Bee News 4


Study shows dangerous bee virus might be 'innocent bystander'
Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that the relationship between the tissue-sucking Varroa mite and virulence of a virus of honey bees, has most likely been misunderstood.
The study challenges the long-held belief that the parasitic Varroa mite – a mite that sucks the tissue of honey bees – transmits the Deformed Wing Virus of honey bees and in doing so changes the virus to make it more virulent and deadly.


Bees have brains for basic math, study finds
Researchers have found bees can do basic mathematics, in a discovery that expands our understanding of the relationship between brain size and brain power.
Building on their finding that honeybees can understand the concept of zero, Australian and French researchers set out to test whether bees could perform arithmetic operations like addition and subtraction.
Solving maths problems requires a sophisticated level of cognition, involving the complex mental management of numbers, long-term rules and short term working memory.


Hot Bees and Hard Work Make Honey, But Can Insulation Help ?
Honey bees collect flower nectar to make honey, but that is only the beginning. This new study, by a researcher at the University of Leeds published by the Royal Society, shows that they can need more than 50% of the energy in the nectar they have collected to evaporate the nectar into honey.
In the wild, honey bees have thick walled (150mm) tree nests , man made hives on the other hand have thin walls (19mm) and heat losses up to seven times greater. The difference is shown to impact how far they can fly to forage and what flowers they can collect from and still make a “profitable” journey back with the nectar.


Culprit found for honeybee deaths in California almond groves
Almond growers rent upwards of 1.5 million colonies of honeybees a year, at a cost of around $300 million. Without the bees, there would be no almonds, and there are nowhere near enough native bees to take up the task of pollinating the trees responsible for more than 80 percent of the world's almonds. The trouble was, bees and larvae were dying while in California, and nobody was sure exactly why. The problem started in adults only, and beekeepers were most worried about loss of queens.
Then in 2014, about 80,000 colonies—about 5 percent of bees brought in for pollination—experienced adult bee deaths or a dead and deformed brood. Some entire colonies died.
Study can bee found at:


Neonic Pesticide May Become More Toxic in Tap Water
Yet again, our government scientists—the oft neglected but so important brain trust of our Nation—bring the public some very important new data. Pesticide water monitoring experts at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paired up with scientists from the University of Iowa in a federally-funded collaboration to track neonicotinoid pesticides or “neonics” in tap water, including the potential to form chlorinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) from the pesticides and their metabolites that may be more toxic than the original compounds. And, the news isn’t good.


Hackney beekeeper warns ‘wash out your honey jars’ or risk spreading fatal Foulbrood bee disease
An apiarist has warned restaurateurs and recyclers to thoroughly wash out all honey containers, or risk outbreaks of a disease that can kill off whole colonies of bees.
Amanda Hayes is also urging people never to feed spoonfuls of honey to bees on their last legs, because that could also spark an outbreak of the highly infectious and destructive American Foulbrood.
Its spores are extremely resistant and contagious and can last for more than 40 years in honey and beekeeping equipment. Once identified, all bees in the affected colony and all equipment must be incinerated under supervision of Defra’s National Bee Unit (NBU) inspectors.


What the U.S. Could Learn From Slovenia About Protecting Bees
Bee colonies have faced massive declines around the globe, prompting doomsday scenarios of a world without these vital pollinators, but in Slovenia, such worries are almost unheard of. Colonies are thriving here, exemplified not only by the hetitlehy hives the country’s top politician keeps, and the jars of honey he gifts foreign dignitaries.


Worldwide decline of the entomofauna
  • Over 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction.
  • Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) are the taxa most affected.
  • Four aquatic taxa are imperiled and have already lost a large proportion of species.
  • Habitat loss by conversion to intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines.
  • Agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are additional causes.


New Zealand brings first 'fake mānuka honey' prosecution
A manuka honey company is being prosecuted by New Zealand’s food safety agency over claims it added artificial chemicals to its product.
In the first case of its kind, the company is accused of adding synthetic chemicals – including one commonly used in tanning lotion – to honey it sold as “mānuka”.


Leak: European governments pave way for bee-killing pesticides
Under pressure from pesticide producers and governments, the European Commission is planning to scrap bee-safety standards that led to a ban of three bee-killing pesticides, according to a leaked plan.


Viruses Associated with Varroa Mites Have Spilled Over Into the Western Yellow Jacket
A team led by entomologists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), performed a study on the Big Island and found viruses associated with the mite have spilled over into the western yellowjacket, a honey bee predator and honey raider.
The result is a hidden, yet remarkable, change in the genetic diversity of viruses associated with the larger pathogen community of the mite and wasp, with repercussions yet to be understood.


35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution
“35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they’re “fed up” with pesticide-based industrial agriculture and called instead for a system that supports the welfare of: the environment, animals, and small-scale rural farmers.”


The Legalities of Keeping Bees
With the number of bees in the world on the decline, you may be interested in trying to revive the population with a hive of your own. That’s great ! However, before you don your bee suit and veil, think carefully about where you want to set up your hive. The care and keeping of bees is a somewhat complicated endeavour, and if you live in a home that you rent or on property that you do not own, you may have to negotiate some legal loopholes in order to establish your hive.


Alleged criminals in the million dollar baby formula syndicate are also stealing honey: here’s why
In August last year police investigators searched two homes in greater Sydney, seizing 4000 tins of baby formula, large quantities of vitamins, and Manuka honey.
The police arrested a sixth individual on Saturday as part of what they have called an “expansive” network involved in the theft of these non luxury items, which they allege are being onsold in China for enormous profits.


How arable farmers can help prevent ‘mass extinction’ of pollinators
Arable farming needs to change in order to htitle declines in biodiversity and prevent one of the worst mass extinction events in history, a leading US entomologist has warned.
Bold action is required by farmers to stop habitat loss and the unintended consequences of pesticide use having a devastating effect on insect communities, says Jonathan Lundgren of the Ecdysis Foundation and Blue Dasher Farm.


A third of Britain’s native bee population has disappeared in the past 10 years, leading to drastic measures being taken to repopulate the endangered species. The £27.50 bricks, used to house 90 percent of solitary bees who have lost their nesting habitat, will be included in 50 percent of the properties in Nansledan, situated in Charles' Duchy of Cornwall. Many of the new infrastructures being built in the Nansledan region will contain the nesting bricks in order to combat the plight of the honey bees.


Honey bee parasites feed on fatty organs, not blood
For decades, researchers have assumed that varroa mites feed on blood, like many of their mite and tick cousins. But new University of Maryland-led research suggests that varroa mites instead have a voracious appetite for a honey bee organ called the fat body, which serves many of the same vital functions carried out by the human liver, while also storing food and contributing to bees' immune systems.


Research Offers Insights of Honey Bee Chromosomes
Newly published research by a team of Germany-based honey bee geneticists, collaborating with Robert Page Jr. of Arizona State University/UC Davis, offers new insights in the ability to modify and study the chromosomes of honey bees.
The significance of this paper lies in the ability to modify the chromosomes of honey bees and study the effects of individual genes.”
The ability to transform, change, genes, or add or delete genes from chromosomes of bees, has been exceptionally challenging and the effort spans decades.


City bees: allotments and gardens can help arrest decline – study
Allotments, weedy corners and fancy gardens are all urban havens for bees and other pollinators, a study has found.
The widespread decline of bees resulting from the loss of wild areas and pesticide use has caused great concern in recent years, but towns and cities have been suggested as potential sanctuaries.
The first research to examine all types of land use in cities has identified pollinators’ favourite places and flowers, many of which are often considered weeds. A team of more than 50 people spent two years examining pollinators and plants in Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Reading.


Bolivian bees under threat from coca pesticides
High up in the Bolivian cloud forest, a woman tends to her bees, smoker in hand, working from hive to hive under a canopy of leaves to delicately gather panels of honeycomb. It’s a bucolic scene that experts say won’t last, for the bees are dying.
The culprit — as in so many other cases across the world — is pesticide. The difference in Bolivia is that pesticide use, along with the coca plantations it is being used to protect, is on the rise.


Pakistan's disappearing bees
Honey became a profitable business in Pakistan's north-west tribal areas, introduced in the 1980s to help Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion make a living. But today bee populations are falling, driven away by new wars, pesticides and climate change. BBC Urdu’s Azizullah Khan is from the north-west, and shares his bee knowledge.


Finding an elusive mutation that turns titleruism into selfish behavior among honeybees
Among the social insects, bees have developed a strong and rich social network, where busy worker bees tend to the queen, who in turn, controls reproduction for the benefit of the hive.
But the South African Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis) can flaunt these rules. In a process of genetic trickery called thelytoky syndrome, worker bee females ignore the queen's orders and begin to reproduce on their own.


What is a bee brick ? How can it help ?
Adam Cormack fitted his house with a special brick in which bees can live - and he is pleased to report that some bees have moved in !
In a post on Twitter, he said: "6 months ago a bee brick was fitted to the side of our house. Today I went up a ladder to check on it and - yes ! - we have some bees. A feature for all new build houses ?
"Bees are ace and need our help."


Georgia Scientists Show That More Propolis Means Hetitlehier Bees, and Here’s How to Make That Happen
Propolis is a pliable, resinous mixture that honey bees (Apis mellifera) create by mixing a variety of plant resins, saliva, and beeswax and which they apply to interior surfaces of their hives, namely at points of comb attachment and to seal up cracks and crevices on the interior side of hive walls. Greater propolis production is connected with improved hive hetitleh, and a new study finds a few simple methods beekeepers can employ to stimulate increased propolis production.


Why Argentina loses 30% of its bee population every year
Argentina is the second largest producer of honey in the world, but its bees are dying at a rate of 30% every year, according to the Centre of Investigation on Social Bees (CIAS).
Investigator Wtitleer Farina told EcoPortal that this was likely to be due to the use of agricultural chemicals and fertilisers, which disorientate the bees.
“Some herbicides – like glyphosate – have a negative effect on the bees,” he said. “It makes it difficult for them to learn a floral scent and then link it to a determined food, or to learn how to navigate in a new environment, or to develop themselves in the initial stages.”


Arkansas honey seller faults dicamba in closing
Crooked Creek Bee Co., the retail sales and processing side of Arkansas' largest commercial beekeeper, closed this week, a casutitley of dicamba.
The herbicide has been damaging or killing vegetation essential to pollination by bees the past three years. Redvine, a flowering plant native to Arkansas, and button willow, a tree or shrub common in wetlands, are key to the flavor of his honey and have been particularly hit hard over the past year, he said.
Dicamba is a weedkiller linked to crop and vegetation damage in Arkansas and other states in the past three years, as farmers planted soybeans and cotton genetically modified to be tolerant of the chemical.


Giant British bugs take over intu Braehead to reconnect Scots with nature
A RENFREWSHIRE shopping centre is become home to a group of Big bugs as part of a nationwide initiative to re-connect shoppers with nature.
One in five children living in Scotland were unable to correctly identify a bee while one in four children have not seen a caterpillar in over a year. One in ten kids did not know honey came from bees.
Scottish adults were also lacking in their bug knowledge, with over one in four unable to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and a third unable to correctly identify a grasshopper.


'Liquid gold' manuka honey that costs £100 a jar could have lost its healing powers before you get it home
Expensive manuka honey may have lost its healing powers before customers even get it home, a scientist has warned.
The honey, known as ‘liquid gold’ because it costs up to £100 per jar, is sought after for antibacterial properties that come from its naturally-occurring bug-fighting chemical.
But this chemical can be destroyed by prolonged exposure to heat – such as during shipping or even sitting in shop windows – according to Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris.


Northeast Frontier Railway’s method to avert elephant deaths to be adopted across India
Indian Railways will replicate the successful innovation by Northeast Frontier Railway to keep wild elephants away from crossing railway tracks to save them from being hit by trains by playing amplified sound of honey bees.
NFR has installed the system at select locations where railway tracks cut through elephant corridors. Sound of the buzz of honeybees downloaded from the internet automatically starts playing electronically from a device the moment elephants come too close to the tracks. Elephants are known to be scared by honeybees and the sound of the buzzing bees loud enough to seem like an approaching swarm scares the mammoths.


Honeybee Vaccine Saves the Sweet Life
For the first time, there is a vaccine made just for insects.
That's right, honeybees are staying safe thanks to a research team from Finland's University of Helsinki. In early December, the university revealed it created the first vaccine for bees.
Thanks to the vaccine, the pollinators will be safe from different diseases, including the deadly American foulbrood, which can kill colonies.


Researchers Discover Honey Bee Gynandromorph with Two Fathers and No Mother.
A team of researchers at the University of Sydney has discovered a honey bee gynandromorph with two fathers and no mother—the first ever of its kind observed in nature. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their study of honey bee gynandromorphs and what they found.
Honeybees are haplodiploid creatures—which means that females develop from fertilized eggs, while males arise from eggs that are not fertilized. Because of this, honeybees are susceptible to producing gynandromorphs, creatures with both male and female tissue. This is different from hermaphrodites, which are one gender but have sex organs of both male and female.


France is the First Country to Ban all 5 Neonic Pesticides
With bees on the endangered list and the terrible consequences that will come to pass if they become extinct, France has taken a drastic step in an attempt to save the population of pollinating insects.
As reported by Organic Consumers, the European nation has decided to ban all five pesticides that scientists believe are responsible for killing bees.


Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives
There is clear evidence for sublethal effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on non-target ecosystem service-providing insects. However, their possible impact on male insect reproduction is currently unknown, despite the key role of sex. Here, we show that two neonicotinoids (4.5 ppb thiamethoxam and 1.5 ppb clothianidin) significantly reduce the reproductive capacity of male honeybees (drones).


Bee Friendly Insecticide, Made from Olive Oil, Creates a Buzz around Europe
A UK-Italian business is cornering the EU market with an innovative crop protection technology based on a bee-friendly insecticide.
FLIPPER is a natural, environment and bee-friendly organic insecticide derived from the natural by-product of extra virgin olive oil.
It is being used around Europe to control aphids, whitefly, thrips, mites, psylla, leaf hoppers and scale with negligible impact on honey bees, bumble bees, pollinators, other beneficial insects – or humans


New laboratory system allows researchers to probe the secret lives of queen bees
A group of researchers has established a laboratory-based method for tracking the fertility of honey bee queens, using a laboratory set-up that would mimic the key aspects of the hive environment and allow detection of egg-laying by honey bee queens living with small groups of worker bees. The resulting system allowed them to explore the relationship between worker nutrition and queen fertility.


Rebel honeybee workers lay eggs when their queen is away
The rebel workers are also more likely to infiltrate other colonies to have offspring
Even honeybee queens have rebellious kids.
In a colony of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), only the queen lays eggs that hatch into female workers who maintain the hive and nurse the young. But at times a colony experiences periods of queenlessness, when the old queen has left and a new one isn’t ready. Some of the queen’s left-behind worker daughters seize this chance to lay their own eggs — and sometimes in an entirely new colony, finds a study published online October 31 in Ecology and Evolution.


Study suggests fipronil caused massive honeybee die-off in France
A team of researchers from the University of Exeter and Fera Science Ltd, both in the U.K. has found evidence that implicates the insecticide fipronil as the culprit behind a massive die-off of honeybees in France in the 1990s. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of two insecticides that were thought to be behind the die-offs and what they found.


How do flying bees make perfect turns ?
If you've ever lost your balance standing on a bus that takes a sharp turn at speed or felt your car skid when you drive around a corner too fast, you've experienced the effects of centrifugal force. Turning while simultaneously moving forwards creates a force that pulls the turning object away from the direction of the turn. The faster you're going and the sharper the turn, the more centrifugal force you experience, and the more likely you are to lose control. - Study can bee found here.


Ancient drink of mead revived by new fanbase of younger drinkers
Mead, one of the world’s oldest alcoholic drinks, has been making a comeback on the back of the boom in craft beer.
Sales of the honey-based drink have grown in supermarkets after winning a strong fan base among younger drinkers in pubs and at beer festivals
The conservation charity English Heritage claims to be the UK’s largest retailer of mead through the gift shops in its 400 historic buildings and monuments as well as online; it said it sold a bottle every 10 minutes.


Faking It – The Great Honey Robbery
We found that 52 percent of Asian honey samples tested were adulterated (11 of 21 samples), of which three were from China (3/7), one from South Korea (1/1), one from India (1/2), two from Indonesia (2/2) and four from Iran (4/4),” the study said in its discussion section.
“Six honey samples from Europe, from a total of 21 tested, contained added sugar. These honeys originated from Macedonia (2/3), Romania (1/2), Serbia (1/1), Greece (1/5) and Hungary (1/3). Australia has a lower adulteration rate (18.4 percent in total), with honey from its mainland having an adulteration rate of 17.2 percent (5/29) compared to 22.2 percent of samples from Tasmania (2/9). Both New Zealand manuka honey samples tested (2/2) weren’t adulterated.”


Why are Certain NGOs Trying to Condemn Rural Residents to an Even Longer Pesticide Fate ?
Synthetic chemical pesticides were originally developed as chemical warfare agents in the 1930s and 1940s, but then astonishingly remanufactured as agricultural pesticides. These highly toxic chemicals have been used in UK farming for around 75 years and are increasingly relied upon by conventional (ie. non-organic) farmers and growers.


Some honeybees have four parents or no mother – and we don’t know why
We’ve still got plenty to learn about “the birds and the bees”. A close looker has revealed that some honeybees born partly male and partly female have up to four parents – and some of them have no mother at all.
In bees, unfertilised eggs develop into males, or drones, who seek out queens to mate with. Fertilised eggs usually develop into female workers.
Journal reference: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0670


FDA Warns of Honey Pacifiers after Infant Botulism Cases
Four infants were hospitalized with botulism after using pacifiers containing honey.
Reminder to parents: Don’t feed babies honey.
The FDA just issued a safety alert reminding parents not to feed children younger than 1 honey, including in pacifiers.


‘Bee-lief’ in wildflowers’ value to courgette pollination
A pioneering new study has revealed the value of pollination services to courgettes, finding that wildflower field margins can improve bee species’ work, while aiding their conservation.
The study, an AHDB-funded PhD by Dr Jessica Knapp of the University of Exeter, discovered that with pollinator insects like honeybees and buff-tailed bumblebees present, crop yields were 39% higher than when they were excluded.


The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
Sune Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing.
It was summer. He was out in the country, moving fast. But strangely, he wasn’t eating any bugs.


Ask your council to put pollinators first
Wouldn't it be fantastic if your neighbourhood was full of flourishing green spaces, for both you and bees to enjoy? We rely on bees and other pollinating insects for so many plants and crops. But too often we forget they need somewhere to live.
We’ve successfully influenced some councils to put pollinators first and adopt local Pollinator Action Plans


50,000 honey bees killed as yobs set hives ablaze
Vandals wiped out 50,000 honey bees at an allotment by setting tyres alight under their hives.
The arsonists targeted five hives full of bees in the attack at the gardens. One hive was not burned but it is thought the bees were killed by the heavy smoke given off by the tyres.
The attack early on Wednesday is the third at the Harpers Lane allotments in Bolton, Greater Manchester.


Call for Research Proposals Related to Honey Bee Hetitleh
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is seeking proposals for research related to improving the hetitleh of honey bees. Proposals should focus on research to understand, manage, suppress and eradicate Varroa mites, small hive beetles, and other pests, pathogens, and diseases contributing to colony losses. Summaries of previously funded projects can be found at Review and selection of proposals will be conducted by members of the Honey Bee Hetitleh Task Force.


Scientists warned this weed killer would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway
Joyce leans against the greenhouse he’s building, hands in the pockets of his overalls, peering at the field where he started nearly 800 tomato plants in the spring. It was early August when the telltale signs of trouble emerged. The plants’ broad, flat leaves shriveled and curled, their branches twisted and buckled. Then blossom rot set in. Joyce knew they couldn’t be saved. He climbed onto his tractor and mowed down his bestselling crop – for the third year in a row.


Neonicotinoid insecticide causes bees to abandon their young at night
A study published in the journal Science found bees exposed to an insecticide called imidacloprid were less likely to feed and care for their larvae, and spent more time hanging out around the edges of the nest.
According to study lead author and Harvard University biologist James Crall, the most surprising and puzzling finding was that the effect on bee behaviour was strongest at night


Bee News ... Pages  1 - 2 - 3