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Researchers use powdered sugar to help honey bees

Researchers are looking deep in their rooftop hives for a parasite that can destroy a colony.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - In 2015, the Radisson Blu at Mall of America partnered with the Bee Squad at the University of Minnesota to keep bees on the rooftop.

Today they have eight hives on their roof for research, and honey for the restaurant. This week they are looking deep in the hives for a parasite that can destroy a colony.

"One of the most important things we look for is a parasitic mite called Verroa Destructor. Its a little parasite, it's like a little tick on bees, and it sucks the blood of honey bees as they are developing and transmits viruses," said Jessica Helgen from the U of M Bee Squad.

The test involves gently scooping bees into a jar and coating them with powdered sugar, which causes the parasite to detach. Then they return the bees to the hive.

Don't worry, the other bees will lick them clean, and according to the bee squad, it doesn't harm them.

So far the hives have been performing well.

"Honey bees can fly up to two miles away in a radius from their hive and they can go pretty far to find forage," said Helgen. "What we found in this area is that there are enough flowers to support all eight of these hives."

And with the extra honey harvested upstairs, they can make unique dishes in the restaurant.

The Fire Lake restaurant in the hotel has also created a beef rib with a special honey sauce and a, ice cream taco, which is all the buzz.