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You are here: Research & Tech

Research & Technology

Original contributions from Beekeeping Times members.

Honey Bee Language Being Investigated

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Pune, September 13, 2011: A news report dated September 11, 2011 by Jenny Fyall in Scotland on Sunday says that Scottish researchers led by scientists at the University of Dundee are monitoring different noises honey bees make inside their hive, in order to find out if the bees have an as-yet-unknown language. The researchers believe that honey bees make different noises, for example, when they have some disease, or when they have lost their queen or when they experience pesticide poisoning. The £ 2 million project involves monitoring the sounds made by bees in 100 hives in different locations in Scotland.The number of hives will increase as the project advances.

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Honey Bees May Have Emotions - Newcastle University Study

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Chennai, June 19, 2011: Animals other than humans cannot report how they feel; therefore 'their emotional state can only be inferred using physiological, cognitive, and behavioral measures', say researchers at the Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. They sought out recently to find out whether invertebrates like honey bees, whose cognitive biases have not been studied, exhibit such biases.Apis mellifera in a hive In a paper* published online on June 2, 2011 in the journal Current Biology, they showed for the first time that 'agitated honeybees display an increased expectation of bad outcomes; hemolymph levels of dopamine, octopamine, and serotonin are reduced in agitated bees, and honeybees exhibit a vertebrate-like emotional state'.

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New Viruses Found in Honey Bees - University of California, San Francisco Study

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Chennai, June 10, 2011: Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found four new RNA viruses during a 10-month long study of bee colonies in a large scale migratory beekeeping operation. These were in addition to 23 other previously known viruses, Nosema sp., Crithidia mellificae and bacteria. Two of the new viruses were found to be the most abundant in the Apis mellifera microbiome. Interestingly, the viruses were found in normal healthy colonies, and levels of Crithidia mellificae, and Lake Sinai virus 2 - the new virus, peaked in January - the winter season, according to the researchers. Their research is published* in the journal PLoS ONE. Following is the public release dated June 7, 2011 by EurekAlert (from UCSF News) on the subject.

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Homing Ability in Honey Bees

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Chennai, May 31, 2011: Pahl et al.* say in their recently published research in the journal PLoS One: "Honeybee foragers frequently fly several kilometres to and from vital resources, and communicate those locations to their nest mates by a symbolic dance language. Research has shown that they achieve this feat by memorizing landmarks and the skyline panorama, using the sun and polarized skylight as compasses and by integrating their outbound flight paths." But can the bees find their home if they travel far from their hive? Or, how far the bees can safely go and return to their hive? To understand this aspect of bee behaviour, the researchers investigated the capacity of the homing abilities of the bees, using a radio frequency identification (RFID) system. They found that homing rate, homing speed and the maximum homing distance depend on the direction the bees were released in the investigation, the east being the best.

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It is the Protein Royalactin in Royal Jelly that Makes the Queen Bee - Japanese Study

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Chennai, May 28, 2011: Royal jelly is a complex substance secreted in the hypopharyngeal glands of young worker bees. It is fed to very young larvae of all castes, but later only to those that are to become queen bees. As the Wikipedia says, "The honey bee queens and workers represent one of the most striking examples of environmentally controlled phenotypic polymorphism. In spite of their identical, clonal nature at the DNA level they are strongly differentiated across a wide range of characteristics including anatomical and physiological differences, the longevity of the queen and reproductive capacity. ... A female larva destined to become a queen is fed large quantities of royal jelly; this triggers a cascade of molecular events resulting in development into a queen. it has been shown that this phenomenon is mediated by an epigenetic modification of DNA known as CpG methylation."

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