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Speaker: Mr. Krispn Given

Date: 25 Feb 2024

Time: 7:30 PM (EDT) (Eastern Daylight Time – Cincinnati Time)

Topic: " "Breeding for Increased Resistance to Varroa Destructor".

Fees: Free

Where: Online through Zoom (Click on the "TO REGISTER" link at the top of the page).  You will receive an email the day of the event (or before that). If you did not receive an email, please check your spam folder.


Krispn Given is the Apiculture Specialist in the Department of Entomology at Purdue University. He started keeping bees at the age of nine working with his father who introduced him to the world of honey bees, he purchased his fist car selling comb honey. Today he is recognized as one of the leading international authorities in the fields of instrumental insemination and honey bee breeding. Given started breeding bees 29 years ago conducting research with 100-300 colonies looking for solutions to improve honey bee health with the use of selective breeding paradigms. He maintains the honey bee breeding program at Purdue University, teaching annual queen rearing short courses in addition to managing the honey bee laboratory’s extension and student research activities. He teaches instrumental insemination classes each year attracting researchers and bee breeders worldwide wanting to learn the specialized technique. His current research is focused on identifying, selecting and enhancing honey bee stock that express increased levels of behavioral resistance to the varroa mite. Krispn was instrumental in pioneering work developing the “Indiana Mite-biter” (in collaboration with honey bee geneticist Greg Hunt) honey bee

strain, where they demonstrated bees that groom themselves free of mites also bite more mites when groomed off the adult bees. It is a heritable trait that is beneficial to beekeepers, resulting in less winter mortality. The primary mechanism of defense is the ability to groom themselves free of varroa mites and bite them. He was also involved in several research projects the last twenty years at Purdue, he is an author and co-author of numerous publications, books, including scientific and trade journal articles. His work led him to help design innovative instrumental insemination devises made in America. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work. In 2023 he received the prestigious Rodger A. Moorse Outstanding Teaching Extension Regulatory Award, which was established by the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America to recognize excellence in teaching and research. He is a past president of the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative.

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Talk title:


"Breeding for Increased Resistance to Varroa Destructor"


In this lecture, I will present an overview of our ongoing breeding program now in its 25th year at Purdue University for increased behavioral resistance to the varroa mite, and how the Indiana Mite-biter strain was developed. The technique of instrumental insemination will also be discussed along the way. Controlled mating is essential in any honey bee breeding paradigm. Grooming behavior is an important trait like VSH that helps reduce the impact of varroa. We have recently identified one of about six genes Nerexin-1 that is responsible for grooming behavior in honey bees, bees that groom themselves free of parasitic mites also chew more mites resulting in healthier colonies due to reduced mite populations going into winter. Mite-biting is hierarchal, meaning we look at this one trait. Then secondarily we prefer to select colonies that are healthy and not just chewing the mites but controlling the mite population.


Mr. Krispn Given

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