about the episode
There are two things we know very well now: bees are very important and bee populations are doing very poorly.
Scientists are trying to do something about this in a variety of ways. For example, by showing them how incredibly smart they are – for example, they can do math, no kidding. Or by studying exactly how they find their food and pass it on to each other, so we can ensure their continued success. But new varieties are also being bred that are better against specific parasites, for example.
The first bee pollen has now been approved in the United States. One must fight off a bacterial infection that makes the larvae sick and thus weakens the colonies. As a beekeeper, do nothing against it: the disease – American fungus disease – is highly contagious and there is no cure for it. The only thing you can do if you have multiple cells is to wipe out the infected colony and give the rest of the cells antibiotics. Far from ideal.
Now there is a vaccine that should change that. Of course, this does not mean that doctors should go to the hives to give injections. An inactivated version of the bacteria is placed in the material that is fed to it by the queen of the colony. The makers of the vaccine say that the larvae you make are then immune.
Hopefully it will contribute to healthier colonies, but even so it is of course still one of the solutions for animal species that have to deal with many problems.
Or about breeding new varieties: Healthy honey bees are bred to combat parasites.
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