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Marla Spivak

Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Apiculture / Social Insects

ENTO.Marla.PhotoOffice location

Room 530A Hodson Hall

Mailing Address

219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave.
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 624-4798
FAX: (612) 625-5299




B.A. Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 1978, Biology

Ph.D University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1989, Entomology

Research Interests:

Currently, students and I are focusing on 1) the benefits of propolis (tree resins) to the health and immunity system of honey bees, 2) the identification and biological activity of honey bee collected resins, 3) Development of the first cell line, AME-711 derived from honey bee embryonic tissue; 4) the impact of floral resources on pollinator health and diversity in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, 5) the effect of neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on queen honey bees; 6) Development of “bee-lawns” – pollinator habitat in urban landscapes; and 7) assisting and evaluating MN, ND, and CA queen bee producers breeding efforts for stocks resistance to diseases and mite pests.


Beekeeping Courses for the Public (register through

Honors & Awards:

Recent Publications

For more, including Extension publications:

Wilson MB, Spivak M, Hegeman AD, Rendahl A, Cohen JD. 2013. Metabolomics reveals the origins of antimicrobial resins collected by honey bees. PLoSOne 8(10): e77512. doi:10.1371 /journal.pone.0077512

Goblirsch M, Spivak M, Kurtti TJ. 2013. A cell-line resource derived from honey bee (Apis mellifera) embryonic tissues. PLoSOne 8(7): e69831. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069831

Gobrlirsch M, Huang Z, Spivak M. 2013. Physiological and behavioral changes in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) induced by Nosema ceranae infection. PLoSOne 8(3): e58165.

Simone-Finstrom, MD, Spivak M. 2012. Increased resin collection after parasite challenge: A case of self-medication in honey bees? PLoSOne 7(3): e34601. doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0034601

VanEngelsdorp, D, Tarpy, D, Baylis, K, Spivak , M, et al. 2012. The Bee Informed Partnership: Using beekeepers’ real-world experience to solve beekeepers’ real-world problems. Amer Entomologist 58: 116-118.

Spivak M, Mader E, Vaughan M, Euliss, NH Jr. 2011. The plight of the bees. Environ. Sci. & Technol. 45.1: 34

Lee KV, Moon RD, Burkness EC, Hutchison WD, Spivak M. 2010. Practical sampling plans for Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) in Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies and apiaries. J. Econ. Entomol. 103(4): 1039-1050

Simone M, Gardner J, Spivak M. 2010. Tactile learning in resin foraging honeybees. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 64: 1609-1617.

Simone M, Spivak M. 2010. Propolis and bee health: the natural history and significance of resin use by honey bees. Special Issue on Bee Health: Apidologie. 41: 295–311

Oxley P, Spivak M, Oldroyd B. 2010. Six quantitative trait loci influence task thresholds for hygienic behavior in honeybees (Apis mellifera). Molecular Ecology 19: 1452-1461.

Evans J.D., Spivak M. 2010. Socialized Medicine: Individual and communal disease barriers in honey bees. J. Invert. Pathol. 103:S62-S72.

Simone, M., J. D. Evans, and M. Spivak. 2009. Resin collection and social immunity. Evolution. 63: 3016-3022

Swanson J, Torto B, Kells S, Mesce K, Tumlinson J, Spivak M. 2009. Volatile compounds from chalkbrood Ascosphaera apis infected larvae elict honey bee (Apis mellifera) hygienic behavior. J. Chem. Ecol. 35: 11088-1116.

Wilson-Rich, N., M. Spivak, N. H. Fefferman, and P. T. Starks. 2009. Genetic, Individual, and Group Facilitation of Disease Resistance in Insect Societies. Annual Review of Entomology 54: 405-423.

Ibrahim, A., and M. Spivak. 2006. The relationship between hygienic behavior and suppression of mite reproduction as honey bee (Apis mellifera) mechanisms of resistance to Varroa destructor. Apidologie 37: 31-40.


Can be purchased through

Mader, E., Spivak, M., Evans, E. 2010 in press. Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Growers, Beekeepers and Conservationists. NRAES/ SARE Publication. 250pp.
Evans, E., Burns, I., Spivak, M. 2007. Befriending Bumble Bees: A Practical Guide to Raising Local Bumble Bees. 65pp. ***ALA Godort 2008 Notable Government Document Award Winner.
Furgala, B., Spivak, M., Reuter, G.S. 2013 (updated). Beekeeping in Northern Climates: Short Course Manual. 75pp.
Spivak, M., Reuter, G.S. 2013 (updated). Honey bee diseases and pests. 32pp.
Spivak, M., Reuter, G.S. 1993. Successful Queen Rearing Short Course Manual. 75pp.
Spivak M, Fletcher DJC, Breed MD, editors. 1991. The “African” Honey Bee. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado. 450 pp.