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bees and other insects in the peonies

Could beer be the key to saving the bees? Find out here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 10:46 AM -

Turns out beer could be the answer to saving the quickly-disappearing bee population, or at least one of the key ingredients is: hops.

A U.S. study found that when a solution of 1 per cent hops beta acid was used to wipe bees, 100 per cent of mites placed on the insect died while the bees remained unaffected. Even just adding a strip of cardboard dipped in the solution to a bee colony showed a positive effect.

Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of hops beta acids around honeycombs.

Beekeepers have long been using alternatives to try to help the bees fight the mite population.

A layer of sugar water can induce the bees to increase their "grooming" activities which in turn dislodges the mites.

Not just mites

Unfortunately, bees problems go beyond just mites.

In Canada, neonicotinoids have constantly been in the headlines because of the way pesticides allegedly affect the population. A new study out of Acadia University found that the chemical affects the bees by targeting the queen. According to the paper, queens that are exposed to neonicotinoids showed larger ovaries, stored fewer sperm and thus were able to produce less eggs.

“All of these things contribute to a colony that probably is either not going to survive, or they’re going to have to toss the queen,” Dave Shutler told the Chronicle Herald. “If the workers detect that a queen is not living up to her expectations, they will toss her and then start rearing new queens.”

Source: Chronicle Herald | National Institute of Health | The Hill

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