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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy detects queen honey bee insemination

Authors
item Webster, Thomas - KENTUCKY STATE UNIV
item Dowell, Floyd
item Maghirang, Elizabeth
item Thacker, Etta - KENTUCKY STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 10, 2009
Publication Date: September 30, 2009
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido/2009038
Citation: Webster, T.C., Dowell, F.E., Maghirang, E.B., Thacker, E.M. 2009. Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy detects queen honey bee insemination. Apidologie. 40(5):565-569.

Interpretive Summary: The widespread honey bee colony mortality may be related to queen fertility and pathogens. A rapid, non-invasive method for assessing bee fertility and health would be useful in studies of affected bee colonies. We investigated the application of near-infrared spectroscopy to determining queen fertility and the presence of pathogens. The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the brood nest of a hive had reflectance spectra that differed from those of flying workers taken from the hive entrance. These spectra could be used to predict whether bees were from the brood nest or were collected as flying bees with about 85% accuracy. However, we were not able to determine the severity of Nosema apis infection in worker ventriculi. This technology can be a useful to rapidly and non-destructively determine the honey bee characteristics as we attempt to understand the Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon.

Technical Abstract: The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the brood nest of a hive had reflectance spectra that differed from those of flying workers taken from the hive entrance. These spectra could be used to predict whether bees were from the brood nest or were collected as flying bees with about 85% accuracy. However, the weights of hypopharyngeal glands taken from those worker bees were not correlated with the spectra. Also, the severity of Nosema apis infection in worker ventriculi was not correlated with the absorption spectra of those ventriculi. Hence near-infrared spectroscopy can be useful for rapid evaluation of certain honey bee organs, without dissection or injury to the bee.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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