There are many people who are scared silly by the prospect of their own deaths. This fear could explain why the concept of eternal life is so well represented in numerous works of literature. It could be said that mankind has been seeking an antidote to death for the entirety of recorded human history. Of course, everyone has heard of Ponce de Leon’s quest for the fountain of youth. However, Ponce was looking in the wrong place, as modern scientists have good reason to believe that the key to defeating death lies within the guts of bees. Although this may seem like an absurd claim, researchers have recently conducted a study on bees that demonstrated how gut bacteria can influence a bee’s lifespan.
These days, maintaining a healthy diet is important to many people. It is no secret that our diets influence our health, and out health influences how long we will live. Not surprisingly, the lifespan of other organisms can be influenced by what they eat as well. The food we eat can impact our longevity for several reasons, one of which has to do with gut bacteria. Researchers in Arizona have recently conducted a study on how gut bacteria influences the lifespan of bees. According to Kirk Anderson, a research microbiologist with the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, the recent study on bee longevity was the first of its kind to demonstrate a relationship between gut bacteria and longevity in bees. Anderson conducted the study in order to find out why queen bees live far longer than worker bees of the same colony.
Anderson had known about the many studies that have suggested a link between gut bacteria and longevity in humans. These studies found that different types of probiotic bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, promote health and longevity, while Proteobacteria are associated with unhealthy microbial balances. As it turns out, this holds true for bees as well as humans. As worker bees age, the levels of probiotic bacteria in their guts decreases as the Proteobacteria that is associated with bad health and aging increases. Luckily for aging queen bees, their guts continue to produce probiotic forms of bacteria that promote youthfulness. This explains why queen bees live for years while worker bees live only for a few weeks. The lead researcher, Anderson, claims that human digestive systems function in the exact same manner and contain the same types of bacteria that can be found in bee guts. This makes bees ideal study models for research into the science of human aging.
Do queen insects that belong to different insect species, such as ants, wasps and termites, also live longer than their worker offspring?