Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don't do as well as locals

Date:
July 14, 2014
Source:
Aarhus University
Summary:
Bees born in the local area manage better than bees imported from elsewhere, a study has shown. "Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests," says one expert.

A world without bees would be a whole lot poorer -- literally. In Denmark alone an additional 600 million to 1 billion Danish kroner are earned annually due to the work done by bees making honey and pollinating a wide range of crops from apples to cherries and clover.

Unfortunately, bees all over the world are under pressure from pesticides, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental changes, among other things. The problems often lead to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder, which can cause whole bee colonies to fall apart.

Scientists from, among others, Aarhus University, have now found that bees that are adapted to the local environment fare much better with regard to meeting the challenges than bees that have been purchased and imported from a completely different home area. The scientists determined this by investigating the interaction between the genetic makeup of honey bees and their environment. Even though quite a lot is known about the geographical and genetic diversity of honey bees, knowledge of how honey bees adapt to the local environment has been limited until now.

"Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests," says senior scientist Per Kryger from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Local or exotic queen?

Productivity in beehives is typically measured by how much honey the bees produce. The desire to maximize earnings by importing bees changes the natural genetic diversity. The question is whether commercial honey bee strains are actually more productive, all things considered. There is not much point in having a highly productive strain if it succumbs to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The studies were carried out in 621 colonies of honey bees with 16 different genetic origins. The beehives were set up in 11 countries in Europe. There was one local strain and two foreign strains of honey bees at each of the locations.

The factors that had the greatest influence on the survival of the bees were infection with varroa mites, problems with the queen, and infection with the disease nosema. Colonies with queens from the local environment managed on average 83 days more than colonies with queens from foreign areas.

"It is very clear that the local bees fare better than imported ones and that they live longer. It is not possible to point at one single factor that gives the local bees the advantage, but it appears to be an interaction between several factors," says Per Kryger and continues: "Our results indicate that the way forward is to strengthen the breeding programmes with local honey bees instead of imported queens. That would help maintain the bee population's natural diversity. It would also contribute to preventing the collapse of bee colonies, optimize sustainable productivity, and make it possible to maintain continual adaptation to environmental changes."

The research was carried out by members of the international honey bee research association COLOSS that has members in 63 countries. The results of the project regarding the interaction between the genetic makeup of bees and their environment have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research, which is published by the International Bee Research Association. Scientists from Aarhus University contributed 10 of the 14 published articles.

The special issue can be found online at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/JAR-53-2-2014


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Janne Hansen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. "Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don't do as well as locals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714105925.htm>.
Aarhus University. (2014, July 14). Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don't do as well as locals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714105925.htm
Aarhus University. "Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don't do as well as locals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714105925.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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