Stephanie Darnell

Scientist, Pollinator Safety
Stephanie DarnellStephanie Darnell is a Pollinator Safety scientist, responsible for forage habitat initiatives of the North American Bee Team. She is also the Pollinator Safety science communicator, serving as a liaison between company scientists and others in the bee community to share important technical information.

“Forage and nutrition are key factors affecting bee health,” Stephanie said. “The better we understand the needs of honey bees and other pollinators, and the ways that agriculture and apiculture can work together for mutual benefit, the better equipped we will be to meet the challenges of a growing world.”

Stephanie grew up in Spring Hill, Kansas, and received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture with a minor in Chemistry from Northwest Missouri State University. She received her M.S. degree in Entomology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

After graduate school, she was the assistant programming director at Monarch Watch. She joined Crop Science, a division of Bayer in 1999 as a research biologist. During that time, she became a Master Gardener in Johnson County, Kansas, and currently is emeritus status. In 2006, Stephanie moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, and became a product development manager for consumer and professional ornamental insecticides. She moved to her current role in 2014.

Question:

What do bees do for fun?

Answer from Stephanie Darnell:

In a single day, a female worker bee visits up to 5,000 flowers, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for fun. But bees like to eat, and nature has blessed them with a fun way to communicate – dancing – to help tell their companions where delicious nectar and pollen are to be found.

The two best-known dances are the round dance and the waggle dance. If the food source is less than 50 meters from the hive, the bee dances a round dance. The round dance provides no information about the direction of the food source, only that it is very close to the hive.

If the food source is farther than 150 meters from the hive, then the route needs a clearer description. Therefore, the bee’s waggle dance provides information about the distance and direction – in relation to the sun – of the food source. North Carolina State University has a great document that describes “The Honey Bee Dance Language.” National Geographic has videotaped the waggle dance.


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