For honey bees, queen health is synonymous with colony health. Failing queens are a common reason cited for colony losses. New research, funded in part by PAm, describes conditions when queens might be vulnerable to heat stress, which could damage fertility.
Honey bees are usually able to maintain a micro-climate optimized for queen vitality but this is not always the case. The research conducted at the University of British Columbia and North Carolina State University focused on two special circumstances: When new queens are packed and shipped , and when the whole colony is placed in very hot climate conditions.
They were able to identify marker proteins that signal at what extremes the heat stress occurs. Using those signs, this research could help develop shipping and other management guidelines to help protect queen health.
This project is on-going, with plans to look at the opposite effect of cold stress.
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