The four master beekeepers, who volunteer their time to teach bee education alongside Sanchez and the lab staff, lead a group each to the apiary. They carry with them a metal canister with a fire burning inside, which they use to blow smoke into the hive. The smoke interferes with the bees’ system of communication. Without it, the bees would perceive a threat and would release pheromones to alert the others. Worker bees, all sterile females, would then rush to defend the hive.
MORE ABOUT DR. SANCHEZ
Sanchez earned her D.P.M. through UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. When UF established the program in 1999, it was the only university to offer just such a program. With the state of Florida’s $7 billion agricultural industry, graduates of the D.P.M. program bring expertise to prevent the spread of plant pathogens and arthropod pests, and they help address nutrient deficiencies in soil.
As a postdoctoral associate at UF, Sanchez’s research had nothing to do with honey bees. She focused on controlling Fusarium-induced wilt of watermelon crop. And as the commercial horticulture extension agent for Alachua County, she continues deploying strategies to protect Florida’s watermelon, and other vegetable crops against diseases, through farm visits, all while continuing to provide the Bee Education Series.