Researcher wins award for his discovery

Photo courtesy FAMU Office of the provost

Florida A&M University College of Agriculture and Food Science professor Lambert H. B. Kanga has developed a strategy for the most harmful honeybee pest, the Varroa mite that threatens the honeybee population.

He received  the 2021 Integrated Pest Management  “Bright Idea” award from the Friends of Southern Region Integrated Pest Management’s Center for Excellence as a result of his discovery.

The Southern IPM Center commended. Kanga for his contributions and research on the reduction of the honeybee collapse disorder that affects pollination.

Kanga said he  was surprised to learn that he won the award. He never thought about winning an award for research.

“I felt very happy to be recognized for this prestigious professional award. This unique distinction is a great testimony to the high impact research and novel discoveries as related to honeybee health and management in the U.S. and around the world. I felt that my research is providing substantial contributions to saving the honeybees and therefore $24 billion a year industry in the United States,” Kanga said.

The varroa mite feast on the wings of the honeybees which causes the bees to develop a virus that kills them. This results in fewer bees to be able to pollinate.

“Bee health is critical for the success of pollination-based agriculture in the U.S., and Dr. Kanga’s unique contribution is a great testimony to the high impact of his research and novel discoveries as related to honeybee health and management, and we are elated to have such a talented faculty in our college,” Robert W. Taylor, CAFS dean, said in a release.

This a groundbreaking development that Kanga has made and is a major win for CAFS and FAMU, Taylor added.

“I think this is great for CAFS and FAMU, it is a great move for additional funding for agricultural research for the university as well to boost FAMU’s image and contribution to scientific discoveries,” biological systems engineering major Rae’gan Burton said.

Kanga believes that the award is a recognition that faculty at FAMU are conducting cutting-edge research that is high impact and is a valuable contribution to pest management around the world.

Kanga has more research projects planned for the future.

“I and my graduate students have research projects in several areas in the insect science discipline, ranging from the study of the redbay ambrosia beetle in the Florida Apalachicola National Forest to the management of invasive alien pest species on fruits and vegetables as well as controlling insect vector-borne diseases (e.g., Zika virus) in public health,” Kanga said.

Kanga will be receiving the Bright Idea award on March 31 at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America.