Your Votes Helped UMD Doctoral Bee Researcher Win an International Competition!
He has spoken to and inspired MSBA members, as well as beekeepers in county clubs across the Free State! Let's help the rest of the world get blown away by what this dedicated young researcher has to say!
Samuel Ramsey, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Entomology, is representing UMD in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, sponsored by Universitas 21, an international network of research universities. In this competition, Ramsey and the 16 other finalists are judged on their ability to communicate the significance of their doctoral research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. They are competing for three prizes: Judges’ First Place, Judges' Highly Commended, and People's Choice. You can learn more about Ramsey and the contest online.
Ramsey’s research is on a tiny parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, which is the single biggest contributor to the decline in health of honey populations worldwide. Originating in Asia, the invasive Varroa mite is effecting at wreaking destruction on honey bee colonies, both by feeding on adult and immature bees and by serving as a vector for five debilitating viruses.
For nearly 50 years, researchers have believed that the mite fed on the hemolyph (the “blood”) of the honey bee. Ramsey has done extensive research on the feeding habits and nutrition of the Varroa mite that provides strong evidence that this model is incorrect, and that the mites are primarily feeding on the honey bee's fat body tissue—an organ in insects that serves a similar role to the human liver. This discovery has the potential to allow researchers to develop better pesticides and other more targeted control techniques.