2007 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To insure healthy and populous European honey bee colonies for pollination we will; develop artificial diets that will enhance colony health and population size; investigate novel strategies for control of Varroa based upon chemical cues affecting mite behavior and reproduction; and determine factors leading to the usurpation of European honey bee colonies by African bees.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The movement and transport of managed bees for commercial pollination purposes poses several important problems and risks to colonies. Lack of suitable nutrition, particularly during times of transport, results in weakened colonies that are less effective pollinators. Colonies are weakened further by the presence of parasitic mites. Migratory honey bee colonies in the southwestern U.S. and California face an additional challenge from feral populations of Africanized bees which can invade hives and replace managed European bee colonies. Our approach to insuring that strong, healthy colonies are available for pollination is to develop dietary supplements to stimulate brood rearing and boost colony strength; reduce the impact of paratitic mites using specific controls based on mite behavior; and determine factors that lead to usurpation of colonies by Africanized bees. In combination, the three elements of our approach will increase the number and pollinating efficiency of European honey bee colonies used for pollination. Formerly 5342-21000-012-00D and 5342-21000-013-00D (combined 10/04).
In FY 2007, we conducted a field test comparing the Tucson Bee diet we developed with other commercially available diets, bee–collected pollen (positive control), and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) (negative control). The consumption of the Tucson Bee diet and resulting colony growth did not differ from pollen, but was significantly greater than some commercial diets and HFCS. Larvae from mite resistant and susceptible lines were sampled for volatiles that might affect parasitism by Varroa. Identification of the compounds has begun. We found that a volatile queen-specific compound (previously identified by our Laboratory), plays a role in queen acceptance and might also be a cue to invading swarms that communicates the presence of a queen in the colony. Invasion swarms prefer to invade queenless colonies. Workers in invasion swarms do not appear to force their way into colonies, but instead bypass the colony’s guard bees by either offering food or acquiring the odors of workers in the colony. We found that invading workers protect their queen during the invasion process by forming a cluster around her. The workers release the queen in the invaded colony about 48hrs after entering.
Tucson Bee Diet Goes into Commercial Production
Honey bee colony population growth and survival depend on nectar and pollen from flowering plants which might be unavailable due to weather or the movement of colonies for pollination. To provide nutrition when flowering plants are unavailable, scientists in the Honey Bee Research Unit in Tucson, AZ, formulated a supplemental protein diet. The Tucson Bee diet is comparable to naturally collected pollen in attractiveness to bees, consumption rates, and in stimulating colony growth. The diet is an important component in addressing the impact of poor nutrition on colony health and in preventing colony collapse disorder brought on by insufficient amounts of pollen in the hive. NP 305, Component, 3, Section B.
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Western Apiculture Society Open House at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center
|Number of new CRADAs and MTAs||1|
|Number of active CRADAs and MTAs||3|
|Number of U.S. patents granted||1|
|Number of web sites managed||1|
|Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings||10|
|Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences||15|
Gilley, D. C. Nest odor changes following queen loss in Apis mellifera. J. Apiculture Research 45: 159-161. 2006.
DeGrandi-Hoffman, G., Gilley, D., Hooper, J. The influence of season and volatile compounds on the acceptance of introduced European honey bee (Apis mellifera) Queens into European and Africanized colonies. Apidologie 38:230-237. 2007.