Recent research potentially debunks well-established concept
From Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, [University of] Illinois News Bureau:
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, p-coumaric acid, 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).
Beebread and honey contain p-coumaric acid, but royal jelly does not. Queens feed exclusively on royal jelly. Worker bees known as nurses feed the larvae according to the needs of the hive.
Experiments revealed that ingesting p-coumaric acid pushes the honey bee larvae down a different developmental pathway from those fed only royal jelly. Some genes, about a third of the honey bee genome, are upregulated and another third are downregulated, changing the landscape of proteins available to help fight disease or develop the bees’ reproductive parts.
“Consuming the phytochemical p-coumaric 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.”
“While previous molecular studies have provided simple snapshots of the gene transcript variations that are associated with the exposure of insects to natural and synthetic chemicals, the genomics approaches used in this study offer a significantly more complex perspective on the biochemical and physiological processes occurring in plant-insect interactions,” Schuler said.
The USDA Agricultural and Food Research Initiative supported this research.
Welcome Back Merrimack Valley Beekeepers to our 2015 Fall meetings which starts this coming Saturday September 5th at 7:30PM in the Hudson Recreation Center at 2 Oakwood St, Hudson, NH. Check our Web Page MVBee.org for directions if you need them. If you like cookies and coffee, and want to talk bees even more so, or catch up with old friends, join us for a Social Time starting at 6:30PM, same place. We tend to cluster together and there is a Natural Bee Buzz always in progress. If John gets excited about a topic, he can be seen doing a Waggle Dance.....
Stump the Bee Chumps at the September Meeting
We will have another in depth question and answer session for our bee meeting in September. Our distinguished panel of in house experts this time will be John Hamblet, Allen Lindahl, Kenny Kuhn, and Marty London. We will again open the floor to bee questions and bee related problems that you are having and would like insight upon to solve. Dead Outs, Wax Moths, Varroa Treatments, Extraction Methods, Ideas on what to do with all your honey, are all great questions and please think of more.
Heifer International - October Meeting
The local representative of Heifer International, Katherine Lane, will be at our October 3rd meeting to discuss the organization. She will cover the areas that Heifer helps in Distressed Areas of the world, and specifically bee related aids.
November Meeting - Topic to be announced...
I hope to have a resident expert discuss preparations for over wintering your bees and what is newly been learned with the latest research in beekeeping.
December Christmas Party
At our September meeting, we need to discuss plans for the Christmas party and what to do this year. Caroline Marshall and the Sunshine Committee have done a great job in years past organizing and excellent Christmas party at Alvirne High School in Hudson NH. We greatly appreciate her work in putting this on every year
Don't forget! The annual Fall meeting of the NH Beekeepers Association will take place on Saturday, October 24 from 9a-3p at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center (329 Camp Merrimac Road, Contoocook, NH). This year's event will be hosted by the Kearsarge Beekeepers Association. Bill Mares will be leading the charge to be followed by the highly-anticipated honey tasting and judging contest.
Tickets are $20 with a meal ($10 without a meal). You must be an active (2015) NHBA member to join; but you are already one, right?
Thanks to Tom Mikulis, MVBA members can now have any apparel they want to be embroidered with the official MVBA logo! You can either buy clothing through the local company, Embroid-Me of Bedford, or can bring your own stuff in.