Friday, May 1, 2015

Nicotine a medicine for parasitized bumblebees

A medicine for ill bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) but a poison for healthy ones, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Royal Holloway, University of London found that bumblebees infected with the trypanosome gut parasite Crithidia bombi preferred nicotine-laced nectar.  The nicotine had a benefit for infect bees: antimicrobial secondary metabolites which delayed the infection by a few days, though it didn't clear the infection entirely nor extend the overall life expectancy.  When healthy bees consumed nicotine-laced nectar for long periods reduced their life expectancy, an effect not observed in infected bees.

large earth humble bee (Bombus terrestris) by Whitney Cranshaw,

To read about the research: Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites
Images of Bombus terrestrisBombus terrestris