Virtual bee conference a buzz with quirky facts


TORONTO, October 14, 2020 – How does animal dung protect against Asian Hornets? Do aging honey bee queens create mutated drones? These are just two of the questions presenters at this year’s virtual, one day bee conference (BeeCon) at York University will discuss.

Yellow-banded bumble bee on dandelion. Photo by Victoria MacPhail, York University

BeeCon is an annual free symposium for local, national and international bee biologists to present and discuss their work on a wide range of bee-related topics, including behaviour, genomics, ecology, and conservation. It’s hosted by the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, York’s newest organized research unit, which connects experts from biology and conservation to math modelling across the University.

This year’s virtual event will take place Friday, Oct. 16, from 9:15am to 5pm.

The event will feature talks from Ontario researchers ranging from the conservation genomics of bumble bees to beneficial microbes and modelling pollinator foraging.

Symposium talks will include the following:

9:30 am – Biology of Some Weird Beetles Parasitic on Bees in Ontario with Nora Romero of York University

11 am – Keynote speech: Leveraging Symbionts to Protect Wild and Managed Pollinators with Quinn McFrederick of the University of California

1:45pm – Insights into the phylogeny and biogeography of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Nomada with Katherine Odanaka of York University

2:15 pm – The Effect of Aging Honeybee Queens on the Mutation Rate of Drones with Dova Brenman-Suttner of York University

3:15 pm – Tool use by Honey Bees: Apis cerana Bees Defend their Colonies from Attacks by Giant Asian Hornets with Animal Dung with Gard W. Otis of the University of Guelph

4:15pm - Community Science Adds to Our Knowledge About Bumble Bee (Apidae: Bombus) Distribution, Status, & Natural History Information: A Comparison of the Bumble Bee Watch Program to a Database of North American Researcher-Collected Records with Victoria MacPhail of York University

Click here for the full program of speakers and topics.


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