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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321208

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: The effects of Imidacloprid and Varroa destructor on the survival and health of European honey bees, Apis mellifera

Author
item Abbo, Pendo - Columbia University
item Kawasaki, Joshua - Brigham Young University
item Hamilton, Michele
item Cook, Steven
item Degrandi-hoffman, Gloria
item Li, Wenfeng - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item Lie, Jie - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University
item Chen, Yanping - Judy

Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2016
Publication Date: 3/8/2016
Citation: Abbo, P.M., Kawasaki, J.K., Hamilton, M.C., Cook, S.C., Hoffman, G.D., Li, W., Lie, J., Chen, Y. 2016. The effects of Imidacloprid and Varroa destructor on the survival and health of European honey bees, Apis mellifera. Insect Science. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12335.

Interpretive Summary: Of a number of possible factors attributed to global honey bee losses, the parasitic mite Varroa and pesticides are leading risks to bee health. We conducted studies to investigate the effects of a pesticide that is called Imidacloprid and a parastic Varroa mite on honeybee health. Our results showed that sub-lethal doses of Imidacloprid could exert a significantly negative effect upon overall health and survival of honeybees and that the Varroa mite transmitted and activated Deformed wing virus to form a Varroa-virus association which is now thought to contribute to the world-wide bee colony losses. The information obtained from this study should be of interest to the researchers, graduate students, apiary inspectors, and beekeepers in the honey bee society worldwide.

Technical Abstract: In the past decade, there has been growing concern over the decline in populations of honeybees and other pollinators which are vital part of our food security. It is therefore imperative to identify factors that are responsible for accelerated decline in bee population and develop solutions toward reversing the honeybee losses. While the exact cause of colony losses remains unidentified at this point, the decrease in colony losses could be due to a number of different factors. Of factors posing threats to bee health, ectoparasitic mites Varroa destructor and neonicotinoid pesticides are thought to play key role in honeybee population decline. The present study was aimed investigating the effects of a neonicotinoid pesticide Imidacloprid and Varroa mites on the survivorship, growth, physiology, virus dynamics and immunity of adult honeybee workers. Our study provided clear evidence that the exposure to the sub-lethal doses of Imidacloprid could exert a significantly negative effect upon overall health and survival of honeybees. The observation that there was a significant reduction in the titer of Vitellogenin (Vg) in bees exposed to the pesticide suggested detoxification and energy metabolism in response to the pesticide and demonstrated that Vg could be a plausible biomarker for measuring the levels of honey bee energy stress and the sublethal effects of pesticides on honey bees. The measurement of the quantitative effects of different levels of Varroa mite infestation on the replication dynamic of Deformed wing virus (DWV) and expression level of immune genes in honeybees yielded unique insights into how honeybees respond to stressors under the laboratory conditions.