- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
We've all read stories dealing with "A Day in the Life" of principals, presidents and princesses. We're probably familiar with The Beatles' song "A Day in the Life," the final song on their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
But do you know what's it's like to be a queen bee for a day? A virgin queen bee?
You will if you attend the Wednesday, Feb. 3 seminar by Extension apiculturist/professor David Tarpy of North Carolina State University on Wednesday, Feb. 3 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive, UC Davis. He will speak on "Young Regality: a Day in the Life of a Virgin Queen Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m. It's part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's noonhour seminars and is open to all interested persons. It also will be recorded for later posting on UCTV.
His host is Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Tarpy, a honey bee biologist, joined the North Carolina State University faculty in 2003. He received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1993 from Hobart College; his master's degree in biology (advised by David Fletcher) in 1995 from Bucknell University; and his doctorate in entomology in 2000 from UC Davis, with major professor Robert Page, former chair of the Department of Entomology and now university provost emeritus and Foundation chair of Life Sciences, Arizona State University.
Tarpy went on to complete his postdoctoral fellowship (advised by Tom Seeley) at Cornell University, New York.
Tarpy focuses his research on the biology and behavior of honey bee queens—using techniques including field manipulations, behavioral observation, instrumental insemination, and molecular genetics—in order to better improve the overall health of queens and their colonies.
Specific research projects include understanding the effect of the polyandrous mating strategy of queen bees on colony disease resistance, using molecular methods to determine the genetic structure within honey bee colonies, and the determining the regulation of reproduction at the individual and colony levels.
Tarpy's work has provided some of the best empirical evidence that multiple mating by queens confers multiple and significant benefits to colonies through increased genetic diversity of their nestmates.
More recently, his lab has focused on the reproductive potential of commercially produced queens, testing their genetic diversity and mating success in an effort to improve queen quality. He recently worked with the California Bee Breeders' Association, headquartered in Orland. Many of the bee breeders sent him queen bees to be tested.
He wrote a piece for North Carolina Extension on why honey bee colonies are dying.