Have You Met...Olav Rueppell?

Have you met Olav, honey bee expert and professor in the Faculty of Science? Spend a few minutes getting to know him a little better.


May 20 is World Bee Day! To celebrate, we’re introducing you to Olav Rueppell, honey bee expert and professor in the Faculty of Science. Spend a few minutes getting to know him a little better. 

What is your first U of A memory?

When visiting Edmonton for the first time, I saw the Biological Sciences Building overlooking the river valley and felt excited.

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

Since I started during the COVID-19 pandemic without much personal interaction, my colleagues probably don’t know much about me. I look forward to changing that. And one of the first things that will become apparent is that I like chocolate.

What’s your favourite distraction?

Hitting a ball with a racquet (just about any kind), running and biking.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

Computing science with a focus on artificial intelligence.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

I get annoyed at people who don’t take board games seriously.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

Gandalf the Grey.

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

Any genuine performance that introduces me to a different culture — ideally in a country that I have not traveled to so far.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Life is not a marathon, it’s more like a triathlon.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

There are actually two: freedom and family.

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Welcoming, great people.

What’s one thing you’d like people to know about honey bees?

If you look closely, the concept of the busy bee is a myth and the queen doesn’t rule. And there are a thousand other things that I would like people to know about honey bees.

olav-rueppell-circle.png About Olav

Dr. Olav Rueppell was a student at the University of Würzburg, Germany and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Davis. He worked for 18 years at the University of North Carolina before transitioning to the University of Alberta. He studies causes and consequences of social evolution, particularly focusing on honey bee biology and health.