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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

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

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.

Team finds gene that helps honey bees find flowers

Team finds gene that helps honey bees find flowers (and get back home)

Honey bees don’t start out knowing how to find flowers or even how to get around outside the hive. Before they can forage, they must learn how to navigate a changing landscape and orient themselves in relation to the sun.

In a new study, researchers report that a regulatory gene known to be involved in learning and the detection of novelty in vertebrates also kicks into high gear in the brains of honey bees when they are learning how to find food and bring it home.

Genetic Study Offers Insight into the Social Life of Bees

Most people have trouble telling them apart, but bumble bees, honey bees, stingless bees and solitary bees have home lives that are as different from one another as a monarch’s palace is from a hippy commune or a hermit’s cabin in the woods. A new study of these bees offers a first look at the genetic underpinnings of their differences in lifestyle.

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