In September of 2012 we planted one acre of the rapini plant (Brassica rapa) at the University of Arizona Agricultural Center, .5 miles north of the CHBRC. It was an experiment to see how well the plant could sustain our colonies over the winter. We simultaneously started growing rapini in our greenhouse on location and proceeded to isolate the plants in our flight chambers with small size colonies, with the goal of sampling rapini pollen and the bee bread made from this pollen for protein and amino acid analysis.
The rapini field near CHBRC
Rapini in bloom
In 2013, we will plant two acres of rapini at the University of Arizona's Red Rock Agricultural Center, (37 miles northwest of CHBRC, where we have our Red Rock Apiary) and one acre at their West Campus Agricultural Center (5 miles west of CHBRC, where we have our Casa Grande Apiary). We will monitor our colonies closely throughout the winter season to further expand our knowledge about the benefits of overwintering colonies on rapini.
Exploring new environmentally friendly ways to control Varroa mites in honey bee colonies