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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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