Specially-Bred Purdue Bees Are Biting Back

Oct 28, 2015
Sarah Fentem / WBAA


For around a decade, beekeepers have seen around one-quarter to one-third of their colonies die every year. There are many potential causes for the die-off, but most scientists agree a parasitic mite is a major factor.

Purdue entomologist Greg Hunt says if a bee were human-sized, the mite would be about the size of a balled-up fist. Other scientists say the size is more comparable to a pancake.

But now, Purdue University scientists have bred special bees that are biting back.

Arne Duncan
Courtesy Purdue University

During his visit to Purdue Wednesday as part of his annual “Back to School” bus tour, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wove together the university’s recent initiatives with his own vision for education accessibility and affordability.

Duncan praised recent moves by the university and President Mitch Daniels such as instituting competency-based degrees, planning to open a charter school and offering a freeze on tuition.

photo provided by Purdue University

By many accounts, Purdue doesn’t compare well with its Big 10 peers when it comes to underrepresented minority student enrollment and success. During the Spring 2015 semester, African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, Hispanic and multi-racial students made up only 11.5-percent of the school’s student body.

According to census data, those same groups, minus those who identify as multi-racial, comprise more than 18-percent of the state’s total population.

Third Street Suites
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

 West Lafayette residents objected after the Tippecanoe Area Plan Commission last week recommended approval of an apartment complex aimed at students to be built northwest of campus. However, the university’s plan to increase enrollment could mean more such battles are on the horizon.

Purdue University’s Board of Trustees is considering changing promotion and tenure criteria for the first time in forty years.

Provost Deba Dutta says the changes will incorporate the results of the Gallup-Purdue Index, which found that Purdue alumni were less likely than other graduates to have felt mentored or cared for by faculty while in school.

Dutta told the Board Thursday the proposed promotion and tenure modifications would emphasize mentoring at-risk students, innovating teaching, and engaging undergraduates in research.