Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite

Date:
December 13, 2009
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Ground-breaking discoveries could help protect honeybees from deadly parasites that have devastated commercial colonies.

A graduate student tends bees at the MSU apiary.
Credit: Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

Ground-breaking discoveries by Michigan State University researchers could help protect honeybees from deadly parasites that have devastated commercial colonies.

The MSU researchers for the first time were able to produce in the laboratory proteins that help channel sodium ions through cell membranes of parasites known as Varroa mites. The research, using cellular frog eggs, also found that these proteins react to chemicals differently than the sodium channel proteins in honeybees, a finding that could be a key to controlling the mites.

"The insecticide used to control Varroa mites, fluvalinate, targets the mite sodium channel," said Ke Dong, MSU professor of entomology. "But the mites are becoming resistant to fluvalinate. Successfully producing the mite sodium channel in the lab now allows scientists to develop new chemicals that target the mite sodium channel but don't affect the honeybee's."

Fluvalinate paralyzes the mite and eventually kills it. But in addition to the problem of growing mite resistance, the pesticide can harm bees and contaminate honey if not used extremely carefully.

The MSU scientists also found two amino acids in the mite sodium channel that make the mite resistant to tetrodotoxin, or TTX, a deadly poison found in pufferfish not currently used as an insecticide

"Chemicals such as fluvalinate and TTX target sodium channels in insects and mites, so this basic research opens the door for more applied research on chemicals to control mites and other pest insects," Dong said.

Other members of the MSU team are Yuzhe Du, senior research associate; Yoshiko Nomura, visiting scholar; Zhiqi Liu, former research associate; and Zachary Huang, associate professor, all in the Department of Entomology.

Varroa mites invaded the United States from the eastern hemisphere in 1987 and can kill an entire honeybee colony within a year, feeding on bee blood and transmitting viruses. The mites wiped out nearly 50 percent of the U.S. commercial honeybee population in 2004.

Varroa mites also may possibly contribute to colony collapse disorder, or CCD, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. First described in 2006, CCD is the official name for the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bees from hives around the world. Scientists have not been able to find a cause.

"These mites are a big, big problem for agriculture," Huang said. "Nearly 80 percent of food crops depend on pollination."

In Michigan, fruit and vegetable crops valued at $400 million depend on honeybee pollination and honey and beeswax add another $5 million to the state's economy each year. Nationwide, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. It's estimated that one out of every three bites of food people eat is made possible by pollination.

The research is published in the Dec. 4 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The MSU research is funded by the U.S Department of Agriculture and Project GREEEN, Michigan's plant agriculture initiative at MSU. The research of Dong and Huang also is supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "New research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209143749.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2009, December 13). New research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209143749.htm
Michigan State University. "New research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209143749.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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