Semen solution: can a sperm bank save bees from oncoming extinction?


Honey bee colonies around the world are dwindling, and the consequences threaten to be severe: We rely on these bees to pollinate myriad agricultural crops, including one-third of crop species in the US alone, making their disappearance a genuine threat to the human food supply. Now, one team of researchers has come up with a unique technique to prevent what’s known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD): a honey bee sperm bank.

A group at Washington State University is traveling the world to collect sperm samples from various honey bee subspecies. To do it, they simply squeeze a male honey bee’s abdomen, which releases a small quantity of sperm that’s collected in a syringe. From there, the researchers plan to cryogenically freeze that…

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