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.