Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday January 18 2018, @04:01PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the hope-for-honey dept.

As some one who is very interested in the subject of honey bees, and several decades ago had a bee hive, I've been very concerned about colony collapse disorder. Today I came across this article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-19137-5

Excerpt from the Nature abstract:
"Recent reports of the weakening and periodical high losses of managed honey bee colonies have alarmed beekeeper, farmers and scientists. Infestations with the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in combination with its associated viruses have been identified as a crucial driver of these health problems. Although yearly treatments are required to prevent collapses of honey bee colonies, the number of effective acaricides is small and no new active compounds have been registered in the past 25 years. RNAi-based methods were proposed recently as a promising new tool. However, the application of these methods according to published protocols has led to a surprising discovery. Here, we show that the lithium chloride that was used to precipitate RNA and other lithium compounds is highly effective at killing Varroa mites when fed to host bees at low millimolar concentrations."

I am in no way, shape or form a biologist, but as I read through the article there was mention of gene targeting and so started to get way out of my knowledge area..which is electronics...and quickly lost me.

Is there any truth to this path or is it another way for insecticide makers to push their wares?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Glyphosate May Contribute to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 29 comments

Study: Roundup Weed Killer Could Be Linked To Widespread Bee Deaths

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

A new study [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803880115] [DX] by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin posit that glyphosate — the active ingredient in the herbicide — destroys specialized gut bacteria in bees, leaving them more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Researchers Nancy Moran, Erick Motta and Kasie Raymann suggest their findings are evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has been wreaking havoc on honey bees and native bees for more than a decade.

Also at Science Magazine.

Related:


Original Submission

European Regulator Finds That Neonicotinoid Pesticides Threaten Bees 18 comments

European agency concludes controversial 'neonic' pesticides threaten bees

Controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids pose a danger to wild bees and managed honey bees, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, said in a report released today. Bayer, a maker of so-called neonics, disputed EFSA's findings. But the report is likely to give a boost to those pushing for tighter European regulation of the chemicals.

"This report certainly strengthens the case for further restrictions on neonicotinoid use," entomologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., said in a statement. The European Commission last year proposed—but has not yet adopted—extending a partial ban on neonics to all field crops.

Related: Landmark Study: Honeybee Queens Severely Affected by Neonicotinoid Pesticides
Neonicotinoid Can Cause Brain Damage in Bats; Bumblebee Species Added to Endangered List
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
Lithium Chloride May Help in Fixing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 2) by black6host on Thursday January 18 2018, @04:36PM (4 children)

    by black6host (3827) on Thursday January 18 2018, @04:36PM (#624194) Journal

    I'd say both are possible. However, the realist in me believes that profits mean more. I mean, c'mon, what's the point of saving one of our most prolific pollinators that helps to keep us from starving if there's no money in it?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:05PM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:05PM (#624214)

      They've worked out a way to make the bees addicted to it, but it's hard to setup the infrastructure to automatically cash honey payments.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:23PM (#624226)

        Just setup a beeline of credit.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:17PM (#624348)

        uhh, blockchain? from their website: honeycoin: a digital asset pegged to the market value of honey, measured as one "snoot of honey". It goes on to describe the honeycoin api and app hosting platform.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @07:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @07:10PM (#624302)

      Being they started out to test dsRNA which showed effectiveness, then tried to rule out the LiCl.

      I doubt they would make much selling this, but who knows.
      Kind of like the oil of Wintergreen, drug companies really don't make much profit on it from apiculture.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by sbgen on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:25PM (4 children)

    by sbgen (1302) on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:25PM (#624228)

    This is a preliminary study and authors do explicitly mention that field studies are necessary. However, it is an encouraging development in the field of apiary. The gene targeting study they initiated was based on a previous report supporting it. However, in this paper authors apparently observed that their "control" without the gene targeting RNAi gave same result as the test material. Luckily they noticed and tested Lithium salt/s for their effect on mites. Turns out LiCl was the reasons mites were dying, that the amount needed to achieve desired goal was not harmful to bees and feeding bees with the compound was not that hard. Another important aspect is that LiCl and Lithium-citrate salts they found to be effective are not expensive either.. They are water soluble so you dont need complex formulations either.

    If I could, I would explain it in terms of electronics but you get the idea.

    I did skim over the article. This is a good example of how science moves by careful observation and builds upon previous knowledge.

    --
    Warning: Not a computer expert, but got to use it. Yes, my kind does exist.
    • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:19PM (2 children)

      by Zinho (759) on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:19PM (#624262)

      D'oh, ninja'ed! Good summary, easier to read than mine (and shorter).

      I found it interesting that they went to the trouble of removing the Lithium salt from the gene therapy, determined that gene therapy did have an effect (60% mite mortality over 60 days), and decided to stop researching it because the lithium was so much more effective :)

      If there is an award for following in Alexander Fleming's footsteps [britannica.com] these guys certainly deserve one.

       
      As an aside, when did colony collapse disorder start being blamed on mite infestations rather than pesticides?

      --
      "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:34PM

        by HiThere (866) on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:34PM (#624276) Journal

        What I've always derived from what I read is that it was due to a confluence of factors. One is that sub-critical levels of pesticides still left the bees and the colonies weaker that they were previously, so they were more subject to other insults, including various infections and temperature changes. The mites would count as a part of "various infections" this article seems to be asserting that they (and the viruses they carry) are the most significant one.

        It's also true, however, the the neonicotinoid pesticides seem to be strongly implicated.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:21PM (#624351)

        this has always been the argument of the pesticide makers. never mind that they poison the whole food chain and kill everything. what are you gonna do? *not* steal from social security and pay people who live too long?

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday January 18 2018, @10:49PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 18 2018, @10:49PM (#624454) Journal

      Infestations with the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in combination with its associated viruses have been identified as a crucial driver of these health problems.

      Wait, so the neonicotinoids [motherjones.com] are off the suspect list, and all those studies [sciencealert.com] were wrong as well as the scoffed at Cellular phone signals [inhabitat.com].

      It was the lousy mites all along?

      We need to find a lessor flea [wikiquote.org] to go after the mites.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:28PM (2 children)

    by linkdude64 (5482) on Thursday January 18 2018, @05:28PM (#624232)

    Poor bay-bees..I really hope this isn't just poisoning them with something worse than mites long-term.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19 2018, @10:18AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19 2018, @10:18AM (#624637)

      Wonder what would happen if they tried this an killer bees? Mellow bees?

      • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Friday January 19 2018, @11:51PM

        by t-3 (4907) on Friday January 19 2018, @11:51PM (#624983) Journal

        Killer bees don't have mite problems, they have strong grooming instincts, unlike slobbish inbred European bees.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Zinho on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:10PM (2 children)

    by Zinho (759) on Thursday January 18 2018, @06:10PM (#624254)

    So, here's my read of what the article means:

    * the researchers had a really sweet theory for doing gene-targeted insecticide that would just kill the mites [1]
    * They set up a test with two separate controls, one with no active gene therapy, and another with a harmless gene therapy
    * Harmless gene therapy and targeted gene therapy both had the same outcome - something was killing the mites, and it probably wasn't the genes
    * The researchers narrowed down the possible culprits to one of the chemicals used to prepare the gene therapy, Lithium Chloride (LiCl)
    * The rest of the article is all about the effectiveness of LiCl as an anti-mite treatment:
      - they found the effective dose (2 miliMoles concentration)
      - they determined that LiCl was not immediately toxic to the bees at the concentrations used
      - they tried other Lithium salts, and found that Lithium Citrate was more effective, less expensive, and equally non-toxic compared to LiCl [2]
      - they found that full hives do not respond identically to small groups kept in laboratory cages; the delivery system needs some work
    * No knowledge of gene therapy is needed to understand this article's main point; you can ignore every mention of RNA and be fine

    TL; DR version: this discovery is sort-of accidental, they were totally trying to do something else entirely [1]. They got excited enough about the accidental discovery [2] that they dropped their efforts to be all clever with genes and published this instead :)

    [1] so, they're going to get the bees to eat RNA that codes for a protein that doesn't hurt bees, but does kill mites. The mites then bite the bees, drinking the mite-killer RNA, and the mites' bodies then start making the mite-killer protein. This totally works, killing about 60% of the mites over a period of 60 days. To verify this they had to repeat their experiment with all the LiCl washed out.

    [2] "In cage experiments all compounds eliminated 100% of the mites at 25 mM within three (lithium citrate and lithium acetate) to four days (lithium sulphate, lithium lactate and lithium carbonate). Also, the 4-mM test solutions, entirely killed phoretic mites within five (lithium citrate, lithium sulphate, and lithium acetate) to seven days (lithium lactate)" 100% over four days is WAY more exciting than the gene therapy method.

    --
    "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Thursday January 18 2018, @10:58PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 18 2018, @10:58PM (#624456) Journal

      this discovery is sort-of accidental

      As is a lot of science. The brilliance is the open mindedness to pursue this experiment wreaking contaminant in deference to simply tossing the whole experiment aside as a failure.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by sbgen on Friday January 19 2018, @01:20AM

      by sbgen (1302) on Friday January 19 2018, @01:20AM (#624505)

      I wanted to compliment you on getting back to the article, slogging through and writing a good and informative summary. Good to be around nerds :-)

      I upmoded frojack's observation about your comment on this work being "accidental". The reason this "accident" happened because the authors actually put a lot of thought in planning the experiment. They considered all sorts of "controls" for the experiment, along with the RNAi technique. So they were prepared for the "accident". A lesson in research is that planning the tests, planning the controls and designing the experiments take as much importance as getting the data, analyzing it and interpreting results.

      This is also why they tested RNAi WITHOUT LiCl - to rule out they were not missing out on that front. BTW, 60% control took a long time as you note -> that may not be useful considering the short life cycle of bees. The ability of RNAi to control mites may not be of any consequence at all. The amounts of LiCl you noted are for the controlled experimental condition only. Actual field trial may need 50mM concentration - because the remedy has a small window of uptake by bees and there are lot of bees in hives. This is where Li-ctrate might be more useful as it has 2 Li atoms compared to one in LiCl.

      This is a good work, scientifically as well as application-wise. Also, when you can get things done by a simple means pay attention. KISS principle applies in apiary too.

      --
      Warning: Not a computer expert, but got to use it. Yes, my kind does exist.
  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:36PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:36PM (#624363)

    Beads?!

  • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:49PM (1 child)

    by t-3 (4907) on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:49PM (#624375) Journal

    You know what would work better? Stop keeping bees in enclosures that encourage mites. Start breeding bees that have good grooming habits. Instead, we have hives getting stressed from repeated opening and inspection, in enclosures that are too large to be heated by an average colony, fed on sugar water, and filled with varieties that are so busy making honey that they don't clean themselves or the hive. Insecticides and flowerless monocultures covering millions of acres are the cherry on top.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by frojack on Thursday January 18 2018, @11:03PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 18 2018, @11:03PM (#624457) Journal

      You know what would work better?

      Something other than a rant perhaps?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:53PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday January 18 2018, @08:53PM (#624378) Journal

    Fill my hives
    O lithium sunset
    And take this lonesome burden
    Of killing off the mites

    Take this queen break
    Of destructor darkness
    And fold my darkness
    Into your honeyed light

    Hive's been scattered hive's been shattered
    Hive been knocked out of the race
    But hive'll get better
    I feel your light upon my face

    Heal bee's soul
    O lithium sunset
    And it'll ride the turning world
    Into another night

    --
    Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(1)