The buzz is that a non-profit in Gatineau, Quebec is planning some research to develop a super bee that can withstand the Canadian weather. This bee will have the power to fend off parasites and pathogens and survive the harsh weather of the country.
The project, which involves several beekeepers from Gatineau, eventually plans to create a network of beekeepers and then use it to create an urban-wide research project for the super bee. The ultimate aim of the research is to protect the declining population of bees so crucial for pollination.
Most bees in the country are originally from Europe and not native to North America. In a way, being non-native presents plenty of challenges for the fragile bees. Research aims to correct that with the new Canadian super bee that is more accepting to local weather conditions. In addition, it will also be able to fight off pathogens and parasites that often trouble the species.
Toronto beekeeper Michelle Wolfson is concerned about the challenges that the new strain of honeybee will face. “The cold weather is not the only problem the honeybee faces. Changing weather conditions are the honeybees’ real enemy. We are having warmer fall months, hotter summers, and wetter springs. All of these add a lot of stress on the bees. These conditions should be considered when developing the super bee.”
Wolfson adds that global warming and higher stresses in securing food for the bees is a bigger factor for the decline in honeybee population. These factors need to be addressed along with the genetic modification of the species.