About Matt Kelly

Matt is an independent science journalist, and the author and editor of The Bee Report.

This has been a bad week for bees

Image of rusty patch bumble bee.

(The Bee Report) The Trump administration weakened the Endangered Species Act. Franklin’s bumble bee is being considered for the Endangered Species List – but under the newly-weakened law. And the yellow-banded bumble bee won’t be considered for protection as an endangered or threatened species (despite the fact that it’s now found in only 14 of the 25 states it used to inhabit).

The Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante is an “Awesome Project”

Image of researchers hiking into desert.

(The Bees of GSENM project) Back in July, ioby – the not-for-profit crowdfunding team and platform we used for our project – chose to showcase The Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante as an “Awesome Project”. They spent quite a bit of time talking with me, asking questions, and crafting a really solid piece explaining both the how and the why of the project. If you haven’t yet read ioby’s showcase of our project, please do.

Who wants a sneak peek of our 10 days in Utah?

Screenshot of vimeo video.

(The Bees of GSENM project) After a two-month break from this project (spent catching up on other projects, taking a little vacation time, and marrying the most amazing woman in the world), I’ve once again thrown open the treasure chest of footage, images and sound from our fieldwork in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and begun sorting through all the jewels we gathered. Because it’s time to start sharing this incredible adventure with all of you!

Lasers: a new method to control Varroa mites in honey bees?

Image of honey bees in grass.

(The Bee Report) Earlier this spring, the NY Farm Viability Institute awarded $41,000 to Combplex Inc., a Cornell University start-up that is testing the use of lasers to kill Varroa mites on honey bees as they enter their hive. “One of the most significant challenges faced by beekeepers is disease and colony loss caused by the Varroa mite and the viruses it transmits,” NYFVI states in a profile of 2019 FVI projects. “They have designed a device which uses optical recognition to identify the parasite on the bee’s body as it enters the hive. If it is present, the battery-powered device uses a high-powered laser to kill the mite.” The profile says the devices have been successful in the lab, and Combplex plans to trial the device in 150 commercial hives in New York state. According to the start-up’s website, Combplex began as an interdisciplinary research project in 2017 between two Cornell Ph.D. students.

That’s a wrap!

Image of researchers hiking through desert.

(The Bees of GSENM project) A week of fieldwork and filming the bees of Grand-Staircase Escalante is complete. There is truly nothing better than working with amazing people in one of the most beautiful and rugged places on Earth. Now, on to the next steps: analyzing our collection of bees and shaping the raw footage of our adventure into an outstanding film to share with all of you. More to come, my friends!

We raised over $28K!

Image of bee researchers in desert.

(The Bees of GSENM project) It’s been a couple weeks since the end of our ioby crowdfunding campaign for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante project, and I have some truly exciting news to share with you: we raised over $28,000! This means we are fully funded to get our team of four back on the ground to study and film this exquisitely beautiful little world of bees in one of the most amazing places on Earth. Thank you, one and all, for your support! We would not be doing this without you.