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NICARAGUA- ARE EXPECTING A LOWER HONEY PRODUCTION

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:57
NICARAGUA- ARE EXPECTING A LOWER HONEY PRODUCTION

The lack of natural feeding for the  bees, due to  the lack of rain is causing emigration of hives, a situation that will drop to 30% honey exports for the period 2014 to 2015, said the president of the National Commission beekeeping Nicaragua, CNAN Fabricio Mendoza.

PERU- BLAME THE PESTICIDES FOR THE BEE DEATHS IN ISLAY

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:54
PERU- BLAME THE PESTICIDES FOR THE BEE DEATHS IN ISLAY

The indiscriminate use of pesticides on crops killed more than 180 thousand bees in the fields of industry in the district La Ensenada Cocachacra. Fernando Oporto Lazo, representing the Association of Peru Pollinators (Aspol), said 300 remained uninhabited hives because the bees wanted to feed quinoa flower pollen, however farmers sprayed their fields and killed insects.

ARGENTINA- CORRIENTES PROVINCE BEEKEEPING COOPERATIVES JOIN THEIR EFFORTS TO MARKET THEIR HONEY

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:47
ARGENTINA- CORRIENTES PROVINCE BEEKEEPING COOPERATIVES JOIN THEIR EFFORTS TO MARKET THEIR HONEY

The group members Consortium Beekeeping cooperatives of the province made ​​a new concentration on the drums of honey extraction room belonging to the Cooperative Agricultural and Electricity "Monte Caseros" (CAEMC). The operations consisted of sampling was in charge of the CAEMC: 250 grams of the product were taken per drum to send laboratory to determine the moisture content, total acidity and eventual adulteration. Under this transaction 10,890 kilos of honey were analyzed, being able to be sold 9,240 kilos (85%) .

ITALY- THE UNITED KINGDOM WILL MAKE A VIRTUAL BEEHIVE FOR THE NEW YEAR TRADE SHOW

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:39
ITALY- THE UNITED KINGDOM WILL MAKE A VIRTUAL BEEHIVE FOR THE NEW YEAR TRADE SHOW

A team led by the resident in Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress, has been selected among seven proposals to build a hive that will represent the UK in the next Expo Milan 2015 Titled BE, this "virtual hive" will highlight the plight bees following the decline of the global population and the consequences on the natural pollination and agriculture, providing an 'immersive sensory experience "that leave visitors with a" lasting taste of the British countryside. "

SWEDEN- A WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF GENOME SEQUENCE VARIATIONS PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO THE EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY OF THE HONEYBEE APIS MELLIFERA

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:29
SWEDEN- A WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF GENOME SEQUENCE VARIATIONS PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO THE EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY OF THE HONEYBEE APIS MELLIFERA

Paper prepared by Andreas Wallberg, Fan Han, Gustaf Wellhagen, Bjørn Dahle, Masakado Kawata, Nizar Haddad, Zilá Luz Paulino Simões, Mike H Allsopp, Irfan Kandemir, Pilar De la Rúa, Christian W Pirk and  Matthew T Webster

 

 

 

Abstract

The honeybee Apis mellifera has major ecological and economic importance. We analyze patterns of genetic variation at 8.3 million SNPs, identified by sequencing 140 honeybee genomes from a worldwide sample of 14 populations at a combined total depth of 634×. These data provide insight into the evolutionary history and genetic basis of local adaptation in this species. We find evidence that population sizes have fluctuated greatly, mirroring historical fluctuations in climate, although contemporary populations have high genetic diversity, indicating the absence of domestication bottlenecks. Levels of genetic variation are strongly shaped by natural selection and are highly correlated with patterns of gene expression and DNA methylation. We identify genomic signatures of local adaptation, which are enriched in genes expressed in workers and in immune system– and sperm motility–related genes that might underlie geographic variation in reproduction, dispersal and disease resistance. This study provides a framework for future investigations into responses to pathogens and climate change in honeybees.

USA- INSECT NEUROBIOLOGY: HOW SMALL BRAINS PERFORM COMPLEX TASKS

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:26
 HOW SMALL BRAINS PERFORM COMPLEX TASKS

Paper prepared by Jamie Theobald

 

Summary

A new study finds that bumblebees, like primates, can perform simple tasks that rely on rapid visual assessment, but unlike primates, require longer views for complex tasks. This suggests a fundamental difference in the way bees process visual information.

USA- HYDROCARBONS EMITTED BY WAGGLE-DANCING HONEY BEES INCREASE FORAGER RECRUITMENT BY STIMULATING DANCING

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:19
USA- HYDROCARBONS EMITTED BY WAGGLE-DANCING HONEY BEES INCREASE FORAGER RECRUITMENT BY STIMULATING DANCING

Paper prepared by David C. Gilley. Please download attached document

 

 

 

Abstract

Hydrocarbons emitted by waggle-dancing honey bees are known to reactivate experienced foragers to visit known food sources. This study investigates whether these hydrocarbons also increase waggle-dance recruitment by observing recruitment and dancing behavior when the dance compounds are introduced into the hive. If the hydrocarbons emitted by waggle-dancing bees affect the recruitment of foragers to a food source, then the number of recruits arriving at a food source should be greater after introduction of dance compounds versus a pure-solvent control. This prediction was supported by the results of experiments in which recruits were captured at a feeder following introduction of dance-compounds into a hive. This study also tested two nonexclusive behavioral mechanism(s) by which the compounds might stimulate recruitment; 1) increased recruitment could occur by means of increasing the recruitment effectiveness of each dance and/or 2) increased recruitment could occur by increasing the intensity of waggle-dancing. These hypotheses were tested by examining video records of the dancing and recruitment behavior of individually marked bees following dance-compound introduction. Comparisons of numbers of dance followers and numbers of recruits per dance and waggle run showed no significant differences between dance-compound and solvent-control introduction, thus providing no support for the first hypothesis. Comparison of the number of waggle-dance bouts and the number of waggle runs revealed significantly more dancing during morning dance-compound introduction than morning solvent-control introduction, supporting the second hypothesis. These results suggest that the waggle-dance hydrocarbons play an important role in honey bee foraging recruitment by stimulating foragers to perform waggle dances following periods of inactivity.

UNITED KINGDOM- DANCING BEES IMPROVE COLONY FORAGING SUCCESS AS LONG-TERM BENEFITS OUTWEIGH SHORT-TERM COSTS

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:13
UNITED KINGDOM- DANCING BEES IMPROVE COLONY FORAGING SUCCESS AS LONG-TERM BENEFITS OUTWEIGH SHORT-TERM COSTS

Paper prepared by Roger Schürch  and  Christoph Grüter. Please download attached document .

 

 

 

Abstract

Waggle dancing bees provide nestmates with spatial information about high quality resources. Surprisingly, attempts to quantify the benefits of this encoded spatial information have failed to find positive effects on colony foraging success under many ecological circumstances. Experimental designs have often involved measuring the foraging success of colonies that were repeatedly switched between oriented dances versus disoriented dances (i.e. communicating vectors versus not communicating vectors). However, if recruited bees continue to visit profitable food sources for more than one day, this procedure would lead to confounded results because of the long-term effects of successful recruitment events. Using agent-based simulations, we found that spatial information was beneficial in almost all ecological situations. Contrary to common belief, the benefits of recruitment increased with environmental stability because benefits can accumulate over time to outweigh the short-term costs of recruitment. Furthermore, we found that in simulations mimicking previous experiments, the benefits of communication were considerably underestimated (at low food density) or not detected at all (at medium and high densities). Our results suggest that the benefits of waggle dance communication are currently underestimated and that different experimental designs, which account for potential long-term benefits, are needed to measure empirically how spatial information affects colony foraging success.

ARGENTINA- EVALUATION OF THE EFFICIENCY OF CHANGE OF QUEEN BEES

Apinews - 24. august 2014 - 16:05
ARGENTINA- EVALUATION OF THE EFFICIENCY OF CHANGE OF QUEEN BEES

Paper prepared by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology INTA

 

 

En la apicultura planificar recambios periódicos y sistemáticos en todas las colonias permite contar con una mayor uniformidad del apiario y a su vez reducirla mortandad de colmenas. Una reina envejecida influye directamente en la disminución de la cosecha de miel, llegando en situaciones extremas con períodos críticos a ocasionar la pérdida de la colmena. Según estudios realizados “una empresa que no cuenta con un plan de  recambio de reinas tendrá al menos un 20 % de colmenas improductivas”.

Los técnicos de la Estación Experimental del INTA Cuenca del Salado indican que “para el recambio de reinas en la región es importante tener en cuenta la curva de floración de la zona y el momento del año, siendo una buena opción realizarlo hacia el final de la cosecha como parte de las tareas de preparación para la invernada”. Asimismo aseguran que “el éxito o fracaso del recambio de reinas no dependerá de un método mágico, sino de un conjunto de factores relacionados entre sí, como el estado sanitario y nutricional de las colmenas, el nivel de población y el momento de realización.

Como parte del trabajo experimental que se impulsa desde el INTA Cuenca del Salado, los técnicos realizaron una evaluación de la eficiencia del recambio de reinas de mellifera l., pasado el flujo principal de néctar.

El ensayo se realizó en un apiario integrante del Grupo de Apicultores Cambio Rural de la zona de General Alvear, mediante dos tratamientos: reduciendo la fortaleza de las colmenas y sin reducir el tamaño de la población, bajo un diseño completamente aleatorizado y siguiendo las pautas establecidas por el manual de Calidad Clúster Apícola de la Cuenca del Salado.

Al inicio de los ensayos los técnicos realizaron un registro de cuadros de cría, cuadros cubiertos por abejas (método de los cuadrantes) y la cantidad de reinas aceptadas a los siete días. Las colmenas a las que no se les redujo la fortaleza se estandarizaron en 5 cuadros de cría y 7 de abejas, para 48 horas después introducirles las reinas fecundadas.

Con el trabajo experimental los técnicos del INTA observaron que “la aceptación para ambos tratamientos fue del 100%”, por lo que con los resultados obtenidos afirman que “en la región y bajo las condiciones dadas, es factible realizar el recambio de reinas a fin de temporada sin reducir la fortaleza de la colmena”.


Para mayor información:

Referentes:Daniel Poffer  Técnico Apícola INTA - EEA Cuenca del Salado. | Ens, P. Promotor Asesor Cambio Rural | Caballieri, M. | Productor Grupo Cambio Rural “El Segundo” General Alvear | Lopez, G. Productor Grupo Cambio Rural “El Segundo” General Alvear | Frigoli, L INTA Cuenca del Salado- PROAPI | Figini, E. EEA-INTA Balcarce-Buenos Aires-Argentina-PROAPI.

AUSTRALIA- SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WORRIED BY THE POSSIBLE ARRIVAL OF VARROA MITE

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 20:54
AUSTRALIA- SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WORRIED BY THE POSSIBLE ARRIVAL OF VARROA MITE

Based on estimates of how much cropping relies on pollination by honey bees rather than winds and flies, the State Government’s Department of Primary Industries has warned $60 million could be lost in field crops such as canola, beans and peas, and a further $22 million from the lucerne seed industry. The total losses to the State would be multiplied by five, the report warns, up to $410 million, as packing sheds and processing facilities closed with inevitable job losses.

USA - MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BEEKEEPING IN NEW JERSEY

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 20:50
USA - MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BEEKEEPING IN NEW JERSEY

Tim Schuler, the State Apiarist for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture says "Since 2007, when 'colony collapse disorder' (CCD) became widespread, we've seen the number of members in the New Jersey Beekeepers Association grow from about 450 to nearly 1,200," He  has been raising bees for more than 40 years.

USA- REMOVED FIFTY THOUSAND BEES AND TEN POUNDS OF HONEY FROM A QUEENS' CONDO BUILDING

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 20:43
USA- REMOVED  FIFTY THOUSAND BEES AND TEN POUNDS OF HONEY FROM A QUEENS'  CONDO BUILDING

Anthony (Tony Bees) Planakis, who will soon retire from the police force, was off-duty when he helped Larry Stone, who runs a company called Honey Bee Helper, handle a tough job at Gregory Hall Condominiums on 51st Ave. in Elmhurst.

SPAIN- SALAMANCA BEEKEEPING IN TROUBLE DUE TO LACK OF PRODUCTION AND HEALTH PROBLEMS

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 19:44
SPAIN- SALAMANCA BEEKEEPING IN TROUBLE DUE TO LACK OF PRODUCTION AND HEALTH PROBLEMS

Not a good time for beekeeping  sector,  now is not due to the market situation or  price. The great concern of beekeepers in Salamanca focuses on the health issue and the alarming decline in production. The threat to bees and apiaries presence, and increasingly expanding the "vespa velutina" virtually settled across the north of Spain, "a problem, added," as sayd by Santiago  Canete, President Reina Kilama, combating varroa adds. Another, almost endemic health problem, which brings head to beekeepers because it is increasingly difficult to combat.

ARGENTINA- INAUGURATES A HONEY EXTRACTION ROOM IN SALTA PROVINCE

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 19:34
ARGENTINA- INAUGURATES A HONEY EXTRACTION ROOM IN SALTA PROVINCE

One and a half year  late, finally inaugurate the honey extraction plant in the Industrial Park of General Guemes. The event will be attended by the Secretariat of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture Office, Carla Campos Bilbao.

SPAIN- THE HONEYBEE DISADVANTAGE AGAINST THE VESPA VELUTINA

Apinews - 23. august 2014 - 19:30
SPAIN- THE HONEYBEE DISADVANTAGE AGAINST THE VESPA VELUTINA

As a defensive strategy against invaders, honeybees are thrown in droves over the invader, who "swelter based vibrating their wings all at once." In the case of the European hornet, bees are  playing with the advantage that withstand average degree of heat more than the predator, but the Asian hornet "goes the other way around, as it tolerates an average of a half degree of temperature over honeybees" with what is immolated defenders in full work to repel the invading insect. In addition to this strong point swarm attacks, the Asian hornet registers a high rate of success in their attacks to the beehives

USA- PROTECT MINNESOTA POLLINATORS CAMPAIGN

Apinews - 22. august 2014 - 16:55
USA- PROTECT MINNESOTA POLLINATORS CAMPAIGN

Prepared by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Please download attached document

 

 

 

USA- CALIFORNIA BEEKEEPING INDUSTRY AFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT

Apinews - 22. august 2014 - 16:45
USA- CALIFORNIA BEEKEEPING INDUSTRY AFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT

The state is traditionally one of the country's largest honey producers, with abundant crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar that bees turn into honey. But the lack of rain has ravaged native plants and forced farmers to scale back crop production, leaving fewer places for honeybees to forage. The historic drought, now in its third year, is reducing supplies of California honey, raising prices for consumers and making it harder for beekeepers to earn a living. "Our honey crop is severely impacted by the drought, and it does impact our bottom line as a business," said Gene Brandi, a beekeeper in Los Banos, a farming town in California's Central Valley.

USA- WHAT'S THE BUZZ ON BEE PATHOGENS?

Apinews - 22. august 2014 - 16:32
USA- WHAT'S THE BUZZ ON BEE PATHOGENS?

Read below for a selection of papers from PLOS Pathogens on honey bee decline in the world of pathogenesis.

 

 

 

 

 Warden, Wikimedia Commons

Honey bees at a hive entrance.
Image credit: Warden, Wikimedia Commons

Given the current issues affecting global health— the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the battle to eradicate polio in Pakistan, and the rise of type 2 diabetes in the United States— honey bee health seems like it would be last on our list of worries. However, August 16, 2014 marks the 5th US National Honey Bee Day, an organized day to raise honey bee awareness. Honey bee health and the awareness day commemorating it seem mainly geared towards the agricultural, farming, and small-scale bee-keeping communities; however, there is more interest in honey bee health from the scientific community than you may think.

The decline of honey bees is a major agricultural concern and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA’s internal research agency, is leading several efforts to gain more information on the possible causes. The rate at which honey bee colonies are declining is alarming. According to the 2013-2014 annual survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2 percent nationwide for the 2013-2014 winter. Although these losses are less than previous winters, the 2013-2014 annual survey reports that “losses still remain above the level that beekeepers consider economically sustainable.” The honey bee industry is vital to large agriculture which feeds most of the world; however National Honey Bee Day is aimed at increasing involvement from concerned citizens, most of whom are backyard gardeners and nature-loving beekeepers.

Concern for honey bee colony decline involves the scientific community as well, and actually has quite a home within pathogen research. The Bee Informed Partnership boasts a scientific advisory board composed of internationally recognized scientists to ensure that the partnership’s work is held up to high scientific standards. Furthermore, numerous PLOS Pathogens authors contribute to the honey bee cause, conducting research on various honey bee pathogens, including parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. See below for some honey bee research snippets featured across the various sections of PLOS Pathogens.

Parasites

Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is a globally distributed ectoparasite and a vector for viral pathogens of the Western honey bee.  The 2012 paperBidirectional Transfer of RNAi between Honey Bee and Varroa destructor:Varroa Gene Silencing Reduces Varroa Population reports that Varroa gene expression can be modulated by RNA interference (RNAi) mediated by honey bees, which may potentially lead to a new conceptual approach to Varroacontrol. The authors fed honey bees double-stranded RNA that was then transferred cross-species, from the bee to the Varroa mite; when this was used to target and silence Varroa genes it led to substantial mite mortality.

 a honeybee (<em>Apis mellifera<em>).

Varroa destructor on the body of its honey bee host
Image credit: Gilles San Martin, Flickr

Most recently published, On the Front Line: Quantitative Virus Dynamics in Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) Colonies along a New Expansion Front of the Parasite Varroa destructor assesses viruses found in honey bee colonies in New Zealand in light of the country’s more recent Varroa infestation. The authors use a large-scale molecular ecology approach to study de novo Varroainfestation impact on bee colonies since Varroa was found in New Zealand within the last two decades. They studied seven honey bee viruses in both bees and mites and their data reveal that the changes in the bee virus landscape correspond to the changes in Varroa infestation.

Fungi

This Pearls article, New Models of Microsporidiosis: Infections in Zebrafish, C. elegans, and Honey Bee, covers model hosts for microsporidia, a relatively mysterious phylum of fungal-related pathogens that are often times responsible for severe diarrhea and death in AIDS patients. Apis mellifera, more commonly known as the Western honey bee, have long been known to be carriers of the microsporidian species, Nosema apis, and more recently have been increasingly found to also carry Nosema ceranae.

Delving even deeper into the microsporidian N. ceranaeGenomic Analyses of the Microsporidian Nosema ceranae, an Emergent Pathogen of Honey Beesprovides genomic analysis of Nosema ceranae, comparing it to another microsporidian, Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Their comparisons provide insight into the architecture, regulation, and evolution of microsporidian genomes, and provide the first genetic tools for understanding how N. ceranae will interact with its honey bee host.

Nosema Ceranae Escapes Fumagillin Control in Honey Bees reports more closely on Nosema ceranae, the more recently discovered microsporidian first found on Asian honey bees and more recently discovered on Western honey bees. The authors compared responses of both Nosema species to fumagillin, the only antibiotic approved to combat Nosema apis-related nosema disease in honey bees, finding that N. ceranae in particular are released from the suppressive effects of fumagillin at concentrations that continue to impact honey bee physiology and that the current application protocol for fumagillin may exacerbate N. ceranae infection rather than suppress it.

Bacteria

The bacterium Paenibacillus larvae is a Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium that is the cause of American Foulbrood (AFB), a brood disease affecting honey bee populations world-wide. Identification and Functional Analysis of the S-Layer Protein SplA of Paenibacillus larvae, the Causative Agent of American Foulbrood of Honey Bees sheds insight on the poorly-understood mechanisms behind P. larvae. Through genomic sequencing and in vitro self-assembly studies on protein complexes, the authors reveal mechanistic insight into ERIC II, the more virulent genotype of P. larvae, furthering pathogenic information on this epizootic honey bee bacterium.

Viruses

Finally, viruses also play a role in honey bee CCD, and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), a single-stranded RNA virus, is reported to play a putative role.Large-Scale Field Application of RNAi Technology Reducing Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus Disease in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera, Hymenoptera: Apidae) again uses RNAi technology to feed IAPV-infected honey bees a double-stranded RNA product, Remebee-I. The authors show that treatment resulted in larger colony populations and increased honey production and provide the first successful demonstration of the use of RNAi as a preventative treatment for an insect disease on such a large scale.

David Evans bee

Honey bee with characteristic abdominal stunting and deformed wings due to infection with virulent DWV
Image credit: David J. Evans

A second virus affecting honey bees is Deformed Wing Virus. This Iflavirius is transmitted through the Varroa destructor parasite, causing developmental deformities and premature ageing in bee populations. The authors of A Virulent Strain of Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) of Honeybees (Apis mellifera) Prevails after Varroa destructor-Mediated, orIn Vitro, Transmission exposedVarroa-naïve larvae to oral andVarroa-transmitted DWV to determine whether changes in the virus population were due to the amplification of Varroaand/or suppressing host immune responses. The authors found that a single type of virulent DWV is amplified in the pupae when transmitted via the Varroa vector, in addition to detecting changes in the immune response and developmental gene expression of the bee hosts.

NEW ZEALAND- OF BEES, MITES, AND VIRUSES: VIRUS INFECTIONS AFTER ARRIVAL OF NEW PARASITIC MITE IN NEW ZEALAND HONEYBEE COLONIES

Apinews - 22. august 2014 - 16:27
 VIRUS INFECTIONS AFTER ARRIVAL OF NEW PARASITIC MITE IN NEW ZEALAND HONEYBEE COLONIES

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause -- and how bees can be saved -- remains unclear. A new article examines the viral landscape in honeybee colonies in New Zealand after the recent arrival of the parasitic Varroa destructor mite

Of bees, mites, and viruses: Virus infections after arrival of new parasitic mite in New Zealand honeybee colonies

Varroa is thought to be one of the main stressors that reduce bee fitness. As they feed on the blood of pupae and adult bees, the mites can transmit several honeybee viruses with high efficiency. Uncontrolled Varroa infestation can thereby cause an accelerating virus epidemic and so kill a bee colony within two to three years. Interested in the complex interplay between bees, mites, and viruses, Fanny Mondet, from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and INRA, Avignon, France, and colleagues took advantage of a unique situation in New Zealand: The country was only recently invaded by Varroa, which was first detected on the North Island in 2001, and still had an active infestation expansion front traveling southward into Varroa-free areas of the country when the study took place.

 

The researchers' aim was to monitor the first stages of the Varroa infestation and its consequences for bees and bee viruses. As they report, the arrival of Varroa dramatically changed the viral landscape within the honeybee colonies of New Zealand. Each of seven different virus species examined in detail responded in a unique way to the arrival, establishment, and persistence of the mite.

 

Consistent with the observations in other countries, Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is the virus most strongly affected by the spread of Varroa throughout New Zealand. DWV, which can multiply in the mites and is thought to be a direct cause of Varroa-induced colony collapse, was almost never seen in New Zealand bee colonies before the arrival of Varroa or ahead of the expansion zone after 2001. Thereafter, DWV abundance gradually increased with Varroa infestation history, even when Varroa infestation rates declined. Another highly virulent Varroa-transmitted virus, Kashmir Bee Virus (KBV), also showed a close association with Varroa. However, in contrast to DWV, KBV abundance peaks two years after an initial Varroa infestation and subsequently disappears from the colonies entirely, leaving DWV as the dominant honeybee virus in long-term Varroa-infested areas.

 

The researchers say that the results of their study "strengthen the idea that the multiple virus infestations in honeybees interact to create a dynamic and turbulent pathological landscape, and that the viruses play an important part in the survival or collapse of the bee colonies infested by Varroa. For example, KBV could play a key role in the dramatic honeybee colony weakening observed during the first years of Varroa infestation." They hope that their results to date will be "useful for the beekeeping industry by highlighting the importance of beekeeper awareness, of mite monitoring, and the timing and efficiency of Varroa control." "Future work," they state, "will focus on the mechanisms that form the evolutionary basis for the bee-Varroa-virus interaction."

 

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NEW ZEALAND- ON THE FRONT LINE: QUANTITATIVE VIRUS DYNAMICS IN HONEYBEE (APIS MELLIFERA L.) COLONIES ALONG A NEW EXPANSION FRONT OF THE PARASITE VARROA DESTRUCTOR

USA- WORKER BEES "KNOW" WHEN TO INVEST IN THEIR REPRODUCTIVE FUTURE

Apinews - 22. august 2014 - 16:23

When a colony of honeybees grows to about 4,000 members, it triggers an important first stage in its reproductive cycle: the building of a special type of comb used for rearing male reproductive, called drones. A team of experts from the Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour at Cornell University, led by Michael Smith, studied what starts the reproductive cycle of honeybee colonies.

 

 

 

Reproduction isn’t always a honeybee colony’s top priority. Early in a colony’s development, its primary focus is on survival and growth. When the colony reaches a certain stage, its workers start investing in reproduction. The first step in this whole reproductive process is building cells of drone comb, the special comb made of large cells in which drones are reared.

 

Drones are male honeybees that develop from unfertilized eggs. Their sole purpose in a colony is to mate with virgin queens from other colonies, thereby spreading the genes of the colony that produced the successful drones. Virgin queens in turn need to mate with drones before they can lay fertilized eggs that will become workers. Queens will mate with over a dozen drones during their single nuptial flight, after which they are stocked with sperm for life.

 

Smith and his team were puzzled about precisely which colony features kick-start this key process of building drone comb. Is it the number of workers in the colony? Is it the total area of worker comb in the colony? Is it the amount of brood in the colony? Or perhaps it’s the size of the colony’s honey stores? The Cornell University researchers therefore set out to carefully manipulate each of these features in different groups of colonies, while keeping the other colony features identical.

 

They found that while every colony built worker comb (non-reproductive comb), not every colony built drone comb (reproductive comb). In fact, only an increase in the number of workers stimulated the workers to start constructing drone comb. This was seen whenever colonies contained 4,000 or more worker bees.

 

The researchers were still left wondering about precisely how an individual worker bee ‘knows’ how many other workers there are in its colony. Smith and his team speculate that this might have to do with how crowded individuals feel while working side-by-side in the hive. They are currently engaged in further research to shed more light on this mystery.

“Colonies with more workers built a greater proportion of drone comb, but colonies with more comb, more brood, or more honey stores, did not do so,” Smith summarizes. “We estimate that a colony needs approximately 4,000 workers to invest in building drone comb.”

 

The researchers believe that their findings are also relevant to other social systems in which a group’s members must adjust their behaviour in relationship to the group’s size.

 

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USA- A CRITICAL NUMBER OF WORKERS IN A HONEYBEE COLONY TRIGGERS INVESTMENT IN REPRODUCTION

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