May 17, 2015
Honeybee Breeding Program Targeting “Better” Bee
The Heartland Honeybee Breeders Cooperative are in the process of trying to breed a “hardier” honeybee and are also planning to use some historic sites for new bee hives in the Dayton area. The goal is to create a honeybee population that can better withstand environmental changes as well as be more pest-resistant. Some of these new honeybee colonies will be located at the Dayton Aviation Heritage Museum, Huffman Prairie, Paul Laurence Historic District, and in an area near Wilberforce University.
In an article posted on DaytonDailyNews.com, the city of Dayton is also planning to offer a plot of land at Williams and Fifth streets to be dedicated as a “food forest” for the honeybees as well as other pollinating insects. While the hives throughout the area will not be accessible to the public, they will still be well aware where the bees are and what they are doing – the hive located at the Aviation Museum will contain and infrared camera so the public can have a “live view” that will be broadcasted online.
With support from the Levin Family Foundation, the Heartland Honeybee Breeders Cooperative hopes to cultivate what they will call the “Buckeye Bee,” which will carry unique genetic traits that are better adapted to the northern climates and are resistant to the varroa mite, which is responsible for spreading deadly diseases among bees. Currently, much of Ohio’s bee stock comes from neighboring Georgia and recently many problems have been reported with the incoming honeybee colonies.
Currently, 150 honeybee hives have been established in Logan County at the Belle Center. The hope is that these hives will produce queen breeder bees in which the cooperative will incorporate genetic stock from European bees to create the “Buckeye Bee.” Other organizations are also helping to support the “Propolis Project” in Dayton including the National Park Service, Central State University, Wright State University, Miami University, Antioch College and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“I’m personally excited about it,” said natural resource technician Brittney Mitchell who works on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Mitchell also expressed that she is looking forward to having bee hives installed on Huffman Prairie. The city of Dayton is working to encourage the use of vacant areas around the city for urban agriculture and helping the “Propolis Project” supports this objective. “We’re excited about it and ready to make it happen,” said Community Coordinator Verletta Jackson.