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Title: Lessons learned by the Managed Pollinator CAP: The impact of Varroa parasitism on honey bee health

item Aronstein, Katherine
item DOUGLAS, ANGELA - Cornell University

Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2012
Publication Date: 8/1/2012
Citation: Aronstein, K.A., Douglas, A. 2012. Lessons learned by the Managed Pollinator CAP: The impact of Varroa parasitism on honey bee health. American Bee Journal. 8:789-790.

Interpretive Summary: The effects of Varroa parasitism on bees’ immune responses were analyzed at the USDA laboratory in Weslaco, TX (Dr. Aronstein Lab) and the levels of nutritional indices were measured at Cornell University, NY (Dr. Douglas Lab). This study concluded that Varroa parasitism had no significant effect on the expression level of honey bee antimicrobial peptides. Importantly, all tested bees had various levels of deformed wing virus (DWV) with the highest levels found in bees with visible signs of DWV. The study has also found that Varroa infestation negatively affected the wellbeing of the entire colony, including uninfested bees collected from colonies with high levels of Varroa. These colony effects may explain a decline of the entire bee colony under extreme stress.

Technical Abstract: Several years of work consolidated under the Cooperative Agricultural Project (CAP) has allowed a multi-institutional group of scientists to address complex questions related to the decline of honey bee populations. The group implemented a coordinated multi-state approach to improve bee management in stationary settings. Other questions addressed by the group included: synergistic effects of diseases, parasites and pesticides. pollinator health and nutrition, colony productivity, and developing genetic markers for breeding a better bee.