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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 vegetation which are already regionally 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 all the bee. After she delivers the nectar to an in-hive employee bee, the lengthy strategy of changing it into honey, the bees’ meals, begins. d4115-1, Beltsville, MD

ARS researchers discovered particular person bees reply in another way to the identical eating regimen and that there’s a robust genetic part concerned in how they reply to vitamin. This factors on to the idea that managed bees will be deliberately bred to do higher on totally different diets, whether or not you might be speaking about a man-made eating regimen or a eating regimen primarily based on particular vegetation 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 improvement, trendy agricultural methods and environmental alterations resulting from local weather change, invasive vegetation, and even native landscaping preferences have all had a hand in regionalizing vegetation that dominate accessible pollen. It might probably be extra useful to tailor honey bees to do higher on what’s already accessible as a substitute of working arduous to suit the surroundings to the bees,” Ricigliano mentioned.

The general goal can be breeding to enhance nutrient use by managed honey bees, like we now have finished for poultry and cattle breeding packages, Ricigliano defined.

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

In most industrial apiaries, honey bees don’t have the chance to naturally breed to adapt to native situations as a result of industrial beekeepers usually exchange the queen in every colony yearly. The queen in a colony is the one bee that lays eggs to provide the following technology.

Beekeepers often buy new queens already inseminated from a handful of queen breeders in america. Because of this, honey bees throughout the nation typically 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 as we speak.

“It was just a little shocking to search out once we began this examine that, regardless of a large physique of analysis pertaining to honey bee vitamin, comparatively little is understood concerning the results of genetic variation on dietary response,” Ricigliano mentioned.

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 will 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 leads to $17 of financial influence.



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