Ailing beehives may not sniffle and sneeze, but new research shows that they can run fevers.
Honeybees exposed to the potentially deadly chalkbrood fungus raised their nest temperature about half a degree Celsius, report Philip T. Starks, now at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues. When the researchers took away the threat, the temperature dropped, the team reports in the May Naturwissenschaften.
"I believe this is the first documented case of fever in honeybees," Starks says. That little heat wave could fight disease as it does in a sick person, he speculates. "Often, very different animals converge on the same solution to similar problems," he says. "Fever in honeybee colonies is another fine example."