Scientists are analyzing the behavioral aspects of the bees that are infected with the Israeli acute paralysis virus. It has been noticed that the bees are practicing the social distancing methods in their attempt to stop the spreading of the deadly virus. For example, the bees that do not suffer from any health issue are less likely to touch or feed the infected teammates.
However, what is interesting is that the bees that are infected and try to enter a new colony can pass the security check easier than a healthy bee. Therefore, the virus has developed its way of increasing its spreading rate for the new hives. A newly conducted study is trying to underpin the inner-goings of this study, as well as the dangers that may occur when the living space of colonies is overpopulated.
Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus Affects the Bees
The immune system of hives is deficient when compared to any other insects. In addition to this, their living conditions are characterized by overcrowded spaces, where they touch each other all the time. The only way to protect themselves against the viruses is by having strict hygienic behavior, such as removing or grooming infected larvae.
The research involved a population of 900 bees separated into three colonies, who were carefully labeled one by one and implemented a camera to monitor their location and orientation. The computer program was specially designed to determine the “trophallaxis” behavior, which is when the bees feed their colleagues.
Therefore, the researchers’ team infected 90 to 150 bees in each colony to determine the behavior of their fellow compatriots, spotting that the healthy bees avoided making contact with the infected ones. Additionally, the sick bees moved around the colony, searching for somebody that would feed them. Moreover, the sick bees were able to change easier their territories, since they mostly offered to trade food for a place in their new environment and to deceive the guards.