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Research & Technology

Original contributions from Beekeeping Times members.

Bees Can Detect and 'Entomb' Pesticide-Contaminated Pollen -- Dr. Pettis, USDA

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Chennai, April 7, 2011: In a news report dated April 5, 2011 Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, The Independent, UK records the statement made by Dr. Jeffrey Pettis, Bee Research Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, while addressing the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science & Technology in Agriculture at Westminster, London, that he and Penn State University's Dennis van Engelsdorp discovered the ability of honey bees to sense the presence of pesticide in pollen, and to isolate it in the colony. They found that the bees had detected a fungicide, and two insecticides used to kill parasitic mites in the hive, and sealed the cells off using propolis, so the contaminated pollen cannot be used as food.

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Accelerometer to Detect Honey Bee Swarming

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Chennai, March 28, 2011: Swarming is bad news for beekeepers particularly during the buildup and flow seasons. Researchers at the Nottingham Trent University developed a device to detect swarming impulse in bee colonies, which can help beekeepers to take timely measures to prevent swarming or to hive the swarm in a new bee box. The research and the results of their investigation are published1 online on February 5, 2011 in the journal Computers and Electronics n Agriculture. Following is the Press release dated February 11, 2011 of the Nottingham Trent University on this work. The news dated February 16, 2011 in the New Scientist gives details of the work.

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Honey from Australian Native Myrtle Tree Provides Powerful Antibacterial Treatment

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Chennai, March 5, 2011: Honey has been used for treating infected wounds since ancient times. Charaka and Susruta (about 800 - 200 BCE) used honey as a wound and sore dressing aid. Honey is now known to have an inhibitory effect to around 60 species of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. This is mainly because of the antibacterial activity due primarily to hydrogen peroxide. However, honeys differ in their potency of antibacterial activity.

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Mushroom Body in Bee Brain is the Memory Area

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Chennai, March 2, 2011: Honey bees learn to associate floral rewards with odors of the nectar and visit only those flowers that offer good quality of food ignoring others. How they do this and which part of the brain is associated with this memory were the subjects of investigation by Martin Strube-Bloss working at Freie Universität, Berlin. He and other researchers at the Freie Universität and the Bernstein Center, Berlin succeeded in tracing the odor memory to the mushroom body in the bee's brain. The research was recently published1 in the Journal of Neuroscience. Following text is adapted from the International Press Release dated February 28, 2011 issued by the Office of News and Public Affairs, Freie Universität, Berlin.

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Pheromone Associated with Divison of Labor and Brood Rearing Can Increase Honey Bee Colony Growth

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Chennai, February 15, 2011: Division of labor in honey bee colonies is based on a pattern of worker bee behavioral development. Young bees work in the hive performing brood care and other tasks for the first two to three weeks of adult life and then begin to forage outside the hive for the remaining one to three weeks of their life. Developing brood emits a broods recognition pheromone that inhibits ovary development in worker bees and depending on its concentration, modulates division of labor as also foraging ontogeny in the workers. The concentration of chemicals in brood pheromone regulates the number of pollen foragers in the colony. The pheromone can also have dose-dependent effects on the age at which workers become foragers, higher concentrations delaying the recruitment of workers to become foragers.

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