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Prairie bee expert Cam Jay, 79

Memorial services were held Thursday for University of Manitoba entomologist Cameron Jay, whose work helped western beekeepers retain their colonies over Prairie winters.

Jay, who was born at Lauder in southwestern Manitoba and raised in Hamilton, Ont., was a faculty member at the U of M’s department of entomology from 1961 to 1991, including a stint as department head from 1981 to 1987.

Jay’s research in the field involved both honeybees and leafcutter bees and he worked directly with beekeepers and seed growers in the province.

“His work on bee orientation is often cited, and his pioneering studies of how bees can be overwintered in Manitoba set Prairie beekeepers free from the need to purchase new colonies from the U.S. or further afield every spring,” the university wrote in a newsletter Wednesday.

The university said Jay’s contributions to entomology and the beekeeping industry in Manitoba, Canada and internationally (including in Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand and Australia) have been recognized with a number of provincial, national and international awards.

Donations in Jay’s memory may be made to Winnipeg’s Victoria General Hospital, his family wrote in his obituary.

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