Debbie Delaney researches Evolutionary biology and population genetics of honey bees. She also researches the benefits of polyandry on honey bee colony health and the ecological value of forage for flower visitors.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (3)
Media Appearances (5)
It's Pollinator Week, and these insects are vital to Delaware's agriculture
Delaware Public Media online
This week was Pollinator Week—and pollinators play an important role in Delaware’s agricultural sector. Debbie Delaney, an associate professor of entomology in the University of Delaware’s college of Agriculture and Natural Resources, says pollinators—like honey bees and squash bees—are needed for many commodity crops in Delaware to bear fruit.
Study: As Mid-Atlantic's Native Bee Populations Decline, an Exotic Species Proliferates
UVA Today online
Mason bees serve as pollinators for a range of wild and cultivated plants and crops, and can be particularly important to apple, peach and pear farmers.
Eye for the environment
University of Delaware UDaily online
Charlye Stewart wants to save the environment. The University of Delaware senior found her way to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a transfer student. Originally a biology major at her previous university, she yearned for a career carrying out her passion of protecting animals, insects and nature. She found kindred spirits in the form of UD professors in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, who teach whole-organism biology, conservation biology and the interactions between humans and other species.
The Insect Zoo
University of Delaware UDaily online
“People think insects are out to get them,” said Debbie Delaney, associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and adviser to the entomology club. “They see them as mindless little robot critters on the attack. But once they start learning about their behaviors and their relationships with one another — how complex and advanced they really are — they can’t possibly think like that anymore.”
Why are bees and wasps so busy in autumn?
University of Delaware bee researcher Debbie Delaney can't clear the bees and wasps from your backyard barbecue but she can shed some light on why these insects are busy in autumn. Given how beneficial these species are to humans (yes, wasps, too) she hopes people will become more tolerant of their activity this time of year.
Novel microsatellite loci reveal high genetic diversity yet low population structure for alfalfa leafcutting bees in North AmericaConservation Genetics
2017 The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (ALCB) is an economically important pollinator necessary for seed production of the critical forage crop alfalfa, Medicago sativa. The pollinator was accidentally introduced to North America from Europe approximately 70 years ago, and it is primarily produced in Canada and shipped to the United States annually en masse for seed field pollination.
A survivor population of wild colonies of European honeybees in the northeastern United States: investigating its genetic structureApidologie
2015 There is a widespread belief that wild colonies of European honeybees have been eradicated in Europe and North America, killed by viruses spread by the introduced ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor. In reality, however, several populations of wild colonies of honeybees in Europe and North America are persisting despite exposure to Varroa. To help understand how this is happening, we tested whether the bees in one of these populations of wild colonies—those living in and around the Arnot Forest (NY, USA)—are genetically distinct from the bees in the nearest managed colonies.
Assessing the Mating ‘Health’ of Commercial Honey Bee QueensJournal of Economic Entomology
2012 Honey bee queens mate with multiple males, which increases the total genetic diversity within colonies and has been shown to confer numerous benefits for colony health and productivity. Recent surveys of beekeepers have suggested that ‘poor queens’ are a top management concern, thus investigating the reproductive quality and mating success of commercially produced honey bee queens is warranted.
Experimentally induced variation in the physical reproductive potential and mating success in honey bee queensInsectes Sociaux
2011 In honeybee colonies, reproduction is monopolized by the queen while her daughter workers are facultatively sterile. Caste determination is a consequence of environmental conditions during development, during which female larvae may become either queens or workers depending on their larval diet.
Mating frequencies of Africanized honey bees in the south western USAJournal of Apicultural Research
2010 Emerging evidence suggests that there are significant adaptive advantages conferred to genetically diverse honey bee colonies through multiple matings with queens. We determined the intracolony genetic diversity of Africanized honey bee (AHB) colonies from a feral population in the south western USA.
Washington State University: PhD, Entomology 2008
Oregon State University: MS, Environmental Science 2003
Oregon State University: BS, Natural Resources 1998
- Entomological Society of America
- International Union for the Study of Social Insects
- Eastern Apiculture Society
- North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
- Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium
- eXtension – Honey Bee Health
- Honey Bee Health Coalition
- Appalachian Headwaters