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Insects 2017, 8(4), 127; doi:10.3390/insects8040127

Comparative Flight Activities and Pathogen Load of Two Stocks of Honey Bees Reared in Gamma-Irradiated Combs

Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Baton Rouge, LA 70820, USA
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Academic Editors: Steven Cook and Jay Daniel Evans
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions Among Threats to Honeybee Health)
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Abstract

Gamma irradiation is known to inactivate various pathogens that negatively affect honey bee health. Bee pathogens, such as Deformed wing virus (DWV) and Nosema spp., have a deleterious impact on foraging activities and bee survival, and have been detected in combs. In this study, we assessed the effects of gamma irradiation on the flight activities, pathogen load, and survival of two honey bee stocks that were reared in irradiated and non-irradiated combs. Overall, bee genotype influenced the average number of daily flights, the total number of foraging flights, and total flight duration, in which the Russian honey bees outperformed the Italian honey bees. Exposing combs to gamma irradiation only affected the age at first flight, with worker bees that were reared in non-irradiated combs foraging prematurely compared to those reared in irradiated combs. Precocious foraging may be associated with the higher levels of DWV in bees reared in non-irradiated combs and also with the lower amount of pollen stores in colonies that used non-irradiated combs. These data suggest that gamma irradiation of combs can help minimize the negative impact of DWV in honey bees. Since colonies with irradiated combs stored more pollen than those with non-irradiated combs, crop pollination efficiency may be further improved when mite-resistant stocks are used, since they performed more flights and had longer flight durations. View Full-Text
Keywords: gamma irradiation; flight activities; foraging behavior; Russian honey bees; radio frequency identification gamma irradiation; flight activities; foraging behavior; Russian honey bees; radio frequency identification
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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

de Guzman, L.I.; Frake, A.M.; Simone-Finstrom, M. Comparative Flight Activities and Pathogen Load of Two Stocks of Honey Bees Reared in Gamma-Irradiated Combs. Insects 2017, 8, 127.

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