Honey Bee Genetics

Disease Resistant Bees

History of Honey Bee Genetics

early photo of taber and parisian

 Honey Bee Genetics began in 1979 as a partnership between Steve Taber and Tom Parisian, two dedicated professional beekeepers.  It continues today after nearly 40 years.

Steve Taber began beekeeping as a boy during summers in upstate New York. He attended college at the University of Minnesota and worked with Dr. C.L. Farrar. He then started his career with the USDA, where he worked as a research scientist for thirty years.

At Baton Rouge, with Dr. Otto Mackensen, he pioneered the use of Instrumental Insemination to breed queens to selected drones. His research covered all of the areas of beekeeping and bee biology.

Steve had hundreds of papers to his credit and was recognized as a world authority on bees. He wrote the book, Breeding Super Bees which is an excellent source for information on queen rearing at any level. Regular contributions to his bee columns in the American Bee Journal and Gleanings were read by a large following of beekeepers in all corners of the globe. 

After retiring from the USDA, Steve Taber began this bee breeding business in 1978 in the town of Vacaville, California. This location was chosen in order to be close to the UC Davis and its wonderful Bee Biology Facility. He had access to one of the best bee libraries in the country and the excellent staff of researchers who have their laboratories on this beautiful campus in the Sacramento Valley.
Steve asked Tom Parisian to join him in setting up a stock breeding business which would be called Honey Bee Genetics.

Tom had received his bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973. He then came to UC Davis to do graduate research, specializing in bee diseases and the factors which effect Instrumental Insemination.

In 1979, Tom he started his own commercial queen rearing business. When Steve proposed working together, they began their partnership.

Tom now manages the day to day aspects of the package bee and queens production, as well as, a very active pollination service in the Central Valley of California.


Honey Bee Genetics in American Bee Journal

Selecting queen cells 

 Selecting the best queen cells:

Click the photo to read the article

In July of 2010, a story about Honey Bee Genetics appeared in the July issue of American Bee Journal, documenting how the company was founded and the challenges facing beekeepers and honey bees over the last twenty years. 

A Legacy Blossoms in Vacaville documents the care and professional skill that staff at HBG uses in raising quality, disease-resistant queens during one of the busiest times of the year. It also reveals the philosophies of Tom Parisian and Steve Taber in their scientific approach to combatting the severe diseases that have impacted colonies over the last twenty years.

If you're thinking of raising bees, or if you're searching for a source of packages or queens, this article will help you understand why thousands of professional and hobbiest beekeepers return each year to Honey Bee Genetics.

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