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Guelph researcher is the bee's knees; newly discovered species named after prof

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GUELPH, Ont. - A Canadian insect expert is considered the bee's knees.

University of Guelph researcher Peter Kevan is getting a new species of bee named after him.

The newly discovered bee — found in the Brazilian state of Bahia — will be named Chilicola kevani in his honour.

Kevan's work in pollinator conservation has earned him many awards, including election to the Royal Society of Canada, which recognizes excellence in learning.

But even he has to admit this is a honey of an honour.

Kevan says the process of naming a new species is not easy — once the species is discovered, the claim must be carefully investigated to ensure it's legitimate.

"Frequently, somebody will find something that's new to them and then some evidence of its existence is uncovered in earlier scientific publication," said Kevan.

The researcher, whose own extensive publications cover almost every aspect of pollination, says he is "chuffed" about the name.

"It’s always an honour to receive kudos from my colleagues, but I am particularly pleased about this."

Meanwhile, the current problems with pollination need to be addressed, Kevan says.

"Because pollination is a vital step in the process by which plants make seeds and fruits, pollination is a critical and early step in food production. When there are problems with pollination, there are problems with food production and supply."

The environmental sciences professor began looking into pollination conservation in the 1970s after pesticides were found to be adversely affecting lowbush blueberries in the Maritimes.

Since then, he has investigated pollinators from the Arctic to tropical rainforests.

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