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Science

U.S. approves world's first vaccine for honeybees to stave off deadly 'foulbrood' disease

The way the bees receive the vaccine is fascinating.

bees, honeycomb, vaccines

Honeybees are getting their first vaccine.

Without bees, the human race would be screwed. We rely on those little buggers to pollinate most of the crops that feed most of the world—they're a critical link in the food chain that sustains human existence.

But scientists have been worried about bee populations in recent years, as colony collapse disorder, habitat loss and various bee diseases have threatened the planet's primary pollinators. There's good news for our fuzzy, buzzy friends, however. The world's first honeybee vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help stave off American foulbrood, a deadly disease that's spread through bacterial spores and can take down entire colonies.

So how does a bee colony get vaccinated? Are we talking 50,000 teeny-tiny syringes or what?


The process is actually quite ingenious. According to a press release from Dalan Animal Health, the vaccine, which contains dead Paenibacillus larvae bacteria, gets mixed into the queen bee's feed, which is then consumed by worker bees. Those worker bees incorporate the vaccine into the royal jelly they feed to the queen. After she eats it, the vaccine gets deposited into her ovaries, which provides immunity to the larvae she produces. Thus, all her little baby bees are born already vaccinated for American foulbrood.

Pretty nifty, eh?

The vaccine was developed by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in collaboration with biotech company Dalan Animal Health, and researchers are hopeful this breakthrough will lead to similar vaccines.

“They are taking a stab at this one because it’s such a historically important bee disease,” Keith Delaplane, CAES Department of Entomology professor and director of the UGA Bee Program, told Georgia Public Radio. “With the good results, which we anticipate based on lab work, we can expand the product line to other diseases.”

There is currently no cure for American foulbrood and, despite its name, it has become a global issue. According to Delaplane, beekeepers have been using antibiotics to fight off the disease, but the USDA is trying to cut down antibiotic use in all food-producing animals. This vaccine helps eliminate the need for them in the honeybee population.

The Guardian reports that the vaccine will first be made available to commercial beekeepers. American foulbrood has been found in up to a quarter of hives in some U.S. regions, forcing beekeepers to burn infected colonies and use antibiotics to limit the spread.

Annette Kleiser, CEO of Dalan Animal Health, pointed out that population growth and climate change make honeybee pollination all the more important to protect. “Our vaccine is a breakthrough in protecting honeybees,” she said. "We are ready to change how we care for insects, impacting food production on a global scale.”

The development and approval of this vaccine is also a good reminder that vaccine technology is always evolving and it's not just humans that benefit.

Of course, good news for honeybees is good news for humans. According to the FDA, honeybees specifically pollinate a third of the food Americans consume. We need them more than they need us, but helping them thrive is a win-win for us both.

Yay, science.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Science

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Pop Culture

Man tries to correct a female golfer's swing, having no idea she's actually a pro

“My hope is that he comes across this video and it keeps him up at night."

Representative Image from Canva

A man tried to tell a pro golfer she was swing too slow.

We’re all probably familiar with the term “mansplaining,” when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way. Often, this comes in the form of a man explaining a subject to a woman that she already knows on an expert level. The female neuroscientist who was told by a man that she should read a research paper she actually wrote comes to mind.

Recently the next-level mansplaining was caught in the wild. Well, at a golf driving range anyway.

Georgia Ball, a professional golfer and coach who’s racked up over 3 million likes on TikTok for all her tips and tricks of the sport, was minding her own business while practicing a swing change.

It takes all of two seconds on Google to see that when it comes to incorporating a swing change, golfers need to swing slower, at 50-75% their normal speed…which is what Ball was doing.

And this is what prompted some man to insert his “advice.”

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Education

Kids in 1966 shared their predictions for the year 2000 and it's fascinating to see now

In many ways, the future turned out much brighter than these youngsters expected it to.

Thankfully, this girl's prediction was way off.

The idea of predicting the future has been the subject of countless books, movies and televisions shows (and is basically the basis of all gambling). Outside of a few uncanny instances, no one can tell exactly what the future holds, especially for the world at large. But people sure love to predict it anyway.

The BBC shared a video compilation of kids in 1966 sharing what they imagine the year 2000 would be like, and their predictions are fascinating. After five or six kids share, it becomes clear what some of the most pressing concerns of the 1960s were. Some kids thought we'd have bombed ourselves into oblivion. Others believed we'd be so overpopulated we would be packed like sardines and wouldn't be able to build houses anymore.

Not all of the predictions were so dark. Some kids had some hilarious predictions about cabbage pills and robots. Others thought we'd have better cures for diseases and less segregation among the races, which we have.

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Science

Should we wear shoes in the house? Experts weigh in and turns out we should stop immediately.

It's a common practice in the west that may be grosser than we realize.

Experts seem to agree that shoes shouldn't be worn inside

Growing up nearly everyone knew of one house that didn't allow people to wear shoes inside. It didn't matter if you accidentally wore your socks with the hole in them, there were no exceptions–shoes off. For many folks it was just seen as a quirk for that particular family and there wasn't much thought given into why they were adamant about enforcing the rule.

But it turns out that wearing shoes inside is more of a western culture thing than a global one, which makes Americans a minority in keeping outside shoes on while inside the house. It would seem that other countries may have had a bit more of an understanding on why it's a bad idea to wear shoes inside.

Common sense tells us that wearing shoes inside means you'll be sweeping and mopping more often than you'd like. Of course you track in dirt but there are apparently hundreds of bacteria and fungi that you're tracking in that can cause your family to get sick.

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Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

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