Four PAm funded research projects recently published results or reviews, and we share those with you here. These publications represent several areas of research focus that PAm has invested in over the years including Varroa research, long term stock improvement/queen quality, honey bee diet and nutrition, and exposure to agrochemicals. Below you will find overviews and excerpts from each publication, as well as links to the published papers.
Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph
"Varroa destructor causes considerable damage to honey bees and subsequently the field of apiculture through just one process: feeding. For five decades, we have believed that these mites consume hemolymph like a tick consumes blood, and that Varroa cause harm primarily by vectoring viruses. Our work shows that they cause damage more directly. Varroa externally digest and consume fat body tissue rather than blood. These findings explain the failure of some previous at- tempts at developing effectively targeted treatment strategies for Varroa control. Furthermore, it provides some explanation for the diverse array of debilitating pathologies associated with Varroa that were unexplained by hemolymph removal alone. Our work provides a path forward for the development of novel treatment strategies for Varroa."
Read the publication Here.
Laura Brutscher was the first Costco/PAm scholar award winner. After earning her PhD at the University of Montana, Dr. Brutscher is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis, Department of Entomology and Nemotology where she is working with Dr. Elina Nino on this long term stock improvement/queen quality research project.
Putative Drone Copulation Factors Regulating HoneyBee (Apis mellifera) Queen Reproduction and Health: A Review
“…The process of mating initiates numerous behavioral, physiological, and molecular changes that shape the fertility of the queen and her influence on the colony… …Further elucidating the role of drone fertility in queen reproductive health may contribute towards reducing colony losses and advancing honey bee stock development.”
Read the review Here
Dietary Phytochemicals, Honey Bee Longevity and Pathogen Tolerance
This work is relevant to beekeepers because knowing what naturally occurring phytochemicals do for bees could unlock the mysteries of honey bee whole nutrition, and help us derive better forage but also better supplements.
“…Bees supplemented with dietary phytochemicals survived longer and lower concentrations were generally more beneficial. Dietary phytochemicals enabled bees to combat infection as seen by reduced spore-load at mortality. Many of the phytochemicals are plant defense compounds that pollinators have evolved to tolerate and derive benefits from. Our findings support the chemical bases of co-evolutionary interactions and reiterate the importance of diversity in floral nutrition sources to sustain healthy honey bee populations by strengthening the natural mutualistic relationships.”
Read the publication Here
“Initial Exposure of Wax Foundation to Agrochemicals Causes Negligible Effects on the Growth and Winter Survival of Incipient Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Colonies.”
“…We found no significant differences in colony growth or survivorship between colonies established on pesticide-free vs. pesticide-laden wax foundation. However, colonies that had Varroa destructor levels above 3% in the fall were more likely to die overwinter than those with levels below this threshold, indicating that high Varroa infestation in the fall played a more important role than initial pesticide exposure of wax foundation in the winter survival of newly established colonies.”
Read the publication here