Bee Diversity and  Patterns Along an Urban-Rural Gradient


Kristen Birdshire

Kristen’s research aims to determine changes in bee pollinator diversity along an urban-rural gradient, and seeks to answer the following questions:  First, how does bee diversity and abundance change along an urban-rural gradient?  And second, what physiological and ecological traits promote bee survivability in an urban area?  By answering these questions, Kristen hopes to improve our current understanding of the effects of increasing urban intensity on bee pollinators in Denver, CO. Her research will provide insight into how to best target pollinator management practices according to the characteristics that enable certain pollinator species to thrive in urban areas.

Bee Foraging Along an Urban-Rural Gradient Using Pollen


Christy Briles

This study will identify pollen abundances and concentrations coming into hives from urban and suburban/rural fringe environments to determine foraging patterns as they relate to human land use in the Denver metro area. The project will estimate the availability and abundance of pollen as forage for honey bees in a semi-arid, high desert environment. The results will inform debates in the academic and beekeeping community regarding pollen availability for honey bees in large cities of the interior US.

Beekeeping Behavior, Mite Mitigation, and Hive Health in Denver


Christy Briles, Peter Anthamatten,

Katie Prince, Quin Joel

The beekeeper’s worst enemy is the bee mite, Varroa destructor, which carries a range of diseases that can result in honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony death if not properly managed and treated. Urban beekeeping has exploded in Denver; yet, many novice beekeepers are unaware that Varroa infestations in a single hive can contribute to a large-scale “epidemic” by spreading mites between urban and commercial beehives. We will be conducting an initial mite survey, analyze the data using a GIS, and develop a web application that can be used to monitor mite population and problem areas using the survey data.

The Effect of Different Hive Types on Honeybee Health, Honey Production, and Foraging


Christy Briles, Annika Mosier,

Kade Beem, Vy Nguyen

In 2015, a crowd funding campaign raised over 12 million dollars to support a new beehive construction called the Flow hive.  The new hive frames allow honey to be harvested directly from the hive without opening the hive with little disturbance to the bees. The inventors claim the method is   less stressful on the bees and increases honey production since the hive is  disturbed less frequently and the frames are rarely removed.  However, there is no research to substantiate the claims, and more specifically, how the Flow compares with the 160+ year-old Langstroth hives.  We  are comparing the Flow and traditional Langstroth hive constructions to determine if there are any significant differences in bee health, honey production, foraging patterns, and maintenance of the hive.

Urban Bee Project