The proteins prompt removal of diseased bee larvae and reproductive mites, Science Daily reports. After researchers scanned 1,200 proteins, they found several associated with this behavior. A protein involved in blood clotting was unused in damaged larvae, and this appeared to spur the adult bees' removal of them.
"Bee keepers have previously focused on selecting bees with traits such as enhanced honey production, gentleness and winter survival," University of British Columbia lead researcher Leonard Foster said. "We have found a set of proteins which could be used to select colonies on their ability to resist Varroa mite infestation and can be used to find individuals with increased hygienic behavior. Given the increasing resistance of Varroa to available drugs this would provide a natural way of ensuring honey farming and potentially survival of the species." (Read more)