Marquette University Bee Research; see why scientists are buzzing

Bees in harness?! FOX6 News got an inside look Thursday, May 12 at the unique research buzz at Marquette University.

Spring has arrived – and that means the bees are out.

“Plants, animals, everything in our ecosystem need to be taken care of and we need to be stewards of them,” said Dr Chelsea Cook, assistant professor of biological sciences.

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Marquette’s Cook Lab focuses on the behavior of honey bees.

“If we dump antibiotics, or chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, onto our environment, we can use the bees and their ability to learn to assess whether they’re being affected by those chemicals and what we’re doing there. environment,” Cook said.

Marquette’s Cook Lab, bee research site

To see more closely, you have to climb on the roof.

“We take individual bees from the colony to learn more about how the individuals work and how they work together to make the colony work,” Cook said.

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Then it’s back to the lab, where the real magic happens.

“If you’ve ever heard of Pavlov’s Dog where Pavlov rang the bell and the dog salivated. Same thing with bees. So we can train them to associate a smell with a food reward,” said Justine Nguyen, a student at the Marquette University.

Bee Research at Marquette University

How to make a bee relax? Putting them in ice makes them nice and sleepy – so researchers can do their job.

“I take a harness and gently place her against the harness,” Nguyen said.

Harness affixed to a bee at the Marquette laboratory

Then there is the test.

“You touch their antennae, then they smell the food and they stick out their little tongue,” Nguyen said.

Marquette’s Cook Lab, bee research site

When their research is done, we will know how chemicals, pesticides, all sorts of things that we release into the environment, affect bees.

“Let’s be calm, know that we live with them, we live among them, and we shouldn’t be spraying pesticides to get rid of them. We should just be careful and recognize that we live in their environment as they live in ours,” Cook said. mentioned.

Bees take care of us, our environment, the food supply and even the economy. Now scientists say it’s our turn to take care of them.

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