribute to best-practice recommendations to limit adverse exposure of the queens from environmental factors such as heat-shock, cold-shock, and pesticide exposure, that can dramatically reduce sperm viability.
In addition, Jeff Eckel, State HoneyBee Inspector and outstanding beekeeper, will share the beekeeping management he is currently performing, how to identify if a colony is “performing well” or “not so well,” and what management to perform as a result of this information.
Dr . McAfee’s Biography:
Alison completed her Ph.D. in Genome Science and Technology at the University of British Columbia, where she studied molecular mechanisms of hygienic behavior. She is now a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology for North Carolina State University in Michael Smiths’ Laboratory at the University of British Columbia.
She writes a monthly column for the American Bee Journal and her research has been reported in New Scientist and Scientific American. She also enjoys hiking up steep snowy mountains, catching huge ugly fish, and breaking speed limits on her bicycle.