Honeybees ‘entomb’ hives to protect against pesticides, say scientists

'Entombed' pollen is identified as having sunken, wax-covered cells amid 'normal', uncapped cells. Photograph: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology

By Fiona Harvey
Guardian UK

By sealing up cells full of contaminated pollen, bees appear to be attempting to protect the rest of the hive

Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.

Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon – bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees.

“This is a novel finding, and very striking. The implication is that the bees are sensing [pesticides] and actually sealing it off. They are recognising that something is wrong with the pollen and encapsulating it,” said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. “Bees would not normally seal off pollen.”

But the bees’ last-ditch efforts to save themselves appear to be unsuccessful – the entombing behaviour is found in many hives that subsequently die off, according to Pettis. “The presence of entombing is the biggest single predictor of colony loss. It’s a defence mechanism that has failed.” These colonies were likely to already be in trouble, and their death could be attributed to a mix of factors in addition to pesticides, he added.

Read full post at Guardian UK

4 responses to “Honeybees ‘entomb’ hives to protect against pesticides, say scientists

  1. The greedy corporations are slowly destroying the planet!

  2. I could not access this this article earlier today, because a message said WordPress Food Freedom was closed down. I assumed the mendacious regime shuttered it to smother our promotion to legislate ‘food sovereignty’, aka Sedgwick, ME. Maybe I behaved like Chicken Little when I warned the of the possibility the gov had wiped this information from the web. Several hours later, the message opened. At the very least, the Fabians may have shot a across our bow or ‘nudged’ us to warn that the next volley will sink our ship.
    If we believe the character of a nation is reflected by its treatment of its veterans, what will God’s reflection be of us if we destroy the small creatures that sustain and enrich our lives? Bees are more sentient than the so-called sapient beings who rule this world.
    awl

    • A WordPress administrator advised the shut down was in error, and apologized.

      love the bees… about to post my review of Queen of the Sun.

  3. Rady: I assume you are a member of the higher echelon of this site. Is this platform new, or have I been cluless? Are you sure WordPress was not ‘nudged’ as the Saudies leaned on glenn Beck? Please contact me at Acts11agabus@comcast.net
    awl

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