Entomology, Department of


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Master of Science Degree Project, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2022.


Copyright © 2022 Cory Stevens


My MS project is a practical and comprehensive training module for the advanced breeding technique of instrumental insemination of honey bee queens. Instrumental insemination allows for control over mating. Honey bee queens typically mate with 15-20 different drones in the air, making specific trait selection quite difficult. II is invaluable for concentrating specific traits in breeding stock, especially host pest resistance. The commercial bee industry has become overly reliant on chemical solutions to control varroa mites in their IPM programs. With recent evidence of mite resistance to popular miticides, breeding for host resistance is critically important to sustain the industry. II is the top tier of three training modules I have submitted for advanced curriculum in UNL’s master beekeeping program. “The Great Plains Master Beekeeping Program will provide training, education, outreach, and mentoring for beginning and advanced beekeepers that will improve colony survival and drive economic success.” The first module is queen rearing. Queen rearing is the functional cornerstone any breeding program or commercial producer relies on for economic success and sustainability. A steady supply of choice queens is vital to make up new colonies to replenish losses, retain for breeding stock, and for sale. The second is a training module for the testing of VSH (varroa sensitive hygiene.) VSH is the most powerful and effective set of host resistance traits that we are currently aware of. VSH enables the host to effectively mitigate the reproduction of their primary pest and improve colony health and survival. Since VSH is a hygiene mechanism, it is also highly effective in mitigating major brood diseases. The instrumental insemination training module(https://youtu.be/WBBQyYfNQFw)is the capstone to the three-part series. It will train queen producers to concentrate highly valuable traits like VSH in commercially viable honey bee stocks. Furthermore, it will encourage the production and use of host resistant stocks to increase the sustainability of honey bee IPM programs.

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