Scientists at a Turkish university hope to promote beekeeping in the country through a new project: Bees that do not sting. A research center specializing in beekeeping practices at the University of Düzce in northern Turkey succeeded in developing benign and hygienic bees through artificial insemination.
Meral Kekeçoğlu, the head of the center, said they first determined the least aggressive bees in a colony through several experiments and applied artificial insemination on male and female bees least inclined to sting. "We observed that some bees were able to clean themselves of varroa (parasitic mites associated with honey bees) and focused on the bees exhibiting this hygienic behavior. Among them, we concentrated on calmer bees. Beekepers naturally want to work more comfortably to extract honey from colonies. We managed to obtain a benign and hygienic type of bee through artificial insemination in the end," she said.
She stated that now they were working on obtaining a patent on tamed bees. "Most people wanting to take on beekeeping have the reasonable fear of being stung by bees. Now they can keep bees in their houses without any concern," she said. Kekeçoğlu said this new generation of bees can also help beekeeping in urban areas where people are reluctant to tend the hives fearing that they will escape and harm the population.