Article

Effect of shipping boxes, attendant bees, and temperature on honey bee queen sperm quality (Apis mellifera)

Authors:
  • Centre De Recherche En Sciences Animales de Deschambault, Québec, Canada
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Abstract

The fertility and fecundity of the queen are vital to the success of a honey bee colony (Apis mellifera L.). Young mated queens are shipped worldwide to meet the demand of the beekeeping industry. Since little is known about the conditions experienced by queens in transit from breeders to beekeepers and the importance of these conditions on the queens’ reproductive potential, we conducted a two-part study. First, queen shipments from the USA and Canada to Canadian beekeepers were monitored to measure thermal conditions during shipment. A total of 39 shipments were followed in 2017 and 2018. Monitoring revealed variable temperatures during shipment, with occasional periods of lows (10–15 °C) and highs (30–36 °C). Second, young mated queens were placed in different shipping boxes with or without attendant bees and exposed to one of three temperatures (6 °C, 26 °C, and 40 °C) for 2 h. We then compared the thermoregulation within shipping boxes, and the viability of sperm in each queen’s spermatheca. Our results show that both low and high temperatures significantly decrease sperm viability, and that the addition of loose attendant bees within shipment boxes helps maintain the temperature at 26 °C when exposed to low temperature and delays the temperature increase when temperatures are high. The study shows the potential to improve current honey bee shipping methods in order to mitigate variable conditions experienced by bees during transportation.

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... As such, a queen's lifetime reproductive capacity is ultimately sperm-limited, and any decrease in the viability of her stored sperm results in a permanent change to her fecundity and longevity [1,6]. Previous research has shown that extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) can reduce viability of stored sperm, and temperature stress has been proposed as potential causal factor underlying queen failure in apiculture operations [7][8][9]. ...
... Queens are vulnerable to temperature stress during shipping and potentially inside small colonies during extreme weather events (i.e., heatwaves) [7][8][9]. Queen honey bees are routinely shipped both domestically and internationally to satisfy the seasonal needs of beekeepers. For example, Canada imports over 200,000 queens annually, mainly from warmer geographic regions (predominantly the US, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile) to satisfy early season demand before locally produced queens become available [10]. ...
... In the United States, queens are mainly produced by a relatively small number of large-scale queen production operations in Hawaii, California, and the southeastern states for domestic distribution. Queens are typically shipped in small cages with poorly thermoregulated environments, leaving them vulnerable to perturbations in ambient temperatures [7][8][9]. ...
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Abiotic stressors such as extreme temperatures can reduce stored sperm viability within queen honey bees. However, little is known about how thermal stress may directly impact queen performance or other maternal quality metrics, such as queen mass, egg laying rate, and development of embryos within eggs. Here, in a blind field trial, we recorded laying pattern, queen mass, and average callow worker mass before and after exposing queens to a cold temperature (4°C, 2 h), hot temperature (42°C, 2 h), and hive temperature (33°C) to serve as a handling control. We then used proteomics to investigate potential vertical effects of maternal temperature stress on embryos, as well as to measure the abundance of previously determined protein markers for temperature stress in the spermathecal fluid. We found no significant effect of abiotic stress on any of the metrics we recorded. These data suggest that there are likely no lasting maternal effects of temperature stress on honey bee queens, and that the queens themselves are highly stress tolerant, but not their stored sperm.
... As such, a queen's lifetime reproductive a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 capacity is ultimately sperm-limited, and any decrease in the viability of her stored sperm results in a permanent change to her fecundity and longevity [1,6]. Previous research has shown that extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) can reduce viability of stored sperm and fresh ejaculates, and temperature stress has been proposed as potential causal factor underlying queen failure in apicultural operations [7][8][9][10]. ...
... Queens are vulnerable to temperature stress during shipping and potentially inside small colonies during extreme weather events (i.e., heatwaves) [7][8][9]. While some data suggests that temperature stress inside hives is theoretically possible [8,11], and extreme ambient temperatures are associated with colony losses [12], the actual risk that in-hive temperature fluctuations pose to queens is not known. ...
... This is because the core of colony is remarkably thermostable, whereas the periphery is the variable zone [8,11]-queens could therefore avoid temperature stress by remaining in the center of the brood nest. However, queen honey bees are routinely shipped both domestically and internationally to satisfy the seasonal needs of beekeepers, and they are unable to adequately thermoregulate during transit [7][8][9]. Canada imports over 200,000 queens annually, mainly from warmer geographic regions (predominantly the US, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile) to satisfy early season demand before locally produced queens become available [13]. In the United States, queens are mainly produced by a relatively small number of large-scale queen production operations in Hawaii, California, and the southeastern states for domestic distribution. ...
Article
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Extreme temperature exposure can reduce stored sperm viability within queen honey bees; however, little is known about how thermal stress may directly impact queen performance or other maternal quality metrics. Here, in a blind field trial, we recorded laying pattern, queen mass, and average callow worker mass before and after exposing queens to a cold temperature (4°C, 2 h), hot temperature (42°C, 2 h), and hive temperature (33°C, control). We measured sperm viability at experiment termination, and investigated potential vertical effects of maternal temperature stress on embryos using proteomics. We found that cold stress, but not heat stress, reduced stored sperm viability; however, we found no significant effect of temperature stress on any other recorded metrics (queen mass, average callow worker mass, laying patterns, the egg proteome, and queen spermathecal fluid proteome). Previously determined candidate heat and cold stress biomarkers were not differentially expressed in stressed queens, indicating that these markers only have short-term post-stress diagnostic utility. Combined with variable sperm viability responses to temperature stress reported in different studies, these data also suggest that there is substantial variation in temperature tolerance, with respect to impacts on fertility, amongst queens. Future research should aim to quantify the variation and heritability of temperature tolerance, particularly heat, in different populations of queens in an effort to promote queen resilience.
... This suggests that there is additional variation in fecundity not solely explainable by variation in size. Possible environmental exposures to temperature fluctuations (Czekońska et al. 2013, Rousseau et al. 2020, agrichemicals (Burley 2007, Straub et al. 2016, or parasites (Duay et al. 2002) may have occurred in these drones, all of which have been shown to elicit negative effects on reproductive traits, but quantifying all of the possible permutations is beyond the scope of the present study and only adds to the observed variation. Variation among drones may persist because any given individual drone does not contribute significantly to a colony's fitness. ...
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Exploration into reproductive quality in honey bees (Apis mellifera Linneaus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) largely focuses on factors that affect queens, with drones primarily being considered insofar as they pass on effects of environmental stressors to the queen and subsequent offspring. In those studies that consider drone quality explicitly, a primary focus has been on the dimorphic nature of drones laid in worker cells (either through rare queen error or worker reproduction) as compared to drones laid by the queen in the slightly larger drone cells. The implication from these studies is that that there exists a bimodality of drone morphological quality that is related to reproductive quality and competitive ability during mating. Our study quantifies the presence of such small drones in commercial populations, finding that rates of 'low-quality' drones are far higher than theoretically predicted under optimum conditions. Observations from commercial colonies also show significant inter-colony variation among the size and fecundity of drones produced, prompting speculation as to the mechanisms inducing such variation and the potential use of drone-quality variation for the colony- or apiary-level exposure to nutrition, agrichemical, or parasitic stressors.
... Furthermore, shipping live honey bees is a sensitive process necessitating timeliness in production and shipping/receiving. Recent studies confirm that sperm viability in queens can be affected by temperature fluctuations in transit when delayed and overheated (McAfee et al. 2020, Rousseau et al. 2020, Pettis et al. 2016. ...
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To gauge the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian beekeeping sector, we conducted a survey of over 200 beekeepers in the fall of 2020. Our survey results show Canadian beekeepers faced two major challenges: 1) disrupted importation of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) (queen and bulk bees) that maintain populations; and 2) disrupted arrival of temporary foreign workers (TFWs). Disruptions in the arrival of bees and labor resulted in fewer colonies and less colony management, culminating in higher costs and lower productivity. Using the survey data, we develop a profitability analysis to estimate the impact of these disruptions on colony profit. Our results suggest that a disruption in either foreign worker or bee arrival allows beekeepers to compensate and while colony profits are lower, they remain positive. When both honey bee and foreign workers arrivals are disrupted for a beekeeper, even when the beekeeper experiences less significant colony health and cost impacts, a colony with a single pollination contract is no longer profitable, and a colony with two pollination contracts has significantly reduced profitability. As COVID-19 disruptions from 2020 and into 2021 become more significant to long-term colony health and more costly to a beekeeping operation, economic losses could threaten the industry’s viability as well as the sustainability of pollination-dependent crop sectors across the country. The economic and agricultural impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed a vulnerability within Canada’s beekeeping industry stemming from its dependency on imported labor and bees. Travel disruptions and border closures pose an ongoing threat to Canadian agriculture and apiculture in 2021 and highlight the need for Canada’s beekeeping industry to strengthen domestic supply chains to minimize future risks.
... Preserving the fresh ejaculate of A. mellifera at high or low temperatures resulted in a significant increase in dead sperm by up to 40% [59,60]. Moreover, temperatures are variable during A. mellifera young queen shipment, and both low and high temperatures significantly decrease sperm viability [61]. Exposure to high-temperature extremes (45 • C) can cause more than 50% of sperm to die in the spermathecae of queens [59]. ...
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Bumblebees and honeybees are very important pollinators and play a vital role in agricultural and natural ecosystems. The quality of their colonies is determined by the queens and the reproductive drones of mother colonies, and mated drones transmit semen, including half of the genetic materials, to queens and enhance their fertility. Therefore, factors affecting drone fecundity will also directly affect progeny at the colony level. Here, we review environmental and bee-related factors that are closely related to drone reproductive ability. The environmental factors that mainly affect the sperm count and the viability of males include temperature, nutrients and pesticides. In addition, the inherent characteristics of male bees, such as body size, weight, age, seminal fluid proteins and proteins of the spermathecal fluid, contribute to mating success, sperm quality during long-term storage in the spermathecae and the reproductive behaviors of queens. Based on the results of previous studies, we also suggest that the effects of somatotype dimorphism in bumblebee males on sperm quality and queen fecundity and the indispensable and exploitable function of gland proteins in the fecundity of males and queens should be given more attention in further studies.
... This importation of honeybee stock is associated with several abiotic and biotic risks and issues [7], such as unwanted genotypes (e.g., the Africanized bee), exotic pathogens and parasites (e.g., the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida) or pathogens and parasites resistant to existing treatments (e.g., the foulbrood causing bacteria resistant to oxytetracycline). Furthermore, shipped queens may be exposed to thermohydrometric conditions during transport that negatively affect queen fertility [8,9]. Along with the rising price of imported queens, all these factors justify efforts to increase the domestic supply of queens early spring. ...
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Understanding the reproductive potential (“quality”) of queens bees can provide valuable insights into factors that influence colony phenotype. We assayed queens from various commercial sources for various measures of potential queen quality, including their physical characters (such as their degree of parasitism), insemination number (stored sperm counts), and effective paternity frequency (number of drone fathers among their offspring). We found significant variation in the physical, insemination, and mating quality of commercially produced queens, and we detected significant correlations within and among these various measures. Overall, the queens were sufficiently inseminated (3.99 ± 1.504 million sperm) and mated with an appropriate number of drones (effective paternity frequency: 16.0 ± 9.48). Importantly, very few of the queens were parasitized by tracheal mites and none were found with either Nosema species. These findings suggest possible mechanisms for assessing the potential fitness of honey bee queens without the need for destructive sampling. Keywordshoney bee queens–reproductive potential–insemination–parasitism–effective mating frequency
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The genetic variance of queen mating frequency was studied in honeybees (Apis mellifera carnica). Worker offspring (N = 966) of 28 naturally mated half sister-queens (r = 0.25) from seven unrelated breeding lines were genotyped at four DNA microsatellites. The mating frequencies of the queens were derived from the offspring genotypes. The number of observed matings per queen ranged from 10 to 28 with an average of 17.32 1.10 (number of estimated matings: 24.94 2.51; number of effective matings: 20.09 1.73). Half-sib analyses of the breeding lines were used to estimate heritability. Heritability was h2 = 0.449 0.135 for the estimated number of matings and h2 = 0.262 0.103 for the number of effective males, which are both significantly different from zero. We conclude that a high genetic variance for polyandry in honeybees can be favored by balanced selection between individual queen and colony level.
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Honey bee queens mate with multiple males, which increases the total genetic diversity within colonies and has been shown to confer numerous benefits for colony health and productivity. Recent surveys of beekeepers have suggested that 'poor queens' are a top management concern, thus investigating the reproductive quality and mating success of commercially produced honey bee queens is warranted. We purchased 80 commercially produced queens from large queen breeders in California and measured them for their physical size (fresh weigh and thorax width), insemination success (stored sperm counts and sperm viability), and mating number (determined by patriline genotyping of worker offspring). We found that queens had an average of 4.37 +/- 1.446 million stored sperm in their spermathecae with an average viability of 83.7 +/- 13.33%. We also found that the tested queens had mated with a high number of drones (average effective paternity frequency: 17.0 +/- 8.98). Queen "quality" significantly varied among commercial sources for physical characters but not for mating characters. These findings suggest that it may be more effective to improve overall queen reproductive potential by culling lower-quality queens rather than systematically altering current queen production practices.
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Honey bees are a highly valued resource around the world. They are prized for their honey and wax production and depended upon for pollination of many important crops. While globally honey bee populations have been increasing, the rate of increase is not keeping pace with demand. Further, honey bee populations have not been increasing in all parts of the world, and have declined in many nations in Europe and in North America. Managed honey bee populations are influenced by many factors including diseases, parasites, pesticides, the environment, and socio-economic factors. These factors can act alone or in combination with each other. This review highlights the present day value of honey bees, followed by a detailed description of some of the historical and present day factors that influence honey bee populations, with particular emphasis on colony populations in Europe and the United States.
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Honeybee colonies maintain brood nest temperatures of 33–36°C. We investigated brood nest thermoregulation at the level of individual worker behaviour and the transfer of heat from workers to the brood. Worker bees contribute to the regulation of brood nest temperature by producing heat while sitting motionless on the caps of brood cells. We report here an additional,newly observed heating strategy where heating bees enter empty cells between sealed brood cells and remain there motionless for periods of up to 45 min. Individually marked worker bees on the surface of sealed brood cells maintained thorax temperatures (Tth) between 32.2±1.0°C and 38.1±2.5°C (mean ± s.d.; N=20 bees) with alternating warming and cooling periods. Most of the observed bees made one or several long-duration visits(>2 min) to empty cells within the sealed brood area. Tth at the time bees entered a cell[Tth(entry)] was 34.1–42.5°C (N=40). In 83% of these cell visits, Tth(entry) was higher (up to 5.9°C; mean 2.5±1.5°C; N=33) than the mean Tth of the same bee. High values of Tth(entry) resulted from preceding heating activity on the comb surface and from warm-ups just prior to cell visits during which Tth increased by up to +9.6°C. Bees inside empty cells had mean Tth values of 32.7±0.1°C (resting bees) to 40.6±0.7°C (heat-producing bees) during long-duration cell visits without performing any visible work. Heating behaviour inside cells resembles heating behaviour on the brood cap surface in that the bees appear to be inactive, but repeated warmings and coolings occur and Tth does not fall below the optimum brood temperature. Bees staying still inside empty cells for several minutes have previously been considered to be `resting bees'. We find, however, that the heating bees can be distinguished from the resting bees not only by their higher body temperatures but also by the continuous, rapid respiratory movements of their abdomens. By contrast, abdominal pumping movements in resting bees are discontinuous and interrupted by long pauses. Heat transfer to the brood from individual bees on the comb surface and from bees inside empty cells was simulated under controlled conditions. Heating on the comb surface causes a strong superficial warming of the brood cap by up to 3°C within 30 min. Heat transfer is 1.9–2.6 times more efficient when the thorax is in touch with the brood cap than when it is not. Heating inside empty cells raises the brood temperature of adjacent cells by up to 2.5°C within 30 min. Heat flow through the comb was detectable up to three brood cells away from the heated thorax.
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We report results that address a long-standing controversy in honey bee biology, the identity of the queen-produced compounds that inhibit worker honey bee ovary development. As the honey bee is the only organism for which identities have been proposed for any pheromone that regulates reproduction, the resolution of its identity is of broad significance. We examined the effects of synthetic honey bee queen mandibular pheromone (QMP), four newly identified queen retinue pheromone components, and whole-queen extracts on the ovary development of caged worker bees. The newly identified compounds did not inhibit worker ovary development alone, nor did they improve the efficacy of QMP when applied in combination. QMP was as effective as queen extracts at ovary regulation. Caged workers in the QMP and queen extract treatments had better developed ovaries than did workers remaining in queenright colonies. We conclude that QMP is responsible for the ovary-regulating pheromonal capability of queens from European-derived Apis mellifera subspecies.
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Honey bee (Apis mellifera) (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queens, the reproductive female caste, are crucial for colony success, and many management problems that beekeepers face are related to their diminished reproductive quality and premature failure. Previous research has suggested that temperature extremes may affect the viability of stored sperm in queens' spermathecae, thus the abiotic conditions of queens during transport may be germane to these problems. We recorded the temperatures experienced by queens during 2 yr of package transportation and tracked the newly installed colonies through establishment and buildup. During this critical 6-8 wk period, we observed typically high rates of queen failure (~25%) but found no indication that these postinstallation queen events were driven by temperature-related damage to stored sperm (an essential component of queen quality) incurred during transportation. We also found no indication of significant hot or cold zones across the truckloads of packages that would suggest a problem in how packages are insulated during transportation. However, we did observe significantly higher temperatures (31.2 vs. 29.9°C) and lower temperature variance (8.8 vs. 12.2) in queens that ultimately failed during the observation period, indicating that workers may respond differently to these queens in a way that manifests as more insulating clusters around queen cages. If so, then the collective process by which workers accept or reject a foreign queen may already be detectable even if it does not ultimately conclude until some weeks later. Nevertheless, it remains unclear why large numbers of otherwise high-quality queens are failing in newly installed packages.
Chapter
The many problems that currently face the U.S. honey bee population has underscored the need for sufficient genetic diversity at the colony, breeding, and population levels. Genetic diversity has been reduced by three distinct bottleneck events, namely the limited historical importation of subspecies and queens, the selection pressure of parasites and pathogens (particularly parasitic mites), and the consolidated commercial queenproduction practices that have reduced the number of queen mothers in the breeding population. We explore the history and potential consequences of reduced population-wide genetic diversity, and we review the past and current status of the reproductive quality of commercially produced queens. We conclude that while queen quality is not drastically diminished from historical levels, the current perceived problems of “poor queens” can be significantly improved by addressing the ongoing genetic bottlenecks in our breeding systems and increasing the overall genetic diversity of the honey bee population.
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Honeybees are ectotherms that have the specific ability to control their body temperature to match environmental change. Honeybees, such as Apis mellifera L., can flex and extend their abdomen to transfer heat with the environment. Their folded intersegmental membranes, which are distributed in the segments of their abdomen, play key roles in heat transfer with abdominal movements. In this study, a temperature-controlled device was established to simulate varying ambient temperature and the abdominal behaviors of honeybee were investigated. Experimental results show that the folded intersegmental membranes make a considerable difference on the bees’ heat transfer ability. Bees can achieve temperature equilibrium by moving their abdomen, in this way bees increase convection to achieve temperature equilibrium. The higher the experimental temperature was, the faster the membrane moved and the shorter time required to reach heat balance. The function of folded intersegmental membranes on heat transfer was further elucidated by proposing a convective heat transfer model. The study on thermoregulation mechanism of honeybee abdomen helps explain its strong adaptability to the external environment as well as its defensive behavior against foreign invaders.
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The onset of oviposition of 1396 queens reared in two years in the Peace River region of Alberta, Canada, ranged from 4 to 22 days after emergence, with a mean of 10·6 ±0·1 days. There was evidence to suggest that some queens may start to lay eggs within 24 h after mating. No consistent correlation was found between queen weight at emergence and the onset of oviposition. Mean weight of queens was 211·2 ± 0·7 mg (range 160–266 mg) in 1981 and 222·6 ± 0.06 mg (range 173–273 mg) in 1982. There was a close association between maximum daily temperature and time of oviposition. A large number of queens mated at temperatures below 25°C.
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In each of two years’ queen honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) imported from California were stored using one of three methods: (1) a four-frame queenless nucleus hive (NH), (2) a strong two-chamber queenless queenbank (QB) or (3) a temperature-controlled incubator (IN). In the first 17–19 days NH-queens were laying and gained an average of 59 mg in 1984 and 92 mg in 1985; the QB-queens lost 1 mg in 1984 and gained 20 mg in 1985 and the IN-queens lost 27 mg in 1984 and 11 mg in 1985. After being switched to another method of storage (from NH to QB, from QB to NH or from IN to NH) queens in the NH-QB sequence lost 55 and 58 mg, queens in the QB-NH sequence gained 30 and 54 mg and queens in the IN-NH sequence gained 53 and 66 mg in 1984 and 1985, respectively. As 10–14 days were needed for QB- or IN-queens to gain substantial weight after transfer to NH, it is important that any storage technique maintains queens in a laying condition to minimize delays in colony development.
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Rearing your own queens is one of the more interesting and rewarding aspects of beekeeping. It provides a means to maintain young, vigorous queens in colonies and is the foundation of good colony management. This also enables a degree of selection for desirable colony characteristics.
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We placed small temperature monitoring devices inside queen shipments from across the U.S., during May and June, 1998. A total of 19 queen shipments, each containing 8 to 10 queens, were received from queen producers in California, Texas, Hawaii, Georgia and Tennessee. Shipping methods included the U.S. Postal Service (Priority Mail, Express Mail and First Class Mail), and the United Parcel Service (UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air). The majority of shipments (58%) were sent via Priority Mail. A few shipments were improperly handled and experienced damage - a shattered wooden queen cage, several broken dataloggers, queen cages displaced in a battery cage and several torn packages. Of the 170 queens shipped in our study, only 6 were dead upon arrival, but 4 of the 6 were from a single Texas shipment. Most of the shipments (68%) experienced normal temperatures in the range of 50 to 97°F (10 to 36°C). Two shipments experienced borderline cold conditions in which the minimum temperatures just below 50°F (10°C), but did not remain cold for an extended period. The remaining four shipments experienced extreme conditions. One shipment experienced cold conditions below chill coma (50°F or 10°C) for 4.25 hours and a temperature of 20°F (-6.7°C) for 1 hour. Nonetheless, the queens in this shipment survived. Three shipments experienced hot conditions. The highest temperature recorded in our study was 109°F (43°C); queens survived this temperature for approximately 2 hours.
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Homogeneous mixing of honeybee (Apis mellifera) semen by centrifugation can be an important tool in breeding programmes with honeybees. The effects of different semen diluents on the onset of oviposition, brood pattern and colony development of queens inseminated with mixed semen were tested. Insemination success depended on the type of diluent. A tris-buffer diluent containing arginine and lysine proved to be feasible for use with the centrifugation method.
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Worker bees have a lower chill-coma temperature than drones or queens, which is influenced by their acclimatisation temperature as is their food consumption at a given temperature. Most bees die after 50 hrs. in chill coma, and survive longer at 5° C than at 0 or 10° C. Cold death occurs between −2 and −6° C and is unaffected by acclimatisation. Winter bees have lower chill-coma temperatures than summer bees but after acclimatisation to 35° C there is no difference. The chill-coma temperature of summer bees decreases with age irrespective of acclimatisation. KÄLTESTARRE- UND KÄLTETOD-TEMPERATUREN VON APIS MELLIFICA Arbeitsbienen haben eine niedrigere Kältestarretemperatur als Drohnen und Königinnen. Akklimatisierung der Arbeiterinnen an verschiedene Temperaturen beeinflußt ihre Kältestarretemperaturen und die Zeit, die sie zur Erholung von der Kältestarre benötigen. Die Akklimatisation ist nach 24 Stunden vollständig. Die Stoffwechselrate der Bienen bei einer gegebenen Temperatur wird ebenfalls von der Akklimatisationstemperatur beeinflußt. Die meisten Bienen sterben nach 50stündiger Kältestarre und wenige überleben mehr als 80 Stunden. Bei 5° C ist die Überlebensrate größer als bei 0° oder 10°. Der Tod tritt zwischen −2° und −6° C ein und ist von vorangegangener Akklimatisation unbeeinflußt. Bienen vom Rande einer Wintertraube haben niedrigere Kältestarretemperaturen als Bienen aus der Mitte. Winterbienen haben eine niedrigere Kältestarretemperatur als Sommerbienen, doch nach Akklimatisation an 35° C besteht kein Unterschied mehr. Die Kältestarretemperatur nimmt im Sommer mit dem Alter ab, ob die Bienen an 35° C akklimatisiert sind oder nicht. Es wird vermutet, daß dies auf Unterschieden in der Stoffwechselrate der betreffenden Bienen beruht.
Article
SUMMARY Amplitudes of extracellular action potentials in indirect flight muscles of honey- bees and cuculiinid winter moths decline with decreasing muscle temperatures and fall suddenly to zero. Action potential durations increase with amplitude decline. Amplitudes at 11°C are only 20% of values near 30°C in workers of Apis mellifera mellifera. They fall to zero at approx. 10°C. In the cuculiinid winter moth Eupsilia devia, amplitudes at 1°C are approx. 12% of values at 27°C. They fall to zero between 0 and 1°C. The duration of action potentials in bees and cuculiinid winter moths is about 7 ms at 27 °C and increases to 52 ms at 11°C in bees and to 66 ms at 1°C in moths. The ratios of action potential rise time to fall time are about 1 at 27°C for bees and moths. They decrease to 0-45 at 11°C in bees and to 0-56 at 1°C in moths. Results suggest that bees can heat flight muscles only if muscle temperatures are above 10°C, whereas cuculiinid winter moths can shiver with muscle tempera- tures near 0°C.
Article
Nosema ceranae, a microsporidian parasite originally described in the Asian honey bee Apis cerana, has recently been found to be cross-infective and to also parasitize the European honey bee Apis mellifera. Since this discovery, many studies have attempted to characterize the impact of this parasite in A. mellifera honey bees. Nosema species can infect all colony members, workers, drones and queens, but the pathological effects of this microsporidium has been mainly investigated in workers, despite the prime importance of the queen, who monopolizes the reproduction and regulates the cohesion of the society via pheromones. We therefore analyzed the impact of N. ceranae on queen physiology. We found that infection by N. ceranae did not affect the fat body content (an indicator of energy stores) but did alter the vitellogenin titer (an indicator of fertility and longevity), the total antioxidant capacity and the queen mandibular pheromones, which surprisingly were all significantly increased in Nosema-infected queens. Thus, such physiological changes may impact queen health, leading to changes in pheromone production, that could explain Nosema-induced supersedure (queen replacement).
Article
Honeybee, Apis mellifera, colonies replace their queens by constructing many queen cells and then eliminating supernumerary queens until only one remains. The ages of the queens and the variation in their reproductive potential are important factors in the outcome of such events. Selection would favour colonies that requeen as quickly as possible to minimize the brood hiatus, therefore selecting for queens reared from older larvae. Conversely, reproductive potential (queen 'quality') is maximized by rearing queens from younger larvae. This potential trade-off was tested during two phases of queen replacement, namely queen rearing and polygyny reduction. Our results suggest that queen age is a significant element during both queen rearing and polygyny reduction, whereas queen quality, at least to the magnitude tested in this experiment, has little impact on the outcome of either process. The rate of queen replacement therefore appears to be an important factor in the honeybee life cycle, and further mechanisms of potential importance during this life history transition are discussed. Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Article
Since the development of instrumental insemination of honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens in the 1930s, there has been interest in the evaluation and in vitro storage of semen. Several fluorescent stains, when used in combination, have been effectively used to assess sperm viability in mammalian and avian species. Our objectives were to test two combinations of living:dead fluorescent stains, SYBR-14 with propidium iodide (PI), or Calcein-AM with PI, and validate the use of these probes with honey bee sperm. SYBR-14 is a nuclear stain producing green fluorescence of the DNA in living sperm, Calcein-AM is a membrane-permeant esterase substrate staining entire sperm green, and PI is a traditional dead cell stain giving a contrasting red color. Both living stains fluoresced bee sperm, but the SYBR-14:PI produced a clearer distinction between the living and dead sperm. A graduated series of known living:dead sperm proportions was used to validate the accuracy of the stains for determining sperm viability in honey bees.
Article
SYNTHETIC QUEEN MANDIBULAR GLAND PHEROMONE (QMP) WAS APPLIED TO HONEY BEE COLONIES TO TEST TWO HYPOTHESES: (i) QMP acts like a primer pheromone in the regulation of age-related division of labor, and (ii) this primer effect, if present, varies in three strains of workers that show genetically-based differences in their retinue attraction response to QMP (a pheromone releaser effect). Strains of workers that were high, or low in their response to QMP in a laboratory bioassay, as well as unselected 'wild-type' workers, were fostered in queenright colonies with or without supplemental QMP. Effects of QMP on foraging ontogeny and juvenile hormone III (JH) blood titers in worker honey bees were measured. Bees in QMP-supplemented colonies showed significant delays in foraging ontogeny, and foraging activity was reduced. They also had significantly lower JH titers, although the titer curves were somewhat atypical. There were no differences in foraging ontogeny or JH titers among the three strains. We conclude that (i) QMP can delay the ontogeny of foraging by some mechanism that suppresses JH production, (ii) this QMP primer response is independent of the retinue releaser response, and (iii) QMP can play an important role in regulating division of labour.
Article
Honeybees are highly efficient at regulating the biophysical parameters of their hive according to colony needs. Thermoregulation has been the most extensively studied aspect of nest homeostasis. In contrast, little is known about how humidity is regulated in beehives, if at all. Although high humidity is necessary for brood development, regulation of this parameter by honeybee workers has not yet been demonstrated. In the past, humidity was measured too crudely for a regulation mechanism to be identified. We reassess this issue, using miniaturised data loggers that allow humidity measurements in natural situations and at several places in the nest. We present evidence that workers influence humidity in the hive. However, there are constraints on potential regulation mechanisms because humidity optima may vary in different locations of the nest. Humidity could also depend on variable external factors, such as water availability, which further impair the regulation. Moreover, there are trade-offs with the regulation of temperature and respiratory gas exchanges that can disrupt the establishment of optimal humidity levels. As a result, we argue that workers can only adjust humidity within sub-optimal limits.
Article
Sperm usage by queen honey bees was examined by progeny analyses using six phenotypically distinct genetic markers. No evidence was found for sperm displacement or precedence. All queens used the sperm of all males that inseminated them during all sampling periods. Sperm usage, as measured by phenotypic frequencies, did fluctuate nonrandomly but did not result in abnormally high representation of a single phenotype or the elimination of other phenotypes as has often been suggested. The genetic relationships of workers within honey bee colonies are estimated from the data presented. Average genetic relatedness is shown to be low among colony nestmates and probably approaches 0.25 in colonies with naturally mated queens. There is no evidence for elevated relatedness among colony subfamilies due to nonrandom fluctuations in sperm usage by queens or for numerical dominance of any subfamilies.
Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry and the Economic Contribution of Honey Bee Pollination
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Agriculture and Agri Food Canada. (2018) Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry and the Economic Contribution of Honey Bee Pollination, 2018.
Semen production in drone honeybees
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A Canadian beekeeping perspective on colony health and growing our local queen supply
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A historical review of managed honey bee populations in Europe and the United States and the factors that may affect them
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(1999) Viability assessment of honey bee, Apis mellifera , sperm using dual fluorescent staining
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