The habitat disruption induces immune-suppression and oxidative stress in honey bees
ABSTRACT: Background: Honey bee is a major insect used for pollination of a number of commercial crops worldwide. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies has recently declined in several countries, and a number of possible causes are proposed. Although the use of honey bees for pollination can be considered as disruption of the habitat, its effects on honey bees' physiology have never been addressed. In Japan, more than 100 thousands colonies are annually used for pollination, and intriguingly 80% of them are used in greenhouses. Recently, honey bee colonies have often collapsed when they are introduced into greenhouses. Thus, to suppress colony collapses and maintain the number of worker bees in the colonies are essential for successful long-term pollination in greenhouses and recycling honey bee colonies. Honey bee hives were installed into strawberry and eggplant greenhouses, and then the gene expression profiles of the honey bees were examined at the different time periods. Total 16 samples with two replicates were analyzed.
Project description:Background: Honey bee is a major insect used for pollination of a number of commercial crops worldwide. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies has recently declined in several countries, and a number of possible causes are proposed. Although the use of honey bees for pollination can be considered as disruption of the habitat, its effects on honey bees' physiology have never been addressed. In Japan, more than 100 thousands colonies are annually used for pollination, and intriguingly 80% of them are used in greenhouses. Recently, honey bee colonies have often collapsed when they are introduced into greenhouses. Thus, to suppress colony collapses and maintain the number of worker bees in the colonies are essential for successful long-term pollination in greenhouses and recycling honey bee colonies. Honey bee hives were installed into strawberry and eggplant greenhouses, and then the gene expression profiles of the honey bees were examined at the different time periods. Total 16 samples with two replicates were analyzed.
Project description:Background: Honey bee is a major insect used for pollination of a number of commercial crops worldwide. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies has recently declined in several countries, and a number of possible causes are proposed. Although the use of honey bees for pollination can be considered as disruption of the habitat, its effects on honey bees' physiology have never been addressed. In Japan, more than 100 thousands colonies are annually used for pollination, and intriguingly 80% of them are used in greenhouses. Recently, honey bee colonies have often collapsed when they are introduced into greenhouses. Thus, to suppress colony collapses and maintain the number of worker bees in the colonies are essential for successful long-term pollination in greenhouses and recycling honey bee colonies.
Project description:The honey bee is a major insect used for pollination of many commercial crops worldwide. Although the use of honey bees for pollination can disrupt the habitat, the effects on their physiology have never been determined. Recently, honey bee colonies have often collapsed when introduced in greenhouses for pollination in Japan. Thus, suppressing colony collapses and maintaining the number of worker bees in the colonies is essential for successful long-term pollination in greenhouses and recycling of honey bee colonies. To understand the physiological states of honey bees used for long-term pollination in greenhouses, we characterized their gene expression profiles by microarray. We found that the greenhouse environment changes the gene expression profiles and induces immune-suppression and oxidative stress in honey bees. In fact, the increase of the number of Nosema microsporidia and protein carbonyl content was observed in honey bees during pollination in greenhouses. Thus, honey bee colonies are likely to collapse during pollination in greenhouses when heavily infested with pathogens. Degradation of honey bee habitat by changing the outside environment of the colony, during pollination services for example, imposes negative impacts on honey bees. Thus, worldwide use of honey bees for crop pollination in general could be one of reasons for the decline of managed honey bee colonies.
Project description:Recent losses in honey bee colonies are unusual in their severity, geographical distribution, and, in some cases, failure to present recognized characteristics of known disease. Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new or resurgent pathogens. Here we explore the incidence and abundance of currently known honey bee pathogens in colonies suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), otherwise weak colonies, and strong colonies from across the United States. Although pathogen identities differed between the eastern and western United States, there was a greater incidence and abundance of pathogens in CCD colonies. Pathogen loads were highly covariant in CCD but not control hives, suggesting that CCD colonies rapidly become susceptible to a diverse set of pathogens, or that co-infections can act synergistically to produce the rapid depletion of workers that characterizes the disorder. We also tested workers from a CCD-free apiary to confirm that significant positive correlations among pathogen loads can develop at the level of individual bees and not merely as a secondary effect of CCD. This observation and other recent data highlight pathogen interactions as important components of bee disease. Finally, we used deep RNA sequencing to further characterize microbial diversity in CCD and non-CCD hives. We identified novel strains of the recently described Lake Sinai viruses (LSV) and found evidence of a shift in gut bacterial composition that may be a biomarker of CCD. The results are discussed with respect to host-parasite interactions and other environmental stressors of honey bees.
Project description:Colony brood levels, frames of bees (adult bee mass) and internal hive temperature were monitored for 60 colonies for each of two years as they were moved from agricultural, tree crop and mountain landscapes in southern California to blueberry and almond pollination sites. Hive weight was also continuously monitored for 20 of those hives for 6 weeks for both years, during commercial pollination. Pesticide residues in wax, honey and beebread samples were analyzed by composite apiary samples. While colonies in mountain sites had more adult bees and brood than those in agricultural sites in August, by October brood levels were higher in colonies from agricultural sites. Though hives from different original landscapes differed in size in October, hive assessments revealed no differences between the groups after co-wintering when graded for commercial almond pollination. Beebread from hives in agricultural sites had greater agrochemical diversity and in general higher pesticide hazard quotients than those from mountain sites, but those hives also had higher and more constant temperatures from September until January than hives from mountain sites. Hives placed in commercial almond pollination gained on average 287 g per d, compared to an average loss of 68 g per d for colonies in commercial blueberry pollination, although weight data indicated greater foraging effort by colonies in blueberries, possibly due to the proximity and abundance of almond pollen during bloom. Temperature monitoring was effective at distinguishing hive groups and had the best overall value in terms of equipment, installation, colony disturbance and information yield.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Honey bee colonies managed for agricultural pollination are highly dependent on human inputs, especially for disease control and supplemental nutrition. Hives are routinely fed artificial "pollen substitute" diets to compensate for insufficient nutritional forage in the environment. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different artificial diets in a northern California, US commercial beekeeping operation from August through February. This time period represents an extended forage dearth when supplemental nutrition is used to stimulate late winter colony growth prior to almond pollination in the early spring. A total of 144 honey bee colonies were divided into 8 feeding groups that were replicated at three apiary sites. Feeding groups received commercial diets (Global, Ultra Bee, Bulk Soft, MegaBee, AP23, Healthy Bees), a beekeeper-formulated diet (Homebrew), or a sugar negative control. Diets were analyzed for macronutrient and amino acid content then evaluated with respect to honey bee colony population size, average bee weight, nutrition-related gene expression, gut microbiota abundance, and pathogen levels.<h4>Results</h4>Replicated at three apiary sites, two pollen-containing diets (Global and Homebrew) produced the largest colonies and the heaviest bees per colony. Two diets (Bulk Soft and AP23) that did not contain pollen led to significantly larger colonies than a sugar negative control diet. Diet macronutrient content was not correlated with colony size or health biomarkers. The sum of dietary essential amino acid deficiencies relative to leucine content were correlated with average bee weight in November and colony size used for almond pollination in February. Nutrition-related gene expression, gut microbiota, and pathogen levels were influenced by apiary site, which overrode some diet effects. Regarding microbiota, diet had a significant impact on the abundance of Bifidobacterium and Gilliamella and trended towards effects on other prominent bee gut taxa.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Multiple colony and individual bee measures are necessary to test diet efficacy since honey bee nutritional responses are complex to evaluate. Balancing essential amino acid content relative to leucine instead of tryptophan may improve diet protein efficiency ratios. Optimization of bee diets could improve feed sustainability and agricultural pollination efficiency by supporting larger, healthier honey bee colonies.
Project description:Honey bees are increasingly important in the pollination of crops and wild plants. Recent reports of the weakening and periodical high losses of managed honey bee colonies have alarmed beekeeper, farmers and scientists. Infestations with the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in combination with its associated viruses have been identified as a crucial driver of these health problems. Although yearly treatments are required to prevent collapses of honey bee colonies, the number of effective acaricides is small and no new active compounds have been registered in the past 25 years. RNAi-based methods were proposed recently as a promising new tool. However, the application of these methods according to published protocols has led to a surprising discovery. Here, we show that the lithium chloride that was used to precipitate RNA and other lithium compounds is highly effective at killing Varroa mites when fed to host bees at low millimolar concentrations. Experiments with caged bees and brood-free artificial swarms consisting of a queen and several thousand bees clearly demonstrate the potential of lithium as miticidal agent with good tolerability in worker bees providing a promising basis for the development of an effective and easy-to-apply control method for mite treatment.
Project description:Honey bees and, more recently, bumblebees have been domesticated and are now managed commercially primarily for crop pollination, mixing with wild pollinators during foraging on shared flower resources. There is mounting evidence that managed honey bees or commercially produced bumblebees may affect the health of wild pollinators such as bumblebees by increasing competition for resources and the prevalence of parasites in wild bees. Here we screened 764 bumblebees from around five greenhouses that either used commercially produced bumblebees or did not, as well as bumblebees from 10 colonies placed at two sites either close to or far from a honey bee apiary, for the parasites Apicystis bombi, Crithidia bombi, Nosema bombi, N. ceranae, N. apis and deformed wing virus. We found that A. bombi and C. bombi were more prevalent around greenhouses using commercially produced bumblebees, while C. bombi was 18% more prevalent in bumblebees at the site near to the honey bee apiary than those at the site far from the apiary. Whilst these results are from only a limited number of sites, they support previous reports of parasite spillover from commercially produced bumblebees to wild bumblebees, and suggest that the impact of stress from competing with managed bees or the vectoring of parasites by them on parasite prevalence in wild bees needs further investigation. It appears increasingly likely that the use of managed bees comes at a cost of increased parasites in wild bumblebees, which is not only a concern for bumblebee conservation, but which may impact other pollinators as well.
Project description:Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops and the dramatic losses of honey bee colonies have risen to a level of international concern. Potential contributors to such losses include pesticide exposure, lack of floral resources and parasites and pathogens. The damaging effects of all of these may be exacerbated by apicultural practices. To meet the pollination demand of US crops, bees are transported to areas of high pollination demand throughout the year. Compared to stationary colonies, risk of parasitism and infectious disease may be greater for migratory bees than those that remain in a single location, although this has not been experimentally established. Here, we conducted a manipulative experiment to test whether viral pathogen and parasite loads increase as a result of colonies being transported for pollination of a major US crop, California almonds. We also tested if they subsequently transmit those diseases to stationary colonies upon return to their home apiaries. Colonies started with equivalent numbers of bees, however migratory colonies returned with fewer bees compared to stationary colonies and this difference remained one month later. Migratory colonies returned with higher black queen cell virus loads than stationary colonies, but loads were similar between groups one month later. Colonies exposed to migratory bees experienced a greater increase of deformed wing virus prevalence and load compared to the isolated group. The three groups had similar infestations of Varroa mites upon return of the migratory colonies. However, one month later, mite loads in migratory colonies were significantly lower compared to the other groups, possibly because of lower number of host bees. Our study demonstrates that migratory pollination practices has varying health effects for honey bee colonies. Further research is necessary to clarify how migratory pollination practices influence the disease dynamics of honey bee diseases we describe here.
Project description:Most pollination in large-scale agriculture is dependent on managed colonies of a single species, the honey bee Apis mellifera. More than 1 million hives are transported to California each year just to pollinate the almonds, and bees are trucked across the country for various cropping systems. Concerns have been raised about whether such "migratory management" causes bees undue stress; however to date there have been no longer-term studies rigorously addressing whether migratory management is detrimental to bee health. To address this issue, we conducted field experiments comparing bees from commercial and experimental migratory beekeeping operations to those from stationary colonies to quantify effects on lifespan, colony health and productivity, and levels of oxidative damage for individual bees. We detected a significant decrease in lifespan of migratory adult bees relative to stationary bees. We also found that migration affected oxidative stress levels in honey bees, but that food scarcity had an even larger impact; some detrimental effects of migration may be alleviated by a greater abundance of forage. In addition, rearing conditions affect levels of oxidative damage incurred as adults. This is the first comprehensive study on impacts of migratory management on the health and oxidative stress of honey bees.