Friday, May 28, 2010

Honey Bees Use Propolis for Social Immunity

Propolis and Bee Health: The Natural History and Significance of Resin Use by Honey Bees *
Propolis santé et de l'abeille: l'histoire naturelle et la signification de l'utilization de résine Chez les abeilles végétale
Propolis and bee health: the natural history and the importance of using plant resins by bees
Apidologie, Published online 12 May 2010

Social immunity, which describes how individual behaviors of group members to effectively reduce disease and parasite transmission at the colony level, is emerging field in social insect biology. An under studied, but significant behavioral disease resistance mechanism in honey bees is their collection and use of plant resins. Honey bees harvest resins with antimicrobial properties from various plant species and kill them back to the colony Where they are then mixed with varying amounts of wax and utilized as propolis. Propolis is an apicultural term for the resins when used by bees within a hive. While numerous studies have investigated the chemical components of propolis that could be used to treat human diseases, there is a lack of information on the importance of bee propolis in regards to health. This review serves to provide a compilation of recent research concerning the behavior of bees in relation to resins and propolis, focusing more on the bees themselves and the potential evolutionary benefits of resin collection. Future research goals are also established in order to create a new focus within the literature on the natural history of resin use among the social insects and that propolis plays role in disease resistance.


The "social immunity" as a new field of research in social insects describes how the individual behavior of members of a group can effectively prevent the spread of diseases and parasites on the level of the welfare state. Although a previously little studied but important behavioral trait of disease resistance in honey bees is the use of plant resins. Honey bees collect resins with antimicrobial properties of various plants, then mix in this colony of bees with different amounts of wax and use it as propolis (Fig. 1-4). Propolis is therefore the bienenkundliche term for resins used in the hive. While many studies on the use of certain components of propolis to fight disease in humans is little information about the importance of propolis for the bee health are available.

This review is a compilation of recent research on the behavior of bees in terms of resins and propolis with emphasis on the possible evolutionary advantages of Harzsammelns for honey bees. The use of resins by bees (Apis mellifera) is widespread. While there are significant differences between individual nations based on the amount of collected resins and propolis, all seem - and in particular to use the wild - bee propolis to the lining of the entire Stockinneren. It is believed that propolis helps to maintain the homeostasis within the hive up. Specifically, the propolis could thereby reduce the microbial growth on the walls of prey, preventing uncontrolled air flow into and form Beuteninnere additional mechanical barriers against intruders. Some research projects clearly demonstrate that propolis in the hive directly to pathogens (such as American foulbrood) and parasites (eg, small hive beetle, Varroa destructor) acts. There seems also a more subtle effect on the support of the individual immune system to give. Subsequent research should focus on better understanding of the use of resins by honey bees and other social insects. There are a variety of research fields, from the pharmaceutical potential of propolis on human health through the mechanisms of collective strategy of propolis on the levels of individual bees and the colony to a possible application of propolis as a control of bee diseases. Finally, information enables the use of resins and inclusion in the hive exciting approaches to research on the influence of social environment on disease resistance and immunity.

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