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Research Project: Managing Honey Bees Against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Found in Translation: Resilience

item Evans, Jay

Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2021
Publication Date: 7/10/2021
Citation: Evans, J.D. 2021. Found in Translation: Resilience. Bee Culture. 7:32-33.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Honey bee colonies are fundamentally resilient compared to other insects in several ways. First, colonies can withstand losses of thousands of worker bees and still recover. As one extreme, they routinely cut themselves in half and both halves survive. Additionally, they can reconstitute their most vital reproductive organ, the queen, from a single egg she has left behind. Colonies also survive a wide range of temperatures and humidity’s, in part because they regulate both of these in their living quarters. Arguably, they tolerate a greater range of climate and temperature zones (from Maine to Miami and beyond) than all animals besides humans. Honey bee colonies also seem to make things work whether they are in a continual brood cycle, as are many commercially managed bees, or subject to short active seasons and long winters, as found toward the poles. While there is evidence for genetic bee lineages that do best in particular climates, the fact is that most honey bees will survive at any place in their worldwide range. Still, if honey bees are so resilient why is so much effort needed to keep them alive?