University of Minnesota opens new bee lab

Facility expands and enhances Bee Lab group's research and teaching program and provides opportunities for enhanced collaborations.

Bee and pollinator researchers at the University of Minnesota are ready to take their research to the next level in a new state-of-the-art Bee & Pollinator Research Lab.

After a multiyear fund-raising campaign and building construction, the university is taking another step toward discovering solutions every day to protect bees, which, in turn, will help protect the food supply and human health.

The new Bee & Pollinator Research Lab, a part of the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), will centralize and facilitate the important bee research projects currently underway. The facility expands and enhances the Bee Lab group’s internationally recognized research and teaching program and provides opportunities for enhanced interdisciplinary and international collaborations.

The 10,000 sq. ft. laboratory consolidates lab space, honey extraction, hive observation space, offices and equipment space. The cost of the facility was about $6 million, with state-funded bonds covering two-thirds of the cost of the project and the balance funded through private gifts.

The goal of bee research at the University of Minnesota is to promote the health of bee pollinators, and now with the new facility, the research team can better accomplish that overarching goal and additionally provide the richest learning environment for students at all levels and from all backgrounds.

The Bee Lab team is driven by the research of Dr. Marla Spivak, MacArthur fellow and distinguished McKnight professor in entomology, who conducts research on honeybees with support from Gary Reuter and graduate students, as well as Dr. Dan Cariveau, who conducts research on the ecology and habitat needs of native bees.

Solving colony collapse while ensuring the world’s food supply from plants that rely on bees for pollination — ranging from soybeans to almonds — requires a wide range of experts working together and from diverse perspectives and subject matter expertise, the university said. CFANS is leading the interdisciplinary effort to help solve hunger in the world by addressing these grand challenges, from pollinator research to plant genetics and innovative ways to maintain and grow crop yields while protecting bees.

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