Carry this bag to show your support!
As part of their Good Business Journey, Woolworths is proud to support honey bee research. Through partnerships with their customers and organisations like WWF, Woolworths is increasing awareness of the environmental issues around honey bees, while actively supporting BEE FRIENDLY – BEE AWARE initiatives and honey bee research. Through the sale of each bag, Woolworths donates R10 to honey bee research.
WHAT HONEY BEE RESEARCH PROJECT WILL THIS BAG FUND?
The effects of everyday stresses on the gut bacteria and immune system of the honey bee.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) play vital roles in the global agricultural sector, economy, and in the protection of natural vegetation through the pollination services that they provide. Animal pollinators, such as honey bees, are estimated to increase global food supply by up to 35%. Honey bees pollinate a large variety of crops and are, therefore, essential in protecting countries against micronutrient deficiencies. With an increasing human population, honey bee pollination services are under pressure to perform. Significant concerns about the recent population declines have spurred largescale research efforts in order to understand this buzzing insect.
The phenomenon of large-scale colony losses is exceedingly complex, with a multitude of factors, namely; poor nutrition, mite pests, microsporidian and brood pathogens, management schemes, chemical toxification by pesticides and other agricultural applicants, habitat degradation, and low genetic diversity, all acting as contributing factors. Understanding the effect of these stresses are vital in protecting the honey bee population from further declines. The microbial community associated with the gut of honey bees has been suggested to act as a defence mechanism against the everyday stresses placed upon honey bees. This research aims to test the effect of everyday stresses on the protective honey bee gut microbial community and the honey bee immune system. We hope to try and understand the level of stress honey bees are under and the effects of those everyday stresses.
WHAT ARE WE TESTING?
THREE STRESSES WILL BE TESTED IN THIS STUDY:
(1) NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY,
The honey bees will only be allowed to pollinate a monoculture crop (Canola),
Therefore, limiting their nutrient availability.
(2) PATHOGENIC INFECTION
The honey bees will be infected with American Foulbrood Disease.
Therefore, testing their health under a common stress factor.
(3) AGRICULTURAL CHEMICAL EXPOSURE
The honey bees will be exposed to a cocktail of agricultural chemicals that they
would naturally be exposed to.
Therefore, testing common daily stress.
Due to the growing human population, added stress has been placed upon honey bees to provide more intense and more frequent pollination services. This research aims to investigate the effect of these everyday stresses on the immune system of honey bees. Current literature motivates that the bacteria associated with the gut of honey bees protect honey bees against pathogens and other infections, therefore, acting as an additional immune system. It is, thus, why we want to test the effect of these everyday stresses on the bacterial community that resides within the gut of the honey bee as well. Although research on the two separate parts partially exist, this research hopes to pull these two research streams together and put them into context, thus, helping us understand a true day in the life of a honey bee.
Who are the principle people involved in the Honey bee research project?
Kayla Lawson – MSc (Microbiology) student Stellenbosch University
Michael Allsopp – Head of Honeybee Research Section Agricultural Research Council
Karin Jacobs – Professor of Microbiology Stellenbosch University
HOW TO OFFER FURTHER SUPPORT?
Purchasing one of the bee friendly bags, already shows your support of this project.
Spread the message – help create awareness about the plight of the honey bee locally and globally
BEE FRIENDLY and BEE AWARE
MEDIA & OTHER LINKS
Instagram account: bee_friendly_bee_aware
For more info on the Bags4good project, go to: