Washington State University plans to purchase a new home for its Honey Bee and Pollinator Research and Education program in Othello, the university announced this week. The facility, which includes research buildings and greenhouses on 50 acres of land, was formerly used for crop research by a private company.
“This facility will really help upgrade the work we do,” said Steve Sheppard, endowed professor of pollinator ecology in WSU’s department of entomology, in a statement. “We’ve been in ‘temporary quarters’ since 2000.”
While some bee breeding work will continue in Pullman, the new bee facility near Othello will greatly expand our capacity, he continued. In addition to the honeybee genetic repository, researchers will move projects — including controlled-atmosphere storage facilities to test how induced over-wintering can improve mite management and studies on how different fungi can benefit honeybees in terms of their health and control of hive pests.
The Othello location also puts researchers closer to the Central Washington specialty crop agriculture that depends on pollinators.
The $2.5 million purchase was approved in June, after WSU received $1.8 million in donations for a new bee facility. The program is still raising money to equip the facility.
—by Kate Prengaman
Read more about honeybee research at WSU:
—Researchers look to fungi to help keep honeybees healthy
—Bees may do better being kept in the dark
—A new, old bee