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 genes responsible for the expression of a variety of social behaviours; and assessing population densities and distribution within South Africa. Moreover, research foci have included the contribution of honeybee pollination to crop yield; how the available forage (pollen and nectar) affects honeybee health; and exploring honeybee nutritional physiology
in order to understand their ability to withstand pesticides and toxins in the agricultural environment.
The Social Insects Research Group is the largest and most active group in the field of honeybee research in southern Africa. The group also investigates
basic behavioural and chemical ecology questions
by using other systems such as mosquito-borne diseases. To address the problem of global honeybee health and colony losses, the group has joined COLOSS (Prevention of Honeybee COlony LOSSes) and SUPER-B networks that focus on improving
the wellbeing of bees and pollinators at the global level. The group has, since 2015, been a member
of the Executive Council of the Africa Apiculture Platform (AAP) for honey production, bee health and pollination services of the African Union.
Members of the SIRG are Professors Christian Pirk, Robin Crewe, Sue Nicholson, and Drs Abdullahi Yusuf, Hannelie Human, Ezette DuRand, Sandra Mustafa and a vibrant group of PhD and MSc students.
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Christian Pirk

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