Honey May Hold the Sticky Solution to Bee Colony Collapse

Los Angeles Times   By Geoffrey Mohan   April 30, 2013

Honeybees that live off the same sweetener found in soft drinks could be more vulnerable to the microbial enemies and pesticides believed to be linked to catastrophic collapse of honeybee colonies worldwide, a new study suggests.

Researchers identified a compound found in the wall of plant pollen that appears to activate the genes that help metabolize toxins, including pesticides, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Although pollen winds up in the honey produced by Apis mellifera, these bees used to pollinate crops spend more time sipping on the same sugar substitute that is ubiquitous in processed foods – high-fructose corn syrup. The honey substitute is an important way for the industry, which contributes about $14 billion to the U.S. economy, to make ends meet.

In California, the $3-billion almond industry spends $239 million annually to rent more than 1 million bee hives, and that cost is escalating as the commercialized honeybee population succumbs to the colony collapse disorder.

“If you’re feeding them high-fructose corn syrup, then pathogens may be more dangerous and pesticides can be more toxic...

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[Note: Members of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association have been saying for years that you should not feed high-fructose corn syrup to bees.]