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Insects Webinar | Bees: from Individual to Social Immunity

16 May 2024, 17:00 (CEST)

Social Immunity, Bee, Virus, Pollination Services, Colony Organization
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Welcome from the Chair

1st Webinar on Insects

Bees : from Individual to Social Immunity

Welcome to the webinar on "Bees: from Individual to Social Immunity." We aim for a multidisciplinary, multi-level approach to explore the intricate world of bees and their remarkable ability to combat diseases collectively. From their individual actions such as grooming to the complex dynamics of social immunity within colonies, we will delve into the fascinating mechanisms that underpin bee health. This webinar aims to present some of the latest developments in unveiling the molecular, physiological, and organismal mechanisms underlying social immunity in the key bee pollinators of our planet.

Bees, renowned for their intricate social structure and collective behavior, provide fascinating insights into how individual actions culminate in complex colony-level phenotypes resembling a superorganism. Crucially, bees serve as pivotal pollinators, not only sustaining ecosystems but also bolstering the abundance of agricultural crops vital for nourishing our planet. However, contemporary challenges loom large over bee populations, leading to the so-called "global pollination crisis". Urbanization and agricultural expansion have led to rampant habitat loss, constraining bees' foraging and nesting grounds. Furthermore, pesticide exposure, particularly to neonicotinoids, poses a significant threat to bee health and immune systems. Climate change exacerbates the situation by altering the flowering patterns of plants and disrupting bee food sources. Additionally, bees grapple with an array of pathogens and parasites, necessitating the use of various drugs, which may inadvertently weaken them. These multifaceted stressors collectively imperil bee populations, jeopardizing their indispensable role in pollination. This webinar will focus on a crucial collective behavior—social immunity. Bees exhibit remarkable individual behaviors that collectively contribute to social immunity, safeguarding their colonies against disease. Through behaviors such as grooming, hygienic practices, and collective defense, bees prevent the spread of pathogens. This collaborative effort underscores the vital role of individual actions in maintaining the health and resilience of bee communities.

Date: 16 May 2024

Time: 5:00 pm CEST | 10:00 am CDT

Webinar ID: 816 2147 6120

Webinar Secretariat:

Webinar Recording (Registered Only)

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Event Chairs

Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

Guy Bloch is a professor of biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB). He completed his first, second, and third degrees at Tel Aviv University (Ph.D. graduation, 1997) and was a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Gene Robinson at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997–2001). Since then, he has held many administrative and managerial positions including the Chair of the Department of EEB and the Head of the Hebrew University Fellowship Committee. His group uses a multidisciplinary, multi-level approach (from colonies to molecules) to study the mechanisms and evolution of sociality and social behavior. He has published around 90 peer-reviewed papers, including those published in prestigious journals such as Nature, Current Biology, Nature Communications, and PNAS and has secured funds to support his research group. Prof. Bloch has won many awards and serves as a Section Editor-in-chief for the journal Insects (MDPI) and as a Section Editor of Frontiers in Physiology, Heliyon, and the Journal of Insect Science. He also serves on the editorial board of eight additional leading journals covering entomology and chronobiology.

Invited Speakers

Department of Entomology, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Institute, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Dr. Shpigler heads the bee health and behavior lab at the Volcani Institute in Israel. He obtained his Ph.D at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and worked as a research associate at the lab of Prof. Gene Robinson at the University of Illinois. His scientific work focuses on the biology of bees, asking questions on the interaction between pathogens, bees' behavior and physiology, and their evolutionary conservation. His research uses an integrative biological approach, including behavior, genomics, endocrinology, and physiology. The main animal models in his lab are honey bees and bumble bees.

Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA

Dr. Niño’s research and extension team supports a number of stakeholder groups through a number of educational activities and by offering laboratory and field services. Dr. Niño’s research interests encompass basic and applied approaches to understanding and improving honey bee health. Ongoing research projects include understanding queen mating and reproductive processes, testing novel biopesticides for efficacy against varroa mites, the benefits of nutritional supplements such as probiotics and phytochemicals, and evaluating pollination management practices with the goal of supporting honey bee health. To learn more about these research and extension/outreach efforts, please visit,, and



Time in CDT

Time in CEST

Prof. Guy Bloch

Chair Introduction

10:00 - 10:10 am

5:00 - 5:10 pm

Dr. Hagai Y. Shpigler

The Effect of Juvenile Hormone on Viral Infection in Bumble bees

10:10 - 10:30 am

5:10 - 5:30 pm

Dr. Elina Lastro Niño

A multifaceted approach to supporting honey bee colony health in California's agricultural system

10:30 - 10:50 am

5:30 - 5:50 pm

Q&A Session

10:50 - 11:15 am

5:50 - 6:15 pm

Closing of Webinar

Prof. Guy Bloch

11:15 - 11:30 am

6:15 - 6:30 pm

Relevant Special Issues

Bees and Their Symbionts

Edited by Dr. Kirk E. Anderson and Dr. Quinn S. McFrederick

Impact of Environmental Factors and Management Practices on Bee Health

Edited by Prof. Dr. Ivana Tlak Gajger and Dr. Franco Mutinelli

Bee Conservation: Behaviour, Health, and Pollination Ecology

Edited by Dr. Kit S. Prendergast

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024

Sponsors and Partners