In exciting news for Canadian honeybee enthusiasts, the Food from Thought-funded Canadian Bee Gut Project is expanding its sampling range in 2023. The project aims to define a ‘healthy’ honeybee microbiome using metagenomic sequencing technologies and performing nationwide sampling in coordination with beekeepers across Canada.
Since launching in 2022, the project has collected samples from over 150 hives in Ontario. However, the research team is now gearing up to expand its sampling range into other provinces during the active pollination season of 2023. This expansion will allow the project to gather a broader range of data and gain a more comprehensive understanding of how microorganisms impact honeybee health nationwide.
The Canadian Bee Gut Project is a citizen science-based initiative, meaning that it relies on beekeepers and other interested individuals’ participation in collecting and contributing samples. The project has already seen enthusiastic participation from the beekeeping community in Ontario, and the research team hopes to build on this success as they expand their sampling range.
“The project’s ultimate goal is to improve our understanding of honeybee health and to guide policy geared towards sustainable management of honeybees in the agricultural sector,” said Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Canada Research Chair, and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph.
“By identifying what constitutes a ‘healthy’ microbiome in honeybees, the project aims to develop strategies to help protect these crucial pollinators and ensure their long-term survival.”
The Canadian Bee Gut Project is an important initiative that highlights the value of citizen science and collaboration between researchers and the wider community. As the project expands its sampling range, honeybee enthusiasts across the country can look forward to contributing to this vital work and helping to protect one of Canada’s most valuable natural resources.
To learn more and to get involved in the project, please visit: https://beegutproject.uoguelph.ca