Nerium wrote:What about you, did you experiment with probiotics within the hive? I don't know much about this, but heard there was a fungus that is harming bee populations--can this be a potential way to protect them?
Well, this conversation I had with that beek took place a year or two ago. Here's a little background:
Bees are genetically 'programmed' to deal with toxins and disease primarily by what we might call 'hygienic behavior.' That is they don't have strongly developed, innate immune and endocrine systems that help them thwart pathogens and eliminate toxins from their bodies. So bees rely on learned behavior, keeping their hive clean, and interacting in incredible ways with natural resources to keep themselves healthy.
Knowing that bees gather pollen that is then intentionally fermented within the hive, I formulated a hypothesis that these fermenting bacteria were in fact aiding bees' health. I also proposed that pesticides may be disrupting this fermentative ecology, contributing to the rash of diseases that are suddenly plaguing bees.
As it turns out, only a few months after this conversation researchers in Scandanavia, working in conjunction with USDA ARS researchers identified several species of bacteria that were unique to honeybees' digestive systems. These bacteria in fact work symbiotically with the bees to provide immunological defense.
In other words, bees understand the health benefits of fermentation just like you and I.