This week, the OAVT connected with Britteny Kyle DVM, PhD who will be presenting four sessions in the Food Production-Bees track at the upcoming OAVT Conference. We asked Britteny a series of questions, inviting her to share more about her current role and past experiences.
Britteny graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2009. Upon graduation she entered small animal emergency and general practice in Toronto where she worked as an associate for several years, before switching her focus to honey bee medicine. She was elected to the board of the Honey Bee Veterinary Consortium in 2019 and served as President of the organization in 2020. Britteny returned to the Ontario Veterinary College in the fall of 2021 to earn her Masters degree in Epidemiology and she is now pursuing her PhD. Her research focus is on American foulbrood – one of the honey bee bacterial diseases.
What do you think is the best part of your job?
I think the best part is getting to make a difference about something I am very passionate about whether it is improving the health of a colony, bringing awareness to the importance of pollinators, or introducing the veterinary community to the field of honey bee vet med.
Can you brief a unique case that you handled?
Working with honey bees can be very humbling. I remember the first time I tried to lift a full deep hive box. I was alone in the bee yard, as I often am, and I needed to examine the bees (and more importantly the brood or immature bees) in the bottom of the hive. In order to get to those bees I had to lift a box that had 9 full frames – about 4 frames was the brood nest and about 5 frames were stored honey. I had no idea how heavy those boxes can be! I managed to lift it from about shoulder height and get it set down alright at ground level. But after finishing the exam I realized I now had to get it back onto the hive! I am not sure what superhero I channeled that day, but somehow the box got from the ground back to the top. Afterwards I realized I could have simply taken the honey frames out before moving the box! Just one of many lessons I have learned during my time spent with the bees.
What makes you special in the animal healthcare industry?
There is nothing special about what I do really – any of us can apply the skills and knowledge-base we have from our veterinary training to work with honey bees.
What is that you most looking forward to in this upcoming OAVT conference?
I am excited to attend the OAVT conference – there are a lot of fantastic speakers covering a huge range to topics. But what I most look forward to is getting to introduce everyone to a new species that they may not have considered working with. Hopefully I will spark some interest and encourage at least a few to continue learning about honey bees and honey bee vet med.