- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
What's it like in the day of a life of a virgin queen bee?
Extension apiculturist/professor David Tarpy of North Carolina State University will present a seminar on "Young Regality: a Day in the Life of a Virgin Queen Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive, UC Davis.
The seminar, open to all interested persons, is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's noonhour seminars. It also will be recorded for later posting on UCTV. His host is Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Social insects have long fascinated entomologists, and honey bees have been a model system for their study," said Tarpy, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 2000 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. "At the heart of the colony is a single queen, the mother of all nestmates and critical member for colony productivity. The natural history of queens is a fascinating story, one that interweaves the complexities of social behavior, genetics, and evolutionary ecology."
Tarpy, a honey bee biologist, joined the North Carolina State University faculty in 2003 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Tom Seeley of Cornell University. He received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1993 from Hobart College and his master's degree in biology in 1995 from Bucknell University.
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.
While in the area, Tarpy also plans to address the Marin County Beekeepers' Association on Thursday, Feb.4.