Alison McAfee | Honey Bee Hub

A short history of pesticides

Pesticides. A difficult topic to navigate indeed. Precisely what should be done about them (if anything) is a charged debate with many layers, and here I will try to peel some of the most prominent. The tl;dr version: it’s complicated. Continue reading “A short history of pesticides”


The diversity dispute

Could inbreeding be causing the honey bee health challenges we see today? Continue reading “The diversity dispute”

Sylgard synergy

There’s growing evidence that agrochemicals other than pesticides are impacting honey bee health. Continue reading “Sylgard synergy”

Points of debate: Exploring pollinator misconceptions

In the “post-truth” era, it is increasingly difficult to discriminate fact from fiction and information surrounding honey bees is no exception. My goal in this piece is to explore some of the most common misconceptions about honey bees and provide some tools that can help mitigate the spread of misinformation. In this article, I’ll be answering some relatively simple questions which have surprisingly complex answers Continue reading “Points of debate: Exploring pollinator misconceptions”

Hygienic behaviour: It’s all about the necromones

Social immunity has ancient roots in insect evolution. Ants urgently carry their dead to refuse piles, termites prefer burials and honey bees drag their dead and diseased brood out to their doorstep. This serves the same purpose for insects as quarantine did for humans in the smallpox era: in a cramped, crowded place, disease spreads like wildfire unless the infected individuals are removed. Continue reading “Hygienic behaviour: It’s all about the necromones”

Bee Research in the ‘omics Era: Unlocking a Troublesome Genome

Healthy bees are a crucial part of our global food security. In fact, bees are so beneficial to the agricultural sector that their economic value is about $15 billion annually in the US alone. Many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we eat every day are pollinated by bees, not to mention the canola, rapeseed and even Continue reading “Bee Research in the ‘omics Era: Unlocking a Troublesome Genome”

Why we need to rethink the anti-pesticide movement

Pesticides have been used in agriculture for decades, so why is everyone outraged about them now? Continue reading “Why we need to rethink the anti-pesticide movement”

Calling all bee breeders!

Do you run a queen breeding operation in Canada and want to contribute to honey bee research? Continue reading “Calling all bee breeders!”

Combating the peer review woes: An argument for the preprint paper

For us scientists, publishing our work in a respected scientific journal is one of our top priorities. To do this, it must pass the gates of peer review. . . The idea behind peer review is simple: Step 1) editor filters out garbage papers that aren’t worth the reviewers’ time; Step 2) send the paper to expert scientists in the field to identify strengths, flaws and overall worthiness; Step 3) reject, accept, or return the paper to the authors for corrections. This process of getting expert feedback on each other’s work is a good idea at its core, but some things about this system are broken. Continue reading “Combating the peer review woes: An argument for the preprint paper”

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