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Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Detects Honey Bee Queen Insemination
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The widespread honey bee colony mortality known as Colony Collapse Disorder may be related to queen fertility and pathogens.  A rapid, non-invasive method for assessing bee fertility and health would be useful in studies of affected bee colonies.  Investigators examined the application of near-infrared spectroscopy to determining queen fertility and the presence of pathogens.  The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy.

Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100 percent accuracy.  Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the brood nest of a hive had reflectance spectra that differed from those of flying workers taken from the hive entrance.  These spectra could be used with about 85 percent accuracy to predict whether bees were from the brood nest or were flying bees.  However, researchers were not able to determine the severity of Nosema apis infection in worker ventriculi.  This technology can be useful to rapidly and non-destructively determine the honey bee characteristics as scientists attempt to understand the Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon. 

For more information contact:
Dr. Floyd Dowell at

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