University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
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Solutions and Expertise

Bees-Beekeeping-Short-Course-1922The Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota has maintained an internationally recognized research, teaching, and outreach program on honey bees since 1918. (Photo: University of Minnesota Beekeeping Course, 1922.) We are the only bee research facility in a four state area (MN, WI, ND and SD), the top honey-producing region in the US.

Dr. Marla Spivak, MacArthur Fellow and Distinguished McKnight Professor in Entomology, currently runs the Bee Lab, with excellent technical support of Mr. Gary Reuter and graduate students.

Our primary goal is to promote the health and diversity of bee pollinators. We bred the MN Hygienic line of honey bees, which demonstrates resistance to diseases and Varroa mites. Current federally funded research projects include:

  1. discovering the benefits of propolis (bee-collected plant resins) to honey bee immunity,
  2. mining antimicrobial components in propolis that demonstrate activity against bee pathogens,
  3. unraveling the physiological effects of Nosema disease on honey bees,
  4. understanding the effects of agricultural and natural landscapes on honey bee health and on native bee abundance and diversity, and
  5. helping commercial bee breeders select for genetically diverse stocks of bees that demonstrate resistance to diseases and mite parasites.

How to Help Bees

In addition to courses for academic credit, we offer a number of courses to the public and encourage everyone to do what they can to help our bees! 

Stewards of the Earth

"Honey bees represent the goodness of the earth and all that grows on it. If we take care of bees in ways that allow them to survive on their own, we are taking care not to contaminate our planet. What we learn from bees is how to be better stewards of the earth." - Marla Spivak

The Important Life of Bees


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