STORY

The Urban Beekeeping Laboratory and Bee Sanctuary, Inc. is a Boston-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, on a mission to improve bee health. We are launching an innovative new public-private partnership linking corporate sponsored honey beehives with communities in need of access to ample pollinators. Our campaign is to raise $750,000 total by the end of 2017. These funds go directly to our research to improve bee health.

Anyone who eats food, needs bees. As pollinators of over 70 fruit and vegetable crops that we humans rely upon, bees contribute over $15 billion to the United States economy annually. That amount scales up to $100 billion globally each year. Honey bees, Apis mellifera, in particular are relied upon for scientific research, providing us with information about the greater environment. However, these are just one species of nearly 20,000 bee species worldwide.

Pollinators are struggling in both agricultural and wild environments.  There have been a wide range of theories blaming pesticides or fungicides, migratory beekeeping practices, climate change, mono-cultured landscapes and habitat loss, and an array of honey bee pathogens. . Within the beekeeping community some have begun to rename the epidemic “multiple stress disorder,” as it is clear that a combination of many stressors on the bees have made it difficult for their populations to succeed.

RESEARCH

At the Urban Beekeeping Laboratory & Bee Sanctuary, we know that honey bees are endlessly fascinating creatures. Beyond the captivating intricacies of their colony system and the delicious honey byproduct they produce, honey bees are also uniquely vital to our natural surroundings.

 

As pollinators of more than 100 fruit and vegetable crops in the United States, honey bees are an integral contributor to a sustainable natural environment.

 

And yet, honey bees are dying at an alarming rate. Owing to disease, mounting exposure to pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, as well as continued habitat loss, honey bee colonies throughout the world are suffering unprecedented devastation. This decline is one of the single greatest threats to our natural environment today.

 

Our mission is to raise funding for our research to improve bee health. The research projects range widely, and involve the collaborative efforts of our staff beekeepers, multiple Ph.D.’s, and student research interns. We also regularly collaborate with outside laboratories in both academia and industry, and within the United States as well as abroad.

 

The Urban Beekeeping Laboratory focuses on basic science research. These focus on testing hypotheses to better understand the natural world, as it pertains to bees.

CURRENT PROJECTS

  • Formula for Overwintering Survival Rate of Honey Bees in MA:

    A comprehensive equation to help determine overwintering survival in beehives in Massachusetts. The equation will ultimately factor in nosema, varroa, population size, pesticides, and other factors as well as their relative importance to hive survival.

  • HoneyDNA:

    Our research team analyzes the DNA of all the pollen found in a sample of honey. We then compare the pollen genomes to our comprehensive database of known plant families.

  • SmartHive
  • Queen Rearing
  • Bats & Bees
  • Disease Testing
  • Apitherapy:

    A study of the extended phenotype of honey bees and how each component of their extended phenotype impacts their community and confers disease resistance. As well as how humans can be affected by their (honey bees) extended phenotype.

  • Overwintering Surveys
  • Mapping Survival Hotspots:
    • Rural vs Suburban
    • Height off Ground
    • Protected Lands

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