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OSU Researcher studies Alcoholic Bees


The bees are feed a strong alcoholic solution equal to a 200 proof drink.


This orignially was aired as an article for the Local NBC news station Chanel 4 in Oklahoma City.

STILLWATER, Okla. - For decades scientists have studied alcoholism and its effects. And now in Oklahoma State University, researcher believes honeybees may give us important clues to how alcohol affects behavior and memory.
At first glance, it looks like a scene in a cheap horror movie. Honeybees meticulously strapped inside spent 38 gun shells - tiny barstools really. 
OSU comparative psychologist Charles Abramson does have a serious scientific goal in mind, really! It involves introducing bees to something their bee-brains could not imagine, juicy drops of 200-proof alcohol. 
When asked whether he was shocked at how much the bees drank, Abramson replied, "Well, the way they will drink this high content. I know of no other animals that will drink it so readily as this, I mean it ís remarkable."

Secured by a tiny drop of wax on their backs, hung-over honeybees can even perform treadmill tests. things that we observe with humans that are drunk.

Abramson says studying bees with a buzz may provide clues to how alcohol affects human addiction, memory loss, and learning.

 We notice that it interferes with their learning and memory, they stagger quite a bit. And these are the same things that we observe with humans that are drunk.



Once bellied up to the bar, bees quickly catch on to their new drinking habits. But after their walk on the wild side, the bees are re-released to their roof top colony. Abramsonís next goal is to see if this merry band of bees will actually drop their natural nectar habit - in favor of the harder stuff. 
Abramson plans to create artificial flowers supplied with alcohol to see if the bees prefer it to real nectar. If they do, he can study the affects of alcohol on the colony and the beesí offspring. 
Most of Abramsonís work is with killer bees. Ironically, heís allergic to all bees, so he works carefully.

 


For Further information contact
Dr. Charles I. Abramson
215 N. Murray
Stillwater, Ok 74078
(405) 744-6027
charles@vm1.ucc.okstate.edu