Pest-resistant bees are topic of talk Tuesday in Weston

Susan Cobey

Susan Cobey, of UC Davis and Washington State University, will discuss her research on identifying, selecting and enhancing honeybee stocks that show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases at the next meeting of the Backyard Beekeepers Association (BYBA).

The group is set to meet at Norfield Church parish hall, 64 Norfield Road in Weston on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

The BYBA educaties the public about honeybees and beekeeping. With more than 300 members, the association is one of the nation’s largest regional clubs for beekeeping hobbyists.

Ms. Cobey, a bee breeder-geneticist, shares a dual appointment with the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis and Washington State University. She developed the New World Carniolans stock, a dark race of honeybees, in the early 1980s by back-crossing stocks collected from throughout the United States to create a more pure strain.

“Over time, it has proven very productive, winter hardy, well tempered and more resistant to pests and disease,” she said. Genetic diversity, the raw tools for selection, is critical “in maintaining colony fitness and resisting pests and diseases,” she said.

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