Saturday, November 08, 2008

Propolis Boosts Bees’ Immune Response

International Pollinator Conference Highlights Importance of Bees
U.S. continues efforts to protect declining pollinator populations
By Daniel Gorelick, U.S. Department of State, 11/7/2008

Numbers of bees, birds and other pollinating animals are declining, posing a threat to the survival of thousands of plants used for food, fibers and medicines, according to scientists and government officials at the eighth annual international conference of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC)…

NAPPC also funds research on bee health, some of which was featured at the 2008 meeting. Marla Spivack, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, studies propolis, a tree resin that protects leaf buds from infections.

Propolis has anti-microbial properties and has been shown to suppress HIV replication in the laboratory. Bees line their hives with propolis like caulk. Spivack’s preliminary studies suggest that treating laboratory bees with propolis reduces the number of bacteria and helps their immune responses. She is now repeating these studies in the field using more bees, hoping that propolis may be a useful tool in the fight to save the bees.

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