Honey bee pollination helps to ensure the availability of many agricultural crops. Food security is threatened by a worldwide decline in honey bee populations due to four main factors: parasites, pathogens, pesticides, and poor nutrition. Scientists are currently developing and using new techniques study honey bee reproduction and development in order to identify ways to mitigate these four factors.
This image shows a honey bee larva reared from an egg in a specialized artificial honeycomb plate, using a robotic system that allows scientists to study the growth and development of honey bees from embryos to adults under tightly controlled laboratory settings. The scale of the image places the viewer in the role of a nurse bee checking to see whether the larva is healthy and fed.