Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees to Improve Queen and Colony Health

Location: Bee Research

Title: Effects of long distance transportation on honey bee physiology

Authors
item Ahn, Kiheung -
item Xie, Xianbing -
item PETTIS, JEFFERY
item Huang, Zachary -

Submitted to: Psyche
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 24, 2012
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Citation: Ahn, K., Xie, X., Pettis, J.S., Huang, Z.Y. 2012. Effects of long distance transportation on honey bee physiology. Psyche. DOI: 10.1155/2012/193029.

Interpretive Summary: Little is known about how long distance transportation effects honey bees. Three trials were conducted to study the effects of long distance transportation on honey bee physiology. In each trial, newly emerged bees were collected and split into two groups and introduced into a transported colony or a stationary colony. After transport, assays of protein content in the head or thorax and lipid content from the abdomen were performed on sample bees from transported and stationary colonies. These assays looked at juvenile hormone levels and in food (hypopharyngeal) glands levels in the stationary and transported honey bees. Results showed that the food glands in transported colonies were significantly smaller than stationary colonies in all three trials. This study suggests that bees experiencing transportation have trouble fully developing their food glands and this might affect their ability to nurse the next generation of workers.

Technical Abstract: Despite the requirement of long distance transportation of honey bees used for pollination, we understand little how transportation affects honey bees. Three trials were conducted to study the effects of long distance transportation on honey bee physiology. Newly emerged bees from one colony were split into two groups and introduced into a transported (T) colony or a stationary (S) colony in each trial. After the transportation was over, juvenile hormone (JH) titers in haemolymph, volume of acini in hypopharyngeal glands (HPG), protein content in head or thorax and lipid content in abdomen were assayed for bees sampled from the S and T colonies. Results showed that volumes of HPG acini in T colonies were significantly smaller than S colonies in all three trials. There were no significant differences between S and T colonies in JH titers. Protein content in head showed no significant differences between S and T either in 7-day-old or 17-day-old bees of MI trial, but GA trial showed a significant negative impact of transportation. Protein content in thorax was only measured in GA trial and was not significantly different between the two groups. Lipid content in abdomen was not significantly different between the S and T colonies in all three trials. This study suggests that bees experiencing transportation have trouble fully developing their food glands and this might affect their ability to nurse the next generation of workers.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page