Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382185

Research Project: New Crop Production and Protection Practices to Increase Sugarcane Ratoon Longevity and Maximize Economic Sustainability

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Colony- and individual-level viral infections determine macronutrient foraging preferences based on honey bee (Apis mellifera) genotype

item Dickens, Rachel
item Penn, Hannah
item Simone-Finstrom, Michael

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Nutrition is an important component of honey bee colony health especially in the face of stressors such as varroa mite (Varroa destructor) parasitism and disease. Honey bees are known to preferentially select pollen and nectar sources based on macronutrient content as well as self-medicate using plant resin. However, little work has been conducted on how viral infection influences foraging choices, particularly in relation to host genetics. Therefore, this field experiment was conducted to determine if honey bee genotype influences nectar and pollen foraging choices in association with colony and individual forager viral infection status. We found that virus identity and colony versus forager infection influenced nectar and pollen foraging. Colony-level infections by Deformed wing virus (specifically DWV-B) and Chronic bee paralysis virus status had opposing influences on foragers’ nectar load weights. However, if an individual nectar forager had high DWV-B levels, the nectar load weight decreased probably due to infection-induced reduction in foraging ability. A combination of her own and colony virus levels influenced a pollen forager’s preference for protein- or lipid-rich pollen, with colony infection status playing a stronger role. Foragers whose colonies had higher DWV-A levels increased their lipid foraging while those with higher DWV-B colony infections increased protein foraging perhaps to reduce virulence of both viruses on their colonies. Genetic stock was significant in all foraging aspects (e.g. nectar load weight, pollen macronutrients) as well as bee response to viral infection. This study shows that colony genetics can play an important role in virus levels and that both factors can simultaneously influence foraging decisions.