AUBURN — The next meeting of the Androscoggin Beekeepers Club will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at Edward Little High School.

Club business will be followed by a presentation, “A Tale of Two BB’s: Maine Bumblebees and Blueberries,” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The May speaker will be Kalyn Bickerman, who is a Ph.d. student at the University of Maine under the supervision of Frank Drummond Ph.d. She investigates the health of native bumblebees in Maine’s lowbush blueberry fields.

Before arriving at UM, Bickerman completed a B.A. degree in biology at Bowdoin College as well as a M.A. degree in Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the New York City.

Beyond looking for common parasites (conopid flies) and pathogens (the microsporidian Nosema bombi) in the bees, Bickerman has also looked at the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid and its effect on colony development, along with how well individual bees are able to detoxify themselves when faced with pesticide exposure.

Lowbush blueberries are one of Maine’s most important exports and bumblebees, which are in grave decline, are instrumental in their pollination for successful fruit production. 

The presentation is open to the public.

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