Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex Life May Hold Key To Honeybee Survival

Date:
January 11, 2010
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
The number and diversity of male partners a queen honeybee has could help to protect her children from disease, say scientists, who are investigating possible causes of the widespread increase in bee deaths seen around the world.

The number and diversity of male partners a queen honeybee has could help to protect her children from disease, say University of Leeds scientists, who are investigating possible causes of the widespread increase in bee deaths seen around the world.

Related Articles


The researchers are working on the theory that the reason some colonies are wiped out while others remain healthy could be down the genetic diversities of the hives.

Dr Bill Hughes, from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, says: “By making sure queens mate with enough genetically variable males, we may be able to boost resistance levels and so protect our honeybee populations from disease attacks like the ones we have seen hitting the US.”

One possibility is that the loss of honeybees means that the number and variety of potential mates for a queen is becoming too low to maintain genetic diversity and therefore disease resistant populations.

Says Dr Hughes: “Given the choice, queen honeybees will typically mate with up to 12 different male partners in a matter of minutes and some with over 20. The record is the giant Asian honeybee whose queens normally mate with well over 40 males - and in one case was found to have mated with over a hundred.”

The Leeds scientists will be examining the question of genetic resistance by studying honeybee reactions to a common fungus parasite called Chalkbrood, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

The fungus, already found in the majority of UK hives, infects and ‘eats’ larvae, giving them a chalky appearance. Individual larvae die but the parasite rarely kills the whole colony.

In 2008, US average losses of honeybee colonies were 35%, with some beekeepers losing 90% of their colonies. A contributing factor to these high levels of honeybee deaths may have been a virus. However the same virus has been found in other countries yet does not seem to cause the same problems.

Dr Hughes and his team think infections by hidden parasites in genetically susceptible bees may be combining with other factors to produce a lethal ‘perfect storm’ which overwhelms their defences.

Honeybee survival is vital to the protection of our food supplies because they pollinate up to a third of the food we grow in the UK.

The project, which has received just under 500,000 in funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, is due last for three years. Collaborators include the UK Government’s National Bee Unit based near York and the University of Copenhagen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Sex Life May Hold Key To Honeybee Survival." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111305.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2010, January 11). Sex Life May Hold Key To Honeybee Survival. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111305.htm
University of Leeds. "Sex Life May Hold Key To Honeybee Survival." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111305.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins