Presenter: Steve Pernal, PhD, Beaverlodge Research

Bee Breeding Tools for the Future

This presentation will review our multi-year efforts to develop genomic and proteomic tools with which to more rapidly and effectively select colonies from which to breed.  In particular, we have focussed on traits which
are difficult to measure including varroa and disease resistance, along with a host of other economically important traits.


New Paradigms in AFB Management

Current efforts at managing American foulbrood are through the use of prophylactic applications of antibiotics and how beekeepers’ access to antimicrobials will be severely restricted in the new era veterinary prescriptions for drugs. Consequently, attitudes and techniques for managing AFB will need to change. Highlighted will be non-chemical therapies for AFB and the use of  surveillance to predict AFB outbreaks.


Steve Pernal, PhD, received his BSc in Zoology from Brandon University and his MSc and PhD in Entomology from the University of Manitoba. His doctoral work concentrated on honey bee nutrition and the influence of pollen quality on foraging strategies in honey bees. For his thesis work, he received the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award in Natural Sciences and Engineering. From 1998 to 2001, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Mark Winston at Simon Fraser University, where he worked on isolating naturally produced compounds from larval and adult honey bees, which serve as attractants and repellents for the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor. Since 2001, he has been employed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a Research Scientist in Beaverlodge, Alberta where he leads a national honey bee research program and also serves as Officer-in-Charge. His work has been diverse, and has included the detection, control, and mitigation of residues associated with oxytetracycline-resistant American foulbrood disease and food-grade therapies for chalkbrood disease. He was also involved in devising therapies and management strategies for the control of Nosema ceranae as well as other emerging parasites of honey bees. Steve has also been an integral member of three successive Genome Canada projects evaluating markers for resistance to bee diseases and Varroa destructor. Over the last 4 years, he has worked with the National Bee Diagnostic Centre to carry out a national survey of honey bee pests and diseases. He formerly served as President of the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists and is a contributing member of national and international committees related to the honey bee industry and apicultural research. In 2013, Steve was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to the public service and his long-standing work with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. In 2017, he was awarded AAFC’s Gold Harvest award for Innovation, Collaboration and Service Excellence.