Bees face a slow and agonizing death due to the parasite Veroa Destructor. They spot and attack the intruders, shake their bodies to ward off hornets, and make a shield from dung to repel predators. Bees even use a type of alarm call to signal danger, and new breeds are being developed with resistance to mites. Despite facing challenges, bees are fighting back with their own unique tricks and strategies.
The Fate of Infected Bees and the Trouble With Parasites 🦠
Lurking in a bee colony, red-brown parasites cause a deadly fate for the infected bees. The parasite makes it difficult for the remaining bees to carry pollen, causing a decline in the population and eventually the complete wipeout of the hive. The veroa destructor is a major parasite affecting honeybees globally, slowly munching on larvae while passing around a batch of these parasites.
In recent years, bees in the UK have been increasingly affected by a viral disease that results in whole colonies perishing before finally reaching a point where they can no longer care for themselves. This disease is caused by The Chronic Paralysis Virus and spreads rapidly within a week.
The Strange Case of Zombie Bees and the Impulse for Procreation 🧟♀️
Besides the veroa destructor, bees also face the problem of being infected by phoridae flies that lay eggs inside their bodies. These parasitic larvae munch on the bees' brains, causing them to wander aimlessly, or sometimes even head towards the light, a particularly bizarre scenario.
The Altruistic Behavior of Bees? 🐝
When a hive is infested with parasitic mites, older worker bees move more toward the periphery while the younger ones gather in the center, increasing the distance between the two groups. Bees show a change in their grooming ritual and social habits in order to prevent the spread of infections within the hive, ultimately demonstrating a protective mechanism against parasites.
How Parasites Affect the Fate of Drones 🤔
As winter approaches, bees drag out their drones, which are no longer needed as they can only mate with queens while the weather is warm. The drones are less useful and consume precious resources, hence are banished from the hive, demonstrating a rational approach to surviving the winter months.
The Ingenious Defense Mechanisms of Bees Against Predators 🐝
Bees have developed an array of defense mechanisms against predators like giant hornets. This includes forming a shield around the hive through a technique called shimmering, using animal dung as a repellent, and even forming a ball around the hornet to increase the concentration of CO2 and heat, ultimately sacrificing individual bees when defending the colony.
Bees Fighting Back 🤺
A new breed of honeybees has been developed with the ability to fend off parasitic mites, offering hope in the fight against shrinking bee populations. Moreover, the first vaccine for honeybees has been approved for use to combat the American foul brood, a deadly infectious disease that affects bee colonies.
The future looks promising for bees as research continues to develop methods to help them overcome the challenges posed by parasites and infectious diseases. With a little help, the hardworking bees can continue to thrive and contribute to the ecosystem. 🏞️