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Insects 2017, 8(2), 46; doi:10.3390/insects8020046

Propolis Counteracts Some Threats to Honey Bee Health

1
USDA-ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Laboratory, Baton Rouge, LA 70820, USA
2
Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4, Canada
3
Beaverlodge Research Farm, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Beaverlodge, AB T0H 0C0, Canada
4
Center for Drug Design, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55018, USA
5
Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Steven Cook and Jay Daniel Evans
Received: 8 March 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 29 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions Among Threats to Honeybee Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2476 KB, uploaded 2 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are constantly dealing with threats from pathogens, pests, pesticides and poor nutrition. It is critically important to understand how honey bees’ natural immune responses (individual immunity) and collective behavioral defenses (social immunity) can improve bee health and productivity. One form of social immunity in honey bee colonies is the collection of antimicrobial plant resins and their use in the nest architecture as propolis. We review research on the constitutive benefits of propolis on the honey bee immune system, and its known therapeutic, colony-level effects against the pathogens Paenibacillus larvae and Ascosphaera apis. We also review the limited research on the effects of propolis against other pathogens, parasites and pests (Nosema, viruses, Varroa destructor, and hive beetles) and how propolis may enhance bee products such as royal jelly and honey. Although propolis may be a source of pesticide contamination, it also has the potential to be a detoxifying agent or primer of detoxification pathways, as well as increasing bee longevity via antioxidant-related pathways. Throughout this paper, we discuss opportunities for future research goals and present ways in which the beekeeping community can promote propolis use in standard colonies, as one way to improve and maintain colony health and resiliency. View Full-Text
Keywords: Apis mellifera; social immunity; plant resin; plant insect interactions Apis mellifera; social immunity; plant resin; plant insect interactions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Simone-Finstrom, M.; Borba, R.S.; Wilson, M.; Spivak, M. Propolis Counteracts Some Threats to Honey Bee Health. Insects 2017, 8, 46.

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