Good food for a long life
Long life with good food
Bees‘ nutrition is provided by two major sources: nectar is the main energy source (sugars) while the need of protein is covered by pollen. In honeybees, workers produce royal jelly, which is highly rich in proteins. Royal jelly plays a critical role for the determination of the queen, which is fed during all her development and life with this secretion. The role of this high-value protein food for the life of workers was studied by a Chinese and Australian team (doi: 10.1007/s13592-014-0276-3). They found that caged worker bees live longer if fed with pollen and royal jelly, while workers fed only with pollen showed shorter survival. The shortest survival was observed when bees were fed only with carbohydrates. The diet also affected the expression of four from six genes that were also studied. The nutrition had therefore a direct effect on the regulation of longevity.
Showing the importance of nutrition for longevity of honeybees, these results may be considered for the further development of cage experiments in research as well as for the protection of honeybees in the environment.