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Protein and the hypopharyngeal gland

Honey bee nutrition is a hot topic these days. Due to their work in monoculture crops, honey bee colonies may not be receiving a well-balanced and complete diet. The surrounding landscape is changing as well, and in many areas, diverse plant life has been replaced by acres of invasive species—another type of monoculture. Whatever the […] Read more

Wednesday wordphile: vitellogenin

The protein vitellogenin has long been known to play an important role in colony health. It is known to regulate queen bee and forager life span, and it affects social behavior, immunity, and stress response. Previous research has shown that worker bees with suppressed vitellogenin levels forage earlier, prefer foraging for nectar, and live shorter […] Read more

Pollen traps require constant attention

A pollen trap is a device that fits over the hive entrance and forces returning foragers to crawl through small openings in order to enter the hive. The openings are so small that some of the pollen pellets are stripped from the bees’ legs and fall into a collection tray. The number of pollen pellets […] Read more

Monoculture diets and honey bee health

As I mentioned in an earlier post, pollen is virtually the only source a colony has for protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Colonies that pollinate large monocultures—such as almonds—have a severe lack of variability in their diets. Just as one fruit or vegetable doesn’t satisfy all your nutritional needs, one type of pollen is not […] Read more