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September 18, 2015
How Honey Bee Colonies Develop
A closer look at how honey bee colonies determine which larvae will serve as workers and which will become queens reveals that a plant chemical plays a key role in the bees’ developmental fate. The study, reported in the journal Science Advances, shows that broad developmental changes occur when honey bee larvae – those fated to be workers – are switched from eating royal jelly (a glandular secretion) to a diet of jelly that includes honey and beebread (a type of processed pollen).  “Consuming the acid, which is ubiquitous in beebread and honey, alters the expression of a whole suite of genes involved in caste determination,” said University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, who conducted the study with research scientist Wenfu Mao and cell and developmental biology professor Mary Schuler. “For years, people have wondered what components in royal jelly lead to queen development, but what might be more important is what isn’t in royal jelly – plant chemicals that can interfere with development.”
 
Economic Impact of Arts and Culture Organizations
 
Seven arts and culture organizations in McLean County, including the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Children’s Discovery Museum, McLean County Arts Center and McLean County Museum of History, combined, have an average direct economic impact of $6.2 million annually for the county. When considering indirect and induced effects, these organizations contribute, on average, an additional $2.3 million to the McLean County economy. The study of economic impact was conducted by Michelle Riechers, a student at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington-Normal and her advisor, Professor Diego Mendez-Carbajo.
 
In the late 1990s, the federal government devised a measure of "natural amenities," intended as "a measure of the physical characteristics of a county area that enhance the location as a place to live." The index combines "six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer." Those qualities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, include mild, sunny winters, temperate summers, low humidity, topographic variation, and access to a body of water.
 
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