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Studying Viruses of Bees, Wasps and Hornets: Dr. Declan Schroeder from the University of MN

This week we had a conversation on the Tuesday Morning Show about two recent studies from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine,both led by Associate Professor Declan Schroeder.

He has over 20 years of research experience as a molecular biologist in the areas of virology, biodiversity, pathology, and genomics – in particular, the use of genomic tools to study key biological processes. His research focusses on a diverse array of host-virus systems, however, more recently he has been focusing on a new virus resistance mechanism in honey bees.

The first study, published in MPDI, found that worker bees don’t seem to infect the queen bee with viruses. This is valuable information as queens are key vectors for vertical transmission of viruses within colonies. This may prompt future experiments to study how queens become infected with viral pathogens, since worker bees have been ruled out as a potential source of infection for queens.

The second study, published in the journal Viruses, found that Moku virus (MV) is not only an example of a virus that can spread from wasps and hornets to honeybees through predator-prey interactions, but also that it could potentially mutate into a serious problem for honeybee populations. MV is among the viruses that the Asian giant hornet — often referred to as the "murder hornet" — could potentially carry. Future studies may look into MV to determine its bearing on and prevalence in honeybee populations.

AND, if you are into bees and local honey, don't forget to bid on them at the KAXE/KBXE Board of Directors Virtual Auction - open until Thursday July 20th at 7pm.  Thanks to the Bar Bell Bee Ranch for donating local honey. 

Thanks Ed & Eileen!


Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.