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Unexpected similarity between honey bee and human social life

December 1, 2020

Bees and humans are about as different organisms as one can imagine. Yet despite their many differences, surprising similarities in the ways that they interact socially have begun to be recognized in the last few years. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, building on their earlier studies, have experimentally measured the social networks of honey bees and how they develop over time.


December 1, 2020


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Gene and the honey bee

August 6, 2019

For anyone trying to tease out how the brain makes sense of the world, the honey bee is a perfect choice of study organism. It’s a social animal, living in a complex society where the jobs are divvied up. It has its own special language: the waggle dance, which scouts use to tell their nestmates exactly where to find the best flowers. It’s a champion navigator, using the sun and other cues to find its way to floral resources sometimes miles away and then bring them back to the hive. It harvests and then processes – some would say “cooks” – its food.


August 6, 2019


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Illinois teams with Anheuser-Busch for bee research

February 6, 2019

There’s plenty of sweet irony in a new partnership between Illinois and St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, LLC, that will raise money for bee research at the university.

Anheuser-Busch has pledged $5,000 to The Healthy Bee Fund at Illinois. In addition, the company will donate $1 to the fund for every case sold of b, a new alcoholic honey beverage scheduled to go on sale in the Northeast U.S. in March.


February 6, 2019


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New laboratory system allows researchers to probe secret lives of queen bees

December 3, 2018

More than a decade after the identification of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon marked by widespread loss of honey bee colonies, scientists are still working to untangle the ecologically complex problem of how to mitigate ongoing losses of honey bees and other pollinating species. One much-needed aid in this effort is more efficient ways to track specific impacts on bee health. To address this need, a group of Illinois researchers has established a laboratory-based method for tracking the fertility of honey bee queens.


December 3, 2018


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Reach out and feed someone: Automated system finds rapid honey bee networks

January 29, 2018

“Only connect”—E. M. Forster’s pithy quotation captures an essential feature of any society, human or animal: the patterns of interactions among individuals out of which collective behaviors arise. By developing a system that allows automated, in-depth monitoring of the social interactions of honey bees, researchers have now uncovered an unexpected property of the bee social network that may someday help us design more effective human and machine communication systems.


January 29, 2018


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Reach out and feed someone: Automated system finds rapid honey bee networks

January 1, 2018

“Only connect”—E. M. Forster’s pithy quotation captures an essential feature of any society, human or animal: the patterns of interactions among individuals out of which collective behaviors arise. By developing a system that allows automated, in-depth monitoring of the social interactions of honey bees, researchers have now uncovered an unexpected property of the bee social network that may someday help us design more effective human and machine communication systems.


January 1, 2018


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Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humans

July 31, 2017

Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.


July 31, 2017


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