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You are here: Research & Tech

Research & Technology

Original contributions from Beekeeping Times members.

It is in the Genes! - They Control Honey Bee Scouts' Behavior of Seeking New Food Sources

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Chennai, March 10, 2012: In an investigation conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Wellesley College, Wellesley, and at the Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, researchers found 'molecular underpinnings' of 'novelty-seeking behavior' among honey bees 'in their tendency to scout for food sources and nest sites'. The researchers say: 'food scouts showed extensive differences in brain gene expression relative to other foragers'. In a research article* published in the latest issue of Science, they report their interesting findings of differences in genes corresponding to the differences in behavior among honey bee foragers. Following is the News on the subject, released by the News Bureau of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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Pesticide Kills of Honey Bees by Several Means

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Chennai, January 17, 2012 (Thanks to Sridhar Prasadrao, Mumbai for the news alert): Potent pesticides like the widely used neonicotinoids are highly toxic to honey bees. Recent research showed that these insecticdes can kill honey bees through intake of pollen of treated plants. Investigations by scientists at the Purdue University, Indiana, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, USA, showed that the insecticides were present in waste talk exhausted from farm machinery, in the soil and in pollen of treated plants. These findings of multiple routes of pesticide exposure for honey bees kept near agricultural fields are published* online on January 3, 2012 in the journal PLoS ONE. Following is the news dated January 11, 2012 by the Purdue University News Service on the subject.

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Fly Parasite in Honey Bees in the USA Found to Cause CCD symptoms

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Chennai, January 6, 2012: San Francisco State University professor of Biology, John Hafernik accidentally found during his research work in 2008 that honey bees in California became infested by a phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, and abandoned their hive and eventually died. According to the San Francisco State University news Communication dated January 4, 2012, 'Honey bees can become unwitting hosts of a fly parasite that causes them to abandon their hives and die after a bout of disoriented "zombie-like" behavior, San Francisco State University researchers have found.'

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Honey Bees Mimic Primate Brain Neurons While Making Decisions

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Chennai, December 10, 2011: A honey bee colony "has to make decisions constantly," said Dr. Thomas Seeley, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, during an interview (Podcast dated December 9, 2011) by Sarah Crespi, Senior Web Editor, Science Magazine, talking about the research being undertaken by his team at the Cornell University. He clarified further: "Every day, for example, it has to make the decision of where its foragers should go foraging - which patches of flowers are the best ones? ... It also has to make other decisions, such as whether or not to build more combs, which is the infrastructure in which the whole colony functions. And a key feature of all these decisions, is the fact that they are distributed, or it's a collective, decision-making. ... these are decisions that have to be worked out collectively by the worker bees in a honey bee colony."

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Honey Bees Can Help Detect Tuberculosis

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Chennai, October 30, 2011: It is well-known that honey bees can detect scents of flowers and visit those with scents associated with nectar or pollen. A recent study1 by researchers at Christchurch's New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, shows that the bees can detect even traces of sweet-smelling volatiles produced by the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Reporting this finding, Kloe Palmer in the 3 News, New Zealand dated October 27, 2011 says the Christchurch scientists might soon add honey bees as tuberculosis diagnosing aids, that help in the battle against tuberculosis.

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