GUELPH — The University of Guelph has broken ground on a new 15,000-square-foot headquarters for the school’s honey bee research centre.
Set to open in 2025, the $16-million state-of-the-art building will replace the 1960s-era bungalow that has housed the honey bee research centre near the U of G Arboretum for decades. About 4,000 people visit the centre each year.
Saving honeybees from population declines is a research goal at the centre. The new facility “will allow us to scale up research and outreach,” Ontario Agricultural College associate dean Dr. John Cranfield said at the June 14 groundbreaking.
Among donors to the project, Lydia Luckevich, a 1979 U of G chemistry alumna, will contribute $7.5 million. The centre will be named for her and for her late husband, Don Pinchin, founder of Pinchin Ltd., an environmental consulting firm.
The site on Stone Road will feature indoor and outdoor education spaces, classroom and event space, a laboratory, bee-breeding facilities and pollinator gardens. It will also have separate apiaries for research, teaching and demonstrations, and queen-breeding. That’s an upgrade from the old facility that employs a single aviary of 100 hives.
Recent and ongoing research projects include breeding of bees resistant to varroa mites, studying essential plant oils and organic acids for use as naturally occurring miticides, and investigation of prebiotics, probiotics and protein-based nutrition supplements to counter bee gut parasites.
U of G manages the largest number of research honeybee colonies of any institute in North America.