Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Busy as a bee

September 8, 2011
Associate professor of entomology Zachary Huang holds out a cell of bees for first year postdoctoral entomology student Alex Xie to look at as they do observations for their research on Aug. 30 at the MSU Inland Lakes Water Research lot. Lauren Wood/The State News
Associate professor of entomology Zachary Huang holds out a cell of bees for first year postdoctoral entomology student Alex Xie to look at as they do observations for their research on Aug. 30 at the MSU Inland Lakes Water Research lot. Lauren Wood/The State News —
Photo by Lauren Wood | and Lauren Wood The State News

Things are as sweet as honey for Zachary Huang, associate professor of entomology. Huang has been working with bees since 1982, but before that, he had never seen a single honeybee.

“I was in China competing for a scholarship… and I got lucky. I became the chosen one,” Huang said. “Before that, I had never seen bees or tasted honey.”

Now he works on different research projects, including the one he has been working on with first-year doctoral entomology student Alex Xie.

They are doing research to see if a certain type of fungi — nosema — is the cause of colony collapse disorder, or CCD, where a large portion of a colony of bees suddenly dies. Another project Huang is overseeing is the work Xie is doing to see what genes are involved in mite reproduction. “The mite is perhaps the worst enemy for honeybees worldwide,” he said.

Huang also keeps a colony of bees at his home recreationally.

“The smell of honey and the humming noise that the flying busy bees (makes) calms you down,” Huang said about working with bees. “Everything is interesting.”

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