Dr. Marla Spivak
Distinguished McKnight Professor
Department of Entomology
Marla's interest in bees began when she worked for a commercial beekeeper from New Mexico in 1975. She later completed her B.A. in Biology from Humboldt State University in northern California, and her PhD from the University of Kansas, under Dr. Orley "Chip" Taylor, in 1989. She spent two years in Costa Rica conducting her thesis research on the identification and ecology of Africanized and European honey bees. From 1989-1992 she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona. She began as Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in 1993. Influenced by Martha Gilliam and Steve Taber from the USDA Bee lab in Tucson, she became interested in hygienic behavior of honey bees. This interest has expanded into studies of "social immunity", including the benefits of propolis to the immune system of honey bees, and to the health and diversity of all bee pollinators.
A long time hobby beekeeper and trained in technology education, Gary began working with Marla when she moved to Minnesota in 1993. Without his hard work, the program would not be what it is today. He maintains the research colonies, helps train and work with students in the field, designs and builds specialty equipment and speaks to beekeeping, student and civic groups. He plans the Extension short courses and together with Marla teaches beginning as well as experienced beekeepers. His humorous style of teaching helps the classes stay interested and enthusiastic about a sometimes challenging subject. He is a past president of both Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association and Wisconsin Honey Producers Association and director of the American Beekeeping Federation, and remains active in these groups. He still finds time to mange his own colonies, while learning to blacksmith, maintaining an orchard, and helping his wife raise sheep.
Comparison of propolis use and immune benefits in Africanized and European honey bees.
Landscape effects on native bee abundance and diversity.
Comparative survey of the Megachilidae of Lake Itasca, MN, with data from 1938.
Effects of the fungal pathogen, Nosema ceranae, on the developmental physiology of the honey bee
Floral landscape effects on honey bee nutritional physiology
PhD student (co-advised with Dr. V. Krischik)
Effects of Neonicotinyl Pesticides on Honey Bees and Bumblebees
PhD student (advised by Dr. Jerry Cohen, Plant Biological Sciences)
Plant Resins – Novel antimicrobial properties of honey bee propolis in human and animal health
Midwest Tech Transfer Team
Works for the Bee Informed Partnership (beeinformed.org) to monitor commercial beekeeper colonies in MN and ND for diseases and pests.
Bee Squad Coordinator
Bee Squad (BeeSquad.umn.edu) mentor and program developer. Assists with research projects in the Bee Lab.