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Laidlaw Facility / About Us

Photo: Honey bee heading toward nectarine blossom

A honey bee heading toward nectarine blossom.. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

About Us

The Laidlaw facilty, founded in 1969, is the largest and most comprehensive state‐supported apiculture facility in North America and the only one in California. We provide leading cutting‐edge research focusing on basic bee biology and genetics, addressing international concerns about bee health, and meeting the needs of California’s multibillion dollar agricultural industry.

Our expertise includes honey bee breeding and genetics, and native bee biology. We are uniquely qualified to investigate declining populations of honey bees, native bees and other insect pollinators and to provide solutions.


The 8,200-square-foot Laidlaw facility is located on Bee Biology Road, two miles west of the central campus. It is named for Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), considered the father of honey bee genetics.


The Laidlaw facility contains six laboratories, a large multipurpose room, observation hives, a honey bee food processing room, graduate student rooms, several special purpose rooms, and a well-equipped shop where research materials can be constructed. The apiary or bee yard currently accommodates more than 80 colonies. East of the facility is the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden to open to the public Oct. 16, 2009. The goals are to provide bees with a year-around food source, raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.