Study shows bees adjust diet according to season

Researchers at Tufts University have discovered that honey bees alter their diet of nutrients according to the season, particularly as winter approaches. A spike in calcium consumption in the fall, and high intake of potassium, help prepare the bees for colder months when they likely need those minerals to generate warmth through rapid muscle contractions. A careful inventory of the bees’ nutrient intake revealed shifting sources (from flowers to mineral rich ‘dirty water’) and how limitations in nutrient availability from these sources can have implications for the health of both managed and wild colonies.

The study, which is available in the May print edition of the Journal of Insect Physiology, examined mineral content gathered by and contained in adult bees and in their sources of food, exploring how they maintain the right nutritional balance of micronutrients. For most of the minerals tracked, it was found that the bees sought alternate sources to complement variation in the floral supply. Continue reading

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

From the New York Times

According to a story in the New York Times last week, bee deaths in 2012 surpassed those that have been seen previously with respect to Colony Collapse Disorder. A recent concern that neonicotinoids are the main culprit has pitted beekeepers, researchers, chemical companies and some growers in a heated debate.  Part of the article can be found below. Click on the link above to read the entire article.

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