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Defining the healthy bee hive

[audio:http://news.cals.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/grubbs_dugenske_colony_colapse.mp3|titles=Defining the healthy bee hive]

Kirk Grubbs, Graduate Student, Department of Bacteriology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
kgrubbs@wisc.edu
(608) 265-8034

Robert Dugenske, Student, Department of Bacteriology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
rdugenske@wisc.edu
Defining the healthy bee hive

2:58 – Total Time

0:19 – The bee research (Kirk Grubbs)
0:42 – A healthy hive (Rob Dugenske)
1:13 – Colony Collapse Disorder (Kirk Grubbs)
2:00 – Where the research goes (Kirk Grubbs)
2:21 – Value of bacteria in hives (Kirk Grubbs)
2:46 – Lead out

TRANSCRIPT

Sevie Kenyon:

Gentlemen, welcome to our microphone! Introduce us to the situation you’re looking at in your bee research.

Kirk Grubbs:

We’re trying to look at our hives and their components for what’s supposed to be there like…when a hive is healthy…the bacteria and fungus that is supposed to be there. This is usually referred to as a microbial community. These types of communities are found pretty much everywhere you look.

Sevie Kenyon:

Could you describe to us that healthy, functioning beehive?

Rob Dugenske:

If I’m checking my bees at home and here, what I’m looking for is vigorous activity…you know the bees are actively kind of carrying out their daily activities, if you will….transferring pollen, doing the dances, caring for brood, cleaning, continuously grooming each other…things like that. If they’re sick there likely not doing the grooming activities and things like that and that’s definitely another important aspect, is just the actual behavior of the bees.

Sevie Kenyon:

Could you perhaps tell us how your research goes to the business of the colony collapse disorder?

Kirk Grubbs:

It seems that a lot of the problems with colony collapse disorder are not necessarily being one pathogen taking over the hive, but really just an overall weakening of the hive and the ability of a few viruses or pathogens to explode within that weakened hive state…so in order to kind of assess what part is supposed to be there whenever you’re looking at a healthy hive, you have to know the baseline of microbial communities that are within the hive. Being able to assess what is there and what is supposed to be there goes a long ways in actually being able to more firmly define a healthy hive.

Sevie Kenyon:

Could one of you perhaps describe where your research goes from this point?

Kirk Grubbs:

Right now looking at a bacteria we think might have a role in inhibiting growth of a pathogen…if it’s something that is something that’s important to the colony collapse disorder where people are maybe treating their hives with an antibacterial and getting rid of the good bacteria.

Sevie Kenyon:

Have you found anything interesting or surprising so far?

Kirk Grubbs:

I think what surprises me about those findings is just how many of the different bacteria that are present actually inhibit the pathogens that are found within the hive system. When we do look at the specific microbes that are present, there are the pathogens, even in what we would consider an overtly healthy hive…they’re there…they’re just not in a position to take over the hive.

Visiting today with Kirk Grubbs, and Rob Dugenske, department of bacteriology University of Wisconsin Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin…and I’m Sevie Kenyon.