Car sickness? How transportation harms honey bees, and what we can do about it

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Bees have received a lot of attention recently, and for good reason. They face challenges from parasites and pathogens while demand for pollination services increases annually. The practice of transporting hives is monitored by state and federal agencies who release annual reports regarding the health, winter survival, and inventory of the nation’s honey bees. While some research focuses on transporting hives….very little work has been done specifically investigating the effects of the road trip on colony stress and survival.

A colony may see the sun set in North Dakota and rise in California. In the intervening time, bees are confined in their hives, loaded onto trucks, and transported long distances at highway speeds….Hives meant for pollination are often staged in bee yards until they are needed and are moved again.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Neonicotinoid use on field crops should be reined in

In research published this week in Environmental Entomology….[researchers] investigated transportation stress while bee hives are in transit to identify sources of stress that may affect survival and pollination ability….[The study found] that genes associated with chill stress, immune function, defense response, and methylation increased after the hives were relocated….

Read full, original article: Road Trip: How Hive Transportation Puts Stress on Honey Bees

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