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A Hive of Industry at the University of Sussex

Posted on by phlorum

At the entrance to the Innovation Centre car park at The University of Sussex is a large shed. The UK’s only Professor of Apiculture, Professor Francis Ratnieks will head the newly-created Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University. Professor Ratnieks is a leading authority on honeybee biology, beekeeping and other social insects – the bees, wasps and ants that live in colonies with a queen and workers. Honeybees are the major pollinators of agricultural and wild plants, pollinating around £165m worth of crops in the UK annually. They also produce honey and wax, but their importance to scientists doesn’t end there. Professor Ratnieks says: “The honeybee is the gateway to biology – a huge range of important questions in biology, from agriculture to genetics, can be studied in this one species.”