Researchers have discovered that honey bees are able to share immunity with other bees and to their offspring in a hive by transmitting RNA ‘vaccines’ through royal jelly and worker jelly. The jelly is the bee equivalent of mother’s milk: a secretion used to provide nutrition to worker and queen bee larvae.
The findings suggest new ways to protect bees against viruses and the deadly Varroa mite that have been responsible for the recent dramatic decline in honey bee populations. Since around one third of the human diet globally is dependent on honey bee pollination, we need solutions urgently to help maintain flourishing bee colonies, for our food security and sustainability.
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