Characterised by the sudden mass exodus of bees from their hives, CCD was first reported in America in November 2006, and has rapidly spread to over 20 American States. Some CCD cases have also been reported in Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. CCD is increasingly becoming a crisis, causing beekeepers losses of between 30 – 90% and posing a potential threat in European agriculture, where honeybees are of great economic importance.
A study by scientists from the Nairobi-headquartered icipe – African Insect Science for Food and Health, conducted jointly with colleagues from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), suggests that there could be a link between microganisms from invasive species, such as the small hive beetle, recently introduced into the US from Africa. In their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS, 4th May 2007), the researchers observe that, though of no consequence to African honeybees, the small hive beetle decimates European honeybee colonies with impunity through a fungus that it carries.
“Beetles are scavengers and their job is to clean up. In the case of the small hive beetle, it uses a fungus to digest left-over pollen, from which it gets its nutrients. This fungus causes fermentation, in effect causing a change in the chemistry in the hives. Since bees are very sensitive to such variations, they eventually abandon the hives,” explains icipe scientist, Dr Baldwyn Torto.
He adds that African honeybees are generally highly hygienic; they don’t allow debris to accumulate in their hives, so there is little for the small hive beetles to scavenge and to support growth and establishment of other microorganisms. In addition, because of having to constantly deal with a wide diversity of tropical microorganisms while foraging, the African honeybees have evolved ways to fight diseases more effectively, and respond more quickly to any new challenges. On the other hand, says Dr Torto, European honeybees unlike their African cousins are unable to effectively inhibit infestations by this beetle.
“Knowing what allows African honeybees to survive attacks under the tough tropical conditions, and introducing these components into European honeybees, might be a step towards resolving the CCD,” says Dr Torto.
Liz Nganga | alfa
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy