Evolutionary ecology could benefit beekeepers battling diseases

September 1, 2017

From: Science Daily

Some commercial beekeeping practices may harm honeybees more than help them

Source: Emory Health Sciences

A review paper draws on scientific studies to recommend ways to reduce honeybee disease impacts, such as limiting the mixing of bees between colonies and supporting natural bee behaviors that provide disease resistance

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“Western honeybees — the most important pollinators for U.S. food crops — are facing unprecedented declines, and diseases are a key driver,” says Berry Brosi, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University and a lead author of the review paper. “The way commercial operations are managing honeybees might actually generate more damaging parasites and pathogens by creating selection pressure for higher virulence.”

The paper draws on scientific studies to recommend ways to reduce disease impacts, such as limiting the mixing of bees between colonies and supporting natural bee behaviors that provide disease resistance. The paper also highlights honeybee management practices in need of more research.

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