Viewing posts from : January 2022



Study shows that Bee Appearance and Behavior could be Related

January 28, 2022 Uncategorized

A new UF / IFAS study identified genetic characteristics associated with the production and behavioral attributes of these two important bee variants. For example, researchers have found that Cape honey bees are significantly darker than Africanized bees. This dark color may be genetically correlated with those unwanted behaviors.

Both variants are undesirable in the United States. The first is the “killer bee” or “Africanized  bee,” scientifically known as A.m. scutellata is a bright-colored bee known for its territorial and defensive properties. This subspecies was introduced to Brazil from South Africa’s natural habitat in  the 1950s. There she mated with a subspecies of European honeybees bred by Brazilian beekeepers, then moved to the United States. A.M. scutellata is considered an invasive bee and can inherit colonies from controlled bees, potentially reducing the interests of beekeepers. They are also  known for their increased defensive behavior.

The second subspecies studied, the “Cape honey bee,” is scientifically known  as the morning. capensis causes many problems for beekeepers. These bees are more submissive than Africanized bees, but are more likely to inherit urticaria. Cape honey  bees are considered social parasites. Unlike other  bee variants, cape worker bees can replicate themselves and lay female eggs without first mating. These clones can take over the honeycomb. These workers cannot breed at the same rate as the traditional queen, and the colonies eventually diminish and collapse. This is a phenomenon known as the “Capensis Catastrophe.” “More amazing than the  ability of Cape Worker bees to replicate themselves is the speed at which they can take over other colonies,” said Jamie Ellis, a UF / IFAS professor. “We are working to keep these bees from invading the United States, because in most cases when these bees take over the colony, the colony is destined.”

For living things. In this case, researchers sought to understand what genetic characteristics contribute to the appearance and behavior of these bees. Using data collected from South African bees from  previous studies funded by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  in 2013 and 2014, scientists can determine which genes are responsible for the physical characteristics of these subspecies. I tried to understand.

Laura Patterson Rosa, a PhD student at the University of Florida / IFAS and co-author of the study, said: “What we have found has many implications. We have not yet been able to validate these new discoveries with additional populations, but if  the results withstand the challenges of time, we will see behavioral changes. Can partially explain the reasons, the reasons for not recognizing the existence of  other queens, and why they can be self-cloned when other bees cannot.

“The color phenotype is of beekeeping management. It’s an important aspect, “Ellis said. “It helps beekeepers know what kind of bees they have.” Cape honey bees are considerably darker than  Africanized bees. This dark shade may be genetically correlated with their cloning and colonization behavior. “There are potentially more than 30 variants of honeybees. Only two have been examined in  published studies,” he said. “Does this finding apply to other dark-colored bee variants?

It is interesting to look for these mutations in all variants of Western honey bee and determine if this is the case. Special thanks to the supporters of this study, including USDA APHIS and the Florida Agricultural Consumer Services Authority, led by Honey Bee Technical Council.

Winter Bees

Winter: A Honeybee Story

January 5, 2022 Beekeeping

Winter Bees

As a snowflake may drift into a front yard, you will find three kinds of people. Some may run out with joy at the winter wonder. Others stare with curiosity from the window. The rest cuddle up indoors and try to think warm thoughts.

Honeybees fall into the third category, though they cuddle up much sooner than we do. Once temperatures fall to 50 degrees, honeybees—or should I clarify, the female bees—gather inside their hive. Male drones are often left outside to freeze, as breeding season is over and their large consumption needs threaten the winter supply (see our “A Bee’s Life” blog post).

Beginning of an End

While low temperatures prevent bees from flying, the pollen level is the true trigger for when diutinus bees start to be produced. As pollen becomes scarce, the colony prepares for winter by creating diutinus bees from female eggs, in a similar fashion to dedicating a queen from a female egg.

A queen bee is born by feeding a female egg a diet of royal jelly. Like the queen, winter bees have a special, lean larval diet—in contrast to the queen’s rich diet. This protein-deficient caste grows fat-enlarged bodies to produce vitellogenin, which can supplement a pollen supply if needed.

 

Survival of the Honey Bee

To survive the winter, the bees must stay warm and fed. The colony will swarm within the hive and form a tight winter cluster, placing the queen at its core. The workers will shake and shiver (vibrating as we have seen them do in a waggle dance) to generate heat.

The center of the swarm will maintain a temperate around 90 degrees, while the outside of the swarm will be around 50 degrees. To survive, the swarm will crawl together in formation to reach their reserves of honey.

And this is how they live for the entirety of winter. In a giant mass, constantly swapping places to keep everyone warm and fed.

Will The Winter Bees Make It?

The colony’s survival entirely rests on the preparations made in the previous season and if any notable season. A diutinus bee can run out of vitellogenin, and if a dry spring follows winter, the colony may very well perish to starvation.

 

honey bees temperature

What If Temperatures Rise?

As we have seen this winter in Texas, sometimes a winter may stay above 50 degrees. What then?

If the temperature goes above 50, the colony may briefly leave the hive to dispose of excrement. But, without pollen to collect, the colony will retreat to the hive to stay warm and hold on until pollen and heat become plentiful.

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