Keeping Bee-sy

Cora and her partner removes frames
Cora and her research partner remove frames from a hive at a local apiary as part of her research with the Texas A&M Entomology Department.

As a Tier One research university, Texas A&M is globally renowned for its research and academic excellence. Coming to College Station with this knowledge, I still never expected to get involved with research.

My previous conceptions regarded research as something dull and boring; I pictured research as sitting at a desk all day investigating dead ends and pointless work.

Yet, my coursework within a veterinary entomology class sparked an interest in me I never thought possible.

In this class, I learned about problems plaguing honey bee colonies around the world—deformed wing virus and Nosema fungal spores are two of the largest killers of honey bees. Immediately, I became interested in preventatives or treatments for these pathogens, but then I learned there were none.

Shortly after, I was offered the opportunity to join a research laboratory within the Texas A&M Entomology Department that is centered around finding cures for this RNA virus and parasitic fungus.

Although optimistic about the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, my lingering apprehension remained.

However, within a short span of months, my perception about research has completely changed. I have learned invaluable laboratory skills and knowledge about honey bees, including their ecology and biology.

In fact, more recently I visited the local apiary, where most research with bees in the Texas A&M Entomology Department is conducted. At the apiary, my research partner and I practiced identifying different levels of bees and smoking frames to mellow out honey bees from their overactive or angry states.

My newfound experiences in research have been so exciting and telling of the different kinds of opportunities available at Texas A&M.

I look forward to the transformative experiences left in my time here in College Station and the impact I can make on honey bee populations!