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Loss in biodiversity may be killing bees

A decline in diverse plants species on which to feed may be causing a similar decline in bee survival, according to a new paper in Biology Letters.

Researchers found that bees consuming a diverse number of plants produce more effective glucose oxidase (GOX) than bees which eat from a monoculture. Glucose oxidase is essential for bees to preserve food for their larvae, keeping the hive healthy. In addition, bees fed a diverse diet also produced more fat, which in bees produce anti-microbial chemicals to help resist disease.

This “would mean they have better antiseptic protection compared to other bees, and so would be more resistant to pathogen invasion,” lead author Dr. Cedric Alaux from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon told the BBC.

Bees, vital pollinators and producers of honey, have been suffering mysterious declines around the world.

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