Laboratory to create cell cultures from honeybees starts up

Last year the BBKA gave a grant of £25,000 to help set up this new laboratory at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. The Hive laboratory supported by the BBKA at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth has started work.

The aim of the laboratory is to produce cultures of cells from bees that are stable and can be reproduced over and over again for researchers to test drugs on.

Dr Declan Schroeder, who is Director of the Marine Biological Association Cell Culture Collection, had noted similarities in viruses that attack honeybees and the ones he finds in marine biological systems. 

He is looking at deformed wing virus and working with Professor Stephen Martin who holds the chair of Animal Ecology at Salford University. 

They want to know why some deformed wing viruses are benign for bees and others cause great damage.

David Aston, past president of the BBKA, who was on the committee that approved the grant to the Marine Biological Association said: “If they can produce standardised cells it will allow much faster and safer comparative studies of new medicines for bees.

“The Hive laboratory is the only place in the UK doing work like this and the BBKA is proud that we have been able to support its creation.”