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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop New Approach to Protect Honey Bees

September 6, 2017

Honey bees are decreasing in number, according to the 11th Annual National Survey of Honey Bee Colonies conducted in the U.S. Thus, farmers and researchers are working together to devise techniques to protect the well-being of honey bees.

Experts think that the leading contributor to the honey bee losses is the Varroa mite, a parasite that attaches to the body of a honey bee or honey bee larva, weakening the bee's immune system and spreading viruses. Thus, scientists at Monsanto developed a product to stop the infestation and improve bee health and survival.

The product is fed to honey bees in a sugar syrup that can decrease or silence gene activity through RNA interference, which suppresses the mite's gene without harming the honey bees. This approach also aims to decrease the use of pesticides in honey bee colonies. The product is under field trial in beekeeping areas of North America.

Read the original news article from CropLife.