Scientists to breed genetically superior bees resistant to disease

Canadian scientists have received a $7.3 million grant to fund an experiment to breed honeybees to have resistance to disease and harsh winters. Honeybee numbers in Canada are currently on the decline for many reasons. One main reason is that they are imported from locations with warmer climates and are not accustomed to Canadian cold weather, which has resulted in several bee deaths.

About one out of four honeybees yield to the cold, provoking beekeepers to import more bees from the United States. This results in an increased risk of bringing in diseased bees.

Amro Zayed from York University said, “It is very clear that we have to develop innovative solutions for bee health because bee declines will have serious consequences for Canada’s economy and food security.”

Zayed stated his group has demonstrated that the behavior of certain colonies may be estimated by comprehending their genetic makeup. Using this method, experts may skip having to observe the bees because the method may not be useful anymore in identifying healthy and unhealthy bee colonies. This would save them effort and time.

The scientists will determine protein and genome makers to breed 12 traits considered beneficial to the economy. The method will permit beekeepers to develop healthy bees that are impervious to disease and inclement Canadian winters in a quick and cost-effective way. They also plan to create an economical and accurate exam to identify bees with Africanized genes since importation of bees from other countries can’t always be prevented.

The researchers’ goal is to promise that the new tools are practiced and are readily available to beekeepers when the project comes to an end. Their research is assumed to bring economic benefits to Canada, members of the agricultural and food sectors, and to beekeepers with $8 to $15 million per year.



  1. Great. It was genetic tampering to produce better honey bees that resulted in a mistake called killer bees. What will it be this time?

    • No, Bob, it was not genetic tampering. It was people in Brazil who wanted to study African bees and foolishly let them escape. The African bees interbred with the wild ones in Brazil (which were not native to Brazil, anyway) and produced your “killer bees” which are harmless unless disturbed. It’s all perfectly normal, really. When people turn robins into dinoraptors then we will have a genetic tampering problem.

  2. Nothing is wrong with the honeybees genetics. Problem is their environment is not conducive for their survival. More of the focus should be on what is adversely affecting them.

  3. Can we make one with red and white stripes instead of black and yellow? It could move aboot the hive apologising when it bumps into other bees. Be neat as well if it could feed on maple sap and produce a maple/honey that would be truly Canadian. Easy as Eh, Bee, Sea…Canada Rocks!!!

  4. Be very careful when CBC gets ahold of this….I think the bees will become secondary to whatever bs CBC can dig up…

  5. no one is going to improve on nature, they will just create something that will seem temporarily better and will turn out to be very unstable

  6. I look forward to the initial results. After all, honeybees are not native to this continent. They were brought over by the pioneers like the dandelions, tumbleweeds and cattle. And, understanding that fully a quarter or more of our food supply is dependent on the bee, it is imperative that we develop a bee strain that can survive the diseases and environment that we expose to them.

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