Michael D. Simone-Finstrom

Michael D. Simone-Finstrom
United States Department of Agriculture | USDA · Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

PhD Ecology,Evolution,Behavior

About

63
Publications
26,555
Reads
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1,718
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - September 2015
North Carolina State University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
October 2010
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Field of study
  • Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

Publications

Publications (63)
Article
Full-text available
Food quantity and macronutrients contribute to honey bee health and colony survival by mediating immune responses. We determined if this held true for bees injected with Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) and Deformed wing virus (DWV), two common honey bee ssRNA viruses. Pollen-substitute diet and syrup consumption rates and macronutrient preferenc...
Article
Full-text available
Honey bees exposed to Varroa mites incur substantial physical damage in addition to potential exposure to vectored viruses such as Deformed wing virus (DWV) that exists as three master variants (DWV-A, DWV-B, and DWV-C) and recombinants. Although mite-resistant bees have been primarily bred to mitigate the impacts of Varroa mites, mite resistance m...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrition is an important component of social insect colony health especially in the face of stressors such as parasitism and viral infections. Honey bees are known to preferentially select nectar and pollen based on macronutrient and phytochemical contents and in response to pathogen loads. However, given that honey bees live in colonies, collecti...
Article
Full-text available
The ectoparasite Varroa destructor is the greatest threat to managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies globally. Despite significant efforts, novel treatments to control the mite and its vectored pathogens have shown limited efficacy, as the host remains naïve. A prospective solution lies in the development of Varroa-resistant honey bee stocks, b...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of honey bee management, such as intensive migratory beekeeping, are part of the ongoing debate concerning causes of colony health problems. Even though comparisons of disease and pathogen loads among differently managed colonies indicate some effects, the direct impact of migratory practices on honey bee pathogens is poorly understood....
Article
Full-text available
Transgenerational immune priming is the process of increased resistance to infection in offspring due to parental pathogen exposure. Honey bees (Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) are hosts to multiple pathogens, and this complex immune function could help protect against overwhelming infection. Honey bees have demonstrated transgenerational...
Article
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Varroa mite-vectored viruses such as Deformed wing virus (DWV) are of great concern for honey bee health as they can cause disease in individuals and increase colony mortality. Two genotypes of DWV (A and B) are prevalent in the United States and may have differential virulence and pathogenicity. Honey bee genetic stocks bred to resist Varroa mites...
Article
Full-text available
Microgravity experiment modules for living organisms have been instrumental to space research, yet their design remains complex and costly. As the private space sector enables more widely available payloads for researchers, it is increasingly necessary to design experimental modules innovatively so that they are proportionately accessible. To ease...
Article
Chalkbrood infection caused by the fungus Ascosphaera apis currently has a significant impact on Australia’s apicultural industry. We investigated the genetic variation of A. apis and colony and apiary level conditions to determine if an emerging, more virulent strain or specific conditions were responsible for the prevalence of the disease. We ide...
Article
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Varroa destructor is an ectoparasitic mite of immature and adult honey bees that can transmit several single-stranded RNA viruses to its host. Varroa reproduce in brood cells, and mite populations increase as colonies produce brood in spring and summer. Mite numbers also can sharply rise, particularly in the fall, by the migration of varroa into hi...
Article
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Background: The population genetics of U.S. honey bee stocks remain poorly characterized despite the agricultural importance of Apis mellifera as the major crop pollinator. Commercial and research-based breeding programs have made significant improvements of favorable genetic traits (e.g. production and disease resistance). The variety of bees pro...
Article
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The 2020 American Bee Research Conference (ABRC) was held on 9–10 January 2020 in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Beekeeping Federation Conference and Trade Show in Schaumburg, IL. Over the two-day conference, a total of 65 oral and poster presentations were given, representing work done from over 30 different research groups...
Article
Full-text available
We evaluated the microalga Arthrospira platensis (commonly called spirulina), as a pollen substitute for honey bees. Nutritional analyses indicated that spirulina is rich in essential amino acids and a wide variety of functional lipids (i.e., phospholipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and sterols) common in pollen. Feeding bioassays were used to c...
Article
Full-text available
Honeybees have developed many unique mechanisms to help ensure the proper maintenance of homeostasis within the hive. One method includes the collection of chemically complex plant resins combined with wax to form propolis, which is deposited throughout the hive. Propolis is believed to play a significant role in reducing disease load in the colony...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence for global bee population declines has catalyzed a rapidly evolving area of research that aims to identify the factors involved and to effectively assess the status of pollinator populations. The term pollinator health emerged in the literature through efforts to understand causes of bee decline and colony losses, but it lacks a formal def...
Article
Full-text available
The 2019 American Bee Research Conference (ABRC) was held January 10–12, 2019 in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Honey Producers Association in Tempe, AZ. Over the three-day conference, a total of 45 oral presentations and 13 poster presentations were given, representing work done from over 27 institutions and 34 different re...
Article
Apis mellifera pupae and their parasites Tropilaelaps and Varroa destructor were collected from honey bee hives in Palawan, Philippines for species identification of the Tropilaelaps and viral analyses. Genetic analysis identified Tropilaelaps mercedesae infesting A. mellifera on the island. Viral analyses showed that all pupae and their infesting...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence for global bee population declines has catalyzed a rapidly evolving area of research that aims to identify the causal factors and to effectively assess the status of pollinator populations. The term pollinator health emerged through efforts to understand causes of bee decline and colony losses, but it lacks a formal definition. In this rev...
Article
Evidence for global bee population declines has catalyzed a rapidly evolving area of research that aims to identify the factors involved and to effectively assess the status of pollinator populations. The term pollinator health emerged in the literature through efforts to understand causes of bee decline and colony losses, but it lacks a formal def...
Article
We use the term social-medication to describe the deliberate consumption or use of plant compounds by social insects that are detrimental to a pathogen or parasite at the colony level, result in increased inclusive fitness to the colony, and have potential costs either at the individual or colony level in the absence of parasite infection. These cr...
Article
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The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most important managed species for agricultural pollination across the world [...]
Article
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The synergistic interactions between the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor and Deformed wing virus (DWV) lead to the reduction in lifespan of the European honey bee Apis mellifera and often have been implicated in colony losses worldwide. However, to date, the underlying processes and mechanisms that form the multipartite interaction between the...
Article
Full-text available
Parasitic mites and pathogens compromise honey bee health. Development of sustainable and integrative methods of managing these problems will minimize their detrimental impact on honey bees. Here, we aimed to determine if the combination of using mite-resistant stocks along with gamma-irradiated combs influences colony health and productivity. The...
Article
Full-text available
Hygienic behaviour is a social immune response in honey bees shown to help provide resistance to honey bee pests and diseases. A survey of hygienic behaviour and brood diseases was conducted on 649 colonies in eastern Australia to initiate a selective breeding program targeting disease resistance and provide a level of resistance to Varroa (Varroa...
Data
Chalkbrood presence in honey bee colonies not influenced by liberal FKB test of hygienic behaviour or nectar flow hygienic behaviour scores from colonies with and without chalkbrood under variable nectar conditions. (TIF)
Data
Hygienic behaviour as determined by the liberal FKB test not a predictor of chalkbrood infection (A) hygienic behaviour and chalkbrood infection (B) Severity of chalkbrood infection and liberal hygienic behaviour. Percentages are out of 649 colonies. (TIF)
Data
Data associated with this survey. (CSV)
Data
Summary of logistic regression analysis for variables predicting chalkbrood infection. (DOCX)
Preprint
Full-text available
Non-target impacts of insecticide treatments are a major public and environmental concern, particularly in contemporary beekeeping. Therefore, it is important to understand the physiological mechanisms contributing to insecticide sensitivity in honey bees. In the present studies, we sought to evaluate the role of esterases as the source of variatio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Hygienic behaviour is a social immune response in honey bees shown to help provide resistance to honey bee pests and diseases. A survey of hygienic behaviour and brood diseases was conducted on 649 colonies in eastern Australia to initiate a selective breeding program targeting disease resistance and provide a level of resistance to Varroa (Varroa...
Article
Full-text available
The mating system of honey bees (genus Apis) is extremely polyandrous, where reproductive females (queens) typically mate with 12 or more males (drones) during their mating flight(s). The evolutionary implications for hyperpolyandry have been subject to considerable debate and empirical testing because of the need to understand the proximate mechan...
Article
Full-text available
Managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations are currently facing unsustainable losses due to a variety of factors. Colonies are challenged with brood pathogens, such as the fungal agent of chalkbrood disease, the microsporidian gut parasite Nosema sp., and several viruses. These pathogens may be transmitted horizontally from worker to worker, ve...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
Honeybees use a variety of defence mechanisms to reduce disease infection and spread throughout the colony. Many of these defences rely on the collective action of multiple individuals to prevent, reduce or eradicate pathogens—often referred to as ‘social immunity’. Glucose oxidase (GOX) and some antimicrobial peptides (e.g. defensin-1 or Def1) are...
Article
Full-text available
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 hon...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the complexities of social insect immunity, that is, how insects combat pathogens, parasites and pests, is a fundamental question that not only has broad applications for understanding disease dynamics in social groups (Fefferman & Traniello, 2008) (e.g., human societies) but also practical benefits for improving honey bee stocks for...
Article
Full-text available
Propolis is one of the most fascinating honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) products. It is a plant derived product that bees produce from resins that they collect from different plant organs and with which they mix beeswax. Propolis is a building material and a protective agent in the bee hive. It also plays an important role in honey bee social immunit...
Article
Full-text available
Most pollination in large-scale agriculture is dependent on managed colonies of a single species, the honey bee Apis mellifera. More than 1 million hives are transported to California each year just to pollinate the almonds, and bees are trucked across the country for various cropping systems. Concerns have been raised about whether such “migratory...
Article
Oxidative stress can lead to premature aging symptoms and cause acute mortality at higher doses in a range of organisms. Oxidative stress resistance and longevity are mechanistically and phenotypically linked; considerable variation in oxidative stress resistance exists among and within species and typically covaries with life expectancy. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Several costs and benefits arise as a consequence of eusocialityand group-living. With increasing group size, spread of disease among nest-mates poses selective pressure on both individual immunity and group-level mechanisms of disease resistance (social immunity). Another factor known to influence colony-level expression of disease is intracolony...
Article
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The production of new queens in honey bee colonies is one of the most important determinants of reproductive success, and it involves cooperative behavior among hundreds or thousands of workers. Colony members are generally expected to benefit by optimizing the reproductive traits of prospective replacement queens, but potential conflicts of intere...
Article
Full-text available
The repeated evolution of extreme polyandry in advanced social insects is exceptional and its explanation has attracted significant attention. However, most reported estimates of the number of matings are derived from limited sampling. Temporal and geographic variation in mating behavior of social insects has not been sufficiently studied. Worker o...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate thermoregulation in honey bees is crucial for colony survival. Multiple factors influence how colonies manage in-hive temperature, including genetic diversity. We explored the influence of genetic diversity on thermoregulatory behavior under three conditions: natural foraging, supplemental feeding, and exposure to the fungal pathogen shown...
Conference Paper
Honey bees and other pollinators are currently suffering from large-scale declines due to issues such as habitat loss and the emergence of widespread or possibly new parasites. Social insects have developed a suite of defenses to combat various stresses, both at the individual level (e.g., physiological defenses) and group level (e.g., multiple mat...
Conference Paper
The mating biology of social insects has been subject to numerous studies because the queen mating pattern affects the colony kin structure and thus selective pressures on all individuals. Moreover, multiple mating itself has been associated with colony fitness, mostly based on increasing colony genetic diversity. However, little is known about the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Given current health issues plaguing honey bees, understanding the effects of possible stressors at the individual, cellular, and molecular levels are of increasing importance. Stress and aging are often highly related. Honey bees are an excellent model to simultaneously investigate this relationship between stress and longevity, as well as how it...
Conference Paper
Honey bees are currently facing numerous challenges that are detrimental to colony fitness. Exposure to stress factors associated with their environment and management practices likely contribute to their susceptibility to challenges such as disease or nutritional stress. The ability to resist or tolerate the effects of such stressors potentially v...
Article
The ongoing decline of honey bee health worldwide is a serious economic and ecological concern. One major contributor to the decline are pathogens, including several honey bee viruses. However, information is limited on the biology of bee viruses and molecular interactions with their hosts. An experimental protocol to test these systems was develop...
Article
Full-text available
The constant pressure posed by parasites has caused species throughout the animal kingdom to evolve suites of mechanisms to resist infection. Individual barriers and physiological defenses are considered the main barriers against parasites in invertebrate species. However, behavioral traits and other non-immunological defenses can also effectively...
Article
Full-text available
Honeybees harvest and use plant resins in a mixture called propolis to seal cracks and smooth surfaces in the nest architecture. Resins in the nest may be important in maintaining a healthy colony due to their antimicrobial properties. This study had two main objectives: (1) Provide initial insight on the learning capabilities of resin foraging hon...
Article
Full-text available
Social immunity, which describes how individual behaviors of group members effectively reduce disease and parasite transmission at the colony level, is an emerging field in social insect biology. An understudied, but significant behavioral disease resistance mechanism in honey bees is their collection and use of plant resins. Honey bees harvest re...
Article
Full-text available
Diverse animals have evolved an ability to collect antimicrobial compounds from the environment as a means of reducing infection risk. Honey bees battle an extensive assemblage of pathogens with both individual and "social" defenses. We determined if the collection of resins, complex plant secretions with diverse antimicrobial properties, acts as a...
Article
Full-text available
The honey bee disease American foulbrood (AFB) is a serious problem since its causative agent (Paenibacillus larvae) has become increasingly resistant to conventional antibiotics. The objective of this study was to investigate the in vitro activity of propolis collected from various states of Brazil against P. larvae. Propolis is derived from plant...

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Project (1)
Project
This project aims to understand integrative effects of individual immunity, genetic diversity, and social immune defenses on colony fitness. Using a bottom-up approach (from individual to population), this research sheds light on the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms of disease resistance in honey bees to better understand the natural defenses crucial to maintaining healthy and productive colonies.