Dunedin pupil Hamish McMillan (18) has been selected as a
finalist for his study on how the destruction of feral
honeybee hives by varroa mites will restrict the genetic
diversity of bees. Photo by Jane Dawber.
A Dunedin school pupil has tasted sweet success in
reaching the final of a national competition for his science
project on honeybees.
The Realise the Dream event, organised by the Royal Society
of New Zealand, rewards secondary school pupils who have
undertaken science or engineering projects.
John McGlashan College pupil Hamish McMillan (18) said he was
"pretty chuffed" his project on the measurement of a gene,
the complementary sex determiner, in 126 bees from feral
hives and 114 bees from managed hives, had been selected.
The destruction of the feral bee population by varroa mites
would mean less genetic diversity, he said.
And, if a queen bee bred with drone bees with a similar
genetic code, some offspring would be infertile, deemed
useless and killed at larvae stage by the hive, meaning fewer
For the award, he put forward a video presentation, a 10-page
project and was interviewed by a panel of eight judges, he
The 20 successful pupils would fly to Auckland next month for
a bus journey south to Wellington and visiting scientific
organisations, such as the Leigh Marine Science Centre and
the Liggins Institute, he said.
For becoming a finalist, he won $500, with a chance to win
the main prize of $7000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the
European Union Young Scientist Competition in Prague in
The winners would be announced at Government House in
Wellington on December 14, he said.
Hamish was looking at medical research as a career and
planned to attend the University of Otago next year.