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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #431382

Research Project: Effects of Environmental Stressors and Plant Secondary Chemicals on Viral Infections and Physiological Performance in Honey Bees and Bumble Bees

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-017-06-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2016
End Date: Jul 31, 2019

Objective:
Investigate the impacts of viral infections in honey bees and bumble bees when bees are simultaneously exposed to either pesticides or plant secondary compounds and determine the impacts on survivorship or physiological performance.

Approach:
Using experiments designed a priori for statistical analysis of results, bees will be tested as either individuals or as micro-colonies to determine the impacts of added viral exposures in combination with either sublethal levels of pesticides or plant secondary compounds. Response variables will include survivorship, physiological impacts, and measures of the viral infections (prevalence among individuals, titers of viruses within individuals, and viral localization within tissues in bees). For the physiological impacts, these will include measures of immune parameters (gene expression), behavior (diet choice), and/or thermoregulation during resting and flight. The potential outcomes will be evaluated to design methods to overcome viral infections (prophylatics in sugar supplements for honey bees) and/or design recommendations for bee keepers/land managers in decisions on pesticide applications and/or which type of plants to include in bee pastures, to increase the health of honey bees and bumble bees.