Last night Dr. Marla Spivak spoke to over 250 people at the Walker Art Center about the State of the Bees. Far from “another bee bummer” talk, Dr. Spivak focused much of her time explaining the exciting work coming from the UMN Bee Lab, and illustrating ways we can facilitate a better world for the bees, and in turn for us.
After a brief introduction by Nina Hale, Dr. Spivak took to the stage. She provided a bit of background on the current state of bees in the United States, illustrating that there is not one reason why bee colonies are dying, but rather a puzzle of interactions. Lack of crop diversity and food supplies polluted with more pesticides than bees can handle are the tip of the iceberg of issues that have a devastating impact on bee health.
Just like us, bees need clean food to thrive. The researchers at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab work on a wide range of studies to better understand bees, including native bee surveys to identify bee-friendly locations and investigations into the question of bee self medication. Mike Goblirsch from the Bee Lab has even developed the first honey bee cell line in the world!
While research is crucial to understanding what bees need to live healthy lives, legislation is just as important to facilitate necessary changes. Minnesota is the leading state in bee legislation with one bee-friendly bill already passed and two more in the works. We are on the right path to creating a better world for bees and people alike!
After Dr. Spivak’s talk and a brief Q&A, attendees visited the exhibitor tables, learning about bee friendly programs from the Minnesota Arboretum, having more bee questions answered by the experts from the Bee Lab, and getting detailed hive education from Beez Kneez Honey. Others were drawn to the delicious honey treats sold by the Minnesota Honey Company and Mademoiselle Miel. Whether interested in legislation information from the Pesticide Action Network, or how to become a beekeeper from Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association, there was a table for everyone!