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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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Winter Losses of Honey Bee Colonies in the USA Similar to Previous years - Survey Report

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Chennai, June 3, 2011: Honey bee colony losses in the USA continued to be around 30 per cent during the winter 2011 - 2011, according to the survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA). Following is reproduced from the News dated May 23, 2011 by Agricultural Research Service, USDA (ARS).

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Bee Pathology Training Course Conducted at Punjab Agricultural University

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Chennai, June 1, 2011 (Press Note by: Dr. Pardeep K. Chhuneja): A 5-day advanced beekeeping training course on Bee Pathology was conducted during May 9 - 13, 2011 at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The course dealt with 'Bee Enemies and Diseases and Their Management', and was organized by the Directorate of Extension Education, PAU, Ludhiana in collaboration with the University's Department of Entomology. The course was attended by 20 extension scientists and officers of PAU from Krishi Vigyan KendrasĀ  and Farm Advisory Services Scheme in different districts of Punjab, as also officers of the State departments of Agriculture/Horticulture.

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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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