Bringing Back a Bee-Friendly World

By Jerry Haus, Development Officer, Bee Research and Discovery Center; College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota

Bees fascinate and inspire people, young and old. Bees improve our health and nutrition through pollination of fruits and vegetables. They produce honey, a delicious natural sweetener and an effective burn and wound remedy. They collect tree resins, called propolis, which have remarkable antimicrobial properties that benefit human and bee health. In short, bees are vital to our lives, however bee health is failing due to a paucity of bee-friendly flowers, chronic exposure to pesticides, and debilitating diseases, and parasites. Now more than ever bees need our help.

Join us in our effort to bring back a bee friendly world.

Our vision at the University of Minnesota is to create two facilities—a research lab and a bee discovery center—to showcase the beauty and complexity of the bee society and their direct connection to food, agriculture, floral landscapes, and medicine.

Research Lab: The Essential Core

A state-of-the-art research lab on the St. Paul campus will anchor the Bee Center program. A new lab space can be compared to the cluster of bees in a hive. A successful research program, like a healthy bee colony, is productive, efficient and resourceful. The research lab will centralize and facilitate the important bee research projects at the University of Minnesota. It will expand and enhance our internationally recognized research program and provide substantial benefits to the university through increased federal funding and interdisciplinary and international collaborations.

Discovery Center: What Research Can Do For You

Visitors will be invited into a unique destination at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Discovery Center, which will have great potential for capacity building, increasing the university’s reputation as a leader in environmental and agricultural research and education. This will be an exciting new public attraction, providing a portal to explore the tangible benefits of university research.

The Discovery Center will include informative exhibits on current research topics. The range of topics will include:

  • Human health benefits derived from bees and bee products ( honey, propolis, venom)

  • Biology of the fascinating social behaviors of bees

  • Ecosystem services provided by bees as key pollinators of our fruits, vegetables and flowers

  • Cultural importance of bees throughout the world and history

  • Bees as a portal to sustainable stewardship of our environment

In addition, the Discovery area will be a place for the public to safely experience bees and beekeeping while learning to appreciate the importance of bee welfare. Both school groups and adults will observe a beekeeper handling colonies in a garden setting, view live seasonal demonstrations of how honey is harvested and extracted in a food grade facility.

Bee Landscaping

The Discovery Center will be surroundings will be artfully landscaped with bee-pollinated trees, shrubs and gardens. Here the public can experience floral landscapes from the perspective of a pollinator and appreciate how pollinators, in turn, shape our environment. Landscape designs will teach how everyone can help to improve habitat and promote bee health and diversity.

The Bee Research and Discovery Center will be a unique bee centered experience, connecting research with public educational space.

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To learn more about our on-going efforts, you may want to check out these links:

To help support us, go to, where you’ll find a link to our home page starting in January. The Walter T. Kelley Company will donate a dollar for every contribution readers make, up to $300 per month.

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