Questions for “Learning what stresses queen bees could save their hives”

Researchers from the University of British Columbia collect bees from an apiary to study how healthy they are. Apiaries are collections of human-made beehives. Part of a farm, bees from this particular apiary pollinate local blueberry plants.

Abigail Chapman

To accompany “Learning what stresses queen bees could save their hives


Before Reading:

1. Why are farmers so fond of honeybees?

2. The queen bee is the most important member of a hive. Why?

During Reading:

1.  What type of things have been linked to stressed honeybee queens?

2.  These queens need live sperm, which do what?

3.  Why do bees collect pollen and how does this help farmers?

4.  At what temperatures are honeybees most comfortable?

5.  Why did researchers do chemical tests of fluid from sacs in a queen’s body?

6.  How were the chemicals they found — various proteins — linked to certain stressors? What did those newfound links tell them about the stresses faced by failed queens in the real world?

After Reading:

1.  The proteins that were linked to various stressors in this study are known as biomarkers. How do you think scientists came up with that term? What other types of biomarkers do you know of that exist in other animals or humans?

2.  The scientists say that tests showing what stressor a “failed” queen faced might help save her hive. Why wouldn’t it be too late (since she has already failed)?