FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

FAQ Introduction

We have put together this information in response to your most common general questions to our volunteers and ecological entrepreneurs. The answers and reports are provided below by our President, Peter Butzloff, Ph.D. Our purpose in this operation is to share factual information as an educational outreach public service with ethics and integrity.

Honey Bee Research Institute and Nature Center, Inc. is not anti-pesticide, anti-fungicide, or anti-anything. We encourage student and entrepreneurial participation from all countries and states. We post and freely exchange information for the public benefit. Our volunteers link you up to help find research or charity partners. Synergy is our belief to be the best course of action so we can all thrive in the long-term.

Anything that affects honeybees is likely to be related to food security considerations. We do not imply or represent any political position. In the future, we all hope to improve any negative effects by working together as a diverse community to SOLVE issues that impact insect pollinators. We hope to assist you to achieve your objectives to expand food production and take precautionary steps to avoid or mitigate globally expanding disease, pest, climate, or chemical toxicity issues. The world is now our neighborhood. Any news we have is to benefit the health of honeybees anywhere in the world, in any way we can.

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 molecular oxygen, 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.

Is there any independent scientific evidence or study that claims red light exposure is able to extend bee lifetimes or degrade pesticides?

Yes. The rescue of bumblebees to controlled toxicity from Neonicotinoid Pesticides as a result of exposure to 670-nm red light has been reported and graphed by Powner at al. That work is free and available for download here:

Powner MB, Salt TE, Hogg C, Jeffery G. Improving Mitochondrial Function Protects Bumblebees from Neonicotinoid Pesticides. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 15;11(11):e0166531.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166531

Do other mite scientists have data to verify that mites will run away from the light?

Yes. Many types of mites are closely related, and their behaviors are usually quite similar even if they prey on different insects. We know of several species of Varroa now; one such study is focused on Varroa Jacobsoni, which has recently shifted hosts and now preys on honeybees and many other types of bees. Honey Bee Research Institute and Nature Center, Inc. finds the more common species Varroa Destructor expresses this “negative phototactic” behavior in the presence of honey bees in approximately 90 minutes. However, the independent study cited below indicates 60 minutes to achieve the same effect. Keep in mind our studies have limitations. For example the presence or absence of the host may reverse the phototaxis in some species of mite; the temperature of the test may alter how fast the mites move and the wavelength of the light can change the percentage of mites deciding to move into or out of this type of light. Statistical analysis can clarify these effects if they are considered as separate dimensions of variability. Of course, this requires an expanded and dedicated study to control for each type of effect. Projects await students interested to help clarify any these issues in various mite species. We encourage further studies for expanding the public benefit to help care for honeybees.

LeDoux MN, Pernal SF, Higo HA, Winston ML. Development of a bioassay to test the orientation behaviour of the honey bee ectoparasite, Varroa jacobsoni. Journal of Apicultural Research. 2000 Jan 1;39(1-2):47-54.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2000.11101020

The link below has a lot of information about Varroa mites.

http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/

What is the best choice of bee-friendly plants for backyard beekeeping?

We suggest you read about the treatments that may be applied to plants you purchase for your home gardens here:

Lentola A, David A, Abdul-Sada A, Tapparo A, Goulson D, Hill EM. Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insects. Environmental Pollution. 2017 Sep 30;228:297-304.

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/goulsonlab/documents/pesticides-in-garden-centre-plants.pdf

How can I measure the health of my honeybee hive?

Whole hive health assessment is now a standard practice. The method below is part of a standard methods collection in the COLOSS BEEBOOK series which is published on behalf of the International Bee Research Association:

Delaplane KS, van der Steen J, Guzman-Novoa E. Standard methods for estimating strength parameters of Apis mellifera colonies. Journal of Apicultural Research. 2013 Jan 1;52(1):1-2.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3896/IBRA.1.52.1.03

Is there any independent scientific evidence or study that claims red light exposure can stop pathogenic fungus from growing?

Fungi and yeasts are more frequently isolated from bees than bacteria but most of these are not pathogenic. Bees have a symbiotic relationship with diverse kinds of mycoflora; fungi are required to ferment bee bread made from pollen to generate honey. Under some conditions, even a beneficial fungus can become virulent and pathogenic to bees. Sometimes UV light exposure or cold temperatures can lead to this virulent transition. Interestingly, red light tends to send a lot of fungi into a resting state where reproduction is slow or halted but not stopped. Light control of fungi comes as a surprise to some, because fungi is not a plant and do not need sunlight to grow. Others will recall that mushrooms tend to grow best in the dark, under leaves and in humid conditions. Indirect or scattered light under leaves is more often composed of blue or ultraviolet wavelengths of light. Strong direct red light is not often scattered, and this wavelength sends a signal to the fungus that for now, possibly hot and dry conditions exist that are not favorable for fungi to survive, and that signal can indeed send fungi into something like a temporary state of hibernation.

Blumenstein A, Vienken K, Tasler R, Purschwitz J, Veith D, Frankenberg-Dinkel N, Fischer R. The Aspergillus nidulans phytochrome FphA represses sexual development in red light. Current Biology. 2005 Oct 25;15(20):1833-8.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2005.08.061


Is there any evidence that red light is antimicrobial? What effect does it have on bacteria, and viruses?

Photodynamic therapy using red light has been used safely in humans for decades, most often by dermatologists in the treatment of skin infections to reduce or cure acne. The presence of oxidizing agents activated by light, together with diatomic oxygen are required to enable this antimicrobial process. Bees collect plant resins and pollen enriched in light activated antimicrobial compounds called photosensitizers. Photosensitizers work best in the light. The bees know this by behavior and instinct; human beekeepers, however, may still need to learn about the science to keeping bees healthy. Physicists and chemists can share their knowledge of photolysis. Ecologists will explain that light has a regulatory effect on many kinds of organisms, therefore the combined regulatory and chemical effects are best classified as a general or ‘systemic’ rather than targeted to a particular organism. Dr. Peter Butlzoff suggests that when we are faced with systemic issues in chemical toxicology and disease biology, we need to look for systemic effects in nature for possible answers. A rigorous consideration of multiple variables and effects requires a multidisciplinary mindset. However, we can start with learning the two types of reaction pathways associated with photodynamic therapy, because the pathway taken makes a lot of difference in how the energy gets applied in living creatures.

Ion RM. Photodynamic therapy (PDT): a photochemical concept with medical applications. Rev. Roum. Chim. 2007 Dec 1;52(12):1093-102.
http://revroum.lew.ro/wp-content/uploads/2007/RRCh_12_2007/Art%2001.pdf
Garcia-Diaz M, Huang YY, Hamblin MR. Use of fluorescent probes for ROS to tease apart Type I and Type II photochemical pathways in photodynamic therapy. Methods. 2016 Oct 15;109:158-66.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.06.025

Is there any independent scientific evidence that the resins in “bee glue” or propolis, collected by honeybees, can cure bee diseases or improve their health?

Yes, because propolis has antimicrobial properties.

Kubiliene L, Laugaliene V, Pavilonis A, Maruska A, Majiene D, Barcauskaite K, Kubilius R, Kasparaviciene G, Savickas A. Alternative preparation of propolis extracts: comparison of their composition and biological activities. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2015 May 27;15(1):156.

Propolis is a photosensitizer, and that means the action of certain wavelengths of light makes it more able to perform the way nature intended. Bees use propolis to seal in the developing larva. That means this resin is inside a beehive, where it works to protect baby bees before they emerge. Dr. Peter Butzloff asks you to think about it this way: do you really want to keep your baby bees in the dark? 

Simone-Finstrom M, Borba RS, Wilson M, Spivak M. Propolis counteracts some threats to honey bee health. Insects. 2017 Apr 29;8(2):46.

http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects8020046

Dr. Peter Butlzoff, will you be writing a scientific paper or a book on this topic?

I hope so. It is important to balance public outreach with any kind of research or new development. We all need to continue to communicate on what beekeeping options are available and cost effective, and those options may change with time, location, and other factors. Using more than one technology or method is always welcome and comparisons are to be encouraged. This means the creativity of all of us must be a shared part of our food security process. Beekeepers must recruit the participation of remote areas to practice advanced methods even without mite or pesticide problems because feeding all of us is everybody’s concern. Getting prepared for the worst case in advance can help to insure inexpensive treatments are already in place to avoid reductions in food production later, when conditions change. The purpose of a photodynamic beekeeping review or book will be to connect related ideas from different fields of understanding. The real challenge is not leaving intelligent readers, scientific researchers, or experienced field practitioners out of the key issues in our discussion. – Dr. Peter Butzloff

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 downloaded at the bottom of this page.

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.