Canadian Scientists Are Trying to Breed a Cold-Weather Bee

Kirstin Fawcett
iStock / iStock

Life is rough for bees in Canada. Thanks to the country’s freezing winters, on average, one-quarter of honeybee colonies perish each winter, and nearly half died last year, according to a report by the CBC

However, a group of scientists have launched an initiative to help the insect thrive. Called the Beenomics Project, researchers from Toronto's York University and the University of British Columbia are creating equipment that “would allow beekeepers to read the genetic code of individual bee colonies and find out how they compare for certain traits,” the CBC writes. Armed with this genetic information, researchers hope keepers will be able to breed the bees to select for attributes like resilience against cold climates and sickness, the ability to make more honey, lessened aggression, and other beneficial characteristics. 

In summer 2016, Canadian researchers will evaluate the traits of 1000 colonies, sequence their genomes, and gather information to help beekeepers breed their own specialized insects. Find out more buzz about the Beenomic Projects on CBC’s The Current.

[h/t CBC]