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article imageThese bees aren't members of the Mile-High-Club

By W. Mark Dendy     Oct 7, 2013 in Science
Being a member of the mile high club can be as prestigious as having lunch with sensational pop star Miley Cyrus – at least, in some circles. But not so for bees, particularly those among entomologist Sue Cobey’s brood on Whidbey Island.
Cobey specializes in bee “mating” according to the Wall Street Journal. Her purpose is to improve the odds that drones from good stock successfully breed with queens of high pedigree thus improving “the viability of North American’s fragile honeybee stock.”
Using a rather simple method that lacks any sort of romance for its participants, the “Queen of Queen Bees” or “Bee Whisperer” as the bee scientist is called, injects a queen that has first been sedated “with a blast of carbon dioxide” with a syringe of sperm harvested from “drones from good families.”
Professor Cobey’s efforts are not as nature would have it but certainly have helped fight “the dwindling diversity of breeding queens” which has resulted in reduced fitness among the U.S. bee population. The number of queen bees in the U.S, is estimated to be as few as 500 due to “environmental degradation, parasites, poor nutrition, and pesticides.”
Cobey’s artificial insemination methodology is working, resulting in bees of the highest caliber procreating.
But wouldn’t it be more fun if it were done above 5,280 feet? For the bee’s that is!
More about Honey bees, Mile high club, Entomology
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