Honey bee researcher and bee breeder Krispn Given was selected for the “Behind the Research” honor. Each academic year, the college profiles six people whose work supports the College of Agriculture’s global reputation for developing innovative, multidisciplinary solutions to challenges and then putting those solutions into action. Krispn continues to bring to Purdue a world class reputation in innovative honey bee research!
The approach in the beginning was just to select from colonies that produced the fewest mites and select from the top ones (low mite pop X low mite pop). We decided to try and select for increased mite-biting in 2007 when we noticed some colonies had a bigger proportion of chewed mites when viewed under the microscope. Purdue’s honey bee breeding program has been going on for 23 years, now spearheaded by Emeritus professor Dr. Greg Hunt, with behavioral-phenotypic selection along with other desirable traits beekeepers want, such as disease resistance and gentle comb temperament. Grooming behavior is also an important trait to have in a colony of bees; colonies that groom themselves free of mites also have a higher degree of chewing when sampled from 48 hr. sticky-boards.
Krispn is best known for IN Mite-biter honey bee strain and instrumental insemination. “I really enjoy teaching researchers and bee breeders this important skill each year at Purdue.” There is certainly an uptick in the interest in honey bee breeding now with all the challenges bees are facing, we need more serious bee breeders. “I was thrilled to receive this honor from Purdue College of Agriculture.”