Marla Spivak

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Marla Spivak
Born 1955 (age 61–62)
Alma mater Humboldt State University, University of Kansas
Awards MacArthur Fellowship Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture Women of Discovery Award
Scientific career
Fields entomology
Institutions University of Minnesota

Marla Spivak (born 1955) is an American entomologist, and Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.[1]

Education and Research[edit]

Spivak graduated from Humboldt State University and from the University of Kansas.[2] She is particularly well known for her work breeding lines of honey bees that detect and quickly remove diseased larvae and pupae, which is called hygienic behavior.[3] She was instrumental in setting up the first bee Tech-Transfer Team in the United States,[4][5] which continues to help honey bee queen breeders select for disease resistance traits.[6] More recently, she has begun studying the role of resins, which bees collect and mix with wax to make propolis coatings on the inside of their hives, an example of honey bee social immunity.[7] Her lab also studies the effect of the surrounding landscape on the health and nutrition of both honey bees and native bees.[8]


She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship grant in 2010 for her work with honey bees.[9][10] After receiving the MacArthur grant, she started an organization called the Bee Squad, which works to help people in the community get involved in helping bees.[11] In 2015, she won the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council.[12] In 2016, she won the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture (category: Knowledge) for her many contributions to understanding bee biology and threats to bee health[13] and a Women of Discovery Award from Wings Worldquest, honoring her pioneering work promoting bee health and conservation.[14]


  1. ^ "Marla Spivak : Department of Entomology : College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences : University of Minnesota". Archived from the original on 2014-08-25. 
  2. ^ "Marla Spivak — MacArthur Foundation". 
  3. ^ Spivak, Marla (December 2008). "The Future of the MN Hygienic Stock of Bees is in Good Hands!" (PDF). American Bee Journal. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ McNeil, M.E.A. (September 2010). "Getting bees back on their own six feet" (PDF). American Bee Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  5. ^ Lee, Katie (June 2011). "Origins". Bee Informed Partnership Blog. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Tech Teams - Bee Informed Partnership". 
  7. ^ Spivak, Marla (March 2013). "The Benefits of Propolis" (PDF). Bee Craft Magazine. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ Miller, Kerri (April 1, 2013). "With hives in sharp decline, expert calls for bee-friendly flowers". MPR News. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ Ross, Jenna (September 28, 2010). "Buzz about U professor is 'genius’". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ Horn, Tammy (November 1, 2011). Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market. University Press of Kentucky. p. 170. ISBN 9780813134369. 
  11. ^ "Bee Squad : Bee Lab : Department of Entomology : University of Minnesota". Regents of the University of Minnesota. 2014. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. 
  12. ^ "Distinguished Service Award". AgriGrowth. 2016. 
  13. ^ Anonymous (16 March 2016). "Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture announces 2016 laureates". 
  14. ^ "2016 Women of Discovery Awards". WINGS WorldQuest. Archived from the original on 2016-09-01. 

External links[edit]

External video
Marla Spivak: Why bees are disappearing, TEDGlobal 2013