Honeybees, especially the hive-producing ones, are extremely vulnerable to bee stings and, with honey bee deaths increasing in the US, this is one of the biggest threats to honey bee populations.
And, in a new study, Scripply spelling bee teacher Sarah Hargrove and her colleagues showed how to help your students get the best bang for their bee-sucking buck by giving them a bee sting treatment that helps them feel better and prevent the symptoms of bee stinging, which include dizziness, fatigue, and sore throats.
“We really wanted to show that we have a vaccine for bee sting,” says Hargrock.
“This is not something we’re selling, but we wanted to be able to provide the best treatment possible.”
Hargroves team included two bee sting specialists from Scripplish.
One was a bee keeper, who had studied the bee sting of beekeepers before, but had never done anything similar.
She had worked on sting studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but did not know much about the treatment.
The other bee keeper was a PhD student in Hargropys field, who did a lot of research into bee sting research and had done his research for a while.
“He just had a big interest in bee stinger and wanted to learn more about it,” says Scripplys senior author and Scrippls teaching assistant Stephanie Siegel.
“He really wanted a chance to help with the research.”
To learn more, the students and their bee keeper were introduced to Scrippses bee stung bee, Honey Bee (Hairless) and a Honey Bee Antidote (Honey Bee Powder).
They were then shown a PowerPoint slide that showed pictures of the bee stingers, and the bee’s antidote.
“As soon as the bee showed any symptoms of stinging or dizziness or anything, they were put in a room and given the beestinger vaccine,” says Siegel, who was part of the study as an assistant professor of biology.
Hargropies team then taught the beekeepers the treatment by putting them in a lab with the bee, a white cotton candy bar, and a jar of the vaccine.
Then, the bees were given the injection, which worked by binding to the bee antidotes and causing them to be released from their bodies.
Hear more about bee stINGS in this Science Daily article:Hargronys team also included two of the honey bee specialists from the University at Buffalo, who were familiar with honey bees and were able to help out with the study.
“They were actually part of a lab that is actually used to study bee stING and also has the bee venom,” she says.
“So, we were able, at least initially, to make sure that they had the right information.”
Siegel says that the students were actually surprised by the results, since they were used to seeing the bee that stings when it stings.
“When we told them that this was a vaccine, they said, ‘Wow, that is really cool,'” she says, adding that they weren’t sure if the vaccine would work on their bees.
“I’m sure that it would work, but they were very curious about it.”
Hagroves’ team was able to find some other studies on bee stinged bees that looked at the effects of the treatment on bees, but not on the honey bees.
One study looked at how the vaccine affected honey bees, while another looked at whether it affected the honeybees.
“But we couldn’t find a study that looked specifically at the honeybee sting,” says Hagroys.
“That is, it was the bee and it was not the vaccine.”
Hogropys team has also been working on other bee stingly-related research.
They are currently working on a study of honey bees that were stung in the face, and then studied the effects on the bees and their behavior.
They also are looking at how to use the vaccine in conjunction with other methods to help the honey-bee population.
“It would be really nice to find a vaccine that is safe, effective, and doesn’t cause bee stinking,” says Nielenberger.
“If you have a really good vaccine that you can get through a school and get people to be vaccinated, that’s really important.”