Dr. Greg Hunt

Dr. Greg Hunt, a retired Purdue University professor and a pioneer in honey bee genetics, will speak to the Toe Cane Beekeepers Association monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday,  April 23, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Spruce Pine. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Hunt and his team developed the Purdue “Mite-Biter” line of bees that exhibit behaviors that fight both brood diseases and Varroa mites, a devastating parasite. 

His talk, “Breeding Bees that Fight Varroa,” will outline how a genetic strain of honey bees has been developed that exhibits grooming behaviors that allow the bees to remove or chew the mites.  Varroa mites are considered the most serious threat to honey bee health because they feed on bees and their brood and can carry deadly viruses.

While a graduate student at the University of California Davis, he published the first genetic map of the honey bee in 1994.  Hunt served as the Indiana honey bee specialist for more than 20 years.

He co-founded the first Midwest regional beekeeping association — the Heartland Apiculture Society —  and developed a regional program to help queen breeders select for “mite-biter” bees.

In addition to his genetic research, Hunt worked with Africanized honey bees in Mexico for several decades studying their stinging behavior,.

Now retired, Hunt and his family live near Mars Hill.

Toe Cane Beekeepers Association is a nonprofit organization serving the honey bees and beekeepers of Mitchell, Avery and Yancey counties. It offers educational and training opportunities throughout the year for new and experienced beekeepers and engages in community outreach through area schools and at special events. For more information, visit www.toecanebeekeepers.net


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