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NC State Study: Genetic Diversity Key To Honey Bee Survival

Honey bees
David Tarpy
/

Honey bee populations have been struggling in recent years. New research out of NC State underlines the importance of genetic diversity as key to the honey bees' survival. The study took samples from 80 commercial colonies used to pollinate about a third of the food we eat. It found queens that mated at least seven times were nearly three times more likely to survive the season.Lead researcher David Tarpy is an entomology professor at NC State. He says multiple factors are likely contributing to the declining health of bee populations worldwide, including parasites and pathogens. Tarpy also says, "pesticide exposure or other environmental contaminants...even things like nutritional deprivation where they don't have enough forage and diversity of flowers to be able to collect nectar and pollen," are additional factors contributing to their decline.

The study is published in this month's German-based Naturwissenschaften, The Science of Nature.
 

Fed up with the frigid winters of her native state, Catherine was lured to North Carolina in 2006. She grew up in Wisconsin where she spent much of her time making music and telling stories. Prior to joining WUNC, Catherine hosted All Things Considered and classical music at Wisconsin Public Radio. She got her start hosting late-nights and producing current events talk shows for the station's Ideas Network. She later became a fill-in talk show host and recorded books for WPR's popular daily program, Chapter A Day.
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