Honey bee genetics sheds light on bee origins

Ah, what a complicated web we weave when first we practice to….interbreed?   At least, that’s the story from the University of California in trying to determine where our fuzzy, buzzy little friends got their geographic and biological beginnings.

There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of we can’t really know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been.  In trying to figure out where our bee populations are headed, they want to find out where they came from.

An ambitious goal indeed.

Where do honey bees come from? A new study from researchers at UC Davis and UC Berkeley clears some of the fog around honey bee origins. The work could be useful in breeding bees resistant to disease or pesticides.

Source: Honey bee genetics sheds light on bee origins

Bees’ favourite plants revealed by Botanic Garden study – BBC News

We know honey bees show preference to flowers with higher sugar content in the nectar and with the pollen that has particular nutrients such as proteins, amino acids, etc.. they need for brood rearing and such.  The Botanic Garden of Wales says they have been able to pin down the most preferred flowers by honey bees.

It might inspire your garden and beekeeping related planting plans.

National Botanic Garden of Wales research reveals which plants bees choose their pollen from.

Source: Bees’ favourite plants revealed by Botanic Garden study – BBC News

Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other | New Scientist

How it looks from here…   The bees aren’t saying “Whoop”  or even “whoops” like it seems to suggest.  From reading the article and knowing bees, it’s probably more like, “Hey!” or “Hey there!”

Whoops, please.  There’s no “whooping” in a bee hive.  Bees gots things to do and places to bee.  There’s no time for “whooping”.

Just saying.

A vibrational pulse that was thought to be a “stop” signal between bees may actually be a startled response when they collide

Source: Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other | New Scientist

IU-based agriculture startup to begin R&D of beehive sensors

From a Bee Smart point of view, this is very interesting.  Younger people getting interested and involved in bees and beekeeping.  Advancing information and knowledge about the inner workings of the hive.  Creating opportunities and furthering the positive use of technology to study and manage bee hives.

What’s not to love about this?

BLOOMINGTON — An agriculture technology startup called The Bee Corp. has been launched to monitor conditions inside commercial beehives.

Source: IU-based agriculture startup to begin R&D of beehive sensors

Taming Aggressive Bees

We know that stinging is a defensive behavior for honey bees.  Some species and breeds of honey bees go about that defensive reaction across a spectrum of aggressiveness.  While some are relatively docile or low key to get “fired up”, others are on a seeming hair trigger to explosive response.

What are the determining factors to how aggressively a given type of honey bee or breed of bee will respond?  Are they genetic, chemical, or behavioral?  Some some combination of some of all of the above.

Someone is looking into the subject and may bee trying to breed a different type of bee based on that.

By Jonathan Wilkins – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40222605

(Inside Science) — James Nieh, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, has been studying bees for decades. He’s often a go-to expert on bees.“I often get people who ask me, ‘what about those killer bees, those Africanized bees?’ And it turns out that these guys are beneficial in the environment for a variety of reasons, beneficial in the sense that they do better than the European honeybee,” said Nieh.

Source: Taming Aggressive Bees

Despite few taste genes, honey bees seek out essential nutrients based on seasonal resources

Honey bee nutrition is always a topic of great concern for keepers of bees.  Seasonal changes in mineral needs for the colony are important, especially as we work to prepare hives for annual weather events such as Winter or other environmental shifts such as dealing with dearth due to intense heat.  Of course, for migratory apiarists and those with stationary bee yards in more “challenging” locations that are sometimes referred to as “food deserts”, maintaining healthy bee colony nutrition becomes even more of a concern.

Hmm, but as this article goes on to show, the more information we find about bees, the more questions we have.

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE (February 9, 2017) – Despite having few taste genes, honey bees are fine-tuned to know what minerals the colony may lack and proactively seek out nutrients in conjunction with the season when their floral diet varies. This key finding from a new study led by Tufts University scientists sheds light on limited research on the micronutrient requirements of honey bees, and provides potentially useful insight in support of increased health of the bee population, which has declined rapidly in recent years for a variety of complex reasons.

Source: Despite few taste genes, honey bees seek out essential nutrients based on seasonal resources

Lawsuit filed over honeybee deaths

Apiarists face plenty of problems trying to keep bees healthy and alive while utilizing them to make a living.  When procedures set in place by others be they people, businesses or government agencies, go awry, apiarists, like any other business, want accountability and whatever is required to get back to where they were before the problem.

Even if it’s accidental, these professionals should still be given the respect and due process to get their business operational again.

A beekeeping business has filed suit over mosquito-spraying last summer that killed 4 million of its bees.

Source: Lawsuit filed over honeybee deaths

Notable Note: Langstroth was a Christmas beeday

That’s right, the man commonly referred to as the “Father of modern beekeeping” was born on December 25th in 1810.

His (arguably) two most significant contributions to beekeeping being the observation of the 3/8″to 1/4″ bee space requirement between combs/frames and the mas produce-able Langstroth hive which kicked off a new era of beekeeping in the industrial age.

There were other beekeepers that influenced Langstroth’s hive but he is most certainly the man behind the turn of American, modern beekeeping.

Langstroth died October 6, 1895 but his hive’s influence has survived nearly 165 years since it’s design in 1852.  His personal influence on modern beekeeping may be nearly immortalized in comparison.

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