Queen rearing can be prevented by reusing the failed resources of the bee colony.

Experimental nucleus colony setup. Illustrations of four experimental frames of individual nucleus colonies. Resource frame with pollen stores (a) and honey or nectar stores (b), a frame with eggs (c), and an empty foundation frame (d). The egg frame shown is 1 week after colony establishment and the appearance of developing worker and queen cells. Credit: Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-44037-2

As pollinators of flowers, trees and more than 50 crops, adding $34 billion to the U.S. economy annually, bees provide both ecological and economic value even before accounting for their signature product. do

In pollinating Although, Bees can tolerate pesticides for others but are harmful and sometimes fatal to them. Research shows that these pesticides have contributed to the massive and widespread extirpation of bee colonies over the past decade or so. The emergence of pesticide-treated seeds, which are no longer subject to regulation after leaving the factory, is exacerbating the problem.

Beekeepers looking to establish new colonies will typically reuse the comb and food stores of failed predecessors, including the use of bee-made pesticides. Thinking about the potential impact and feasibility of the practice, Judy Wu-Smart, Autumn Smart and Rogan Tokach of Nebraska decided to conduct an experiment.

All three formed two groups of small colonies. Individuals in the control group were supplied with pollen and honey from pesticide-free colonies, while others borrowed resources from colonies exposed to pesticides that affect bee development, performance, and fertility. She died after using it.

In both cases, each new colony was devoid of a queen, who is usually regarded as the only sexually mature female and, thus, important to the expansion and sustainability of the colony. While Colonies produced an average of 5.9 queen cells—the ones that house and nurture queen candidates—colonies relying on pesticide-contaminated food stores managed only 3.2 on average.

Uncontaminated colonies were also more successful at raising healthy virgins, which must mate with several males before becoming viable queens: 83.9 percent of these colonies produced mated, egg-laying queens, compared to their contaminated counterparts. compared to only 32.6 percent of Here are the results. published In the journal Scientific reports.

In contrast to previous research, which found pesticide-related effects on queen production after exposing colonies to chemicals for a month or more, the Husker team’s study suggests that short-term Even limited exposure can prevent queen rearing.

Whether the observed effects would persist in larger colonies, which can sometimes dilute contaminants to minimize their damage, is one of several questions worth investigating, the team said.

In the meantime, researchers recommend it. Perform necropsies to determine the cause of colony loss and avoid reusing resources that come from colonies. . Beekeepers can also monitor the performance of new colonies—watching for signs of disease, among other things—to help determine if reused food stores or equipment should be removed. .

More information:
Rogan Tokach et al., Reuse of food resources from failed honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies and their effects on colony queen rearing capacity, Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-44037-2

Reference: Reusing failed honey bee colony resources may inhibit queen rearing (2024, Feb 21) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-reusing-bee-21 Feb 21, 2024 Retrieved from colony-resources-curb.html

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