Atreya Manaswi has created a highly effective, eco-friendly, and inexpensive way to protect honeybee hives from virulent pests. His novel blend derived from beer’s volatile composition eradicates beetle infestation in commercial hives without harming bees or the environment. Pests like the small hive beetle — and the toxic pesticides used to control them — are considered leading causes of bees’ decline. Atreya’s blend is equally effective as the leading toxic pesticide and 80 times cheaper. It could save the bee industry $1 billion annually. He began his work at age 12 after a friend’s grandfather tearfully explained his struggle to keep his commercial hives healthy. Determined to help, Atreya dove into the research, brainstormed solutions, and eventually began his research at the University of Florida. Soon after, Atreya’s research was published in the Journal of Applied Entomology.

Since then, he has worked with the US Department of Agriculture and developed a novel blend. His most recent field trials spanned 12 weeks in the Florida heat and involved 24 hives containing two million bees! He has spoken at the United Nations, and shared his work with beekeepers, farmers, and youth across the globe. Atreya has also published The Bee Story, a picture book that teaches young children about honeybees, their hives, pollination, and the work of beekeepers. He is currently working to advance his project and provide beekeepers and farmers with an easy-to-use and even cheaper method for using the organic blend. “I’ve learned the hardships of beekeeping and how tiring it is to put food on our plates,” says Atreya. “I’ve also come to understand the power that lies in our youth and the capacity that we have to innovate and create change.”

Atreya is a 2023 Barron Prize winner.

Discussion Questions

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IYH Behind the Scenes

Sunny Florida was a beautiful background for our time with Atreya. We especially enjoyed visiting the beehives outside Orlando!