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Showing posts from September, 2015

Sick bees self medicate say researchers

Sick bees in the wild seek out plants with medicinal substances say researchers in a Dartmouth-led study.

Infected with a common intestinal parasite, wild bumble bees native to North America sought out plants with a group of metabolites called iridoid glycosides. In addition to deterring deer from eating plants that contain these substances, iridoid glycosides appear to reduce the number of parasites affecting bees that forage on their nectar, thus in effect treating them for their disease.

The full findings of the study conducted by researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado-Boulder appear in the September edition of the scientific journal, Ecology.

In previous studies in the lab, researchers found that certain plant substances known as alkaloids, glycosides, terpenoids and phenolics, which are poisonous to humans and other animals, significantly reduced the disease load of bumble bees.  They then followed up on their exploration to see if bees foraging in the wil…