Museum to Host Talk on Honey Bee Crisis

Honeybees are the primary insect pollinators of U.S. crops valued at $17 billion annually, but their population is in significant decline.  Dr. Michelle Flenniken, MSU microbiologist and co-director of MSU’s Pollinator Health Center, will discuss the honeybee crisis and ways to address the global challenge in the third presentation of the winter/spring Science Inquiry Series.

The talk will be presented at the Museum of the Rockies at 600 W Kagy Blvd in Bozeman, Montana on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Hager Auditorium.

The series, sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Friends of the Sciences, explores cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by conversations between speaker and audience.  The talks are free to the public.

In her presentation, entitled “What’s Killing the Bees?  A look at the Research,” Flenniken will discuss honeybee losses of more than 30% per year over the past decade, factors affecting honeybee colony health, and the importance of both basic and applied science in addressing the problem.

Bee colonies arriving at the MSU honeybee research site and pollinator garden.
MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

Dr. Flenniken, an assistant professor in the Planet Sciences Department at MSU, holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from Montana State University, with postdoctoral work at the University of California – San Francisco.   Her research currently focuses on investigating honeybee host–pathogen interactions and studying honeybee threats through the Pollinator Health Center.

The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for audience members to engage in conversation with Flenniken in the museum lobby with light refreshments served.

The speaker presentation and audience participation segments together will last approximately an hour.