Plant Compound (Sodium Butyrate) May Protect Bees from Deadly Virus That Makes Them Lose Their Way Home

Around the world, honeybees are dying in large numbers. This die-off is in part because of a deadly virus that can kill bees or impair their ability to return to the hives after foraging. But in a study published online on September 28,2021 in iScience, researchers show that a cheap and naturally occurring chemical compound could prevent or reverse the effects of the virus in bees. Bees that were fed the compound before becoming infected were nine times more likely to survive the virus after five days; by monitoring hives in real time, the researchers also showed that bees that were fed the compound were more likely to return to the hive at the end of a foraging day. The open-access iScience article is titled “Real-Time Monitoring of Deformed Wing Virus-Infected Bee Foraging Behavior Following Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Treatment.”

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