Halloween Week: Help Scientists Battle Zombees

Honey bee colonies are subject to numerous pathogens and parasites. Adrian Gonzalez Jersey Interaction among multiple pathogens and parasites is the proposed cause for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a syndrome characterized by worker bees abandoning their hive. Last year scientists from the San Francisco State University provided the first documentation that the phorid fly Apocephalus borealis, previously known to parasitize bumble bees, also infected and eventually killed honey bees and may pose an emerging threat to North American apiculture.

Scientists say the fly deposits its eggs into the bee’s abdomen, causing the insect to walk around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee exhibits zombie-like behaviour, said lead investigator John Hafernik. Parasitised honey bees show hive abandonment behavior, leaving the hive at night and dying shortly thereafter. On average, seven days later up to 13 phorid larvae emerge from each dead bee and pupate away from the bee. Using DNA barcoding, the researchers confirmed that phorids that emerged from honey bees and bumble bees were the same species.

Microarray analyses of honey bees from infected hives revealed that these bees are often infected with deformed wing virus and Nosema ceranae. Larvae and adult phorids also tested positive for these pathogens, implicating the fly as a potential vector or reservoir of these honey bee pathogens. Air Jordan 5 Uomo Phorid parasitism may affect hive viability since 77% of sites sampled in the San Francisco Bay Area were infected by the fly and microarray analyses detected phorids in commercial hives in South Dakota and California’s Central Valley.

To learn more about how the parasitic fly affects the bees’ behavior, the scientists have built a system to track the movements of infected bees in and out of a hive. cheap fjallraven kanken Each bee has a set of tiny radio frequency trackers — each no bigger than a fleck of glitter — attached to the top of its thorax. Tennis Nike The bees leave and return to the hive through a small tube outfitted with dual laser readers that interact with the individual trackers.

Knowing exactly when bees leave–and whether they come back–is important for understanding how and when the parasites might cause the bees to abandon their hives. The original study found bees disoriented and dying at night, for instance, but the researchers aren’t sure whether the infected bees only leave their hives to fly in the dark. adidas cloudfoam hombre The researchers hope to capitalize on the interest in the bees with a citizen science project called ZomBee Watch.

ZomBee Watch has three main goals. nike air max nederland 1. To determine where in North America the Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis is parasitizing honey bees. Under Armour Curry One 2. To determine how often honey bees leave their hives at night, even if they are not parasitized by the Zombie Fly. 3. To engage citizen scientists in making a significant contribution to knowledge about honey bees and to become better observers of nature. fjallraven kanken mochilas If you live in the United States, they need your help finding out where honey bees are being parasitized by the Zombie Fly and how big a threat the fly is to honey bees. So far, the Zombie Fly has been found parasitizing honey bees in California and South Dakota.

Pollinator-Friendly Plants Put To The Test For Science

You hear a lot in the news about the decline of bees, and it’s the kind of issue that is easy to assume we can do nothing about. Asics Gel Quantum 360 Dames But one simple way people can help is via their gardens, by growing ornamental plants that are also attractive to flower-visiting insects. fjallraven kanken pas cher Although individual gardens are relatively small, collectively they comprise a substantial area. If public parks can get in on the act then the collective positive effects could be potentially staggering.

Which plant varieties are attractive to flower-visiting insects? Given the great public interest, many lists of recommended plants have recently been produced. For example, in 2011, the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society produced a Perfect for Pollinators list. But where did this information come from? On closer inspection, it appears that these lists are based largely on personal experiences, opinions and anecdotes.

Now a study by the University of Sussex researchers has attempted to put these recommendations on a firmer scientific footing. Air Jordan 2 Retro Scientists planted an experimental garden of summer-flowering garden plants on the university campus. Asics Gel lyte 3 Heren Thirty-two varieties were compared, each in two patches of 1×1m, in 2011 and 2012. fjällräven kånken Laptop 13 All varieties were easy to purchase and considered attractive to humans. Throughout both summers they made repeated counts of the numbers of insects on each patch. As they were counted the insects were also identified into nine categories (honey bee, 4 sub-categories of bumblebees, other bees, hoverflies, butterflies & moths, other insects).

The most simple and striking result was that garden plants vary enormously, approximately 100-fold, in their attractiveness to insect flower-visitors. The most numerous insects by far were bees which comprised over 84% of all insects seen. Bumblebees 47-62% and honey bees 26-32% were the most numerous, with all other bees only 3-5%. nike free 5.0 hombre Their results did lead them to make some horticultural recommendations – Among honey bees, it seems borago (borage) came out on top, with origanum and a variety of different species of lavender also performing well, while overall the least attractive flowering plant for insects was the geranium. Colt McCoy – Texas Longhorns Marjoram, the researchers say, was probably the best “all-rounder”, attracting honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, and butterflies. The team put a number of varieties of lavender to the test and found that highly bred hybrids, including some with novel colours – such as white or pink – that have been carefully bred into the plants proved the most attractive to insects.



Dr Nigel Raine, from the Royal Holloway University of London, commented that with bee populations declining across the world, “we can all give bees a helping hand by planting the right flowers to give them the nectar and pollen they need. This study highlights that it’s important for bee-friendly gardeners to choose what you plant with care. Washington Wizards Gardeners and town planners should think carefully about the mixture of flowers they plant to ensure food is available for a wide range of bees and other important insect pollinators. asics gel stratus mujer It’s also important to cater for the needs of the rarer species and provide food at times when there might be fewer wild flowers in bloom.”

Flowers attractive to bees and other insects are by and large also attractive to humans, and are no harder to grow or more expensive than any others. nike air max femme pas cher Therefore, choosing insect-attractive varieties over less attractive varieties is a zero cost option, and is a practical and simple way of helping bees and other flower-visiting insects in your own garden.