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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » Carl Hayden Bee Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323882

Title: Parasaccharibacter apium, gen. nov., sp. nov., improves honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) resistance to Nosema

item Corby-Harris, Vanessa
item Snyder, Lucy
item Meador, Charlotte
item NALDO, REBECCA - Former ARS Employee
item Mott, Brendon
item Anderson, Kirk

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2016
Publication Date: 2/22/2016
Citation: Corby-Harris, V.L., Snyder, L.A., Meador, C.A., Naldo, R., Mott, B.M., Anderson, K.E. 2016. Parasaccharibacter apium, gen. nov., sp. nov., improves honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) resistance to Nosema. Journal of Economic Entomology. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow012.

Interpretive Summary: The bacterium Parasaccharibacter apium is beneficial to honey bees raised in the laboratory. Here, we tested whether P. apium’s benefits extend to colonies in the field. Several aspects of honey bee colony strength were measured, including brood area, foraging rate, and amount of food stored. Newly emerged bees from colonies fed P. apium and those not fed P. apium (the control) were also assayed for their ability to resist the gut parasite Nosema. While P. apium did not impact honey bee colony strength, bees fed the bacterium were more resistant to Nosema infection compared to bees from colonies fed the control. These results suggest that P. apium may be further developed for use as a probiotic additive to supplemental bee diets.

Technical Abstract: The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is host to a variety of microorganisms. The bacterial community that occupies the adult worker gut contains a core group of approximately seven taxa, while the hive environment contains its own distribution of bacteria that is in many ways distinct from the gut. Parasaccharibacter apium, gen. nov., sp. nov., is a hive bacterium found in food stores and in larvae, worker jelly, worker hypopharyngeal glands, and queens. P. apium increases larval survival under laboratory conditions. To determine if this benefit is extended to colonies in the field, we tested if P. apium (1) survives and reproduces in supplemental pollen patty, (2) is distributed throughout the hive when added to pollen patty, (3) benefits colony health, and (4) increases the ability of foragers to resist the Nosema. P. apium survived in supplemental diet and was readily consumed by bees. It was distributed throughout the hive under field conditions, moving from the pollen patty to hive larvae. While P. apium did not significantly increase colony brood production, food stores, or foraging rates, it did increase resistance to Nosema infection. Our data suggests that P. apium may positively impact honey bee health.