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Sick Bees – Part 5: Multiple Infections

First published in: American Bee Journal January 2011

Table of Contents The Problem of Co-infection1 The Battle of the Brood Pathogens 2 The Cost of Immunity 3 Opportunistic Pathogens 4 Varroa and Nosema 5 References 5 I ended the last installment of this series by asking the question, what happens when there are multiple parasites suppressing the bee immune system simultaneously? In this […]

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Sick Bees – Part 4: Immune Response to Viruses

First published in: American Bee Journal November 2010

Table of Contents Bees vs. Viruses 1 Back to School 2 Practical Application 4 Viruses Fight Back 4 MicroRNA’s 4 Inapparent Virus Infections 5 Acknowledgements 5 References 5 Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that infect all organisms, from bacteria to humans. Their evolution represents a constant arms race with the host: Viruses need to reprogram […]

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Sick Bees – Part 3: The Bee Immune System

First published in: American Bee Journal October 2010

In my previous article, I proposed a model for the in-hive positive feedback loops that may lead to colony collapse. Before I can further explain the model, we must understand more precisely how the bee immune system functions, as it appears to be that the mechanisms leading to the disappearance of bees are rooted in […]

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Sick Bees – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal Aug 2010

Most any long-time beekeeper has noticed that bees are simply not as healthy as they used to be, and that we have been plagued with a spate of unusual colony collapses in recent years. As luck would have it, I’ve been an intimate witness to the experimentally-induced collapse of colonies in a field trial this […]

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal May 2010

In the first part of this article, I explained how the allotment of the hive labor pool was largely controlled through communication via the process of sharing protein-rich jelly via trophallaxis, plus non-feeding interchange of low volatility “primer” pheromones. I now continue with a summary of our current state of knowledge of the complex process […]

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 3

First published in: American Bee Journal June 2010

I left you last month in the middle of explaining the current model for colony workforce allocation, and the influence of various primer pheromones. Please allow me to pick up where I left off. (Having trouble hitting the keys with my cold fingers—I’ve just pulled off my wet coveralls, and am trying to revitalize myself […]

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The Primer Pheromones, Part 4 – Reproduction and Survival

First published in: American Bee Journal July 2010

Queen Pheromone(s) We humans hear the term “queen” and immediately project all the royal attributes of leadership and omnipotence upon the mother of the colony. But is this really the case? Does the queen bee really “rule” the colony, with the sterile workers acting as subordinate subjects? The feeling that I get is that bee […]

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Miticides 2011

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2011

Colony health and production these days is largely a function of varroa levels in the hives—the more mites, the more problems. It is no longer a matter of simply knocking the mites back once a year with a “silver bullet”—it is becoming increasingly clear that mite levels must be kept low all season. Here is […]

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