Traveling Bees Have More Stress and Shorter Lives

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Research from North Carolina State University, published in Scientific Reports, shows that travel can adversely affect bee health and lifespans. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are frequently trucked around the United States to pollinate crops like apples, almonds and berries. The new research shows that traveling bees generally have shorter lives than stationary bees, and they […]

Old Data May Provide New Insights on Honey Bee Populations

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By Josh Lancette Over the past decade, beekeepers in the U.S. and other countries have had problems keeping their bees healthy. Some of the potential causes of their problems include the Varroa destructor mite, pesticides, pathogens, and the reduction of floral resources due to land development or conversion. This problem is of concern to both […]

Extreme Temperatures During Shipping Can Affect Honey Bee Queens’ Reproductive Abilities

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Many beekeepers order honey bee queens from breeders, who ship them to the beekeepers by mail. According to an article in the journal PLOS One, high temperatures during shipping and elevated pathogen levels may be contributing to honey bee queens failing faster today than they did in the past. “Either stress individually or in combination […]

Study Finds Glyphosate and Acetamiprid to Have Relatively Low Toxicity for Honey Bees

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By Andrew Porterfield Honey bees are crucial for pollination and crop production worldwide. But since episodes of Colony Collapse Disorder began arising in the mid-2000s (and have subsided somewhat), the causes of costly deaths of adult bees have focused on mites, viruses, and a number of pesticides. One group of pesticides, the neonicotinoids, has been […]

Varroa Mites Use Chemical Camouflage to Mimic Honey Bee Scent

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Varroa mites, one of the most serious threats to honey bees worldwide, are infiltrating hives by smelling like bees, according to a new study appearing in Biology Letters. The parasites were originally found on Asian honey bees (Apis cerana), but later began infesting and killing European honey bees (Apis mellifera). The new study shows that […]

With Just One Queen, How Do Honey Bees Avoid Inbreeding?

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Like other social insects, honey bees live in colonies consisting mainly of closely-related members. However, high genetic diversity among the workers is important for the whole colony’s survival because it makes them better equipped to perform the diverse tasks required in the colony, and it means they will likely be less susceptible to disease. But […]

Study Finds Imidacloprid Safe for Honey Bees at Realistic Exposure Levels

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Honey bee colony declines are a major threat worldwide. Among the lineup of possible causes — including parasites, disease, climate stress, and malnutrition — many have pointed the finger squarely at insecticides as a prime suspect, especially at a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. However, a new study from the University of Maryland shows […]

Queen Bee Microbiomes Are not Like Those of Worker Bees

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Researchers have published the first comprehensive analysis of the gut bacteria found in queen honey bees (Apis mellifera), and they’ve found that the microbiomes of queens are very different from worker bee microbiomes. “In many animals, transmission of the microbiome is maternal,” said co-author Irene L.G. Newton, assistant professor of biology at the Indiana University. […]

Honey Bee Pathogens are a Threat Year Round

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Scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that two pathogens that cause honey bee ailments are not just a problem in the spring, but might pose a threat year round. Entomologists Ryan Schwarz and Jay Evans and their colleagues have shown that two species of bacteria, Spiroplasma melliferum and S. apis, are […]

Pollen DNA Reveals Honey Bee Foraging Habits

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Exactly what plants do honey bees visit on their daily forages for food? A research team from Ohio State University has found that the answer lies in the pollen collected by the bees, and they have developed a new method that utilizes DNA metabarcoding to analyze pollen to determine its origin. Their new protocol has […]