Scientists at the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are trying to breed a more disease resistant honeybee by using recently created bee genomic data.

One of the long-term goals of the project is to characterise the specific genes that are key in the honeybee immune response system, then use data from these genes to improve both bee breeding and management.

The ARS says its aim is to secure the honeybee’s role as the chief insect pollinator of more than 90 different crops, including almonds, blueberries, melons and alfalfa. Honeybee numbers worldwide have dwindled in the last decade because of disease.