Seeking answers in the CSU Bee Lab

Posted Feb 27 2024
Hongmei Li-Byarlay with undergraduate student researcher Keara Clarke in the Bee Lab at Central State University

Above: Undergraduate student researcher Keara Clarke (back) works with Hongmei Li-Byarlay, Ph.D., in the Central State University Bee Lab.

Hongmei Li-Byarlay, Ph.D., an associate professor of Entomology, is leading several innovative projects in the Central State University Bee Lab in collaboration with undergraduate student researchers. These projects offer students the opportunity for hands-on learning in their areas of interest.

One of the projects is being conducted by Keara Clarke, an undergraduate student researcher from Nassau, Bahamas. She is studying the mite-biting behavior of honeybees, using mites collected from hives last fall. The study will help Clarke, who is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology, determine which mites the honeybees have chewed and which hives are exhibiting this phenotype. The hives showing this behavior can then be utilized for queen grafting and insemination to encourage the mite-biting behavior in future honeybee hives.

Central State University's Dr. Hongmei Li-Byarlay with a student in the University Bee Lab
Undergraduate student researcher Joel Barhorst (front) works on his Honors College project with Hongmei Li-Byarlay, Ph.D., in the Central State University Bee Lab.

In addition, Joel Barhorst, an undergraduate student researcher, is working in collaboration with Li-Byarlay for his Honors College project. Barhorst, a junior majoring in Sustainable Agriculture from Greenville, Ohio, is using molecular biology tools and 3D printing technology to study the bee brain. The research will help him understand the molecular structures of the honeybee brain, which is crucial for the social behavior of honeybees. Genes in the brain modulate many different behaviors, including grooming and hygiene.