Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honey likes the honey bees to fight against the poison

Honeybees have a weakness for sugar. They sip a sweet beverage called nectar from flowers. And during winter, these insects live off of the honey they made from it. Now scientists have found something in honey that offers more than calories. The food also contains chemicals that might be thought of as medicine. They work by helping bees fight off germs and rid their bodies of poisons picked up in the environment.

Poisons are toxic chemicals. Honey can help a bee rid its body of these by turning on a certain gene. (Genes are found in almost every living cell and contain the instructions for how to keep a cell functioning.) The bees have some genes that trigger processes to detoxify a poison. They work by helping the body break down the poison. Findings linking honey to the activity of these genes appeared.

honey that help bees fight off germs

These so-called detox genes are important in honeybees. The insects often encounter pesticides. These toxic chemicals are applied to crops to combat other insects or organisms.

Insect specialist May Berenbaum led the new study. Her team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focused on a substance in honey called p-coumaric acid. It’s found in the outer coat of pollen. The researchers discovered it plays an important role in activating detox genes. Bees encounter this powdery substance as they flit from flower to flower. They also collect pollen to make into food for young bees. Although honey is made mostly from nectar, bits of pollen may end up in it.

Honey with its p-coumaric acid is good winter food for bees. But the insects often end up eating something else. Many beekeepers sell much of their hives’ honey. So during the winter months, they feed their bees a form of sugar to keep them from going hungry. That substitute is usually sugar water or high-fructose corn syrup (fructose is an especially sweet sugar).


Post a Comment