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[SANET-MG] reply to Frank Schultz on honey bee decline
I appreciated your comments as it made me look into hybrid honey bees.
As you may be aware several hybrids are used in bee breeding, these
include the Russian, African and other bees. The Russian bees were used
to enhance mite resistance. However, the CCD problem seems not to be a
mite problem but rather something caused by fungal parasites or viruses
in combination, perhaps, with neonicotinoid and other pesticides. I have
been concerned that the authorities are ignoring or even suppressing
information on the effect of pesticides on the honey bee immune system.
There is plenty of information showing that the pesticides stress the
honey bee immune system and enhance infection with fungal parasites and
probably viruses as well.
I am including a paper on another factor that has not really entered the
discussion previously. That factor is that honey bee workers, like
people, experience age related decline in immunity. Young guys work in
the nursery but as they age they loose immunity and are sent out to
forage. The foraging workers have elderly immune systems that are
defective. If for some reason brood workers are short handed the elderly
foraging bees are recruited and in that environment may regenrate their
immune system. Pesticides and GM crops may tip the balance toward
infection by fungal parasites and viruses.
Thanks again for the interesting point that you raised. sincerely, joe
Volume 40, Issue 12, December 2005, Pages 939-947
Social reversal of immunosenescence in honey bee workers
Gro V. Amdama, b, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The
Corresponding Author, Anne Lene T.O. Aaseb, Siri-Christine Seehuusb, M.
Kim Fondrka, Kari Norbergb and Klaus Hartfelderc
A striking example of immunosenescence is seen in the honey bee (Apis
mellifera) worker caste. The bees' age-associated transition from hive
duties to more risky foraging activities is linked to a dramatic decline
in immunity. Explicitly, it has been shown that an increase in the
juvenile hormone (JH) level, which accompanies onset of foraging
behavior, induces extensive hemocyte death through nuclear pycnosis.
Here, we demonstrate that foragers that are forced to revert to
hive-tasks show reversal of immunosenescence, i.e. a recovery of
immunity with age. This recovery, which is triggered by a social
manipulation, is accompanied by a drop in the endogenous JH titer and an
increase in the hemolymph vitellogenin level. Vitellogenin is a zinc
binding glycolipoprotein that has been implicated in the regulation of
honey bee immune integrity. We also establish that worker
immunosenescence is mediated by apoptosis, corroborating that reversal
of immunosenescence emerges through proliferation of new cells. The
results presented here, consequently, reveal a unique flexibility in
honey bee immunity—a regulatory plasticity that may be of general
Frank A. Schultz, III wrote:
Dear Dr. Cummins -
This MAY be the article I had in mind - if you've seen this then I hope
that my few comments have not caused too much of a distraction to you:
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