Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | updated 07:32 AM IST

Honeybees remain on work even when ill

Updated: Sep 13, 2016 08:49 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept. 13 (ANI): A recent research has found that Honeybees continue working for the greater good of their hives even when they are sick.

Radar technology has been used to show for the first time that bees remain nimble and able to search and respond to their environment even when they have infections or viruses.

Honeybees tirelessly commute between rewarding flower patches and their hive, often hundreds or even thousands of metres apart.

Their remarkable navigational skills rely on distinct landmarks, such as trees or houses, which they very efficiently find and memorise on orientation flights.

Experts fitted a transponder, a tiny dipole aerial much lighter than the nectar or pollen normally carried by the bee, to the thorax of the bee.

Tracking each bee individually they would pick up a radar signal form the transponder showing where and how it was flying.

Co-author of the research Juliet Osborne said, "We tracked the individual flying bees with a harmonic radar system.

This involves attaching a very lightweight aerial to their back but it doesn't affect how fast they fly, or how much nectar they collect.

It is still the only method for getting these really detailed data on where the bee flies."

Bees, like humans, can fall ill and getting around during periods of sickness can become very challenging.

However, this study shows that even very sick bees are still able to optimally search their surroundings in so-called Levy flight patterns.

Lead author Stephan Wolf said, "The honeybees we observed had remarkably robust searching abilities, which indicate this might be hardwired in the bees rather than learned, making bees strong enough to withstand pathogens and possibly other stressors, and allowing them to st ill contribute to their colony by for example, foraging for food."

Levy search patterns are a natural mathematical pattern found across the animal kingdom, including in early human hunter-gathers, and describe certain movements like stalking for prey or searching for mates.

The pattern alternates between clusters of short steps interjected with longer steps in between, which allows the individual to efficiently comb through large surface areas.

The team monitored six groups of bees who were affected with a virus and a fungus-like disease to varying degrees. The flight behaviour of 78 bees was observed.

The researchers discovered that the unhealthy bees didn't fly as far or for as long as the healthy bees but they continued to search in the same manner, suggesting that the pattern was inbuilt.

The work opens up new avenues to better understand and ultimately mitigate a number of adverse factors affecting the way animals interact with their environment, including ecological key species such as bee pollinators.

The study was published in the Scientific Reports journal. (ANI)

New clues found for nuclear waste cleanup

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 24 (ANI): According to a study, the research being done on the chemistry of technetium-99 has boosted the understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and can lead to better cleanup methods.

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Washington D.C. [US], Feb. 24 (ANI): US researchers have suggested that specially trained dogs can be used to find wide-ranging species that are often threatened, sepecially cheetah in a region of Western Zambia.

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Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

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Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

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New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

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New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

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Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

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How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

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