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Top honeybee researcher Norberto Milani dies

Norberto Milani, Professor of Entomology at the University of Udine in Italy and a researcher whose work has made a huge impact upon the world of beekeeping has died at the age of 58. He was a world-renowned expert in entomology, honeybees, mites and pheromones.

Paying tribute to Norberto, Dr Max Watkins of Vita (Europe) Ltd said: “Norberto was a remarkable person with a brilliant mind. I began working with him in 1991 and was always impressed by his knowledge, diligence and attention to detail. He was quiet and self-effacing, but a real powerhouse in the discovery and application of knowledge. He played a leading role in the development of Apistan, Bayvarol, and Apiguard – all key products in the fight against the varroa mite that are being used by beekeepers across the globe. More recently, we had been working with him on pheromone systems to control varroa.

“Norberto’s attention to detail was astonishing – and a key to his success. When he inspected a frame for research purposes, he was meticulous. He would examine every last cell. Often he was to be found in his offices or laboratory long after others had gone home. As well as being top in his field of biology he was also a first class physicist and made much of his laboratory equipment himself.

“Even though relatively few beekeepers outside of Italy might have known the name of Professor Norberto Milani, they certainly benefitted from his work and knowledge. We at Vita felt a great personal loss of a good friend and collaborator, after his departure from the University in September 2006, but we intend to pay tribute to the foundations he laid by continuing to research with the team he established at the University of Udine.”

Professor Norberto Milani sustained extensive head injuries as a result of a fall whilst mountain walking in September 2006 just before the 2006 EurBee Conference. He never fully recovered and died at 10.30a.m. on 4th April 2008.

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