Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Pollinator Decline Problem?

Many species of butterflies, pollinating flies, wasps and even ants are becoming far fewer in number in many parts of the world. Since these creatures are genetically so diverse, it can't be completely due to increased disease. Industrialized parts of the world are more affected than remote regions.

What causes insects to decline? Is there something in the environment these days that is capable of greatly reducing the immune response of insects? What do such diverse species of insects have in common? In farmed honey bees, what causes widespread loss and sudden die-offs of beehives in colony collapse disorder (CCD)?

What is the Purpose of BRINC'S Research Facility?

To investigate and arrive at solutions to the question when do bees or pollinating insects start to become ill? When a bee senses something is wrong, it may not return to the hive, perhaps to protect others from getting their disease. Perhaps in some cases they are thrown out if they do not smell right to others in the hive. It would be good to find some kind of early warning method to check if performance or health related problems might be developing. 

By the time we can see the effects of pathology, it is often too widespread to do something about it. Finding symptoms or signals in living insects at the early stages in a creature as small as an insect poses a significant challenge.

We have developed our wind tunnel to introduce a controlled flow of air and measure a baseline or normal insect flight response for entire hives of bees. The strength of many insects to resist this applied wind is measured under carefully controlled, non-turbulent conditions.

We can then measure changes to insect vitality by introducing a suspected agent of stress, or administering a treatment of potential benefit. Repeating our wind testing on the entire population, we use several measures of metabolic performance change from non-contact sensing instrumentation to make our statistical comparisons. Unusual performers may be sampled for computed tomographic x-ray analysis, for a closer look at what might be happening.

Honey Bees Don't Have Bones yet BRINC Managed to Obtain X-Rays. How Did You Do This?

X-rays normally pass through the soft tissues. We cannot see cuts in skin by transmitted x-rays; only the bones of animals can be seen because x-rays interact mostly with the calcium in them. In insects, a substance with atoms that absorb or reflect x-rays has to be introduced to allow us to see inside without destroying delicate structures. In one method, we use positively charged silver ions in solution to find oppositely charged regions in the bee tissues, then we cause a reaction using light to form nano-particles of silver to cluster at those locations. Both positive charges (gram-positive) and negative charged (gram-negative) microbes are normally present inside bees, and can be imaged in this way. The hard exterior part of insects is made from a polymer of sugar called chitin. Chitin can become charged when membranes are degraded by environmental exposure, or are digested in biological attack by microbes or fungus; these effects can also be imaged using the proper x-ray contrasting agent and techniques. See movies below. For in depth investigation, the scientific article Micro CT-Imaging of Denatured Chitin by Silver to Explore Honey Bees and Insect Pathlogies by Dr. Peter Butzloff can be download at the bottom of this page.

What is the Science Behind Beejuvenate?

Beejuvanate photodynamic treatments results in healthier bees with stronger chitin-protein biopolymers in their bodies. Natural waxes are also activated in existing honeycomb by photodynamic irradiation in beehives; this process increases the transfer and chemical bonding of waxy molecules to bond onto bees. The photodynamic cross-linking reaction then enhances bees’ drought stress-resistance. This simple coating process happens in the open air of the rainforest where honey bees originated. The underappreciated waxy protection process has been reduced during the domestication of bees in full darkness wooden beehives related to traditional modular beekeeping practices since 1850.

Honey bees are translucent because they need light to enter their bodies. Beejuvenate photodynamic processes create natural free radicals inside bees by the action of certain wavelengths of light interacting with natural bioflavonoids and other compounds gathered by bees. Many of these compounds are also added to the wax of active nesting regions visited by the queen bee to boost the immunity supplied to juvenile bee eggs and pupae. These photosensitizer molecules act by sterilizing virus particles and pathogenic bacteria, but require natural activation by long wavelengths of visible light. Short wavelengths of light can cause many types of pathogen to protect themselves with dark pigments, therefore pure sunlight tends have mixed (good and bad) effects. It is important to beekeepers to select for the most beneficial light. Bees naturally attempt to do this by creating colored waxes to activate the honeycomb at juvenile nesting regions. However, Beejuvenate photodynamic hives can greatly improve the efficiency of this light filtering process at a very low cost.

Can Beejuvenate Help With Present Day Hunger and Farming Issues?

If one adopts self-sufficiency farming relying on small plots of land and limited or no artificial fertilization for food and income then the answer is yes. Beejuvenate passive photodynamic beekeeping will use solar radiation to help increase the productivity of any crop that can in a sustainable effective way, reduce hunger and poverty and make communities economically stronger and more stable over the long term.

Pathogens are known to alter the gene expression of both plants and honeybees, reducing their yields and profits. Beejuvenate photodynamic treatments reduce the need to extend the application of advanced plant genomics technologies (e.g. GMO’s) to food crops. Magnifying honey bee health and vitality will empower and benefit millions of people living in the developed and developing world.

What is the Future Agricultural Consensus?

Our civilization is based on the success of agriculture. We now live in a world that is not only subject to rapid changes in climate and variation in our ability to produce food, but also the amazing increases in human population beyond anything our planet has ever witnessed. To help our ecosystems survive and thrive, we should devote to better understand the basis for health and well-being in pollinating insects, not just for our sake, but for all of the diverse species that owe their success to the pollination of flowering plants substantially reliant on pollinators for their fruitfulness and propagation. These small animals are critically important to ensure long term biodiversity as well as global food security.

Bees are among the most efficient enhancers of existing food crops. Their production of honey is a superfood that adds directly to the caloric energy supply while providing human beings a natural protective antibiotic action. The use of fertilizer can be avoided while achieving as much as 300% increase in sustainable food crop production, making bees an ideal live companion to self-sufficient farms targeted for improvement to meet the predicted doubling of global food demand by 2050.