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Honey bee genetics: where’s the miracle?

For a long time, genetics has been the answer to our agricultural problems. I don’t mean modern gene-splicing where you combine genes from different species, but the old-fashioned kind of breeding where you cross hand-selected individuals in order to amplify their best traits. This traditional method has yielded bigger, fatter, disease-resistant, and high-yielding plants and […] Read more

Hydroxymethylfurfural in sugar syrup

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a naturally-occurring organic acid with the formula C6H6O3. It is often formed during the dehydration of sugars, especially fructose, and is known to be toxic to honey bees. Much has been written during the past few years about the occurrence of HMF in high-fructose corn syrup* (HFCS), but that is certainly not […] Read more

Blue-banded bees: the buzz from Australia

I have been a fan of the Australian native blue-banded bee, Amegilla cingulata, for a long time, mostly because of its gorgeous blue-striped abdomen. Because these bees are buzz pollinators, they make a significant agricultural contribution wherever they occur. According to Wikipedia, blue-banded bees assist in the pollination of about 30% of Australian crops. Like […] Read more