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Breeding Honey Bees Tailored for Regionalized Vegetation and Synthetic Diets | Bee & Beekeeping Information


ARS Information Service
Kim Kaplan

October 1, 2021, Baton Rouge, La.– Honey bees could possibly be deliberately bred to thrive on crops which can be already domestically current and even solely on synthetic diets, in line with a latest U.S. Division of Agriculture Agricultural Analysis Service (ARS) examine.

As a honey bee, Apis mellifera, feeds on a zinnia flower, the nectar is saved in a honey sac, which is separate from its digestive abdomen, till she returns to the hive. When it’s full, the honey sac weighs about one third the load of the whole bee. After she delivers the nectar to an in-hive employee bee, the lengthy means of changing it into honey, the bees’ meals, begins. d4115-1, Beltsville, MD

ARS researchers discovered particular person bees reply otherwise to the identical food plan and that there’s a sturdy genetic element concerned in how they reply to diet. This factors on to the idea that managed bees may be deliberately bred to do higher on completely different diets, whether or not you might be speaking about a synthetic food plan or a food plan primarily based on particular crops already rising in an space, defined lead researcher Vincent A. Ricigliano. He’s with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Analysis Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“City growth, trendy agricultural programs and environmental alterations attributable to local weather change, invasive crops, and even native landscaping preferences have all had a hand in regionalizing crops that dominate accessible pollen. It might doubtlessly be extra helpful to tailor honey bees to do higher on what’s already accessible as an alternative of working onerous to suit the surroundings to the bees,” Ricigliano stated.

The general intention could be breeding to enhance nutrient use by managed honey bees, like we’ve got finished for poultry and cattle breeding applications, Ricigliano defined.

“Now that we all know there’s room for genetic adaptation to food plan, we might additionally have a look at breeding honey bees with improved nutrient effectivity or figuring out genotype biomarkers that reply to numerous dietary supplements to advertise honey bee well being,” he added.

In most business apiaries, honey bees don’t have the chance to naturally breed to adapt to native circumstances as a result of business beekeepers usually substitute the queen in every colony yearly. The queen in a colony is the one bee that lays eggs to provide the subsequent era.

Beekeepers normally buy new queens already inseminated from a handful of queen breeders in america. Because of this, honey bees throughout the nation usually have the identical vary of genes for dietary responses with none specialised adaptation.

Honey bees have already been efficiently bred for a only a few chosen traits, amongst them Varroa mite resistance. Varroa mites are among the many single largest downside afflicting honey bees in america right now.

“It was a bit of shocking to seek out once we began this examine that, regardless of a large physique of analysis pertaining to honey bee diet, comparatively little is thought concerning the results of genetic variation on dietary response,” Ricigliano stated.

His subsequent step is to refine data about what genes management which nutrient and metabolic pathways and the place the best quantity of genetic variation exists in order that breeding plans may be particular and scientifically guided.

The Agricultural Analysis Service is the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house analysis company. Each day, ARS focuses on options to agricultural issues affecting America. Every greenback invested in agricultural analysis ends in $17 of financial affect.

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