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Honeybees Dodge Parasites with Social Distancing

Honeybee in flight

Peter Waters/

A study by University College London and the University of Sassari (Italy) published in Science Advances shows that honeybee colonies respond to infestation from harmful mites by varying space and interaction in the hive to increase social distance between the younger and older insects. Co-author Dr. Alessandro Cini says, “Honeybees are a social animal, as they benefit from dividing up responsibilities and interactions such as mutual grooming, but when those social activities can increase the risk of infection, the bees appear to have evolved to balance the risks and benefits by adopting social distancing.”

The study assessed the presence of the ectoparasite mite Varroa destructor, which causes harmful effects at the colony level, including virus transmission. Lead author Dr. Michelina Pusceddu says, “Their ability to adapt their social structure and reduce contact between individuals in response to a disease threat allows them to maximize the benefits of social interactions where possible and to minimize the risk of infectious disease when needed. Honeybee colonies provide an ideal model for studying social distancing and for fully understanding the value and effectiveness of this behavior.”

5 Top Tips to Finding Your Next Doctor

1 Keep an Open Mind! Healthcare has come a long way. Today, you have access to practitioners that branch outside of traditional medicine and aim to identify the root causes of conditions while using alternative treatments that may help you get the relief you need. Just because it’s not a pill, doesn’t make it pseudoscience.

2 Build Your Health Care Team. There is no one doctor that can be the be-all-end-all for your health needs. Be sure to have a team of practitioners with different “lenses” and areas of expertise who will treat the root cause and not just the symptom(s).

3   Environment Influences Healing. Health is multi-factorial. Your mental and emotional environment plays a pivotal role in your healing potential. Your doctors and their staff should create an office atmosphere filled with positivity so you can get the most out of your care.

4 Your Story Matters.  Before you begin any treatment, be sure to have a comprehensive consultation to discuss your health concerns. Find practitioners who welcome questions and will take the time to listen and treat you with respect.

5 Report of Findings. When it comes to our health, we often make decisions without understanding the risk versus benefits. Knowledge is an important part of the healing process and is essential to make conscious, informed health decisions. Find practitioners who take the time to explain their exam findings and the recommendations for treatment in ways that make sense to you.

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