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Concept: Bee sting


There is now considerable evidence that climate change is disrupting the phenology of key pollinator species. The recently reported UK winter activity of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris brings a novel set of thermal challenges to bumblebee workers that would typically only be exposed to summer conditions. Here we assess the ability of workers to survive acute and chronic cold stress (via lower lethal temperatures and lower lethal times at 0°C), the capacity for rapid cold hardening (RCH) and the influence of diet (pollen versus nectar consumption) on supercooling points (SCP). Comparisons are made with chronic cold stress indices and SCPs in queen bumblebees. Results showed worker bees were able to survive acute temperatures likely to be experienced in a mild winter, with queens significantly more tolerant to chronic cold temperature stress. The first evidence of RCH in any Hymenoptera is shown. In addition, dietary manipulation indicated the consumption of pollen significantly increased SCP temperature. These results are discussed in the light of winter active bumblebees and climate change.

Concepts: Temperature, Honey bee, Pollination, Bee, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Pollinator, Bombus terrestris


The safety of bee venom as a therapeutic compound has been extensively studied, resulting in the identification of potential adverse events, which range from trivial skin reactions that usually resolve over several days to life-threating severe immunological responses such as anaphylaxis. In this systematic review, we provide a summary of the types and prevalence of adverse events associated with bee venom therapy.

Concepts: Medicine, Therapy, Bee sting


Individuals in social insect colonies cooperate to perform collective work. While colonies often respond to changing environmental conditions by flexibly reallocating workers to different tasks, the factors determining which workers switch and why are not well understood. Here, we use an automated tracking system to continuously monitor nest behavior and foraging activity of uniquely identified workers from entire bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) colonies foraging in a natural outdoor environment. We show that most foraging is performed by a small number of workers and that the intensity and distribution of foraging is actively regulated at the colony level in response to forager removal. By analyzing worker nest behavior before and after forager removal, we show that spatial fidelity of workers within the nest generates uneven interaction with relevant localized information sources, and predicts which workers initiate foraging after disturbance. Our results highlight the importance of spatial fidelity for structuring information flow and regulating collective behavior in social insect colonies.

Concepts: Honey bee, Pollination, Pollinator decline, Bee, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Environmental science, Apidae


Acute coronary syndrome after hymenoptera stings or exposure to environment toxins is referred to as the Kounis syndrome or allergic myocardial ischaemia with or without infarction. We report a case of hornet (Vespa affinis) sting causing Kounis syndrome in Sri Lanka and present a review of literature.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Angina pectoris, Sri Lanka, Bee sting, Wasp, Apocrita, Sri, Sri Lankan Civil War


Despite the common occurrence of hymenopteran stings worldwide, primary neurologic manifestations including stroke are rare. We report a case of a healthy male who developed a right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory ischemic stroke after getting stung by a wasp.

Concepts: Insect, Stroke, Middle cerebral artery, Bee, Stinger, Bee sting, Wasp


Dermatopathologists are occasionally challenged by exogenous materials found in their biopsies. Recognition of most of the structures and morphological parts of foreign materials is not always easy because most of the literature thus far has focused on the study of the histological and histopathological aspects of human tissues, as well as on the granulomatous response elicited by such foreign bodies. However, there are some cases of rare exogenous material in biopsies, mainly published as case reports; and dermatopathologists often lose precious time searching for information about such cases. In the current report, we examine the morphology of the following elements: alimentary detritus, cacti barbs, cotton fibers, silica particles, nail polish, maggots, sea urchin spines, and honey bee stings.

Concepts: Anatomical pathology, English-language films, Cotton, Beekeeping, Bee, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Sea urchin


Neonicotinoid insecticides have been studied as possible contributors to bumble bee declines in North America and Europe. This has potential significance in corn agro-ecosystems since this crop is frequently treated with neonicotinoids and dominates much of the agricultural landscape in North America and Europe where bumble bees and other pollinators are commonplace. We conducted an experiment where commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) hives were placed during pollen shed next to corn (Zea mays) fields that were grown from “conventional” seed that was treated with neonicotinoids, or “organic” seed that was not treated with pesticides. Samples of pollen were collected from corn plants for neonicotinoid residue analysis, pollen types carried by worker bees returning to hives were determined, and in autumn hives were dissected to measure various endpoints that serve as markers of colony vigor. Clothianidin was detected (0.1-0.8 ng/g) in pollen collected from all conventional fields, but was not detected in pollen from organic fields. Corn pollen was only rarely collected from bumble bee foragers and the vast majority of pollen was from wild plants around the corn fields. All hives appeared healthy and neonicotinoid seed treatments had no effect on any hive endpoints measured, except the number of workers, where significantly fewer workers were recovered from hives placed next to conventional fields (96 ± 15 workers per hive) compared to organic fields (127 ± 17 workers per hive). The results suggest that exposure during pollen shed to corn grown from neonicotinoid-treated shed poses low risk to B. impatiens.

Concepts: Honey bee, Pollination, Pollinator decline, Bee, North America, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Pollinator


The impact of social parasites on their hosts' fitness is a strong selective pressure that can lead to the evolution of adapted defence strategies. Guarding the nest to prevent the intrusion of parasites is a widespread response of host species. If absolute rejection of strangers provides the best protection against parasites, more fine-tuned strategies can prove more adaptive. Guarding is indeed costly and not all strangers constitute a real threat. That is particularly true for worker reproductive parasitism in social insects since only a fraction of non-nestmate visitors, the fertile ones, can readily engage in parasitic reproduction. Guards should thus be more restrictive towards fertile than sterile non-nestmate workers. We here tested this hypothesis by examining the reaction of nest-entrance guards towards nestmate and non-nestmate workers with varying fertility levels in the bumble bee Bombus terrestris. Because social recognition in social insects mainly relies on cuticular lipids (CLs), chemical analysis was also conducted to examine whether workers' CLs could convey the relevant information upon which guards could base their decision. We thus aimed to determine whether an adapted defensive strategy to worker reproductive parasitism has evolved in B. terrestris colonies.

Concepts: Evolution, Symbiosis, Parasitism, Honey bee, Bee, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Ant


Neonicotinoid pesticides are currently implicated in the decline of wild bee populations. Bumble bees, Bombus spp., are important wild pollinators that are detrimentally affected by ingestion of neonicotinoid residues. To date, imidacloprid has been the major focus of study into the effects of neonicotinoids on bumble bee health, but wild populations are increasingly exposed to alternative neonicotinoids such as thiamethoxam. To investigate whether environmentally realistic levels of thiamethoxam affect bumble bee performance over a realistic exposure period, we exposed queenless microcolonies of Bombus terrestris L. workers to a wide range of dosages up to 98μgkg(-1) in dietary syrup for 17 days. Results showed that bumble bee workers survived fewer days when presented with syrup dosed at 98μg thiamethoxamkg(-1), while production of brood (eggs and larvae) and consumption of syrup and pollen in microcolonies were significantly reduced by thiamethoxam only at the two highest concentrations (39, 98μgkg(-1)). In contrast, we found no detectable effect of thiamethoxam at levels typically found in the nectars of treated crops (between 1 and 11μgkg(-1)). By comparison with published data, we demonstrate that during an exposure to field-realistic concentrations lasting approximately two weeks, brood production in worker bumble bees is more sensitive to imidacloprid than thiamethoxam. We speculate that differential sensitivity arises because imidacloprid produces a stronger repression of feeding in bumble bees than thiamethoxam, which imposes a greater nutrient limitation on production of brood.

Concepts: Honey bee, Pollinator decline, Bee, Bee sting, Bumblebee, Pollinator, Apidae, Pollinators


Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis is an iatrogenic disease induced by so-called live bee acupuncture therapy, which applies the honeybee (Apis cerana) stinger directly into the lesion to treat various diseases in Korea. We present two cases of live bee acupuncture dermatitis and review previously published articles about this disease. We classify this entity into three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. The acute stage is an inflammatory reaction, such as anaphylaxis or urticaria. In the chronic stage, a foreign body granuloma may develop from the remaining stingers, similar to that of a bee sting reaction. However, in the subacute stage, unlike bee stings, we see the characteristic histological “flame” figures resulting from eosinophilic stimulation induced by excessive bee venom exposure. We consider this stage to be different from the adverse skin reaction of accidental bee sting.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Anatomical pathology, Honey bee, Beekeeping, Stinger, Bee sting, Bumblebee