A conversation with Maryann Frazier

woman pointing at slide on Honey Bees

Bees are good at collecting everything in their environment, and theyve gathered a lot of pesticides. On average, we’ve found six pesticides per sample. Maryann Frazier, senior extension associate in the Department of Entomology

With a "standing room only" crowd in attendance, Maryann Frazier led a riveting discussion at last Wednesday's Research Unplugged event on the decline of honey bees and other pollinators. Frazier, Senior Extension Associate in the Penn State Entomology Department, answered many questions from an audience that included concerned community citizens, professional and hobbyist beekeepers, Penn State researchers, as well as a group of students from Mount Nittany Middle School, along with their teachers David Rockower and Debra Daggs.

Frazier described the crisis called Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious ailment that causes an entire bee colony to suddenly sicken and abandon their hives. She explained how honey bees are the primary pollinators for over 100 important flowering crops including apples, citrus fruits, and almonds, and how their decline has negatively affected both professional beekeepers and the agricultural economy.

Explained Frazier, researchers suspect that CCD is a multifaceted problem and that overexposure to pesticides and less diverse nutrition due to monoculture farming may play a part in weakening the bees' immune system, thereby opening them up to a wide variety of illnesses. In answer to a question about how the public can help the bees, Frazier suggested planting pollinator-friendly gardens and distributed information on the topic from the Pennsylvania Master Gardeners.

Don't miss the current issue of Research Penn State magazine with a cover story on Colony Collapse Disorder research at the University!

Maryann Frazier suggests...

For more about Maryann Frazier, read on...

Last Updated January 29, 2009