2016 Dutch Gold Honey Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Gives Overwintering Honey Bees a Boost

Posted: November 17, 2016

Sarah McTish, a senior in Agriculture Sciences, minor in Entomology at Penn State, and current Pennsylvania Honey Queen was awarded the 2016 Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship. Thanks to the generous donation of William and Kitty Gamber from Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster PA, undergraduate students each year are afforded the opportunity to work in a premier honey bee research lab and receive a scholarship.

Sarah worked with PhD student Mali Doke and Professor Christina Grozinger over the fall. She studied how a honey bee colony “knows” to produce long-lived “winter” bees and stockpile food resources to survive the long cold Pennsylvania winters. Since US beekeepers lose 30% of their colonies each winter on average, understanding how bees prepare for winter is critical for developing management strategies which will improve survival. Sarah and Mali hope that identifying the cues that stimulate colonies to produce winter bees and store food will allow beekeepers to manipulate these cues to get an edge and improve winter survival.

Sarah has already been recognized by the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association, as the state Honey Queen, where she has advocated for honey bees at more than 40 extension and outreach events across the state over the last year. She plans to attend graduate school at Penn State after completing her undergraduate degree.

The Penn State Center for Pollinator Research is the largest group of researchers, educators, and extension specialists addressing pollinator health and management in the world. The Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship is a vital component of the research and education mission of the Center. This scholarship supports the training of new entomologists, research into critical areas in bee health, and engagement with the community.