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Table of Contents
Synthetic Modifications - concepts for beehive interiors
a continuation of the experiments regarding an Intelligent Beehive
by AnneMarie Maes and Núria Conde Pueyo
MIT/SPAIN - Seed Fund la Caixa Foundation
Our project certainly fits into the section global and planetary health.
We propose to work on a project including microbe, plant, animal, and AI interchanges (including synthetic biology) for prototyping a new beehive-interior relating to the struggle against the Varroa mite.
Will you contact David Kong to see if is terested to support a student working on microfluidic devices?
Do you think it might be useful that I ask my sister if she can collaborate too? Than we have to come up with an interesting idea for a ‘fluid interface’ design possibilities.
What I read in the call, is that they want to set up a balanced exchange between MIT researchers and their Spanish colleagues.
So I think that it is useless to put my name there, whatever function I might have. But offcourse I can be behind the scene and together with you (and with the student, David Kong and maybe my sister) direct the project.
Also they state that the research should be conducted in Spain and at MIT. All Spanish non-profit research centres and universities can enter the call for proposals, in collaboration with one or more research groups at MIT. So my ngo is excluded aniways.
Recalling what we discussed yesterday:
1. introduce a colony of symbiotic bacteria (or maybe an innovative material containing synthetic bacteria-like elements that can live in symbiosis with the bees) to live in the hive. These bacteria are synthetically modified so that they can slowly release the natural chemical ‘Thymol’ (which kills the Varroa mites) into the atmosphere of the beehive.
2. the idea to modify the microbiome of the bee-larves in a very early stadium, so that they become more (or completely) resistent against the Varroa mite. Therefore the food of the larves (which consists for a big part of pollen, mixed with a milky substance produced by the glands of the feeder-bees) which is stored in the cells surrounding the nest, can be ‘sprayed’ with a substance (bacteria?) so that the larves’ microbiome will be changed. The larves with modified microbiome should be more resistant against varroa cause to symbiotic bacteria in their gut.
To know: the Varroa mite attacks physically. It is a parasite that burries itself together with the larce in the closed cell, while the larce is in the popping phase. The Varroa mite (and its offspring - their offspring cycle is faster than the days the larve needs to pop into a bee, so 1 Varroa mite goes into the cell but during popping more mites can be born and become attackers too) makes a hole in the lymph node of the larve and starts sucking the lymph fluids. This weakens the immune system of the larve/young bee so that it becomes less resistant towards all kinds of illnesses and natural ennemies.
Here is a short study that I made years ago while studying herbalism. It is not complete but I could look into more information about the natural substance ‘Thymol’ and the use of it to fight the Varroa mite.