By RACHAL PINKERTON
OTHELLO – After months of waiting, Washington State University’s new bee research facility in Othello is finally about to open. Washington State University has scheduled a grand opening for Friday, March 6.
WSU President Kirk H. Schulz announced on June 27, 2019, at the Adams County Development Council annual banquet that WSU would be purchasing acreage with a building from Monsanto in Othello for the purpose of honey bee and pollinator research education. Monsanto formerly used the building for research purposes.
“We are dedicated at WSU to make sure that we support the bee industry with its challenges,” Schulz said at the banquet. “It is important that we are seen as the university that is bringing solutions to the challenges that we see in our state.”
The WSU Board of Regents approved the purchase of the facility in June when $1.8 million of the $2.5 million purchase price had been raised, according to WSU’s website.
The new facility will allow researchers to have the space and equipment necessary to continue expansion of programs that WSU had started to help with the saving of bee populations around the world. It will also allow the research to take place much closer to the areas that are heavily dependent on pollinators. The facility will also allow for classes and demonstrations for beekeepers.
Some bee breeding work will continue on WSU’s Pullman campus, due to the ability to isolate mating areas. Currently, WSU is using frozen germplasm from honey bees in Europe and Asia to increase the genetic diversity of honey bees in the U.S.
WSU researchers are also studying ways to control and prevent viruses, microbial diseases and mites. Research is being conducted into the use of mushroom mycelium extracts and metarhizium fungus to control these threats. They are also exploring the use of controlled atmosphere storage to control mites over the winter months.
The grand opening for the new WSU Honey Bee & Pollinator Research, Extension, and Education Facility will be held on March 6, starting at 3 p.m. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. and self-guided tours after that. The facility is located at 1485 W. Cunningham Road, Othello.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at email@example.com.