Science Talks Webinar Series - Keeping hives alive: Behavioural defence of honey bees against disease

January 28, 2022 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

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The health problems of honey bees and other pollinators are an important ecological and economical issue. Sustainable solutions for improving honey bee health are difficult to identify, but a potential product has resulted from basic studies of the complex social behaviour of honey bees. More generally, the alien world of honey bees inside their hives is characterised by cooperation, communication, and division of labour, principles that are central for the functioning of most social systems, including our own. 

In addition to producing honey, wax, and other hive products, honey bees are key pollinators in natural and agricultural ecosystems. However, beekeepers experience high annual colony losses, caused by a general decline in honey bee health that can be attributed to a number of stressors, including pathogens, parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition, and climate change. Honey bees have evolved defence mechanisms which need to be understood and augmented to sustainably improve honey bee health.

Join honey bee expert and professor Olav Rueppell in the Department of Biological Sciences, for the next installment of the Science Talks Webinar Series as he discusses the behavioural defences and social immunity of honey bees. Learn about hygienic behaviour and the discovery of brood signals, which could be used for breeding healthier bees.

Talk is suitable for general audiences, targeted at age 14+.


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