Honeybees – Probiotics for Bees

Honeybees Probiotics?Ambience: BeesJust as the bacteria in our digestive tracts help keep us healthy, so the do the bacteria who live inside of honeybees. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Williams: A healthy honeybee is going to be able to withstand fungal attack from bad fungi, bacterial attack from bad bacteria. A healthy honeybee, a honey microbiota inside of the honeybee, can only really be a good thing. Mark Williams is an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture at Virginia Tech. He and his team have been studying the effects of pesticides on honeybees and the bacteria they carry. Williams: It’s very difficult to produce a bacteriacide or a fungicide that doesn’t have effects on other microorganisms. In that case, at least in the near future, the fewer pesticides that have effects on fungi, bacteria, the less side effects you would likely have on the microbiome of your honeybees. On our study, a compound known as chlorothalonil, which is actually typically utilized outside of the hive, was the one to show the largest effects on the microbiome of the honeybee. Some other pesticides, we did not see significant differences. Not all pesticides have we shown have an effect.Couldn’t we just feed bees bacteria that would help them?Williams: As far as whether or not we can help a beehive by, say, managing their bacteria communities, we simply just don’t know that. That is certainly something that we would like to be able to do, be able to say, “Hey, we have a certain set of bacteria that if honeybees have these bacteria or fungi, that they’re going to be healthier.” We just don’t have enough research to show that we know what that mix is. Which bacteria, and under which circumstances certain bacteria might be better than others. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Honeybees - Probiotics for Bees

It's difficult to produce a pesticide that doesn't have effects on beneficial microorganisms.
Air Date:04/06/2017
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Transcript:

Honeybees Probiotics?Ambience: BeesJust as the bacteria in our digestive tracts help keep us healthy, so the do the bacteria who live inside of honeybees. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Williams: A healthy honeybee is going to be able to withstand fungal attack from bad fungi, bacterial attack from bad bacteria. A healthy honeybee, a honey microbiota inside of the honeybee, can only really be a good thing. Mark Williams is an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture at Virginia Tech. He and his team have been studying the effects of pesticides on honeybees and the bacteria they carry. Williams: It's very difficult to produce a bacteriacide or a fungicide that doesn't have effects on other microorganisms. In that case, at least in the near future, the fewer pesticides that have effects on fungi, bacteria, the less side effects you would likely have on the microbiome of your honeybees. On our study, a compound known as chlorothalonil, which is actually typically utilized outside of the hive, was the one to show the largest effects on the microbiome of the honeybee. Some other pesticides, we did not see significant differences. Not all pesticides have we shown have an effect.Couldn't we just feed bees bacteria that would help them?Williams: As far as whether or not we can help a beehive by, say, managing their bacteria communities, we simply just don't know that. That is certainly something that we would like to be able to do, be able to say, "Hey, we have a certain set of bacteria that if honeybees have these bacteria or fungi, that they're going to be healthier." We just don't have enough research to show that we know what that mix is. Which bacteria, and under which circumstances certain bacteria might be better than others. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.